Tacoma, Washington

The Flipside Of Sea-Tac

The BUZZ

What's it like to live in Tacoma

What is it like to live in Tacoma, WA?

I think it is a nice place to live. Housing is quite affordable and there are nice residential areas with nice views. The downside is it is a busy seaport and booming industrial area. Traffic around the port near I-5 is quite congested. The highway department has been making big changes hoping to ease congestion. But, progress is marginal at best. I like the houses surrounding the North Shore golf course just North of Tacoma in Federal Way. From Tacoma you have easy access to Seattle, to the zoo and to the beautiful Hood Canal area.

What is it like to live in Tacoma, WA?

I was born in Tacoma, and I’ve lived here my whole life. I grew up in the North End, which is a middle to upper-middle class area. I lived by a university, so my neighbors tended to be college students renting out the houses close to school. I really enjoyed living there. My house was 2 blocks from 6th Ave (6th ave is one of the main streets that leads to pretty much anywhere you may want to go) so I was able to take a 3 minute walk and end up by tons of restaurants and stores. My high school, and the college I do running start at are also in the North End and the areas around both places are really nice. There are tons of parks, and various “districts” that are all unique and have different things to offer. I live in the Hilltop area now after getting kicked out of the house I grew up in. Hilltop is a considerably less nice area of Tacoma but still has it’s benefits.

Pros of living in Tacoma:

  • Public Transportation is pretty cheap. $1 per ride for ages 5–18, $2 for adults and back to $1 for seniors. The buses have multiple transit centers and you can get from one end of Tacoma to the other for less than $5 depending on the route and how many buses you take
  • The schools are alright, and there are tons of schools to choose from for all grades. There are private christian schools, public christian schools, and regular public schools. There are also a few Montessori schools, I personally went to Bryant Montessori from preschool to 6th grade (although I could’ve stayed til 8th, but my parents ended up moving me to Jason Lee, a “normal” middle school for 7th and 8th).
  • There are tons of parks, like Kandle Park (which also has a wave pool open in the summer), Jefferson Park, People’s Park, etc. They almost always have a playground and a field. As a kid it was fun to go to the parks to swing on the swings and play on the playground. As a 17 year old high school student it’s fun to go to the parks at night with friends and run around without worrying about little kids and parents
  • There are tons of restaurants. Like, an insane amount. We have Mexican food, Italian food, Indian food, Chinese food, Japanese food, Korean food, all different fast food, and everything in between, all on 6th ave. Literally just drive up 6th ave and you’ll find something you like.

What is it like to live in Tacoma, WA?

It depends on where you are. I live in a little town of 7,000 adjacent to Tacoma. You don't see homeless there. The North End is a nice area, too, as is Titlow. We have tons of parks, some within walking distance. The traffic isn't bad if you learn the roads — stay off the freeway during rush hour. There are grocery stores all over the place, not to mention fast food joints and 7–11. Mom and pop shops can be found all over, and some of these are quiet cafes with their own quaint charm. Trails wind through the city, and we have beaches like Titlow, Brown's Point, and Point Defiance. Be sure to check out the zoo and aquarium too. We also have numerous street fairs, night markets, and farmer's markets. Not to mention several events like Taste of Tacoma. Jobs are usually found in King County, and that's where the long commutes are. But the rent is cheaper than Seattle. On a clear day you can see Mount Rainier, and that majestic view makes everything worth it. Tacoma has a history, and we have an organization dedicated to preserving it, and even teaching it, with special events and re-enactors. You can say it's stressful and dirty, but to me that's any city.

How is it living in Tacoma?

I moved to Tacoma in 2018 and bought a house in the South End neighborhood. I love Tacoma, but I am not into "night life" so I cannot speak to that. I could not afford to buy a home in North Tacoma, and the right house didn't appear in Central or Lincoln areas. I have a strong preference for houses built after 1950, and mine is an ideal "Mid Century Modest" ranch house built in 1957.

I heard about the crime, and I can tell you that compared to Kansas City where I got stuck for 25 years, basically there is no crime in Tacoma. I've heard of a few gangland style gun battles on the East Side since I moved here but I don't think it's an issue elsewhere. Now, there are some ammosexuals in my area (south of me, I am not sure I'd want to live south of 72nd) who have shot each other because one decided their neighbor was a prowler and the "prowler" returned fire, but that's not so much crime as it is dumb trumpers.

I love my neighborhood which is right by Wapato Lake Park. It's not that walkable, maybe a half hour walk over to grocery shopping. But a really pleasant residential area, and the park is super nice. There's a dog park there as well, divided into big and little dog areas. One additional benefit of the park is it blocks quite a bit of the noise coming off I-5.

There are the normal issues, homeless people live in the park. As they do in ALL parks nowadays. Occasionally some desperate person breaks car windows parked on the street - earlier this year someone was also breaking into cars in driveways, but it was short lived, either they got nothing worth the risk or they moved on. I keep the cars in the garage so have had no issues.

15 Things You MUST KNOW Before Moving to Tacoma, WA