Key findings

  • Tacoma has a Livability Score of 66/100, which is considered average
  • Tacoma crime rates are 110% higher than the Washington average
  • Cost of living in Tacoma is 5% lower than the Washington average
  • Tacoma real estate prices are 21% lower than the Washington average
  • Rental prices in Tacoma are 7% lower than the Washington average

Best Places to Live in and Around Tacoma

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      Tacoma, WA

      Tacoma, Washington, literally translates as the Mother of Waters, and it is a city that is stepping out of the shadows of its neighbor Seattle. Many people choose to live in Tacoma since the real estate market is more affordable, although prices have skyrocketed over the last decade as the city has become a part of one of the nation's leading markets for tech. With a population that has surpassed 200,000, the city is enjoying a continual stream of new residents.

      The city is home to a satellite campus of the University of Washington system that is located in the downtown area. You will also find a beautiful convention center in the heart of Tacoma as well as a selection of trendy restaurants that are serving up fresh poke, delicious ramen, pho, and other Asian delicacies. One of the most interesting things about Tacoma is the huge hills that are found leading from the waterfront to the cities interior. With grades that can surpass 20% in some areas, it can be a bit stressful for someone who is learning to drive a stick shift or who is trying to get around the city on bike.

      Tacoma, like Seattle, has a lot of rainy days due to its location in the Pacific Northwest. This makes the city extremely lush and green. At just a touch over 2,400 acres, the Port of Tacoma is one of the largest in America and it is one of the city's largest employers as well. For travelers in the area, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge may bring back horrible memories from your high school science class when the bridge shook uncontrollably during an earthquake and a car went plunging into the waters below. Fortunately today, the bridge is sound from an engineering perspective, and millions of cars travel over the world's fifth largest suspension bridge to get to work and play on a regular basis.

      If you love to get out into nature to explore, be sure to check out Point Defiance. It is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, and it offers runners, joggers, and walkers 700-acres and beautiful trails on which you can explore. Tacoma is known for citizens who enjoy healthy lifestyles, and a large part of this is due to the citizens' love for being outdoors enjoying the beauty of nature. If you do not want to head into the woods to get your exercise in, you can also choose to go for a run along the waterfront as you enjoy the beautiful coastal views and marvel at the multimillion dollar condos that line the waterway. Tacoma is a true gem of a city for you to call home.

      Top Rated Schools in Tacoma

      Name Grades Students Proficiency
      LowellKG - 543285%
      ShermanKG - 541375%
      Browns PointKG - 542872%
      Washington Elementary SchoolKG - 547871%
      Naches Trail Elementary SchoolKG - 555471%
      JeffersonPK - 531870%
      StanleyPK - 530370%
      Chester H Thompson Elementary SchoolKG - 562169%
      See all Tacoma schools

      Tacoma Reviews

      Write a review about Tacoma Tell people what you like or don't like about Tacoma…
      Thoughts about Tacoma from a 5-year resident
      My husband and I moved to Tacoma five years ago after having lived in eight other cities in New England, the Midwest, the South, and the Southwest USA over a period of 25 years. Our experience of the city is mixed and we are planning on making our last move in the next 2 - 3 years, probably to the Midwest.

      I think one important influence on one's quality of life here is the neighborhood they live in. Our house is along the 6th Avenue corridor in Central Tacoma, near the University of Puget Sound. However we are just south of 6th, which in terms of overall housing quality and streetscape attractiveness is inferior to streets north of 6th. We are able to walk to many restaurant/bars, an ice cream shop and a diner as well as some funky shops (retro clothes, vinyl, etc.). There are also several cannabis stores, which we have no problem with although we don't smoke weed.

      There are some downsides. There is no grocery store within walking distance (meaning within 10 city blocks). The closest by car is in nearby Hilltop. It is a Safeway store, but it is small and has a limited range of products. In fact it is the worst Safeway store in Tacoma of the 5 or 6 I have been in. The nicer stores are further away in the more affluent neighborhoods, namely the Proctor District to the north and Stadium near downtown. This brings up the issue of housing segregation in Tacoma. The Hilltop neighborhood is generally lower-income and has a relatively higher concentration of people of color, and it irks me that the Safeway chain has followed the train of neighborhood disinvestment in not upgrading their store in Hilltop.

      On my street in Central Tacoma, negative experiences include:

      * Mail and packages being misdelivered or stolen. I regularly receive mail and packages meant for my next-door neighbors or for people who have the same house number as mine, but live on a different street. I have received medications, government mailings, and various packages and make a habit of walking it over to the correct recipients. I also have missed receiving medications (one time--will never order meds by mail again) and packages. This has occurred with both USPS and UPS. It is the only place I have ever lived where this happened on a regular basis (five, six, seven times a year). We now have a PO box. But many vendors will not send items to a PO box.

      * There are quite a few stray or all-outdoor cats in my neighborhood. One of my neighbors left their old cat out overnight all the time, even in the dead of winter. It bothers me that there seems to be so little regard here for these poor creatures. I ended up setting a cat shelter in my yard and have fed strays, and rescued two (took them to the shelter for care and they were adopted out).

      * The streets in my neighborhood are not horribly attractive. Some of the homes and yards are nicely maintained, but in others, old furniture is left on lawns and near the street to fall apart in the rain over a long period of time. I called the City and asked them about picking up items left in a yard right near my house (they have a number you can call about neighborhood blight). They said they would look into the matter, but nearly a year went by after that until one day the stuff finally disappeared. The problem is ongoing. Moreover, there are only a few trees on the streets in my neighborhood, and most of them are not in very good condition.

      * The street lighting at night is very poor. There are not enough street lamps so it is quite dark and hard to see when driving. Moreover, none of the intersections on the side streets have stop signs, and many people do not slow down when approaching an intersection. The streets are full of potholes and the asphalt that was laid over the old 19th-century cobblestones is breaking up and worn away in some spots.

      * Many people park on the wrong side of the street. This is actually against WA State law, but this law is not enforced.

      Positives about Tacoma in general are:

      * Has a good arts and music scene; several historic theaters, a small but growing art museum, a maritime museum, and lots of historical sites and museums to visit. There is a modest zoo which has just upgraded its aquarium.

      * Natural amenities are very good, including Point Defiance Park with several flower test gardens and natural wooded area; beaches; and scenic waterfront.

      * Lots of restaurants and bars to choose from, and also several used bookstores to browse in, as well as a number of antique malls and shops.

      * Mass transit system is good with local bus lines, a free tram in downtown Tacoma, and bus and train service to many towns and to Seattle.

      Other thoughts about Tacoma:

      The weather is wet, with downcast gloomy skies much of the year. This bothers me and I have been using a Verilux happy lamp during fall and winter, as I now have SAD since coming here. However compared with the Midwest and New England, temperature-wise the climate is mild due to its location right next to the Pacific Ocean. As for social climate, generally my impression is that people here are self-contained. I wouldn't say folks are unfriendly here, but neither on the whole would I say people make an effort to say hello or smile as they pass on the street. There is of course a great deal of activism here for social and environmental justice, and yet the homeless problem in Tacoma and in Seattle is bad. There are just so many folks in tents in the park, on the streets downtown and near the highway. I wonder that with all the activism, no one has come up with a plan to help get all these people off the streets; it seems a contradiction.

      I have enjoyed my time here (more or less), but I will be glad to leave as well. When I rated Tacoma using the areavibes measures, my overall score came out to 50. I see that the average of all scores is 49. One important indicator of quality of life in my book is "How cheerful does living here make you feel?" So for me on a score of 1 to 10 (10 being best), my cheerfulness rating for Tacoma is about 5. I think in terms of settling in a place to get old and die, I want to go for at least 8.
      12 0
      Me wife military
      Listen, please from one human being to another. Your life is priceless, so is mine, if you want to continue to enjoy life, trust me and do your research before your even think of this state, avail yourself with the knowledge of remote neural monitoring, I can go on and on. Washington state is a melting pot, people there are garbage, the reason why they offer so much out there is because there is not anything so they try to capture your attention to visit. Only to experiment on your life. Read and understand what remote neural monitoring is, and understand it before you take you and your family on a later to return home nightmare. We have federal lawsuits against the government, so look up gangstalking and remote neural monitoring, and you will understand and you will see what the government employees out there are being paid for. They will violate every right you have in your 1 life to live, and do silly things to hide what is being done to you or family so that you look crazy if you seek help. It's not right, that is why I'm taking my time here to leave this review. Thank you
      5 -13
      Hate it here.
      My husband and I were priced out of king county, moved to east side tacoma. Houses were in our price range. Not long after we moved here, there was a drive by shooting at the house across from us. Police didn't even show up until the next day and found out it wasn't the first time it happened. Not long after, a bum was sleeping on our porch and went through our trash and it was all over our yard. The bum also left cigarette butts all over, scary to think he could of caught our house on fire.We have had packages stolen, garage broken into a few times. Thieves don't care if you have a security system and cameras. I still don't feel safe with a security system. Druggies all around, easy to run into them when walking about. Day or night, druggies are hanging around doing drugs. Not uncommon to hear gunshots, to hear about drive by shootings and gang fights.Area is filthy, a lot of people have trash and junk all over their yards. You will see a lot of boarded up houses that were once drug dens. Alot of abandoned run down buildings. Police response time is slow, there isn't enough police officers around here. I can see why houses were cheaper here, people say this area isn't that bad but my husband and I regret moving here.
      8 -1
      Great city with awesome places to Live
      I honestly have been born and raised here. I love Tacoma, it has plenty of things to do, lots of new faces to meet. I like it because the traffic isn't as bad as Puyallup on Meridian. Love the fact that Tacoma is now one of the best places to live with all the new mid-rise luxury apartments. I especially like The Pacifica Apartments. This place has a 24hr fitness center, it has a cabana and pool, a resident retreat area. I enjoy that they offer concierge services such as dry-cleaning, car auto detailing, pet sitting and pet grooming services. So much more I would recommend this place if you want prime location, the convenience of having things in the walking distance, having peace and quiet but not too far away from the city life. Living in Tacoma at The Pacifica Apartments Rock!
      2 -5
      Terrific Tacoma, WA
      Before embarking on our Alaskan cruise, we spent a couple of days in the Tacoma, WA area. What a great decision! The city of Tacoma is a major airline destination and the Sea-Tac airport was efficient, clean, and comfortable. A shuttle delivered us quickly to our car rental agency.

      While in Tacoma we spent a fun filled day at Point Reliance Park. This zoo offers an amazing sea life exhibit. The grounds are magnificent and our day here passed all too quickly!

      For golfing, a number of courses are available to the public in Tacoma. Meadow Park offers both a 9-hole and an 18-hole course. Play either course or enjoy the driving range.

      Selecting a hotel in Tacoma was a breeze! Most major chains have fine facilities located both in the downtown area and near the airport, most at affordable rates too!

      We're fans of Japanese food and we were amazed at the number of Japanese restaurants in the Tacoma area. Sushi Revolution was a fun and exciting place to eat and the food abundant and delicious.
      2 -2
      Source: The Tacoma, WA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).