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towns near tacoma

Towns Near Tacoma WA 🏔️ | Explore Cities & Towns Near Tacoma WA to Visit or Live!

Last Updated on: 28th November 2023, 08:11 am

If you’re considering heading to Tacoma, you’ll find lots of exciting and interesting things to do in the area. Tacoma is a port city and the county seat of Pierce County, situated along the shores of Washington’s Puget Sound. The population of Tacoma is 219,346, making it the third most populous city in the state. Tacoma is at the center of the South Sound region, which has a population of about 1 million.  

The name “Tacoma” comes from the name given to Mount Rainier in the Puget Sound Salish dialect. Tacoma is called the “City of Destiny” because the Northern Pacific Railroad ended there in the late 19th century. The Port of Tacoma is Washington’s largest port and a major international port. 

The Tacoma area was inhabited by American Indians for centuries before pioneers began settling there in the 1850s. the city was incorporated in 1875. Tacoma was part of the garage rock sound of the mid-1960s, as bands like The Wailers and The Sonics came from there. The Ventures, a prominent Surf Rock band, also came from Tacoma. 

Tacoma’s downtown experienced a long decline in the mid-1900s, but a plan to revitalize downtown emerged in the 1990s. One hundred-year-old brick warehouses were turned into a branch campus of the University of Washington. 

Numerous museums, including the Washington State History Museum, the Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Art Museum breathed new life into the area, as well as the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Today, Tacoma has a vibrant, thriving downtown.

Metro Parks Tacoma operates more than 50 parks and open spaces in Tacoma. Point Defiance Park, spanning 700 acres, is one of the largest urban parks in the country, featuring scenic trails, Owen Beach, Fort Nisqually, and the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Wright Park is a large, English-style park that features the Wright Park Arboretum and the W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. The park hosts several local festivals throughout the year, including Ethnic Fest, Out in the Park, and the Tacoma Hempfest. 

A number of colleges, including the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College, City University of Seattle-Tacoma, Corban University School of Ministry/Tacoma Campus, and satellite campuses of the University of Washington are located in Tacoma. 

Tacoma is home to a wide array of cultural attractions, such as the Museum of Glass, America’s Car Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Tacoma Arts Live, where the Tacoma Opera, the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, the Tacoma City Ballet, and others perform. Among the annual events and festivals in Tacoma are the Daffodil Parade and Shakespeare in the Parking Lot. Want a city near Tacoma Washington to reside in? Check out our full list below!

Largest Cities Near Tacoma WA

There are five cities within 25 miles of Tacoma, WA, that have a population of about 20,000 people or more. Each city offers outdoor activities, recreation, and interesting things to see and do. Here are the largest cities and towns near Tacoma WA, listed from largest to smallest.

Auburn, WA – 14 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 87,143
  • County – King

Auburn is located about 14 miles northeast of Tacoma and is a suburb of Seattle, situated along the White and Green Rivers. The Auburn Boeing Plant is the largest airplane parts plant in the world at 2,100,000 square feet, with 1.265 million parts being manufactured each year and with over 5,000 employees. The White River Valley Museum features Native American history up to the 1920s. The museum sits in Les Gove Park, a 20-acre park that includes an array of recreational services, including baseball, soccer, a playground, bocce courts, trails, a water spray playground, a parks administration building, a senior activity center, and a library. The city of Auburn maintains 28 parks, over 23 miles of trails, and nearly 247 acres of open space. This is one of the most affordable cities and towns near Tacoma WA.

Lakewood, WA – 11 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 63,619
  • County – Pierce

Lakewood is about 11 miles southwest of Tacoma and was incorporated in 1996. It’s the second-largest city in Pierce County. Lakewood’s economy depends heavily on several military bases in the area and is a diverse city with Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Latino, and other influences. Lakewood attractions include Fort Steilacoom Park, Lakewood Gardens, Lakewood Towne Center shopping mall, Lakewood Playhouse, the Thornewood estate, and Western State Hospital. Lakewood was named among the 100 Best Places for Young People by America’s Promise. If you want a city near Tacoma with lots of families, Lakewood is it.

Puyallup, WA – 11 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 43,009
  • County – Pierce

About 10 miles southeast of Tacoma is the city of Puyallup. The city gets its name from the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans, which means “the generous people.” Puyallup is home to the Washington State Fair, the biggest fair in the state of Washington and one of the ten largest state fairs in the country, and the acres of daffodils grown there. Puyallup landmarks include Ezra Meeker’s mansion, the historic downtown shopping district, and Pioneer Park, featuring a public library, a playground, and walking paths. Cultural attractions include the Paul H. Karshner Memorial Museum and the Arts Downtown outdoor gallery.  

University Place, WA – 6 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 34,954
  • County – Pierce

As the largest city close to Tacoma Washington, University Placed is filled with fun things to do. University Place is about 6 miles west of Tacoma, located along the Puget Sound. The city operates a number of parks that offer walking trails, wooded areas, ball fields, wildlife habitats, skate parks, soccer fields, lots of open space, and more.  The walking trails at Chambers Bay offer some of the most stunning views of the Puget Sound in the area.  University Place has one of the top golf courses in the country. The 2015 US Open was played there. 

Bonney Lake, WA – 16 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 22,798
  • County – Pierce

About 16 miles southeast of Tacoma is the city of Bonney Lake. Incorporated in 1949, the city includes 13 historical markers, one of which is the Naches Trail. Bonney Lake is an outdoor lover’s paradise, featuring excellent local parks, scenic hiking trails, and a host of water activities on Lake Tapps.

Sumner, WA – 13 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 10,665
  • County – Pierce

Sumner is a city about 12 miles southeast of Tacoma, founded in 1853 as Stuck Junction. The name was changed to Franklin until 1891, when it was renamed after abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner. Dillanos Coffee Roasters is headquartered in Sumner, as well as REI’s corporate offices and a large distribution center. Sumner hosts part of the annual four-part Daffodil Parade in April, along with Tacoma, Puyallup, and Orting.

Other Cities Close To Tacoma Washington

There are four cities within a 35 a mile radius of Tacoma with a population over 50,000:

Seattle – 34 miles from Tacoma 

  • Population – 749,256
  • County – King

Seattle is the most populous city in Washington and the Pacific Northwest and is home to many Fortune 500 companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, and Nordstrom. Seattle is home to a plethora of performing arts, museums, Galleries, festivals, and other events. Seattle has four major professional sports teams: the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, the MLB’s Seattle Mariners, the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, and the MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC. The University of Washington is located in Seattle.

Renton – 26 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 104,047
  • County – King

Renton is a city in the Seattle Metro Area and the home of major corporations  Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Capital, Providence Health & Services, and Wizards of the Coast. 

Olympia – 31 miles from Tacoma

  • Population – 55,669
  • County – Thurston

Olympia is the capital of Washington and a center for fine arts with the Animal Fire Theater, Olympia Family Theater, Olympia Little Theater, Theater Artists Olympia, and many more theatrical venues. 

Burien – 26 miles from Tacoma 


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  • Population – 50,806
  • County – King

Burien is a diverse community featuring 6 miles of shoreline along the Puget Sound. Burien is listed as the third most walkable city in Washington state and one of the top places to raise a family. The city offers a high quality of life and excellent public parks with trails, playgrounds, mature forests, and a beach.

Map of Cities Near Tacoma and Surrounding Area

Small Towns Near Tacoma, WA

There are seven small cities near Tacoma with populations of under 10,000 people within a 10-mile radius. Pierce County is the second-most populous county in Washington and home to Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range. These are local towns near Tacoma that are a little smaller. Here are the small towns near Tacoma.

Cities Near Tacoma (less than 10,000 population)

County Population (2020) Distance from Tacoma
Summit Pierce 8,897 10 miles
Milton Pierce 8,706 8 miles
Waller Pierce 7,672 8 miles
Fircrest Pierce 7,184 4 miles
Fife Heights Pierce 1,919 8 miles
Brown’s Point Pierce 1,069 10 miles
Rustin Pierce 1,057 5 miles

Major Cities Near Tacoma Washington

Tacoma is the largest city in Pierce County, WA, which is the second most populous county in the state. Pierce County is bordered by King county, the most populated county in Washington and where Seattle, the nearest city to Tacoma Washington, is located. Because of its proximity to King County, Tacoma is a great location for day trips to many other cities in both Pierce and King County. You could plan a weekend getaway to one of these major cities while in Tacoma. Seattle is only about a 40-minute drive away, but you can also visit other interesting cities, such as Vancouver, BC, which is about a 3-hour and 40-minute drive from Tacoma. Here are the major cities close to Tacoma WA:

Major Cities Near Tacoma, WA

Population Distance from Tacoma
Seattle, WA 749,256 34 miles
Bellevue, WA 151,839 37 miles
Everett, WA 110,930 62 miles
Victoria, BC, Canada 386,000 92 miles
Surrey, BC, Canada 580,040 129 miles
Vancouver, WA 191,071 134 miles
Portland, OR 652,388 144 miles
Vancouver BC, Canada 2,581,000 176 miles
Spokane, WA 228,850 292 miles
Boise ID 235,829 386 miles
Calgary, AL, Canada 456,062 472 miles

Tacoma, WA Area Cities FAQs

What Are the Closest Cities To Tacoma, WA?

The closest city to Tacoma, WA is Fircreast, four miles away. Rustin, WA, Milton, Waller, and Fife Heights, are all about 5-8 miles away.  

What Major Cities Are Near Tacoma, WA?

Seattle is the closest major city to Tacoma, about 34 miles away. Bellevue, WA is 37 miles away, and Everett, WA is 62 miles from Tacoma. 

What Cities (Or Towns) Are One Hour From Tacoma, WA?

Chehalis, WA, Edmonds, WA, Lynnwood, WA, Centralia, WA, Shelton, WA, and Everett, WA are all about one hour from Tacoma. 

What Cities (Or Towns) Are 30 Minutes From Tacoma, WA?

Tukwila, WA, Bethel, WA, Normandy Park, WA, Ketron, WA, Meridian Heights, WA, South Hill, WA, Lacey, WA, Renton, WA, SeaTac, WA, and Burien, WA are all about 30 minutes away from Tacoma.

There are a lot of great cities close to Tacoma, and if you’re relocating to one of them, make sure to call our 5-star Tacoma Movers at All Ready Moving! Give us a call at 360-507-2447 for a free quote today!

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