The small Tacoma suburb of Lakewood, WA hasn’t been around long. If it were a person, the city would have passed the milestone of becoming a teenager this year. But even though it’s new, the young city has quickly established itself as one of the most beautiful and enjoyable places to live around Puget Sound.
With gorgeous surroundings, easy access to the bigger city, and some great places to live, it’s no surprise why so many people are moving to Lakewood. The area is also home to some great people and a lot of fun things to do.
To help you know what to expect from living in Lakewood, we’ve put together this definitive guide that includes all the details you’ll need. Take a look!
1. New and Growing Population of Lakewood
As a fairly new city that was just incorporated in February of 1996, the Lakewood population is currently around 59,500. The area has seen slow but consistent growth since the 1970s making it the second-largest city in Pierce County, with only the city of Tacoma ahead. Lakewood’s median age is 36 years old, providing a decent balance for both young families up to retirees looking for a quiet town.
As of June 2019, Lakewood won a Smart Community Award for their community development plan which has taken place over the past couple of years. People living in Lakewood enjoy an economy that is steadily on the rise, as well as many local parks and other convenient amenities.
If you are thinking of buying or selling in the Lakewood area we highly recommend contacting Better Properties Real Estate.
2. The Lakes of Lakewood
A place called Lakewood must have a lake, right? Actually, it has ten spanning the area which covers less than 20 square miles. And while some are man-made, others stand as remnants of the Puget Sound.
Many of the lakes offer fun outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, scenic nature views, and much more. The list of local lakes includes:
- American Lake
- Gravelly Lake
- Carp Lake
- Steilacoom Lake
- Wards Lake
- Waughop Lake
- Hidden Lake
- Lost Lake
- Boyles Lake
- Lake Louise
The area also has a number of small creeks that make their way through the town connecting a handful of these lakes to one another.
3. Things to Do and Restaurants in Lakewood
If you’re ever on the hunt for things to do in Lakewood, a day at Fort Steilacoom Park is just what the doctor ordered. As the city’s largest park, you’ll find over 340 acres of baseball fields, soccer fields, hiking trails, a dog park, a large playground, rentable pavilions, and more.
Another popular attraction in town is the Lakewold Gardens. And while you might think that is a typo, Lakewold is a Middle English term meaning “lake-woods”, which fits the area perfectly. The beautiful estate garden can be found in the Lakes District community and features incredible views of well-manicured horticulture all year round.
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Fort Steilacoom Park, 8714 87th Ave SW, Lakewood, WA 98498
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Lakewold Gardens, 12317 Gravelly Lake Dr SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
Once it’s time to grab a bite to eat, you’re sure to find some great restaurants in Lakewood as well. Even though the outside makes it look like a humble establishment, inside Cham Garden you’ll find some of the best tabletop Korean BBQ you’ve ever had. And if you ever want to feel like you’ve suddenly been transported to the U.K., head over to Bruno’s European Restaurant for some schnitzel, goulash, and other yummy dishes.
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Cham Garden Korean BBQ, 5400, 10518 S Tacoma Way, Lakewood, WA 98499
Bruno’s European Restaurant, 10902 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
4. Great Neighborhoods in Lakewood
You’ll find a variety of great Lakewood neighborhoods nestled between the lakes and local parks. Some of the area’s top communities include Oakbrook, which is along the northern border right by the Oakbrook Golf Course, as well as Idlewild around the Interlaken area. Other neighborhoods include Carter Lake, Custer, Dower, Lake City, Lake Louise, Lakeview, Oakwood, Park Lodge, South End, Southgate, Tillicum, and Tyee Park.
Lakewood sits along the northwestern side of Pierce County and covers the zip codes of 98433, 98439, 98444, 98498, and 98499. For those who are moving to Lakewood and planning to change their phone number, the city’s main area code is 253.
5. Cost of Living in Lakewood
The overall cost of living in Lakewood is lower than averages for the state of Washington, making it one of the more affordable options around. Residents of Lakewood enjoy an average savings of around 20% on healthcare compared to national numbers. Though groceries are generally priced in the same range of averages you’ll find around other parts of the country with things like a gallon of milk for $3, a loaf of bread for $2.25, and a dozen eggs for about $2.80.
And while local utility costs are up to 30% less expensive than the national average, the area’s housing costs tend to even things up a bit. The average price of a home in Lakewood is currently $320,800, which is an increase of about 7% from this time last year. The amount is expected to go up another 4% in the next 12 months.
Planning to rent instead? Average rent prices in Lakewood are between $1,365 per month for a one bedroom and an average of $2,155 per month for a four or five bedroom location.
6. Solid Educational Options
Are you planning on moving to Lakewood with your kids? As part of the Clover Park School District, there are a handful of options for both elementary and high school. Lakewood schools include Dower Elementary, Lake Louise Elementary, Hudtloff Middle School and Woodbrook Middle School, as well as the city’s top high schools like Harrison Preparatory School, Lakes High, Clover Park High.
The only secondary education that can be found in Lakewood is at the Central Washington University Pierce County campus.
7. Job Opportunities in Lakewood
There are some great chances for employment on nearly every corner of town. Lakewood jobs can be found at the Clover Park School District mentioned above, which has nearly 1,000 teachers, administrators, and support staff on their payroll.
The McChord Air Force Base along the southeast border of town has more than 50,000 military employees that commute from nearby cities including Lakewood. And the city is also part of the MultiCare Health System including the MultiCare Lakewood Clinic and Urgent Care which offer numerous healthcare job opportunities.
8. Standard Washington Weather in Lakewood
Most parts of the state are known for getting a fair amount of rain over the course of the year. Lakewood weather is no exception, getting more than 40 inches of rain, as well as about 5 inches of snow annually. Local temperatures vary between 50°F-80°F during the summertime and between the low 30s to mid-40s in the winter.
Tips for Moving to Lakewood, WA
- It’s a great place for military families
- Expect house prices above the U.S. average but below the Washington average
- Visit the local parks for a nice day out
- Make sure to check out all ten of the lakes
- Keep an umbrella handy for the occasional rainstorm
Now that you know what to expect from relocating to Lakewood, are you ready to make the switch? Our professional team can help with the upcoming relocation and handle the entire process. All Ready Moving has been serving the area for more than 16 years, giving us the industry know-how and experience necessary to take care of you each step of the way.
Get in touch with us today by calling (360) 507-2447 or fill out the Request a Quote form at the top of this page to get a free moving estimate from our crew!