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Living in Tacoma WA

Is Living in Tacoma Washington Right for You? | 🌟 COMPLETE Moving to Tacoma Guide

Last Updated on: 18th May 2024, 11:00 am

Considering living in Tacoma Washington? You’re in for a treat! Situated in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Tacoma is known for its vibrant culture, abundant natural beauty, and friendly residents. From its gorgeous waterfront views to its diverse neighborhoods, Tacoma is a good place to live for families of all sizes and people of all ages. Let’s dive into what makes moving to Tacoma a fantastic choice for anyone looking to embrace the Pacific Northwest lifestyle.

Where Is Tacoma?

 

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Where is Tacoma WA? Tacoma is in Pierce County and is the county seat of the area. Tacoma is a port city and is situated along Washington’s Puget Sound, providing residents living in Tacoma Washington with plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities. Additionally, the city is only 58 miles northwest of Mount Rainier National Park, which offers some of the best hiking opportunities in the country. Additionally, because Tacoma is so close to Mount Rainier, most of the Tacoma area can enjoy gorgeous mountain views.

When living in Tacoma Washington, you will have plenty of opportunities for quick day and weekend trips to nearby cities. Tacoma is just 30.6 miles from Olympia, 33.8 miles from Seattle, and 36.5 miles from Bellevue.

Tacoma Information

  • Tacoma county: Pierce County
  • Tacoma area: 62.42 square miles
  • Tacoma zip code: 98401-98499
  • Tacoma area code: 253
  • Tacoma elevation: 249 feet
  • Tacoma time zone: Pacific Standard Time (PST), UTC-8
  • Closest airport to Tacoma: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), 24.8 miles away

Tacoma Population & Demographics

 

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The Tacoma Washington population is 219,346, which is a 10.5% increase over the past decade. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third-most populous in the state. The city is also a part of the South Sound region, which has a population of around 1 million. Additionally, Tacoma is a part of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA metropolitan area, which has a population of 4.01 million.

This Pierce County city is very diverse, with a racial and ethnic composition of 61.3% White (57.2% non-Hispanic), 12.8% two or more races, 10.6% Black or African American, 8.7% Asian, 1.7% American Indian, and 1.1% Native Hawaiian.

Tacoma is a very young city, and the most populous age group of residents living in Tacoma Washington is 30-39 (19% of the population). The average household size in Tacoma, WA is 2.4, which is less than both the state average and metro average.

Additional Tacoma Demographics:

  • Sex ratio: 50% female, 50% male
  • Median age: 37
  • Median household income: $79,085 (compared to the Washington average of $90,325)
  • Educational attainment: 90.9% high school degree (or higher), 32.8% bachelor’s degree (or higher)
  • Foreign-born population: 12.1%
  • Notable people from Tacoma: singer Bing Crosby, comedian Jo Koy, NFL player Zach Banner

Transportation

When living in Tacoma Washington, you’ll have several options for transportation. It is helpful to have a car after moving to Tacoma, as the city has several efficient highways. Interstate 5 links Tacoma with Seattle to the north and Portland, Oregon, to the south. State Route 16, which runs through the city, connects Interstate 5 with Central Tacoma and West Tacoma. The average commute for Tacoma residents is 26.6 minutes.

There are also a few public transportation options that you can utilize when living in Tacoma Washington. Tacoma’s public transit network includes buses, commuter rail, light rail, and ferries. The bus service is provided by Pierce Transit, which serves all of Tacoma and most of Pierce County. Sound Transit operates the light rail system that connects Tacoma to Seattle. Sound Transit’s T Line also connects Tacoma Dome Station to Downtown Tacoma, the University of Washington campus, and the Hilltop neighborhood.

Is Tacoma a walkable city? When living in Tacoma Washington, it is difficult to rely solely on walking. Most of the neighborhoods are walkable on their own, but you’ll need a vehicle to get from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Tacoma Washington Cost of Living

 

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How much does it cost to live in Tacoma Washington? The cost of living in Tacoma is best measured by taking a look at the Cost of Living Index, or COLI. The Tacoma Cost of Living Index is 122.7, meaning that the Puget Sound city is 22.7% more expensive than the national average of 100. Although living in Tacoma Washington is slightly expensive, it is still more affordable than nearby cities like Seattle. When comparing Seattle vs. Tacoma, Tacoma is 35.4% more affordable.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four living in Tacoma Washington would need to earn $106,961 per year ($8,913 per month) to live comfortably in the city. Of course, this number will change drastically if you don’t have children. For a family of two with no children, you’ll need to earn around $64,823. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a family of four with two working adults would need to earn $34.10 per hour to live in Tacoma without falling below the poverty line.

Typical Tacoma Living Expenses

  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $15.00
  • Cappuccino: $4.88
  • Gallon of milk: $4.27
  • Gallon of gas: $4.59
  • Fitness membership (monthly): $93.33
  • Movie ticket: $14.00
  • Average cost of utilities in Tacoma WA per month: $236.71

Source: Numbeo

After moving to Tacoma, you will be responsible for paying taxes. Luckily, Washington is one of the few states that have no income tax, so you won’t need to worry about this when living in Tacoma WA. However, Washington does have the fourth-highest sales tax rate in the country. When living in Tacoma Washington, you can expect a sales tax rate of 10.200%.

When it comes to Pierce County property taxes, you can expect your property taxes to be determined by the Pierce County Assessor/Treasurer. Pierce County follows the millage rate, meaning that they charge $1.00 of tax per $1,000 of the true and fair market value of your home.

Before moving to Tacoma, WA, you’ll want to consider the state of the rental and housing market. Tacoma real estate is one of the most significant expenses you’ll face when moving to the area.

Tacoma Real Estate | Average Rent & Home Prices

Are you interested in purchasing Tacoma Washington real estate? According to Redfin, the average home price in Tacoma Washington is $475,000. Home prices in Tacoma are up 3.3% compared to last year, and homes sit on the market for an average of 10 days. Although homes don’t stay on the market for long, the median home price in Tacoma is only slightly above the national average of $420,000.

When living in Tacoma Washington, you’ll have several property options to choose from. If you are living closer to Downtown Tacoma, then you’ll encounter smaller houses and condos. If you head to the outskirts of the city, you’ll find larger, more affordable housing options.

Would you rather rent in Tacoma WA? According to RentCafe, the average rent in Tacoma WA is $1,638. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods to rent in Tacoma include North East Tacoma ($2,105), North End Tacoma ($1,961), and West End Tacoma ($1,815). A few of the most affordable neighborhoods are South Tacoma ($1,604), Eastside Tacoma ($1,396), and Central Tacoma ($1,390). According to the 2022 Rental Affordability Report, it is more affordable to rent than to buy a home in Tacoma.

Neighborhoods in Tacoma | Where to Live in Tacoma

Before moving to Tacoma Washington, you’ll want to find a great neighborhood to fit your lifestyle. Luckily, there is a wide range of neighborhoods in Tacoma to choose from. Whether you’re drawn to the hustle and bustle of the Downtown area or want to enjoy easy access to the Pacific Ocean, there is a Tacoma neighborhood for you. These are just a few of the best Tacoma neighborhoods.

New Tacoma (Downtown) | One of the Best Places to Live in Tacoma for Young Professionals

Situated in the inner Northeast section of the city, New Tacoma is the central business district of the city. This is one of the best areas to live in Tacoma for young professionals, as it is close to many of the city’s top employers. New Tacoma is lively, with several food trucks, bars, and nightclubs in the neighborhood. In this area, you will be within walking distance of some of the top attractions in Pierce County, like Wright Park and the Tacoma Art Museum. Additionally, you’ll be close to the Stadium District, which offers some of the city’s best apartment living options at places like The Stadium Apartments and One Stadium Way. The average rent in this area is $1,637 per month.

Browns Point | Perfect for Nature Lovers

If you want to be outside of the hustle and bustle of the city, then check out Browns Point. When living in Browns Point, you can enjoy outdoor activities at places like Browns Point Lighthouse Park and Dash Point Beach. Browns Point is a very affluent area, with a median home price of $848,000, according to Redfin. Although the homes in this area are expensive, most of them are very large and come with stunning waterfront views.

New Slope Historic District | Gorgeous Neighborhood Close to Downtown

The New Slope Historic District is situated in the North End of Tacoma. It is just a few miles away from Downtown, so you can easily head into town by walking or taking public transit. This neighborhood consists of 909 historic homes that were built between 1880 and 1953. When living in this cozy neighborhood, you can enjoy walkable streets lined with family-owned shops and restaurants.

West End | One of the Safest Neighborhoods in Tacoma WA

West End is one of the most popular Tacoma neighborhoods among families. This Tacoma neighborhood is home to some of the best public and private schools in the area, as well as the popular Tacoma Community College. You’ll find plenty of natural attractions in this area such as Point Defiance Park, Owen Beach, and War Memorial Park. West End is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Tacoma, with a crime rate that is 46.6% lower than the Tacoma average. According to Redfin, the median home price in this neighborhood is $580,000.

Tacoma WA Weather & Climate

 

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When living in Tacoma Washington, you will experience a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, per the Köppen Classification. This means that the city experiences dry summers and wet winters. The hottest month of the year is August, with an average high Tacoma temperature of 77ºF and a low of 56ºF. The coldest month is December, with an average low of 37ºF and a high of 46ºF. Tacoma experiences about 141 sunny days per year.

Does it snow in Tacoma? You likely won’t need to pack a snow shovel when moving to Tacoma, as the average annual snowfall is only about 7 inches. However, a rain jacket may be necessary, as the average annual rainfall in Tacoma is 41 inches.

Tacoma Restaurants

When living in Tacoma Washington, you’ll never run out of new restaurants to try. Tacoma is known for its diverse culinary scene, featuring Pacific Northwest specialties like fresh seafood, game meats, and wild mushrooms. These are a few of the best restaurants in Tacoma WA.

Things to Do in Tacoma

Aren’t sure what to do in Tacoma? Luckily, there is no shortage of fun things to do when living in Tacoma Washington. From world-class museums, to beautiful parks, to fun picnic areas, Tacoma has it all. Here are just a few of the best things to do in Tacoma.

Top Tacoma Attractions

  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Tacoma with kids. The zoo features over 300 species and is open every day of the week.
  • Foss Waterway Seaport: This historic seaport contains a museum where you can learn about maritime history in Tacoma.
  • W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory: Calling all plant lovers! The W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory is home to over 500 different plant species.
  • Titlow Park: This 75-acre park includes a beach, a splash area, playgrounds, trails, tennis courts, and more.
  • Tacoma Narrows Bridge: This iconic suspension bridge runs across Puget Sound, linking Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula.
  • Stairs and Slides: Located in West Tacoma, Stairs and Slides is exactly what it seems to be. Spend the day climbing up the stairs to enjoy a view of the waterfront before sliding back down to the bottom.
  • Debbie Dolittle’s Petting Zoo: For just $13 per person, you can explore this indoor petting zoo, featuring hands-on animal encounters as well as camel and pony rides.

Tacoma Entertainment & Arts

  • Chihuly Bridge of Glass: This pedestrian bridge is decorated with sparkling glass installations. Additionally, the area is home to the Museum of Glass.
  • Tacoma Nature Center: The Tacoma Nature Center is a 71-acre area full of scenic hiking trails around wetlands and forests.
  • Tacoma Dome: This multi-purpose arena is a popular spot for concerts, basketball tournaments, and other community events.
  • Pentages Theater: Built in 1915, this cozy performing arts center hosts musicals, live music, and comedy shows.

 

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Tacoma Museums

  • Tacoma Art Museum: The Tacoma Art Museum features art collections from many different centuries. Stop by on Thursdays from 5 PM to 8 PM for free admission!
  • Museum of Glass: This museum features both indoor and outdoor glass art exhibits for visitors to enjoy.
  • Children’s Museum of Tacoma: The Children’s Museum of Tacoma features several hands-on exhibits for children of all ages.
  • Washington State History Museum: Learn more about the history of The Evergreen State at the Washington State History Museum.

Tacoma Parks & Outdoors

  • Rose Garden: The Rose Garden is located in Point Defiance Park and is one of the best things to do when living in Tacoma Washington. Explore the thousands of roses that reach their peak in the summertime.
  • Wright Park: Wright Park is easily one of the best things to do in Pierce County. The park features a walking trail, playgrounds, sports, courts, and picnic areas.
  • Thea’s Park: If you are searching for outdoor activities in Tacoma, then look no further than Thea’s Park. Head over to this park to take a nice leisurely stroll along the waterfront.
  • McKinley Park: McKinley Park features 26 acres of walking and running trails, two playgrounds, a pond, and a dog park.

Shopping in Tacoma

  • Tacoma Mall: This trendy mall features dozens of different retail stores.
  • Highland Hill Shopping Center: Located near Tacoma Community College, Highland Hill Shopping Center is an airy outdoor shopping center with several stores and restaurants.
  • Tacoma Central: Tacoma Central is complete with popular stores like TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, and Target.

Map of Things to Do in Tacoma Washington

Sports

After moving to Tacoma, you’ll have several options when it comes to attending sporting events. The Tacoma Dome has hosted home games for the National Basketball Association’s Seattle SuperSonics as well as the American Professional Soccer League’s Seattle Sounders. Additionally, Cheney Stadium is home to the Tacoma Rainiers, which is a AAA minor league baseball team.

Although there aren’t many professional sports teams in Tacoma, the nearby city of Seattle is home to several organizations. The Seattle Kraken (NHL), The Seattle Mariners (MLB), The Seattle Seahawks (NFL), and The Seattle Sounders (MLS), all play in Seattle. So, some of the best teams in the country are less than 35 miles away from residents living in Tacoma Washington.

 

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Tacoma Crime Rate

Is living in Tacoma Washington safe? Let’s take a look at the Tacoma crime rates.

  • Overall crime rate: 6,351 crimes per 100,000 people (109.9% higher than the state average and 170.7% higher than the national average)
  • Violent crime rate: 843 crimes per 100,000 people (187.0% higher than the state average and 117.4% higher than the national average)
  • Property crime rate: 5,507 crimes per 100,000 people (101.5% higher than the state average and 181.2% higher than the national average)

As you can see, the crime rates in Tacoma are above the state and national crime rates. Although crime is on the higher end, Tacoma is still a safe place to live. In April 2024, it was reported by Fox 13 that homicide rates are down 40% over the past year, violent crime is down 17.3%, and overall crime is down 23.6%. Additionally, property crime rates have declined 24.6% over the past year.

Most of the crime in Tacoma is concentrated in just a few small areas where gang and nightlife activity is higher. There are several safe neighborhoods in Tacoma, such as the West End (46.6% lower than Tacoma average) and Browns Point (180.3% lower than Tacoma average).

When living in Tacoma Washington, you will be protected by the Tacoma Police Department, which has 341 officers on the force.

Economy & Jobs in Tacoma WA

There are plenty of job opportunities to consider after moving to Tacoma WA. According to Make It Tacoma, a few of the most popular industries in Tacoma include maritime, technology, art, healthcare, and aerospace. Tacoma is also home to several international companies, including Simpson, Roman Meal, and Brown and Haley.

A few of the top employers in Tacoma WA include:

  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord: 54,000 employees
  • MultiCare Health System: 8,264 employees
  • State of Washington: 7,859 employees
  • Pierce County: 3,304 employees
  • Bethel School District: 2,689 employees

According to PayScale, the average salary in Tacoma WA is $73,000. If you are on the hunt for Tacoma jobs, then check out the city job board or search for “jobs in Tacoma” on Indeed.

Healthcare

 

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When living in Tacoma Washington, you will have access to some of the best medical facilities in the country. Hospitals in Tacoma are operated by MultiCare Health System and Franciscan Health System. Some of the top hospitals in Tacoma include:

MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital is the largest hospital in Tacoma and has the second-largest obstetrical care center in the entire state of Washington.

Tacoma Schools

Most students living in Tacoma Washington are served by Tacoma Public Schools. This Tacoma school district contains 36 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, and 10 high schools. Henry Foss High School, which is located in Central Tacoma, was the first high school in Washington to offer the International Baccalaureate program. Additionally, the top-rated Sheridan Elementary School has a K-5 dual language Spanish immersion program, serving between 130-150 multilingual students.

There are also several private schools in Tacoma WA, such as Evergreen Lutheran High School, Bellarmine Preparatory School, and Charles Wright Academy.

Additionally, students living in Tacoma Washington have plenty of options for higher education. Some of the city’s top higher-learning institutions include:

After moving to Tacoma, you can check out the Tacoma Public Library system.

Tacoma Public Utilities & DMV Change of Address

Before moving to Tacoma, WA, you may need to transfer your utilities over to your new home. Tacoma utilities are very straightforward once you know who to contact. These are the main providers for Tacoma and the rest of Pierce County.

If you need to change your address or get a Washington driver’s license, then there are a few important steps you should take. To change your address you will want to fill out the online form on the Pierce County website. To get your new license, you can skip the line and apply on the Washington State Department of Licensing’s website.

Living in Tacoma Washington has never been better! With a stable job market, top-rated public and private schools, and gorgeous parks, Tacoma offers something for everyone. If you are ready to get started moving to Tacoma, then get in touch with our reliable Tacoma movers. The experts at All Ready Moving will help you quickly and efficiently move into your new home. Give our friendly team a call today at 360-507-2447 to get started.

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