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South Tacoma Washington Guide 🏬 | What It’s Like Living in South Tacoma

Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 11:41 am

Nestled just south of Central Tacoma, the South Tacoma neighborhood offers a unique blend of urban convenience and community. From its tree-lined streets and historic homes to its diverse range of local businesses and industries, South Tacoma has something to offer for a wide variety of residents! Whether you’re a food lover looking to explore the area’s culinary scene or an outdoor enthusiast seeking to explore nearby parks and green spaces, this neighborhood is packed with all sorts of lovely opportunities. Living in South Tacoma will be one of the best choices you ever make!


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Where is South Tacoma?

South Tacoma is located in the southern portion of Tacoma’s urban sprawl (imagine that!), nestled in the very center of Tacoma’s urban heart. It is bordered by the South End neighborhood to the east, and the Central neighborhood to the north. Being in the southern end of Tacoma, it is just south of Tacoma’s downtown, and has portions of the downtown within its limits. The distance from South Tacoma to the city center of Tacoma is 6 miles. South Tacoma is located within the zip code 98409.

The primary road running through South Tacoma is Interstate 5, which acts as the border for the neighborhood both to the north and east, with the west and south being outside Tacoma city limits. Public transportation is provided by Sound Transit and the Tacoma Link, with the urban location of the neighborhood providing many options for commute. You’ll have a wide variety of options for commuting around South Tacoma, Tacoma.

Map of South Tacoma, Tacoma, Washington

South Tacoma, Tacoma History & Overview

South Tacoma is more akin to a district of Tacoma than a neighborhood in and of itself, containing many communities that have a generally shared character in the industrial regions of the city.

Initially occupied by the Puyallup people who lived in small settlements along the delta of the Puget Sound, the first European settlers would build a water-powered mill in the area in the mid-1800s, but would abandon it during a vicious series of wars with natives. A Civil War veteran by the name of Job Carr would be the official founder of the city, taking the name from an indigenous word for the nearby Mount Rainier.

South Tacoma specifically would come into its own during the early 20th century, when the need for more and more advanced industrial goods took Tacoma by storm, and it became the center of production of all sorts of things in the city. Everything from automobiles to toys was produced here, and the area also became a big zone for automobile racing, still in its infancy at the time.

The Great Depression and WW2 were not kind on South Tacoma, however. Throughout the mid-20th century, Tacoma’s downtown fell into a major slump, with the area being described as looking “bombed out” by the ‘70s. However, a wave of revitalization hit the entire city in the ‘90s with the tech boom of the area, and smart governance led to South Tacoma being revitalized as an area perfect for young professionals and booming with business, attractions, and restaurants.

The population of the South Tacoma neighborhood is around 20,000. Residents of South Tacoma have a median household income of $54,633, and 19% have bachelor’s degrees or higher, making this community average in general for Washington. The median age of the population is 37.1, again just around the average for Tacoma, and ethnically speaking is very diverse, with Whites making up 45% of the population, and Blacks taking second place at around 16%.

Many famous and notable people come from South Tacoma, including world-famous singer and actor Bing Crosby.

What’s it Like Living in South Tacoma?

With diversity, attractions, and more, it’s no wonder that many of Tacoma’s residents choose to live here. The neighborhood is home to a diverse population, with many different cultures represented. The residents of South Tacoma come from all walks of life, which creates a vibrant and welcoming community. It is not uncommon to see people from different ethnic backgrounds interacting with one another, which makes the neighborhood an excellent place to experience cultural diversity.

Things to Do in South Tacoma – Best Restaurants, Attractions, and Shopping

South Tacoma is filled with all sorts of excellent places to eat, places to shop, and things to do! Thanks to its position in the heart of downtown Tacoma, you’ll be able to find any attraction, restaurant, or shopping establishment you desire within walking or a short drive’s distance. See just a few of those options below!

Want to know where all the best shopping is in the South Tacoma South Tacoma neighborhood? South Tacoma is home to several shopping centers and plazas, making it a great destination for shoppers. The Tacoma Mall is one of the largest malls in the area and is located in the northern part of the neighborhood. It features more than 150 stores, including popular retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney, and H&M. Other shopping centers in the area include the Tacoma Central Shopping Center.

Looking for things to do in South Tacoma? LeMay-America’s Car Museum is located on East D Street, showcasing over 300 vintage and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles. The museum offers interactive exhibits, educational programming, and special events throughout the year. If you’re not so much of a car person, the 90-acre Wapato Park features a picturesque lake, walking trails, and a historic pagoda. The park also has a playground, picnic areas, and a dog park, making it a popular destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Want to know about the best South Tacoma restaurants in South Tacoma? MSM Deli is a popular deli on South Tacoma Way known for its fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and soups. The menu features a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten-free bread and other allergy-friendly choices. If you’d prefer something a little more exotic, the Mandolin Sushi & Steakhouse Japanese restaurant on South Tacoma Way serves sushi, sashimi, and a variety of cooked dishes, including teriyaki, tempura, and hibachi-style grilled meats and vegetables.

See the Tacoma parks & recreation department for more South Tacoma attractions.


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South Tacoma Schools

Tacoma’s South Tacoma neighborhood is served by the Tacoma Public Schools district, which provides education to students in grades K-12. The district is the third-largest in the state of Washington and serves over 30,000 students. Excellent choices for public schools in and around the neighborhood include the Giaudrone Middle School, known for its excellent academic performance, and Mount Tahoma High School. Students and readers in South Tacoma are served by the South Tacoma branch of the Tacoma Public Library.

Is South Tacoma Safe?

Wondering if South Tacoma is a safe neighborhood to live in? South Tacoma has a bad reputation when it comes to crime, but things are rapidly improving for this neighborhood! Crime rates today are still high, with the crime rate being as many as three times as high as the average for US cities. For the most part, this is concentrated in property crime. While this is not great, many new initiatives are targeting South Tacoma’s crime problem, being tackled by both the local police and local community leaders – so things are looking up for this neighborhood!

South Tacoma is served by the Tacoma Police Department, with approximately 300 sworn officers.

South Tacoma Real Estate

Being one of the primary draws of this neighborhood, it should be no surprise that housing in the area is affordable. Prospective home buyers in South Tacoma won’t need to empty their wallets to get a home in this Tacoma neighborhood. According to Redfin, the average South Tacoma, Tacoma home price is $396,250, primarily consisting of compact, urban properties. This price is lower than the South Tacoma average of $435,700. The median days on the market for real estate is 28 days, while the number of homes sold annually is 56, making South Tacoma a relatively competitive neighborhood to buy in.

Renting apartments in South Tacoma will have you paying a typical monthly rent of $1,653 for a 824 sq. ft. apartment, according to RentCafe. These figures may be shooting high, as these are prices for all of Tacoma – keeping with South Tacoma’s general trend of being affordable, you can expect apartments here to cost significantly less than those in Tacoma at large.


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If you’re interested in looking at listings for South Tacoma’s homes, take a look at some South Tacoma, Tacoma, WA real estate options here.

Planning on living in South Tacoma, Tacoma? Don’t delay, call All Ready Moving today at 360-507-2447! Our team of highly-trained and experienced movers in South Tacoma are guaranteed to make your relocation a simple and easy affair. Call now or fill out our online form for a free quote.

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