A far less expensive city than Seattle, Tacoma, Washington has become an attractive place for young creatives, musicians, writers, artists, and entrepreneurs. There’s something about the affordable city life with serene backdrops like Mount Rainier that make this town the ideal place for dreams to come true, families to grow, and businesses to expand.
Just 45 minutes outside of Seattle, Tacoma offers a lot to its residents, tourists, businesses, and visitors. The city has a host of museums, art galleries, performing arts centers, and top-notch restaurants for your enjoyment. If you decide to move to this town, there’s no doubt that finding things to do and staying entertained won’t be much of an issue.
What are the advantages to relocating to Tacoma? What are the disadvantages? These are all questions that Puget Sound Moving & Storage wants to help you find answers to. One of the first and most important steps in planning a move is deciding which location will best accommodate your needs, wants, and interests.
Researching a location can be time-consuming so we figured we’d give you a head-start by gathering a wealth of information on Tacoma, Washington. Read below for tips, pros, cons, statistics, and even some of our top choices for fun and entertainment in the city.
Chapter 1: Things to Know
Chapter 2: Local Utilities
Chapter 3: Useful Phone Numbers
Chapter 4: Cost of Living
Chapter 5: What’s The Weather Like?
Chapter 6: How’s The Food?
Chapter 7: What Are The Locals Like?
Chapter 8: Getting Around – Transportation
Chapter 9: Colleges & Education
Chapter 10: Local Job Market
Chapter 11: Best Places to Live
Chapter 12: Family Fun
Chapter 13: Parks & Landmarks
Chapter 14: Nightlife
Chapter 15: Things to Do
Chapter 16: Additional Reading
Things to Know
A bit more affordable and a lot less congested, Tacoma, Washington has a population of more than 200,000. Filled with aesthetically appealing neighborhoods, many are drawn to Tacoma for its competitively priced homes and gorgeous mountain views. Home to many well-known colleges and universities, Tacoma is a great place for young adults looking to make their own mark in the world. World renowned museums, some of the best concert venues, and its proximity to the Seattle-Tacoma airport make it a hot tourist spot for millions each year.
Here are five cool things to know about Tacoma, WA:
- It was nicknamed America’s #1 Wired City.
- Their food truck market is increasing.
- Residents can own up to 6 chickens.
- The average commute time is 25 minutes.
- Tacoma is named after a large volcano.
Check out the links below for more essential information about Tacoma:
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TACOMA
- The truth about Tacoma: 5 things you might not know
- 19 Things to Know About Living in Tacoma
- Quora: What is it like to live in Tacoma, WA?
- Living in Tacoma, WA [Video]
- City-Data.com: Tacoma, Washington
- Tacoma crime rates and statistics
- Tacoma — Thumbnail History
- District Map
- Quality of Life Indexes
At least two weeks before moving into your Tacoma home, start contacting the companies below to set up your utility services. According to Numbeo.com, you’re looking at an average of $160 per month for a 915-sq. ft. property. Here’s what you need to know about local utilities in Tacoma:
- Gas, Electric, and Water services are all provided by Tacoma Public Utilities
- For residents starting a new service, they will be billed a startup fee on their first bill.
- There are deposits required for residential properties for gas and electric services. This ranges from $75 – $200.
- You can set up an account online to pay for your initial deposit and monitor your monthly bills.
For more information on utility services in Tacoma, Washington, click on the following links:
LOCAL UTILITIES IN TACOMA
Useful Phone Numbers & Websites in Tacoma
When you’re the new guy in town, it’s important to have a general idea of who to call for whatever reason. You never know when you might need to reach out to an agency for assistance in your Tacoma neighborhood.
- Tacoma City Hall – (253) 591-5000
- Tacoma City Police – non-emergency (253) 798-4721
- Tacoma Fire Department – non-emergency (253) 591-5737
- Emergency Management – (253) 594-7980
- Tacoma Recovery & Transfer Center – (garbage, recycling, and waste) – (253) 502-2100
- Senior Services – Beacon Activity Center – (253) 591-5083
Don’t see the number you’re looking for listed above? We have a few more links to emergency and non-emergency contacts that you might need as you get settled in Tacoma.
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS & WEBSITES IN TACOMA
- City of Tacoma
- Pierce County
- Access Washington
- Emergency Services in Tacoma
- Police – City of Tacoma
- The News Tribune
- Tacoma News
Cost of Living
One of the first things you want to know about a city when deciding to relocate is how much it’s going to cost. Naturally, it’s ideal to live in a town where you can pay the bills and have something left over for your enjoyment. How does Tacoma stack up on the cost of living index? Here are a few figures to give you an idea:
- The average list price of homes in Tacoma is $219,950.
- On average, a household can spend $128 a month in electricity.
- An average water bill is $32 per month.
- Curbside garbage pickup is an average of $20-$100.
- Healthcare averages about $3600 per year.
- The average cost of gas is $2.63 per gallon.
- Tacoma’s cost of living index is 5 points less than Washington and but 10 points higher than the US.
Can you afford to move to Tacoma? Will it cause you financial hardship? See how costs in Tacoma stack up to other cities in Washington by reading some of the links below:
COST OF LIVING IN TACOMA
- Cost of Living in Tacoma
- The Cost of Living in Tacoma
- Forbes: Tacoma, WA
- Tacoma Home Prices & Values
- Rent trend data in Tacoma, Washington
- Tacoma apartment rents see steep rise in 2016, data show
How’s The Weather?
If you love long hot summers, sunny days, and not too much precipitation, Tacoma, WA is not the place for you. Even with temperatures rarely going below 27 degrees or above 88 degrees, the elements of the weather in Tacoma may not be for everyone. Here are some things we know about Tacoma weather:
- Tacoma gets about 40 inches of rain every year. Its rainy season lasts about 6 months.
- Tacoma has somewhat of a dark cloud over it – its dark season when skies are mostly cloudy begins in October and ends in June
- Tacoma doesn’t get much snow. In fact, they get about 0.1″ per year.
Read on to know more about the weather and climate in Tacoma, Washington:
HOW’S THE WEATHER IN TACOMA
- Climate – Tacoma, Washington
- Weather and Climate for Tacoma and Pierce County
- Average Weather in Tacoma, Washington
- Tacoma Weather Forecast
- Tacoma Weather Radar
- Tacoma-Puyallup, WA Air Quality
How’s The Food?
As an international waterfront city, Tacoma has a lot of great food to offer. From cheap food at nearby food trucks to upscale dining and some of the nation’s finest seafood, you won’t have a problem finding something good to eat.
- Frisko Freeze – a drive-in burger joint with some of the best malt shakes in the city
- Southern Kitchen – comfort food. Food for the soul
- Indochine – Asian cuisine
- Katie Downs Waterfront Tavern & Eatery – American cuisine
- Hometown Dogs – hot dog stand
- Taco Time Traveler – Taco Food Truck
- The Swiss – a local tavern with staple bar snacks
For more great eats in Tacoma, click through the links below:
HOW’S THE FOOD IN TACOMA?
- The 10 Best Restaurants In Tacoma, Washington
- Food Truck Tacoma – All the Food Trucks of Pierce County
- 5 Fabulous Tacoma Eats!
- The Definitive Guide to Tacoma’s Best Bars and Restaurants
- Tacoma Foodie
- The best restaurant openings in Tacoma in 2016
What Are The Locals Like?
What can we tell you about the people that live in Tacoma, Washington?
- They’re a proud community that’s constantly defending themselves from being lumped together with Seattle.
- They’re all die-hard Rainiers fans.
- They love coffee and don’t need to travel to Seattle to get a cup.
- They love the outdoors – especially since it rains a lot.
- They enjoy old fashioned ice cream.
- The median age is 35.
- Almost half the population is married.
- 7% of the population speaks Spanish.
Interested in learning more about your Tacoma neighbors? There’s more information on locals listed here:
WHAT ARE THE LOCALS LIKE IN TACOMA?
- 25(3) Things Only Tacoma, Washington Natives Truly Understand
- 10 Signs You’re From Tacoma
- 10 Tacoma Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate
- 30 Things People From Tacoma Can’t Live Without
- Tacoma, Washington Demographics Data
Trying to get anywhere in Tacoma on foot is ill-advised. Everything is pretty spread out and having a car or utilizing public transportation is recommended. Information for getting around Tacoma can be found below:
- Those operating a car will need to register and update their address at the Tacoma DMV office.
- The cost of gas is $2.63 per gallon and the average commute to work is 25-30 minutes.
- Pierce Transit System offers bus and light rail to Tacoma residents.
- Bus fare can be an average of $2.00 – $5.00.
- Transit routes are limited in Tacoma and do not cover the entire city.
Learn more about getting around in Tacoma through the following resources:
TRANSPORTATION IN TACOMA
- Pierce Transit
- Getting Around Seattle/Tacoma
- Tacoma Transit
- Sound Transit
- Tacoma: Public Transportation
- Transportation Options
- Tacoma Washington DOL Nearby Offices
Colleges & Education
Serving more than 30,000 students in grades pre-K through 12, the Tacoma Public School District is one of the largest in the state. There are 35 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, 10 high schools, and 4 early learning centers. The school district prides itself on their strategic goals to help make their students outstanding, contributing members of society. Those goals include partnering with parents and the community to create a more enhanced learning experience, focusing on early assessment and intervention for young children, and to provide a safe learning environment for each student.
Tacoma’s got a pretty impressive lineup when it comes to colleges. Some of the top schools include:
- University of Puget Sound
- Tacoma Community College
- University of Washington Tacoma
- Pacific Lutheran University
For more information on education in Tacoma, Washington, click on any of the links below:
COLLEGES & EDUCATION IN TACOMA
- Tacoma Public Schools
- University Place School District
- Fife School District
- School Reviews for Tacoma
- Tacoma Community College
- University of Washington | Tacoma
- Tacoma, Washington Education Data
Local Job Market
When you move to Tacoma, Washington, will you be able to secure a job? Although you may have to commute to Seattle for the big bucks, there are plenty of jobs right in the city of Tacoma to take advantage of.
- The median household income is $52,000.
- Minimum wage is about $12 per hour.
- The most common job sectors in Tacoma include administrative, retail, and management.
- The highest paid jobs in the Tacoma area include Health Practitioners, Computer & Mathematics, and firefighting supervisors.
- The most prevalent industries include Healthcare, Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Educational services.
- The most specialized industries in Tacoma are Arts, Entertainment, Recreation, Public Admin, and Transportation/Warehousing.
Want more information on jobs in Tacoma, Washington? Read on to find out:
LOCAL JOB MARKET IN TACOMA
- r/Tacoma: What’s the job market like?
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington Job Growth
- List of top Pierce County employers buoyed by stronger economy
- Top 100 Highest Paying Jobs in Tacoma, WA Metropolitan Division
- Tacoma, Washington (WA) income map, earnings map, and wages data
Best Places to Live
What Tacoma neighborhood are you thinking of relocating to? With over twenty neighborhoods to sift through, we’ve pulled out a few areas that we feel would be great neighborhoods to consider. As you review the neighborhoods below, remember to keep factors like safety and cost of living in mind.
Proctor – this neighborhood is aesthetically appealing. The streets are lined with charming older homes that provide a historic, small town vibe. Near the University of Puget, there are always some festivities going on. Conveniently located near restaurants and walking distance from shops, Proctor is a great neighborhood to live in.
The Lincoln District – named after the famous Lincoln High School, the Lincoln district is very diverse. Filled with cafes and restaurants locally owned and operated by members of the community, this town is certainly one filled with a lot of cultures. Tree-lined streets and historic craftsman homes give this neighborhood aesthetic appeal.
There’s more to know about some of the best places to live in Tacoma, including neighborhoods that are best for families and young business professionals.
BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN TACOMA
- Tacoma Neighborhood Guide
- Moving to Tacoma? Find the Right Neighborhood for You
- 6 Tacoma Suburbs To Satisfy Your Moving Must-Haves
- 4 Neighborhoods in Tacoma for Families
- Best Neighborhoods in Tacoma for Young Professionals
Tacoma is a waterfront city with an abundance of cultural landscapes and artistic sights. In Tacoma, WA, there are a lot of things you can get into with your family. From museums and galleries to performance venues and outdoor activities, there’s a lot of fun to be had with your family in Tacoma. Take in the sights and sounds of the city as you get familiar with the place you now call home. Looking for family fun in Tacoma? We’ve got some ideas:
- Children’s Museum of Tacoma – at this museum, touching is no problem. Enjoy playing with exhibits that including building and solving puzzles.
- Point Defiance Park – this large park has a zoo and an aquarium. Now, how’s that for family fun in Tacoma?
Check out the links below for more great family activities in Tacoma:
FAMILY FUN IN TACOMA
- Things to do with kids in Tacoma and the South Puget Sound
- Things to do in Tacoma with kids
- Things to Do with Kids in Tacoma, WA
- Entertainment | Thrifty Northwest Mom
Parks and Landmarks
Tacoma is an aesthetically appealing city in Washington. As a resident, you’ll have time to take in the various sights and landmarks that make the city a beautiful and historic place. From historic churches and buildings to beautiful parks with walking trails, picnic areas, and even a zoo, Tacoma’s parks and landmarks are worth checking out. Check out these cools sights, for instance:
- Kandle Park – this park has a spray ground, walking trails, a wave park, and a playground.
- Stewart Heights Park – a large outdoor swimming pool, waterslides, a skate park, and more.
- Engine 9 House – Historic firehouse built in 1907. Now, it’s a pub that brews its own beer.
Read on for more info on Tacoma’s parks and landmarks:
PARKS & LANDMARKS IN TACOMA
- Metro Parks Tacoma
- Parks + Recreation
- From Blueberries to Lighthouses – The Best Parks in Tacoma
- List of Famous Tacoma Buildings & Structures
- Step into the 1900s on the Tacoma Historic Homes tour
- Tacoma Trails & Trail Maps
The city of Tacoma has been working hard at becoming a local hot spot for its residents. No longer do you have to head over to Seattle to enjoy your down time. The city now has established bars and lounges situated throughout. Tacoma’s local bars are all the rave. With wild happy hours, great music, food, and entertainment, you really can’t go wrong. Here are a few bars to hop right in the city of Tacoma:
- Tempest Lounge – sophisticated ambiance, dim lights, great cocktails and good conversation
- Steel Creek – if you like good whiskey, Steel Creek is the place to go. Line dancing all night long and great food!
Wondering what to do in Tacoma after dark? Check out the following resources:
NIGHTLIFE IN TACOMA
- Tacoma’s nightlife overflows with fun
- Tacoma Nightlife
- Bars, Dives & Drink
- 10 Awesome or Unique Tacoma Happy Hours
- Eat, Drink, and Happy Hour
- Where The Beer Snobs in Tacoma Get Their Beer
Things to Do
It’s ideal to be a tourist in your own town once you’ve moved to Tacoma. As a local, you’ll want to become familiar with your home city. You’ll want to know where every great restaurant is, the best places to hang out, where to get the cheapest drinks, or even the best places to shop for clothes. There are a lot of things to do in Tacoma, here are a few to get you started:
- Participate in Third Thursday Art Mingle – free admission to museums
- Drive around the Stadium District
- Go to a Mexican wrestling match at the University of Puget Sound
- Go back in time with childhood video games at Dorky’s Arcade and Bar
Here are links for more great ideas of things to do in Tacoma:
THINGS TO DO IN TACOMA
- Tacoma on a Budget | 25 Free Things to Do in Pierce County
- Things to do in Tacoma
- Get Out of Town — 5 Day Trips to Enjoy Near Tacoma
- Tacoma & South Sound Attractions
- 15 Best Things to Do in Tacoma (WA)
- Cool and Unusual Things to do in Tacoma
Let’s do a recap. Tacoma, WA is an awesome waterfront city located just 45 minutes away from Seattle, Washington. Much more affordable than the state’s capital, Tacoma has attracted thousands of residents each year. Great public schools and top-quality universities and colleges all within the city limits, Tacoma provides the perfect landscape for young and adults and growing families. With more than twenty neighborhoods, parks, landmarks, and attractions, there’s no doubt that life in Tacoma would be a sweet one.
ADDITIONAL READING ABOUT TACOMA
- Travel Tacoma + Pierce County
- Move to Tacoma
- 26 Things You Need to Know About Tacoma Before You Move There
- 10 Reasons to Live in Tacoma Instead of Seattle
- Tacoma Pierce County Chamber
- Tacoma Weekly | Calendar
You made it to the end of the moving guide. Puget Sound Moving & Storage hopes that you learned more about the great city of Tacoma, Washington. We know there’s a lot of information to take in, so go ahead, take your time and review it. Pass it along if you know someone else considering the area. Of course, don’t forget to give our Tacoma movers a call when you’re ready to schedule your move.