Tacoma, Washington is located on Puget Sound in the northeast corner of the state, just 30 miles south of Seattle and an hour northwest of Mount Rainier. With a population of 200,000, Tacoma is a vibrant, mid-size, coastal city with a diverse arts culture and bustling neighborhoods. Tacoma has been named one of the most livable areas of the country, and the area rates 5th in healthiest places to live. Downtown Tacoma has a thriving theatre district with several restored performance venues. The city is composed of more than 50 neighborhood districts, each expressing a unique flavor.
When Commencement Bay was selected as the terminus for the transcontinental railroad, Tacoma City was established by developer Morton McCarver who acquired the land from Job Carr, a speculator, postmaster and pioneer. With the railroad completed in 1887, Tacoma experienced a boom that saw growth from just over 1,000 residents in 1880 to over 36,000 in 1890. Frederick Weyerhaeuser purchased 900,000 acres of Washington timberland in 1900, establishing the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. Weyerhaeuser Timber provided a ready supply of wood pulp, leading to the growth of paper manufacturing in Tacoma, starting in the 1930’s. Tacoma experienced a slowdown due to suburban migration beginning in the 1950’s, but efforts begun in the 1990’s, created a downtown renaissance that continues today. Learn more about Tacoma and the surrounding area with this link.
The Pacific Northwest is known for its rain. However, the temperate climate of Tacoma only averages 39.9 inches of rainfall a year, less than New York City. Winter temperatures average near 50 °F in daytime and around 35° F at night. Summer temperatures average in the mid 70’s during the day and in the mid 50’s at night.
Tacoma has great public transportation for those who would rather ride than drive. Pierce Transit covers 292 square miles with bus services reaching roughly 70% of the population in Tacoma and Pierce County. Sound Transit connects Tacoma with the cities of Seattle, Bellevue and Everett via express bus, light rail and commuter rail service. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, also known as Sea-Tac, is host to 23 airlines with non-stop flights to North America, Europe and Asia.
Cost of Living in Tacoma
Compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living in Tacoma is 5.7% higher than the national average.
The Tacoma Public School district contains 36 elementary schools, eleven middle schools, five high schools, one alternative high school, a Science and Math Institute and one school of the arts. The area also has numerous private schools, including the Annie Wright School, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Life Christian Academy and Seabury School.
There are three hospitals in Tacoma that provide general medical services: St. Joseph Medical Center, MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, and MultiCare Allenmore Hospital and Medical Center. The Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center is also located in Tacoma. If you’re planning a move to Tacoma, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you.
Tacoma Real Estate
The median home price in Tacoma is $193,000. North Tacoma offers many fine homes close to the waterfront. If you enjoy picturesque strolls, Old Town is an intimate neighborhood with quaint coffee shops and restaurants to enjoy that is just steps from home. Explore the homes for sale in Tacoma using these links.
You can find accommodations in Tacoma to suit every budget. For an elegant stay, the Hotel Murano provides exquisitely designed rooms and fabulous views with a prime downtown location. The Silver Cloud is Tacoma’s only waterfront hotel, located in Tacoma’s Old Town district. The Villa Bed and Breakfast offers accommodations in a luxurious home situated in a quiet North Tacoma neighborhood. Find more great places to stay with these links.
If you want to grab a sandwich, the MSM Deli is hard to beat with fresh ingredients and great prices. But there’s always a line, so plan accordingly. For a romantic meal, Asado Cucina Argentina offers atmosphere and fine dining with dishes that you won’t find elsewhere. If you know Italian cooking, Marzano Italian Restaurant is the real deal, and reasonably priced. Wild Orchid is tops in Thai cuisine and earns a 10 for atmosphere. Explore more great dining experience with these links.
Things to Do in Tacoma
Tacoma has something for people of all ages and walks of life, any time of the year. With more glassblowers than the famed Murano, Italy, Tacoma rivals Murano as a center of hand-blown art glass. Visit The Museum of Glass or one of several glass studios where you can enjoy live demonstrations and hands-on workshops. For outdoor enthusiasts, hiking the trails at Mount Rainier National Park is exhilarating and breath-taking in any season. Freighthouse Square is a 3 block long, indoor urban shopping experience at the center of Tacoma’s Dome District with five floors of locally-owned food vendors, merchants and business services. Automotive buffs will appreciate America’s Car Museum, featuring one of the world’s largest collections of automobiles spanning the 20th century. Find more fun activities with these links.