6.8 out of 10

Tacoma

Ranked 8th best city in Washington
47.2410865578836 -122.455865920377
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Parking
  • Public Transport
  • Cost of Living
  • Medical Facilities
Not great for
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Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Singles
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Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
Dec 11, 2015

"Funky and Affordable"

I lived in Tacoma for several years just after I graduated from college. It was way cheaper than Seattle (and still is) so I lived there instead. The city used to be quite rough, especially in the mid 90’s, and suffered from high crime rates, and drug and gang activity. That is no longer the case.
Over the past 15 years, the city has undergone a dramatic revitalization. Parts of downtown, such as the 6th Ave. District and Theater District, have transformed from crime-ridden areas to vibrant neighborhoods. Some areas are still rough, especially the Southeast, east side, and Lakewood areas.

While revitalization has improved many neighborhoods, it has also pushed out the poorer population. When I lived there, it was a mixed race city, but these days, it’s primarily white. It still retains a scrappy, blue-collar feel, though, which I love.

Cost of Living
The cost of living in Tacoma is much lower than in Seattle but still slightly above the U.S. average. Food, transportation, health and utilities cost about the same as they do in Seattle, but housing costs are far lower; around 58% cheaper than Seattle. So, a lot of people are choosing to live in Tacoma instead of Seattle.

Commuting to Seattle
Housing prices in Seattle continue to rise and a lot of people are moving to nearby cities and commuting in. Tacoma is a good city to commute from if you are willing to take the bus or commute by rail. Driving from Tacoma to Seattle would be a nightmare. During peak times, the drive takes one and a half to one and three-quarters hours to travel 31 miles. By bus, the trip takes far less time, about 40 minutes, and there are many express buses, especially at rush hour. There is train service from Tacoma, but it takes about an hour so most folks ride the bus.

Traffic
Getting around Tacoma is easy. In general, the city doesn’t have as many traffic problems as Seattle, but traffic on I-5 and SR 16 can get backed up, especially during rush hour. There is a light rail line that runs through downtown, connecting the Tacoma Dome Station (a hub for commuters) to the Theater District. There are also a lot of buses and bike routes.

Shopping
Tacoma is a mid-sized urban city and there are plenty of malls and shops. The 6th Ave Business District is a vibrant hub of local art, boutiques, gift shops and thrift shops mixed in with great restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs. There is also a solid selection of  shops and galleries in the Theater District.

Culture
Tacoma is a busy port city. It has a contemporary feel, but it also values its history. The city has a strong historic preservation program and there are plenty of amazing historic gems including the US Federal Courthouse which originally the Union Train Station; the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which many know as “Galloping Gertie”; and the Java Jive, a kitschy coffee pot-shaped building that now serves up beer and karaoke.

This city also has a vibrant theater and art scene. It is home to an opera company, classical music groups, and a theater. It is also home to the Chihuly Bridge of Glass which links the glass museum to downtown and was built in partnership between the city of Tacoma and world renown studio glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Weather
Like most of Western Washington, Tacoma has a generally mild climate. It does rain a lot and gets dark early in the winter, but snow is rare and summer months are pleasant. If you are moving from somewhere else in the U.S., it will probably feel like a lot of rain to you. The precipitation is slightly above the U.S. average, but the rain falls lightly for long periods of time with occasional downpours. In the winter, most residents rely on hooded jackets instead of umbrellas since the rain is generally light and steady.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish

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Unranked Neighborhoods in Tacoma

New Tacoma

3.5/5
"The Brewery District"
47.2551265835167 -122.413240755307

North End

3/5
"Great little business district"
47.2684385096947 -122.484011524289
"Beautiful and tranquil suburban living"
47.2895334777472 -122.394908581156
"Big box stores and chain restaurants"
47.2135173551815 -122.484527216065

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