Moving to Tacoma
Get ready to embark on a thrilling new adventure as we explore the luxuriant charm of Tacoma, Washington! Nestled in the scenic Pacific Northwest, Tacoma beckons, offering sumptuous vistas and cultural delights. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, an art-lover, or searching for an oasis of tranquility amidst urban life, our comprehensive Tacoma relocation guide will unveil the city's treasures, helping you make an informed decision about your move. Remember, home isn't just a place--it's a feeling. So let's set sail, shall we, and find your next perfect home in the heart of Tacoma.
What to Know Before Moving to Tacoma
1. A City with Stunning Natural Beauty
Nestled right at the foot of Mount Rainier, Tacoma is a city graced with awe-inspiring panoramas, regardless of where you turn. Between the waters of Puget Sound, the lush Pacific Northwest forests, and the mountain views, you'll think you've stepped right into a National Geographic magazine! There's plenty of outdoor fun to be experienced here, with fantastic fishing, boating, and hiking opportunities abounding.
2. Quirky Local Flavor
When it comes to cities with quirky, laidback charm - Tacoma measures up with the best of them! From its bustling, offbeat 6th Avenue district packed with hip coffee shops, art galleries, and record stores, to the famous glass-blowing scene, you'll never get bored in Tacoma. Not to mention, the city has a distinct aroma (affectionately coined the "Aroma of Tacoma") due to its pulp and paper industry. Definitely a unique selling point!
3. It's Not Just Rainy, It's "Liquid Sunshine"
Now, we can't talk about Tacoma without acknowledging the weather. Yes, the Pacific Northwest can be quite rainy. But Tacomanians choose to embrace the rain rather than lament it. Affectionately referred to as "liquid sunshine," the wet weather only adds to the city's mesmerizing, verdant beauty. And don't worry, it's not all cloudy skies. Tacoma actually experiences more sunny days than cities like New York or Boston!
4. Hidden Foodie Paradise
Get ready to partake in a culinary adventure like no other! Tacoma might be overshadowed by Seattle's more prominent food scene, but it holds its own with a range of dining experiences that will take you around the world. Try some of the locally caught seafood, taste-test the city's diverse food trucks, or indulge in the bold flavors of the city's Asian, Mexican and Ethiopian eateries. The less-known fact is that Tacoma is the birthplace of brown & haley's world-famous almond roca, the tantalizing buttercrunch toffee that's flown off shelves since 1923!
5. Steeped in History
Did you know, Tacoma was the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1873 and is known as the "City of Destiny?" Well, there you have a fun historical fact you can show off! Tacoma packs a lot of history, and it shows in the historic buildings spread around town. Don't forget to check out the Tacoma History Museum, it's a great place to start your historical exploration.
6. Diverse and Inclusive Community
Tacoma takes pride in its diverse and inclusive community. The city hosts a variety of cultural festivals throughout the year celebrating diversity and unity. Residents and visitors alike enjoy annual events such as the Tacoma Pride Festival, Ethnic Fest, and Asia Pacific New Year Celebration. Moreover, Tacoma is known for its strong support of independent businesses, community activism, and sustainable living - making it not just a place to live, but a community to be a part of.
In a nutshell, moving to Tacoma means embracing all of this city's quirks, characters, liquid sunshine, and all! It's a city brimming with natural beauty, historical charm, and a culinary scene that will keep your food cravings satisfied. So why wait? Start packing, adventure awaits you in Tacoma!
Pros and Cons of Living in Tacoma
Pros of Living in Tacoma
Proximity to Nature
Tacoma, Washington, offers easy access to numerous natural attractions, including Mount Rainier National Park and Point Defiance Park. Residents can enjoy a range of activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing, which makes it an ideal place for nature and outdoor lovers.
Cultural and Arts Scene
Tacoma is home to several museums including, the Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum. Additionally, the city has a thriving local arts scene with varied and frequent music, theater, and artisan markets making it perfect for art and culture enthusiasts.
Range of Neighborhoods
The city is composed of various neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and character. Whether you prefer the urban environment of downtown Tacoma or the suburban feel of Proctor district, you can find a wide range of living environments to choose your perfect spot.
Public transportation in Tacoma is easily accessible, with a system that includes buses, commuter trains, and the Link Light Rail. Moreover, its location allows for an easy commute to Seattle, making it an excellent place for professionals working there.
Tacoma's Ruston Way waterfront offers picturesque views of the Puget Sound. The waterfront is also home to several shops, restaurants, and parks, providing a leisurely lifestyle for its residents.
Cons of Living in Tacoma
Tacoma experiences extensive cloudy and rainy days throughout the year. Although the rain is usually light, it can sometimes last for several days which may influence those who prefer sunnier climates.
While Tacoma's job market is fairly robust, it might not offer the same level of opportunities as bigger cities. Certain fields, like tech, may have more opportunities in nearby Seattle than in Tacoma.
Certain areas of Tacoma have experienced higher crime rates compared to the national average. It's crucial to research neighborhoods carefully before moving, although it's worth noting that these issues are being addressed and crime rates are gradually declining.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Tacoma is generally higher than the national average. This can be seen in elements such as housing, groceries, and healthcare, although it's still more affordable compared to other cities in the Washington state.
Traffic and Commuting
While Tacoma's overall commute times are reasonable, rush hour traffic can be challenging. This is especially true for those commuting to nearby cities such as Seattle, which could considerably extend the travel times.
Is Tacoma a Good Place to Live?
Tacoma, WA is a great place to live because of its incredible natural beauty, including stunning views of Mount Rainier and a waterfront that's perfect for outdoor activities. Additionally, the city offers a vibrant arts and culture scene, a rich history, and a lower cost of living compared to nearby Seattle, making it an appealing choice for many potential residents. Plus, the coffee scene in Tacoma is worthy of a standing ovation, making it a haven for coffee lovers too!
What Is Tacoma Famous For?
Chihuly Bridge of Glass
Known as an iconic landmark of Tacoma, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass displays marvelous artworks by world-renowned local artist, Dale Chihuly. This 500-foot pedestrian overpass brims with color and creativity, housing three distinct installations of Chihuly's art. It's a must-visit spot to fully experience the charm of the city!
LeMay - America's Car Museum
Roadtrippers and auto enthusiasts, unite! LeMay - America's Car Museum is celebrated for housing one of the most extensive car collections in the world. With over 350 classic cars spanning over a century, this 165,000-square-foot museum intrigues visitors with a journey through America's love affair with automobiles.
Tacoma's Art and Theater Scene
Tacoma teems with vibrant art and theater life, filled with numerous galleries, studios, and performing arts venues. The city is often commended for its dedications to arts and culture, with special celebrations like the monthly Third Thursday Art Walk and the internationally acclaimed Tacoma Film Festival.
Point Defiance Park
Boasting 760 acres of natural beauty, Point Defiance Park is the "crown jewel" of Tacoma's park system. Nestled beside Puget Sound, this park features a zoo & aquarium, a breathtaking rose garden, a historic Fort Nisqually, and miles of scenic trails - proving that Tacoma's splendor also lies in its outdoor offerings.
Overview of Tax Rates
As of 2023, Tacoma residents are subject to an average property tax rate of 1.08%, which is slightly lower than the national average of 1.07%. This rate is decided by the county and can vary based on factors such as the value of the property and the location.
The sales tax in Tacoma is currently 10.2% - significantly higher than the US average of 7.12%. This tax will be added onto the price of taxable goods and services at the point of sale.
Washington state, including Tacoma, does not have an individual income tax. This is in stark contrast to the national average, where the typical state imposes a tax range of around 4.6% to 8.7% on personal income.
The Tacoma, WA housing market remains modestly competitive compared to the national average. The median home value sits around $409,838, experiencing an appreciated 23.8% growth over the past year. Future projections indicate a 10.7% increase. The average rent rate is approximately $1,593, marginally below the national average of $1,650. Despite higher house prices, Tacoma's cost of living remains below Seattle's, attracting buyers and renters alike. However, tracking market trends is essential due to the region's potential economic variability and gentrification.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Tacoma, Washington is generally lower than most large cities in the United States, but it's slightly higher than the national average. Housing tends to be more affordable in Tacoma compared to nearby Seattle, but is still higher than many other American cities. Other factors such as utilities, healthcare, and groceries are also typically more expensive than the national averages. However, compared to other cities in the Pacific Northwest region, Tacoma provides a reasonable cost of living with the added appeal of close proximity to a range of outdoor activities and cultural attractions.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Tacoma, Washington, features a temperate marine climate characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The average annual temperature hovers around 52degF, with the coldest month being January and the warmest, August. While rainfall is distributed throughout the year, the bulk of it occurs between October and April. Despite this, Tacoma experiences fewer annual rainy days compared to the national average. As for natural disasters, earthquakes pose a significant risk due to Tacoma's proximity to several faults, particularly the Seattle Fault and the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The city is also vulnerable to landslides owing to its hilly topography and abundant precipitation. Additionally, it lies within the lahar (volcanic mudflow) hazard zone of Mount Rainier, a potentially active stratovolcano located about 60 miles southeast. Understanding these aspects of Tacoma's environment helps residents prepare for and cope with natural hazards.
Economy & Job Market
* Technology & Innovation
* Agriculture & Food Manufacturing
* Healthcare & Life Sciences
Let's chat Tacoma, shall we? Known for its industrial roots and vibrant port, Tacoma has continually evolved to embrace new industries and promote economic prosperity. The city's economy historically hinged on manufacturing, but over time, it's adapted and diversified. It's now a chameleon of sorts, with a healthy blend of established and emerging sectors. Tacoma is currently playing host to a thriving Aerospace & Defense industry, thanks to key players like Boeing, plus a Technology & Innovation sector turbocharged by numerous startups. Also, let's not forget about the city's robust Agriculture & Food Manufacturing scene, it's commitment to the Clean Energy Sector, and a Healthcare & Life Sciences industry that's as vigorous as a marathon runner.
Thinking of trading your current zip code for Tacoma's? If job hunting is on your moving to-do list, you're in the right place. In recent years, Tacoma's employment rate has been a show off, outperforming the national average. Yes, Tacoma is flexing its strong job growth muscles! Tech-savvy job seekers should scope out opportunities within the Technology & Innovation sector -- it's blooming like a rhododendron (that's Washington's state flower, by the way!). If being green is your thing, the Clean Energy Sector has plenty of jobs calling your name. And don't rule out the heart-beating opportunity within the Healthcare & Life Sciences industry that continues to boom. Trust me, Tacoma isn't just a pretty place to live -- it's a city pouring with job opportunities.
Traffic and Transportation
Oh, Tacoma, WA... Land of beautiful vistas and... traffic? You bet! The average commute time here ticks in at about 29 minutes. Sure, it's longer than the national average, but with these views, who's really complaining? Plus, there's an array of public transportation options for those who'd rather kick back and enjoy the ride. Jump on Pierce Transit's buses or roll in style on the Tacoma Link light rail. For longer journeys, the Sounder Commuter train's got you covered. Or maybe, catching a flight from the Tacoma Narrows Airport is more your speed? Offering incredible scenery and easy accessibility, it's a local pride. So, hop in, buckle up, or kick your feet up. No matter how you choose to get around, Tacoma, WA makes the journey just as amazing as the destination!
Best Neighborhoods in Tacoma
1. North End
First up on the list, and for good reason, is North End. Known for its historic Tacoma charm and idyllic setting, there's something delightful for everyone in this neighborhood. If you're looking for a peaceful, outdoorsy feel with a splash of urban convenience, welcome to your new paradise. Home to the fantastic Point Defiance Park and close to the soothing waters of Commencement Bay, it's a nature lover's dream. The schools are top-notch and the community is laced with an air of togetherness. Remember to explore Proctor District, and indulge in a finely crafted cocktail at the cozy Top of Tacoma Bar.
2. Downtown Tacoma
For those who crave excitement and don't mind a bit of hustle and bustle, Downtown Tacoma is just the ticket! This neighborhood is the city's heart, with streets dotted with unique shops, art galleries, and a bustling nightlife. There's a little something for everyone -- from the intrigue of Tacoma Art Museum and the bold glass artistry of the Museum of Glass to the ever-enticing eateries that run the range of global cuisine. Prepare to be dazzled by the panoramic views of Puget Sound and the Tacoma Dome, while the farmer's market will keep you stocked with fresh, local produce.
3. Central Tacoma
Central Tacoma perfectly marries the old with the new. It's the best place to get a taste of 'real Tacoma', with vintage homes, tree-lined boulevards, and a creative, grassroots spirit. The renowned 6th Avenue District is packed with eclectic shops, tasty restaurants, and a vibrant arts scene. Known for its diverse population and strong sense of community, Central Tacoma feels like a small town wrapped up within the city's boundaries.
4. South Tacoma
South Tacoma, often referred to as the most affordable neighborhood in the city, doesn't scrimp on charm. Here you'll find the South Park community - buzzing with local businesses, kid-friendly parks, and a thriving music scene. Add to this the melting pot culture it offers, and you have one of Tacoma's most inviting neighborhoods.
5. Stadium District
Rounding out our top five is the iconic Stadium District. So-called for the historic Stadium High School that looks more like a fairy-tale castle, it offers a trendy, relaxed, and elegantly historical atmosphere. It welcomes you with amazing views of Commencement Bay, Wright Park, and a plethora of locally-owned businesses. Imagine grabbing your morning coffee at a quaint cafe before you explore the local antique stores, or enjoy an exquisite meal at one of its excellent restaurants. But don't take our word for it; experience the famous Stadium District for yourself!
In conclusion, Tacoma is a city of neighborhoods, each presenting their unique flavor and charm. The neighborhoods of North End, Downtown, Central, South, and Stadium District have different vibes to offer, ultimately promising a wonderful quality of life. Whichever neighborhood you decide to call home is sure to bring its own unique adventure. So pack your bags, start your journey, and dive feet first into the marvelous world of Tacoma living!
Things to Do
Congratulations on your decision to move to Tacoma, WA! This charming city on the shores of Puget Sound flawlessly combines natural beauty with a vibrant urban scene. From hidden gems to popular hotspots, we've lined up seven things you just can't miss in your new home. Get ready to fall in love with Tacoma!
1. Jump into History at Point Defiance Park
Point Defiance Park is a 760-acre green space that is one of Tacoma's top attractions. Here, you can hike through old-growth forests, relax on secluded beaches or explore wildlife in the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. If you're a history lover, don't miss the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, where you can step back in time to the 1850s fur trade era.
2. Discover Tacoma's Glass Art Scene
Tacoma is famous for its brilliant glass art, and there's nowhere better to appreciate it than the Museum of Glass. Witness glassblowing in action in the Hot Shop, explore the outdoor installations on the Glass Bridge and take in the captivating exhibits of contemporary glass art.
3. Soak in Culture at Tacoma Art Museum
Alongside its exceptional collection of glass art, Tacoma also boasts an impressive offering for traditional art lovers. The Tacoma Art Museum is home to a robust collection, with special emphasis on Northwest artists. The museum also regularly hosts world-class traveling exhibitions.
4. Explore the Proctor District
Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and venture into Tacoma's Proctor District. Make sure to visit Proctor Farmers' Market on Saturday morning for the freshest local produce. Take the time to explore the local shops and don't forget to catch an indie film at the quirky Blue Mouse Theatre, the oldest operating cinema in the state.
5. Get Active Along Ruston Way Waterfront
Ruston Way is a perfect spot for those looking to soak up the great outdoors. From kayaking to beach volleyball, there's something for every outdoor enthusiast. You can even stretch your legs on the two-mile walking path with sweeping views of the waterfront and Mount Rainier.
6. Seek out Secret Southern Cuisine at Southern Kitchen
Cut away from the crowds and find your way to this hidden culinary gem. Southern Kitchen, locally owned and famously visited by Guy Fieri, serves up classic comfort food with southern soul. This down-home dining spot may be off-the-beaten-track, but it's a foodie must for anyone looking to tuck in and taste the real Tacoma.
7. Unwind in the Oasis of the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory
It may not be on every tourist guide, but this beautiful botanical conservatory is surely a must-visit. Tucked away inside Wright Park, the building houses over 350 plant species. Featuring a stunning dome and twelve-sided wing, the conservatory provides both aesthetic and aromatic pleasure to its visitors. Be sure to stop by and unwind amidst it's tropical and subtropical plant displays.
In the end, Tacoma is a city that seamlessly celebrates its past while embracing forward-thinking innovation. Its delightful blend of natural beauty, rich art scene, and local charms is all about welcoming new residents. So, find your tucked-away little bistro, your favorite hiking spot, and enjoy every bit of your new life here in Tacoma, Washington. Bon Voyage!
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