Do you want to know how to make friends in Tacoma, Washington? Whether you’re the worlds biggest extrovert or the most introverted introvert we have some ideas for you to find your people in the City of Destiny! There are all kinds of ways to make friends in Tacoma. For this article we will be focussing on different ways to meet people in Tacoma. Some of the ways you can meet people (that might become friends!) is to join an organization, attend events, and to volunteer. Obviously where you go to make friends will depend on your age and your interests.We will dig into some of the best organizations, events, and volunteer opportunities for making friends in the City of Destiny below.
How to make friends in Tacoma, Washington
MoveToTacoma.com creator and Tacoma Real Estate Agent Marguerite Martin grew up in Pierce County, but didn’t move to Tacoma until her thirties. “I had lots of friends out in the county. But I found when I walked around the city I didn’t know anyone else who lived downtown,” she says. “I wasn’t really sure where the best places to meet people were.” After some trial and error, Marguerite found a few local places that were a fast track to making friends in Tacoma. These are the ones she had great luck with:
“I’m self employed,” says Marguerite. “Working from home is no fun, so I joined a coworking office downtown. The folks I met working there are now some of my closest friends. There was also a tremendous benefit to my business just from plugging in with other local small business owners. Coworking in Tacoma was definitely the place I found the most friends, and the most lasting friendships!” Tacoma has multiple coworking offices around town. The spaces have different amenities and vibes where you can meet professionals at all levels of their careers.
Union Club – Located in the St Helens Neighborhood near the McMinimins Elks Temple. Tacoma Union Club has both coworking and event space. We did an interview with them on the Move to Tacoma Podcast when they opened, you can listen to it here.
Surge Tacoma – Located in Downtown Tacoma near the University of Washington Tacoma. Surge has been offering conference rooms, meeting space, fixed offices, and coworking space for years. You can learn more about Surge on their website here.
Pioneer Collective – This stunning coworking office is located in Downtown Tacoma’s Old Post Office building. The Old Post Office is now known as Courthouse Square. We interviewed the folks from Pioneer Collective on the podcast, click here to listen!
My local bar
“At the time I first moved downtown I was living over The Mix. It’s a popular local gay bar with karaoke almost every night,” she says. “I could pop in after work and talk to folks at the bar. Sometimes I’d sing karaoke while waiting for my clothes to dry in the evening.” Other bars with “Cheers” type vibes in Tacoma are places like Doyle’s Pub in the Stadium District. The Parkway (also in the Stadium District) is a very friendly and popular bar for mixing with your neighbors.
If there’s one thing Tacoma always needs more of, it’s volunteers. “When I first moved to Downtown Tacoma I tried volunteering in all kinds of places. It’s nice to help out AND to meet new people.” You can start small helping organizations by volunteering for a day and seeing how they work. In time you can move up to sitting on boards and committees and helping these organizations make big decisions. Here are a few places you might consider starting your volunteering journey:
The Grand Cinema – Marguerite and her niece Keryn both volunteered with The Grand Cinema in Downtown Tacoma’s St Helens neighborhood when we first got to town. Many Tacomans name The Grand as one of the first places they plugged in in Tacoma. The Grand is open 365 days a year, and volunteers are a vital part of keeping this popular local theater open. You can apply to be a volunteer on their website. In addition to perks like free movie tickets and popcorn you also get to meet TONS of people, from other volunteers to folks coming to see the movies. It’s a fun way to dip your toe into the Tacoma Community.
Humane Society of Tacoma Pierce County – If you love animals and have 6 hours per month to volunteer, The Humane Society in Central Tacoma is a great place to connect with other animal lovers in Tacoma. Click here to learn more about how to apply to volunteer.
Oscar’s Enemies – Oscar’s Enemies started as some friends picking up trash for their friend Jessica Tweed’s birthday. The volunteers at Oscar’s Enemies have gathered for regular community trash cleanup days since that day. Hundreds of volunteers have helped collect thousands and thousand of pounds of garbage. The group now has specialized jobs – sweepers, drivers, full trash bag collectors, and route leaders – who lead volunteers as they scour their selected routes each month. Want to join them? Check out @oscarsenemies on Instagram and see the latest events here.
If volunteering is interesting to you, Marguerite and Keryn go into more detail in the video, “How to Find Community in Tacoma” below:
Are you Outdoorsy? Make other outdoorsy friends in Tacoma here.
Consider joining an existing organization or club in Tacoma that aligns with your interest. In general, Tacomans are pretty friendly and welcoming. There are very few clubs in town that aren’t looking for more members! Here are different types of clubs and organizations for people who enjoy getting outside in Tacoma:
Tacoma Lawn Bowling Club – We recently interviewed Laura and Mike from the Tacoma Lawn Bowling club on the Move to Tacoma Podcast. Their season starts in April and goes through October. They meet at the lawn bowling green in Tacoma’s Wright Park. They’re very welcoming and have a class to teach new folks how to play the game. To learn more about joining up with the Tacoma Lawn Bowling Club in Wright Park visit their website here.
Puget Sound Plungers for Cold Plunging in the Puget Sound – A group of people who have discovered the magic of cold water and are practicing cold water immersion/deliberate cold exposure in the Puget Sound. To learn more about meeting up with the Puget Sound Plungers visit their Facebook Group or their Instagram Page. Watch the video to learn more about getting into the Puget Sound year round:
What about more athletic ways to make friends in Tacoma?
We get it! You work out! You like to get out there and go and move and you want to make some friends in Tacoma that are just like you. This is probably one of the easiest ways to make new pals in Tacoma so here are some of our more athletic suggestions:.
Tacoma Runners Running Club – Tacoma Runners is a social running club interested in growing the running community of Tacoma, Washington. Tacoma Runners has two runs per week all year round. They offer a free 5k every Saturday morning at Point Defiance Park and a Thursday night “beer run” from a different bar or restaurant. Founded January 2010. All skill levels are welcome. We did a full interview with the creators of Tacoma Runners and Marguerite went for a run with them. To join the group visit their Meetup Group here. Watch the video below to learn more:
The Mountaineers for Exploring – Learn more about classes and other events offered by The Tacoma Mountaineers here. We also did an interview with Marc Heinzman who talks about moving to Tacoma and making friends at the Mountaineers Club in Old Town. You can hear the interview here.
Comeback Sports Adult Intramural Sports Leagues – We haven’t interviewed the folks over at Comeback Sports on the podcast yet, and we’re realizing that is a REAL oversight! Comeback Sports is Tacoma’s adult intramural sports league. They have softball, kickball, baseball, vollyball, and so much more. Comeback Sports do their leagues in 8 Week Seasons ( including playoffs!) and provide all of the facilities and equipment for the sport you’re playing. They also have post game activities that create the condition for friendship making. To learn more about the different sports and leagues available for adults click here.
Tacoma Bicycle Club – If you’e into riding bikes definitely plug in with the Tacoma Bicycle Club. They have regular rides and post them here. The club is a nonprofit that promotes bicycling for recreation, health and transportation in Tacoma. They organize social and bicycle activities to promote cycling in Tacoma. They also inform and educate members and the public regarding bicycle issues and safety in Tacoma.
Are you indoorsy? You can make other chill friends in Tacoma here.
Look, not all of us want to climb a mountain or chase a soccer ball around. Heck, some of us don’t even really want to leave our homes. And yet we need friends! So here are some suggestions worth leaving the house for to make friends. For the indoors folks and introverts:
Play Some Games – Tacoma has so many places to play games of all kinds. Whether it’s video games, role playing games, board games, tournaments, whatever! Tacoma has too many places to list. Wether its DND you’re looking for, Warhammer, Magic the Gathering, or board games we have somewhere that has it in Tacoma. We tapped our most gamiest blog readers and these are their recommendations for places that gamers can make friends in Tacoma:
Terracrux – Located in Downtown Tacoma Terracrux has created a great community that centers around the joy of playing games with each other just to have fun. You can learn more about them and see their games and schedule here.
Silver King Games – Silver King Games is located on 56th and South Tacoma Way. Their gaming space features 2 private gaming rooms with privacy curtains, as well as 7 other tables in an over 1000 sq foot, air conditioned gaming space. If you’re looking to play DND in Tacoma this is for sure a place to check out. In addition to Dungeons and Dragons they have a great selection of advanced board games, and even stock kick starter-only products. There’s also a membership program that let’s you use hand-built gaming tables in a huge, exclusive 24/7-available room. Learn more about Silver King Games here.
Triple Knock – If Pinball and beer is your thing don’t sleep on the 6th Ave Neighborhood’s Triple Knock. They have tons of beers on tap and tons of pinball machines. They also have regular tournaments if you’re the competitive type. Learn more here.
I know there are so many more places to play games in Tacoma. Tacoma Reddit and Discord are also a great place to plug in with the Tacoma Gaming Community to find your particular brand of fun.
Other indoor persuits
Creative Colloquy – Probably the hardest to spell name of any group in Tacoma. For ten years Creative Colloquy has been highlighting the South Sound literary community. They build relationships based on their mutual admiration of the written word. They host literary and poetry readings as well as open mics around Tacoma. You can see the events they are hosting here. Move to Tacoma creator Marguerite attended Open Mic night and shared an original personal work to show how the process works. You can check out the vibe here:
Humane Society of Tacoma Pierce County – If you’d rather make friends with kitties and puppers than with people, you might want to volunteer at Tacoma Humane! If you love animals and have 6 hours per month to volunteer, The Humane Society in Central Tacoma is a great place to connect with other animal lovers in Tacoma. Click here to learn more about how to apply to volunteer. They also have opportunities to foster if you truly do not want to go out to hang out with your friends!
King’s Books – This local bookshop is located between Downtown Tacoma’s St Helens neighborhood and the Stadium Business District next to Doyle’s Pub. There’s more to do here than browse the stacks. They have so many fun events including book clubs, craft fairs, authors, and even an annual screen printing event called Wayzgoose! Learn more about what’s on at King’s Books in Tacoma here.
How to make friends in Tacoma when you have kids
Look, when you have kids making friends is a whole different deal. You can’t go to the pub, playing sports and climbing mountains can be tricky, and volunteering can be downright challenging. Here are some of our best suggestions for parents to connect with kids in tow around Tacoma:
Oscar’s Enemies – Picking up trash with your kids might not seem like the most obvious way to make friends. That said the word on the street is it IS a place where individuals and families alike to some good for the city AND connect with like minded pals in Tacoma. Oscar’s Enemies started as some friends picking up trash for their friend Jessica Tweed’s birthday. The volunteers at Oscar’s Enemies have gathered for regular community trash cleanup days since that day. Hundreds of volunteers have helped collect thousands and thousand of pounds of garbage. The group now has specialized jobs – sweepers, drivers, full trash bag collectors, and route leaders – who lead volunteers as they scour their selected routes each month. Want to join them? Check out @oscarsenemies on Instagram and see the latest events here.
Tacoma Dad’s Group – Tacoma Dad’s are a diverse and inclusive group of dads. The Dads welcome all dads to feel part of the group several times a month with the kids at parks, playgrounds, museums, parent-and-me classes, and living rooms. You can connect with Tacoma Dads in their Facebook Group. There is also Puget Sound Dads which connects fathers from Everett to Olympia. You can see links to their events, Facebook group, and more by clicking here.
Tacoma Childrens Museum – Tacoma Childrens Museum has a location in Downtown Tacoma and on base at JBLM. The museum is a dynamic, play-based facility serving over 140,000 people each year with Pay As You Will admission. Learn more about hours and events here.
Metro Parks Tacoma – Tacoma’s amazing parks program has tons of events and classes that are kid friendly all year round. From chess to cooking and natural adventures. The things to do with kids at Metro Parks are really too numerous to list. Check out their activities page to join up in an area that you and your kids will love.
How to make friends in Tacoma if you are Queer/LGBTQ
Tacoma celebrates in July so combined with Seattle Pride you get two months of Pride in the summer! There are events and gatherings all year long with opportunities to gather, learn, celebrate, volunteer, and advance LGBTQ rights in Washington State. Here are some places to get started:
Cheer Tacoma – CHEER Tacoma is an LGBTQ ally organization that fundraises through the sport of cheerleading for under served populations in South Puget Sound. They’re ADULT volunteer cheerleaders who use their talents and enthusiasm to make the world a better place;. As they say, “…one shake of a pompom, one gravity defying stunt, and one smile at a time.” Click here to get involved in this local nonprofit cheer group.
The Rainbow Center – Through education, advocacy, and celebration, Tacoma’s Rainbow Center expands resources and safe space for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, two-spirit, and allied (LGBTQ2SA) community. Their annual fundraising “Gayla” is one of the best fundraisers and parties in Tacoma- held in the Fall! They hold events all year long and organize Tacoma Pride in July.
Oasis Youth Center – Oasis transforms the lives of queer and questioning youth by creating a safe place to learn, connect, and thrive. Located in Downtown Tacoma, they also have a satelite location in Lakewood. They hold events year round for LGBTQ youth and their families.
The Mix – A bar for the Queer Community to gather. Located in the St Helens Neighborhood of Downtown Tacoma. They have parties and events throughout the year and karaoke every single night of the week!
The Silverstone – A larger bar for the Queer Community to gather. Conveniently located just a block down the hill from The Mix in the St Helens neighborhood. They have a dance floor, full bar, happy hour, karaoke, and free pool. With lots of space to mingle and gather!
Queer Mountaineers – A volunteer led PNW-based community group and non-profit. Queer Mountaineers hosts gym climbing nights, hikes, social meet ups, mountaineering skills workshops, ski events, guided climbs, fundraising for causes, and much more. They partner every month with climbing gyms, such as Seattle Bouldering Project, Edgeworks, and Vertical World, to host monthly Queer Climb Nights.
Still want to learn more about the queer community in Tacoma? Listen to this podcast we did with Quincy and Matthew from Tacoma Rainbow Center and Oasis on the Move to Tacoma Podcast!
Additional resources for people finding community in Tacoma:
How to Find Community in Tacoma – Video & Blog Post
Things I wish I knew before I moved to Tacoma – Blog Post
Find a local expert to help you choose your home
And here’s the shameless plug of the whole blog post! Here at MovetoTacoma.com we help people find their place in the City of Destiny. If you or a friend are looking to buy a home in Tacoma and would like help learning about Tacoma neighborhoods and finding a real estate agent please reach out to us! You can click the contact form on MovetoTacoma.com. You can also schedule a one-on-one with Marguerite on zoom by clicking here.
How Move to Tacoma Works
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The best way to learn about Tacoma is to hear from the people who live here. On the Move to Tacoma Podcast Marguerite interviews Tacomans who’ve been here generations and Tacomans who just got here. From business and technology leaders to politicians and activists and everyone in between. The Move to Tacoma Podcast will give you insight into why people move here and how they find meaning and happiness in Tacoma.
On the Move to Tacoma Blog we have been writing about things to do in Tacoma, where to eat in Tacoma, hot button community topics, neighborhoods and more since 2015. There are hundreds of posts to help you find what you love in the City of Destiny. From posts about where to eat and drink to interviews with locals- the blog is a great place to keep up one what’s happening in Tacoma and Pierce County.
Marguerite Martin is a different kind of Tacoma real estate agent. Reach out to find out answers to questions you have about neighborhoods in Tacoma and Pierce County. When the time is right to start looking, Marguerite can connect you with a local real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhoods you love most. You can see reviews from past clients who’ve worked with Marguerite on Yelp and on Google.