Nothing drives me nuts like the google results for common searches people make when they start exploring the possibility of moving to Tacoma. There are all these trashy out of area clickbaity websites answering questions about our community with outdated information or just plain incorrectly. It’s VERY frustrating.
Here are answers to the most common questions I get from folks moving to Tacoma:
Is Tacoma a good place to live?
Tacoma is an amazing place to live. In spite of growing tremendously in recent years it remains one of the most beautiful and affordable cities on the west coast. Tacoma is surrounded on three sides by salt water (from the Puget Sound) and boasts views of Mt Rainier from almost every neighborhood.
What is there to do in Tacoma?
Tacoma is a smaller city than nearby Seattle and Portland, but there are still loads of events, things to do, bars, and restaurants. Tacoma has an incredible waterfront park on Ruston Way and Point Ruston. These parks also contain a variety of waterfront restaurants that offer outdoor dining in the summer and water view dining year round.
What is there to do near Tacoma?
Living an active outdoor lifestyle is easy in Tacoma, with 702 Acre Point Defiance Park located in the city. Point Defiance has 5 mile drive where you can walk or bike, and miles of hiking trails in an unlogged old growth forest. Mt Rainier National Park is located in the same county as Tacoma, and multiple places for skiing are within 90 minutes of the city.
What are the museums in Tacoma?
Tacoma has the second highest number of museums per capita after Washington DC. The largest are the Washington State History Museum, Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Lemay Car Museum. On top of that there are many smaller museums including the Tacoma Children’s Museum, Karpeles Manuscript Museum, and the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.
Does Tacoma have a zoo?
Tacoma has a zoo managed by Metro Parks called the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. In addition to the main zoo Pierce County is home to Northwest Trek which is 723 acre nature reserve where visitors can see free roaming elk, bison, deer and more. There are also black bears, grizzly bears, bobcats, cougars, and many more.
Can you live in Tacoma and work in Seattle?
Yes, you can live in Tacoma and commute to work in Seattle- but it’s not as easy as it used to be. A full 40% of Pierce County residents commute to King County for their jobs. The traffic is increasingly horrific and congested, especially with all of the extensive freeway work that’s been happening in Tacoma since 2008. The best way to commute to Seattle from Tacoma is on the Sounder Train or on the 590 or 594 buses.
Can you live in Tacoma and work at JBLM?
Absolutely. Most Tacoma neighborhoods are just a 5 minute drive from Highway 16 or I-5, making commutes to JBLM from Tacoma very easy. Depending on the neighborhood, time of day, and day of the week driving to JBLM from Tacoma takes from 30-45 minutes.
Does Tacoma have bad traffic?
A common misconception about Tacoma is that the city has bad traffic. While the I-5 curve has terrible traffic during commute times (thanks to more than 10 years of extensive road construction and improvements on I-5) commuting from one neighborhood to another within Tacoma is usually painless. For example, driving from the Proctor District to Downtown Tacoma takes less than ten minutes, Driving from South Tacoma to Downtown Tacoma takes less than 15 minutes.
What are the best neighborhoods in Tacoma?
The best way to get Tacomans arguing is to ask them what the best neighborhood in Tacoma is. While many uninformed websites focus on Tacoma’s North End (which contains some awesome Tacoma neighborhoods!) my personal favorite neighborhood has always been Downtown Tacoma where I lived for 8 years. I lived and owned a historic craftsman in the Lincoln District (which is stunningly beautiful in the fall!) for two years and absolutely fell in love with that community- especially the locally owned restaurants. I also lived in the Stadium District with its historic architecture, cool businesses, and stunning views of Commencement Bay for several years. Those are my personal top three but most Tacoma neighborhoods are awesome and we wrote a more complete blog post about where to live in Tacoma here.
How can I find a rental in Tacoma?
Renting a house or an apartment in Tacoma can be a bit of a pain. We’re not going to sugarcoat this for you. At this time, there is no system for you to just call up an agent and work with a person that has access to all of the rentals on the market. The Tacoma area rental market is still a DIY affair. We’ve worked hard to put together as much information as possible to help you find a great place. For more information check out our Rental Guide to Tacoma here.
Does Tacoma have a Mayor?
The city of Tacoma is organized as a City Manager form of Government- not a strong mayor system like the City of Seattle. This means the Mayor of Tacoma is a part of the City Council. The City Council selects and hires a City Manager who runs the city. We talk about this in our interview with former mayor Marilyn Strickland on the MoveToTacoma Podcast here.
What neighborhood in Tacoma should I live in?
Tacoma neighborhoods vary a LOT. There are neighborhoods with sunrise views over Mt Rainier such as Downtown Tacoma, Stadium, and Tacoma’s Eastside. There are neighborhoods with view of sunsets over the Olympic Mountains such as the West Slope and University Place. There are neighborhoods where homes cost over 1 million dollars and neighborhoods where homes are still very affordable. For a complete guide to all of Tacoma’s neighborhoods including prices and architecture check out our Tacoma Neighborhood Guide.
Who runs MovetoTacoma.com?
MovetoTacoma.com was created by Marguerite Martin in 2015. Marguerite is a local blogger and real estate agent who has been selling houses in Tacoma since 2005. Nowadays she exclusively represents buyers in Downtown Tacoma and the immediate surrounding neighborhoods. Looking for a real estate agent? Marguerite is a matchmaker. Contact her for an introduction to the best real estate agents in Tacoma and beyond. A long time Tacoma real estate agent and blogger, Marguerite is one of Tacoma’s biggest fans. Click here to Contact Marguerite.