What are Tacoma’s best neighborhoods? Well, that depends on who you’re asking and why you’re asking.
Each of Tacoma’s neighborhoods has something special about it—just take a moment to explore our clickable neighborhood map of Tacoma and you’ll see what we mean.
In this post, we’re sharing the “best” Tacoma neighborhoods by a few different categories: affordability, views, business districts, parks, and schools. If you’re new to Tacoma (or just wanting to explore), this is a great place to start getting a sense of what Tacoma is all about!
The Best Tacoma Neighborhoods Ranked by Affordability
It’s important to start out by pointing out that “affordable” can mean many different things. In this case, “affordable” is referring to the Tacoma neighborhoods that have the lowest median home sale price.
You can find a list of 5 Tacoma neighborhoods and their median home sale prices in our post “What Are the Most Affordable Neighborhoods in Tacoma Right Now?”
The Best Tacoma Neighborhoods with the Best Views
We’re so fortunate to have many, many pretty views in Tacoma—views of Mt. Rainier, Commencement Bay, Narrows Bridges, Narrows Passage, the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic Mountains, and more (not to mention the stunning sunsets and sunrises that accompany many of these PNW scenes) are all on the horizon.
Of course, whether or not you actually get to admire one of these views from your home greatly depends on the Tacoma neighborhood you live in.
Here is a list of Tacoma neighborhoods with the best views:
West End / West Slope – Views of Narrows Bridges & Narrows Passage
Old Town – Views of Commencement Bay, Vashon Island, Browns Point
North Slope – Views of Commencement Bay, Vashon Island, Browns Point
Stadium District – Views of Commencement Bay
St. Helens – Views of Commencement Bay
Downtown Tacoma – Views of Mt. Rainier, Cascade Mountains, Commencement Bay, Port of Tacoma
Hilltop – Views of Mt. Rainier, Cascade Mountains, Commencement Bay, Port of Tacoma
Hillside / UWT – Views of Mt. Rainier, Cascade Mountains, Commencement Bay, Port of Tacoma
Lincoln District – Views of Downtown Tacoma
Browns Point / Northeast Tacoma – Views of Commencement Bay, Port of Tacoma, Downtown Tacoma
Ruston (the City of Ruston is not technically in Tacoma, but it is completely surrounded by Tacoma so it gets an honorable mention here!) – Views of Commencement Bay, Vashon Island, Browns Point
The Best Tacoma Neighborhoods with Thriving Business Districts
We chose each of these neighborhoods because they have “micro” neighborhoods where you’ll find great shops and restaurants in close proximity to each other:
Fern Hill: You’ll find shops, eateries, (great breakfast!) and local services here along Pacific Ave.
Proctor: Proctor District = destination shopping. You could spend an entire day here dining and browsing the cute boutiques.
6th Ave: Nightlife, dining, unique shops are all here.
Downtown Tacoma: This is another destination neighborhood where you can spend the day! And not just shopping and dining—you’ll find some of the best museums in the region here too.
Three Bridges: This small North Tacoma neighborhood has local staples like a yoga studio, boutiques, and eateries.
Stadium District: This historic neighborhood has everything you need—a grocery store, dining, a coffee shop, boutiques and more.
Hilltop: This Tacoma neighborhood’s business district is especially notable for its excellent coffee shops and eateries.
The Best Tacoma Neighborhoods with the Best Parks
Because Metro Parks Tacoma is such an awesome organization, there is not a neighborhood in Tacoma without great parks! We decided to just share a few of our favorite/largest parks in Tacoma:
Ruston / Old Town: Ruston is not technically in Tacoma (although it is a small city completely surrounded by Tacoma), but Ruston and Old Town are home to Ruston Way, which includes a scenic 2-mile waterfront trail that connects several smaller parks.
Ruston / North Tacoma: Just north of Ruston you’ll find Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park, an 11-acre park on the water that just opened in 2019! From there you can head over to the glorious 700+ acre old growth forest that is Point Defiance Park.
Downtown Tacoma: Thea’s Park is right at the entrance of the Foss Waterway, offering views of boats coming and going, marine life, activity in the Port, and more.
Stadium District / Downtown Tacoma / Hilltop: Wright Park is a Tacoma destination, and this 27-acre features a conservatory, a sprayground, a collection of 600 trees, beautiful trails and a pond to admire, etc.
Eastside: Swan Creek Park is truly unique. This 373-acre park is basically your backyard if you live on Tacoma’s Eastside, and you can head here when you need to get lost in nature for a while.
The Best Tacoma Neighborhoods with the Best Schools
Real estate agents get asked “What are the best schools in Tacoma?” ALL. THE. TIME.
We’re actually not going to include any recommendations for “best schools” or “best school districts” in Tacoma, because this is actually a very complicated matter. Finding the best school for you and your family will vary greatly depending on your unique needs. Tacoma real estate agent Marguerite talks with fellow agent Anne about how to choose schools in Tacoma:
One way to begin getting some insight on Tacoma Public Schools is to listen to this great episode of the Move to Tacoma Podcast: “University Place Schools, Tacoma Public Schools, and the Ladies First program with T’wina Franklin.”