15 Pros and Cons of Living in Tacoma, WA (2024 Guide!)

Ever thought about the pros and cons of living in Tacoma?

With its stunning views of Mount Rainier, rich cultural scene, and a more relaxed pace just a stone’s throw from Seattle, Tacoma draws folks looking for a balance between city life and natural beauty. But every city has its trade-offs.

Before packing up and heading to a new place, it’s crucial to weigh the good against the not-so-good. Having navigated new hometowns myself, I’ve learned what makes a place truly livable.

So let’s dig into the pros and cons of living in Tacoma to help you figure out if this Pacific Northwest city is the right spot for you!

Read: 10 Safest Neighborhoods in Denver

Pros of Living in Tacoma

Rich in Job Opportunities 

Located on the coast, Tacoma is a port city. Being a port city, Tacoma is profuse with job opportunities! 

Apart from being a port city, Tacoma is also close to Seattle. Being so close to Seattle also makes Tacoma a ground for high-profile companies to go hunting for employees, including Microsoft and Amazon. 

Being a Tacoma resident, you can leverage the ideal location of the city and its exposure to high-profile employers. According to the City of Tacoma’s Website, some major employers include: 

  • The Military
  • Healthcare System 
  • Government Jobs 
  • Educational Sector

Surplus Outdoor Activities

The town’s locals are huge fans of exploring the outdoors, eating good food, and appreciating the fine city art. 

As you move to Tacoma, you will find yourself overjoyed with the town’s numerous activities. For example, Tacoma remains an attraction to tourists worldwide for its glass art. 

Apart from the unique art concepts, Tacoma has amazing restaurants and small shops selling unique collectibles. Tacoma is a great move for keeping your belly full and finding entertainment within pristine art and the town’s rich culture. 

Some terrific restaurants suggested by Eater are as follows: 

  • Sushi Tama
  • Peaks and Pints
  • Cham Garden Korean BBQ

Comparatively Affordable than Seattle

When you fare Tacoma to the neighboring Seattle, you will find Tacoma has relatively low living costs.

Albeit the living costs in Tacoma sit 11% higher than the national average, living costs in this city costs a whopping 46% lesser than in Seattle. 

Similarly, the housing expenses in Seattle are 80% higher than the national average, whereas the housing expenses in Tacoma are 21% lower than the average housing costs in its state.

As an added benefit, Washington state does not charge any state income tax from its residents. 

Living in Tacoma, you might save some money annually and spend on attaining a better quality of life. 

More from where to live: Safest Neighborhoods In Portland, Oregon

A City Full of Beautiful Sights

Besides its amenities, the biggest plus of moving to Tacoma is its beautiful scenery. 

Tacoma falls on Puget Sound, an astounding water body causing stunning aquatic views. The mountains spread over Puget Sound further elaborate the scene and make the view breathtaking. 

Apart from Puget Sound, Tacoma is full of countless trails and parks. Moving to Tacoma sounds like an absolute win for someone who loves the outdoors. 

According to TripAdvisor, some top outdoor destinations include: 

  • Point Defiance Park 
  • Mile Drive & Trails 
  • Owen Beach 

Delightful Weather

Washington gets a bad rep for extensive rainfall. However, reality appears contradictory to the common beliefs and the usual weather forecasts. 

Tacoma is not that wet, with approximately 39 inches of average rainfall annually. On the other hand, the summers hit the hardest in January, with average high temperatures ranging from 48 degrees in January and 77 in July and August. 

Studying these scores, it’s easy to conclude that Tacoma harbors delightful weather throughout the year.

The nice weather will allow you to enjoy outdoor activities and live without having to deal with extreme temperatures! 

Friendly, Diverse Neighborhoods

With approximately 20 neighborhoods scattered around the town, Tacoma is home to people with different lifestyles and preferences. 

Regardless of the lifestyle people prefer, you will find the city’s majority population to be friendly and supportive. 

Consider settling in the aesthetically appealing neighborhoods to get the best of Tacoma.

The neighborhoods feature well-constructed infrastructure and nice locals to quickly make you feel at home! 

According to movetotacoma.com, the best neighborhoods of the town include: 

  • 6th avenue 
  • Hillside
  • Point Ruston 
  • UPS Neighborhood

Cultural Hub

You’ve got the Museum of Glass with its amazing exhibits, and the Tacoma Art Museum is great for an art fix.

Live music is everywhere, from cozy cafés to bigger venues, and there are theaters for when you’re in the mood for a play. Art galleries and cultural festivals pop up regularly, really showing off the city’s diversity.

Proximity to Seattle

Tacoma’s just 30 miles south of Seattle, so you’re super close to all the big-city stuff without the constant hustle. It’s more laid-back, and you’ll probably save some cash on living costs compared to being right in Seattle.

Cons of Living in Tacoma

Now, let us discover the bad sides of life in Tacoma: 

High Tax Rates

After all, Tacoma is in Washington. Washington is infamous for being the fourth state to have imposed the highest sales tax in the entire country! 

The sales tax in Tacoma is 10.2%, 2.2% higher than the national average of 8%.

Apart from the sales tax, property tax in Tacoma is significantly higher than in other Washington cities! 

The Property Tax of Tacoma is 1.21%, whereas the property tax imposed by the state is 1.031%. 


Some summer days in Washington get irresistibly hot, and Tacoma is no exception.

The high hot temperatures mean that there always remains a threat of wildfire constantly. 

Ever since the frequent eruptions of wildfire in 2020, Wildfires in Washington have become a daily routine.

As you move to Tacoma, expect to see the skies filled with dense black smoke during summer. 

High Crime Rates

Tacoma sits high for having a bad reputation for safety and increasing crime reports. 

With crime rates 171% higher and violent crimes approximately 117% higher than the national average, safety is a huge concern for anyone planning to move to Tacoma. 

See: 10 Safest Cities to Live in Colorado

However, there are neighborhoods in the town that exhibit safety for its residents. If you move to Tacoma, settle in a safe neighborhood.

Please refer to the neighborhoods mentioned earlier as viable moving options.


While Tacoma has several specialized and art-focused schools, the statistics can be unsettling.

As of recent data, only 61% of 11th graders are proficient in reading/writing, and a mere 14% in Math.

Graduation might be happening, but the numbers hint that students might not be fully prepared.

In the city, while you have the choice to pick a school within the Tacoma Public Schools system, you might be on the hook for transportation if you don’t choose your neighborhood school.

There’s a decent selection with 30 elementary schools. Some of them, like Grant and Stafford, are arts-centric, while Sherman dives deep into STEAM. If Montessori is your thing, Bryant and Geiger got you covered.

For high schoolers, options like SOTA, SAMI, and IDEA exist, but getting in requires a successful application.

The schools, in general, have a mix of backgrounds, though places like North End and Northeast Tacoma might lean a bit less diverse.

And if you have a child who requires special education, TPS might not be the most equipped in terms of resources.


Tacoma’s traffic isn’t as intense as Seattle’s, but it’s got its moments, especially during rush hour or on the main roads. You’ll hit some slowdowns for sure.

Industrial Areas

Certain parts of Tacoma are heavily industrialized. You probably know the drill with that — less scenery, more factories.

Economic Disparities

In Tacoma, there are noticeable economic disparities, especially if you’re not in the tech sector or another well-paying field.

You’ll see a mix of wealth and struggle across different neighborhoods.

Is Tacoma a Good Place to Live?

Tacoma has changed since the 90s and has become a cool place to live.

It’s got awesome views, good food spots, and a mix of people. But, just like in any city, you gotta be smart about safety.

The cost of living is going up, but it’s still cheaper than some of the big west coast cities.

If you’re thinking about moving there, definitely visit first to check out different areas.

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