16 Pros and Cons of Living in Tacoma, WA

Updated On November 20, 2023

While Tacoma may not be as well-known as Seattle, its sister city, the town of Tacoma still has a lot to offer those who live here.

But for a town that has a lot to offer, there are also several downsides that may make this city unappealing to others.

So, if you’re thinking about moving to Tacoma, Washington, this guide is for you.

Continue reading to learn all about the pros and cons of living in Tacoma to help you determine whether this is a perfect location.

Tacoma, WA
Tacoma, WA

Pros of Living in Tacoma, WA

1. Various Job Opportunities

First things first. Tacoma is rich in job opportunities for those looking to relocate here.

Tacoma is in proximity to Seattle, which means you can easily cross over to work for bigger corporations, including Amazon and Microsoft.

If you choose to become a resident of Tacoma, you can rest assured that you will find a nice job opportunity.

Several job industries in Tacoma include:

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

2. Perfect for Outdoor Activities

Many of the people who live here are huge outdoor fanatics.

You will be glad to know that Tacoma offers the opportunity to participate in some of your favorite outdoor activities.

Aside from outdoor recreation, you’ll find many highly-rated restaurants in Tacoma, in addition to smaller businesses.

It is a town that is rich in culture and art.

If you’re a foodie, consider giving these restaurants a try:

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

3. Affordable Living

When compared to the cost of living in Seattle, Tacoma is relatively cheaper.

But, even still, the living costs in Tacoma are 11% above the national average.

Furthermore, it’s also 46% less than the cost of living in Seattle, which is a huge difference.

Housing expenses are also cheaper in Tacoma than in Seattle.

The average cost of a home in Tacoma is 21% cheaper than in the state of Washington.

Furthermore, Washington State doesn’t charge residents state income taxes, which is a huge plus.

4. Beautiful Weather

Washington has a reputation for getting a lot of rainfall.

But Tacoma doesn’t see nearly as much rain.

For the record, Tacoma sees an average of 39 inches of rainfall each year.

The summers in Tacoma are relatively mild, with temperatures averaging around 77 degrees Fahrenheit between July and August.

In January, temperatures in Tacoma aren’t bitterly cold. Temperatures average around 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

Overall, it’s safe to say that Tacoma has delightful weather throughout the year.

5. Full of Diversity

Tacoma has about 20 different neighborhoods around the city.

Tacoma is also home to plenty of diversity, with many people coming from different backgrounds and lifestyles.

Also, you’ll find that the people living here are friendly and welcoming.

If you’re a people person, you won’t have any trouble making new friends.

Some of the best neighborhoods in Tacoma are:

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

6. Breathing-Taking Views

Tacoma is known for its beautiful scenery.

This is a huge plus if you love stunning views.

For example, you’ll find plenty of breathtaking views at Puget Sound.

The mountains surrounding Puget Sound make the views even more amazing.

Also, Tacoma has plenty of parks and trails in town.

So, moving here is definitely considered a win for those who enjoy being outside.

Several popular outdoor attractions include:

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

7. Excellent for Higher Education

If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, you’ll find that you can earn a solid education while living in Tacoma.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter what your field of study is.

There are more than 50 undergraduate degree programs, such as psychology, computer science, and several more.

These studies can all be taken at The University of Washington Tacoma.

Furthermore, Bates Technical College offers students the opportunity to learn about information technology, robotics, or electronics.

8. Excellent Public Transit

Moving to Tacoma, you’ll find that there are plenty of public transportation options for you to take advantage of.

For example, there are about 31 different routes throughout the city via the PierceTransit bus system.

Also, you can use the Link Light Rail to your advantage if you’re trying to access downtown Tacoma.

There are about six stops in total.

Finally, Tacoma offers the Sound Transit bus and the Seattle Sounder for those in need of reliable transportation for work.

Cons of Living in Tacoma, WA

1. Risk of Wildfires

Tacoma can see some pretty hot days in the summer.

With frequent high temperatures comes a huge risk of wildfires.

There have been constant eruptions of wildfires in Washington in 2020.

It’s definitely something you will have to deal with if you move here.

Furthermore, you can expect to see the skies fill up with thick black smoke during the summer months, so be prepared.

2. High Crime Rates

Tacoma has a reputation for having a high crime rate.

Safety is certainly a concern for residents living here.

Crime rates are 171% higher than the national average.

Also, violent crimes are 117% higher than the U.S. average.

So, if you’re planning on moving here and raising children, you may want to plan in advance.

Fortunately, there are neighborhoods in Tacoma that are considered safer than others.

3. Traffic Can Be a Headache

Traffic in Tacoma can be a real headache, particularly during the rush hour.

This can make driving a pain for those who commute to work on a daily basis.

The further north you travel, the worse the traffic will be.

In fact, Tacoma ranks eighth for having the worst traffic in the entire country.

Drivers can expect to lose nearly 52 hours each year stuck in traffic.

4. Nightlife Is Limited

If having a good nightlife matters to you, then Tacoma may not be the ideal city for you.

The nightlife scene in Tacoma is extremely limited.

While the town does have several clubs, pubs, and bars, it lacks the 24/7 excitement that other big cities have.

Fortunately, Seattle isn’t too far away if you’re looking to enjoy a great night out on the town.

5. Parts of the City Smell

The entire city of Tacoma doesn’t smell bad. In fact, the majority of the city is fine.

But Tacoma does have days when certain areas of the city have an extremely foul odor that many residents simply can’t describe.

Tacoma is located close to a paper mill, hence the horrible smell.

The good news is that the paper mill isn’t located directly in the middle of the city.

This means that you will only notice the smell when the wind blows towards you.

6. Rainy City

While Tacoma doesn’t see nearly as much rain as other parts of Washington, including Seattle, there are more rainy days than sunny days here.

Residents who have lived here nearly their entire lives can recount years when it would rain every day through July.

If you aren’t used to these types of weather conditions, it can be depressing.

Fortunately, the summer months are beautiful.

Temperatures barely make up to 80 degrees, which can be good for those who dislike humidity.

7. The City Is Divided

Tacoma was known for its high crime rate nearly thirty years ago.

But since then, the crime rate has slightly improved. However, Tacoma is a divided city.

People who live west and north of the city are considered a white-collar class.

Furthermore, along Sixth Avenue, there’s also a dividing line where most people are considered working class.

So, if you’re looking for a universal town, you may want to look someplace else.

8. Comes Second to Seattle

Even though Seattle and Tacoma have a lot to offer those who live here, it all depends on exactly what you are looking for in terms of quality of life.

But, if you ask most people, they will state they prefer Seattle to Tacoma.

Seattle is perfect for those in the tech industry and has a vibrant cultural scene.

However, due to its proximity to Tacoma, many people choose to live in Tacoma and work in Seattle.

Tacoma, WA
Tacoma, WA

Pros and Cons of Living in Tacoma, WA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Tacoma, WACons of Living in Tacoma, WA
1. Various Job Opportunities1. Risk of Wildfires
2. Perfect for Outdoor Activities2. High Crime Rates
3. Affordable Living3. Traffic Can Be a Headache
4. Beautiful Weather4. Nightlife Is Limited
5. Full of Diversity5. Parts of the City Smell
6. Breathing-Taking Views6. Rainy City
7. Excellent for Higher Education7. The City Is Divided
8. Excellent Public Transit8. Comes Second to Seattle

Tacoma Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Tacoma Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tacoma a fun city to live in?

Tacoma is a fun city, but it has limited nightlife compared to other nearby cities.

This can be a major disadvantage for residents looking for pure entertainment and a vibrant nightlife scene.

There are several clubs and bars around town.

However, Tacoma does offer a thriving arts and culture scene.

So, all in all, it really depends on what you define as “fun.”

Is Tacoma a good place to raise children?

If you’re planning on moving to Tacoma with your children or planning on having kids, you’ll be happy to know that Tacoma is rated highly for families and children of all ages.

This is mainly due to its excellent public school districts and host of family-friendly entertainment.

Is Tacoma a good place to retire?

If you are a fan of spring-like weather throughout the year, then Tacoma is the perfect community to retire in.

It’s also located within 25 minutes south of Sea-Tac International Airport, making it convenient for family and friends to visit.

It’s a great location with plenty of activities for those retiring to enjoy.

What is Tacoma known for?

Tacoma is known for its glass art.

Glass artist Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma.

Tacoma is also home to various creative artists, writers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, and photographers.

The town of Tacoma is known for its amazing arts and culture scene.

Is Tacoma considered “safer” than Seattle?

Seattle is number 158 of the safest cities in the United States.

Tacoma ranks closer to the bottom, coming in at number 161.

Both cities are pretty much equal in terms of being safe.

2 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Tacoma, WA

  1. Tacoma, WA offers various job opportunities and is perfect for outdoor activities with beautiful weather, affordable living costs, diverse neighborhoods, breathtaking views, excellent higher education options and public transit; however it has a risk of wildfires, high crime rates, traffic congestion during rush hour commute times limited nightlife scene in the city along with occasional foul smells from certain areas.

  2. Its people are hyper-viligent, hate homeless people, and is very clannish beyond the superficial social norms. You won’t make friends easily here. The men overall are more helpful than the women. Tacoma natives act like it’s a Tier A destination. Not even close. It’s a beautiful area with snobby people.

Leave a Comment

Facebook Pinterest Comment Comment