Originally the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railway, Tacoma, Wash., could easily be the place where all those cowboys who rode off into the sunset ended up. This mid-sized city, nicknamed the City of Destiny in the late 19th century, offers retirees and families with children an affordable place to live with easy access to pristine natural areas and an attractive waterfront. Low health-care costs, great hospitals, a high concentration of parks and golf courses, and lots of other retirees make Tacoma one of the Best Places to Retire in the US.
More than 10 retirement communities and assisted living facilities in Tacoma give options to those who want to be among the age 60-and-over crowd, but the city also offers a variety of housing options from luxury condos to single-family homes in suburban neighborhoods. The recently restored downtown area features a collection of cultural amenities that draw visitors from across the region. A free light rail system connects museums, glass studios and performance venues with restaurants and shops. Among the hotspots in Tacoma’s urban center is 6th Avenue, where visitors are likely to find yarn-bombed bike racks outside hipster-filled bars and ice cream shops and flavorful restaurants. Much of Tacoma faces the Puget Sound, which provides opportunities to fish, kayak, paddle board and swim. The Ruston Way Waterfront is an ideal spot for romantic strolls or to find a restaurant with a view of Commencement Bay.
Retirees who enjoy hiking will love being located just minutes from Mount Rainier National Park and can explore the city's 702-acre Point Defiance Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the country. In addition, the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts manages three theaters in Tacoma that host operas, symphonies, ballet performances and revels.