Tacoma, WA downtown

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 42
Demographics 59
Economy 73
Education 52
Health 62
Housing 61
Infrastructure 39

#23. Tacoma, WA

Tacoma, WA may not get as much national attention as Seattle, as its sister city across the sound, and many locals actually hope to keep it that way. Its adorable neighborhoods are far less congested yet similarly boast great coffee, diverse cuisine, thriving arts scene and jaw-dropping views of Mount Rainier on clear days. And the cost of living that doesn’t require an Amazon engineer’s salary. Oh, and residents can own up to six chickens if that’s your kind of thing.

Top Colleges/Universities: University of Puget Sound, University of Washington Tacoma Campus & Pacific Lutheran University

Top Industries & Employers: Maritime, tech and tech startup, arts, health care, aerospace, banking and insurance, construction

Weekend Plans: Explore otherworldly shapes and colors at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, the largest and most interactive museum glass studio on the entire West Coast. Located on the water, right in downtown — which includes a handful of other great art museums — the acclaimed gallery offers live glass-blowing demonstrations, powerful exhibitions and unique DIY glass experiences.

Favorite Place to Feast: Peaks & Pints is a haven for beer geeks and regular folks alike, offering unforgettable sandwiches with a friendly, neighborhood vibe.

Beloved Beverage: The La Pistola Mexican Mocha at Bluebeard Coffee Roasters boasts a spicy chocolate sauce that tastes somewhat like a mole. It’s a local favorite, but for those who don’t like additional flavors in their brew, the basic coffees at this local roastery are sure to impress, too.

Outdoorsy Activity: Point Defiance Park is one of the nicest urban parks in the United States. No matter the weather, locals walk, hike or run through its gorgeous trails that meander through vibrant gardens, old-growth forests and along rugged coastal bluffs. It’s even possible to spot a seal sunbathing on the shoreline promenade.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: While there are multiple dog-friendly patios and plenty of enjoyable dog parks in Tacoma, it really all does come back to Point Defiance. Its off-leash area is a staggering 7 acres in size, fenced off from the roadway and waterfront bluff. Plus, there’s also a smaller fenced area for pups.

Remote Work Perk: Surge Tacoma has everything needed for a successful coworking space: mail services, conference rooms, a large presentation area, even a fully stocked kitchen. But what sets it apart is the rooftop-view garden that, yes, still offers lightning-fast Wi-Fi.

One More Thing … Dale Chihuly, arguably the most famous glass artist on the planet, was born in Tacoma.

– Brittany Anas

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