Which Tacoma Area Neighborhood Should I Move To?

November 8, 2018 | By Jeff Jensen

Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma, located about 30 miles southwest of Seattle, is quickly becoming quite the urban destination for long time Washingtonians, as well as newcomers to Washington. Since the prices of Real Estate have skyrocketed in Seattle through the last decade, Tacoma has become a nice alternative for those seeking lower home prices, top-notch schools, and amazing scenery. Although Tacoma saw a downturn in the mid-20th century, it has changed quite a bit in the last 30 years. Since the 1990s, developments in the downtown core include the University of Washington TacomaTacoma Link, the first modern electric light rail service in the state; the state's highest density of art and history museums; and a restored urban waterfront, the Thea Foss Waterway. Neighborhoods such as the 6th Avenue District have been revitalized. With over $1 billion having been invested in downtown Tacoma alone, private investment has surpassed public investment by a ratio of almost 4:1.

Tacoma has been named one of the most livable areas in the United States. In 2006, Tacoma was listed as one of the "most walkable" cities in the country. That same year, the women's magazine Self, named Tacoma the "Most Sexually Healthy City" in the United States. In contrast, Tacoma was also ranked as the "most stressed-out" city in the country in a 2004 survey, but if we are being honest, that most likely has to do with the I-5 traffic!

Tacoma, WA – With views of Mr. Ranier


So now that we have convinced you that Tacoma could possibly rival Seattle in its offerings, which part of Tacoma should you move to? The neighborhoods in Tacoma vary almost as much as the Pacific Northwest Scenery itself, so finding the right neighborhood to fit your family and lifestyle can be a little difficult. We have a list of the Top Tacoma Neighborhoods and all the details for each one! Scroll down to find out more!

1.) Stadium District

Tacoma, Washington – Stadium Neighborhood

The Stadium District is located in the North End of Tacoma, located between the North Slope residential neighborhood and the Stadium Business District and the Hilltop Neighborhood, further South.

It is named after the Stadium High School, which is a historic landmark. It was built in 1891, but in 1898 it had a massive fire and was completely gutted. Then in 1906, it opened officially as Tacoma High School, but just seven years later it was renamed as we know it now, Stadium High School. One interesting piece of information about Stadium High School was that it was featured in the 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You.

Stadium High School - Tacoma, Washington


The Stadium Neighborhood is mostly single-family homes, apartments, and condos. A lot of these residences have stunning views of Commencement Bay. The architecture in this area of Tacoma is filled with plenty of historic homes and details in the buildings.

Some of the must-see things in this neighborhood include:

·         Wright's Park, which was designed as a smaller replica of Central Park in New York City

·         Stadium Thriftway

·         Espresso By The Cup

·         Ranko's Pharmacy

·         WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory

·         Shake Shake Shake

·         Rhein Haus Tacoma

Shake Shake Shake Restaurant - Tacoma, Washington

Wright's Park - Tacoma, Washington

WW Seymour Botanical Garden - Tacoma, Washington

If you are looking into moving to the Stadium District and are going to have children in school, the schools all have a rating of 6 or higher, with Stadium High School touting an 8 out 10 school rating.

The median single-family house price in this area is $432,000, and the median rent is $824 for a one bedroom. The average age of residents in this area is 35 years old.

Overall, this is a fun neighborhood to choose because of its interesting architecture, fun restaurants, and excellent parks. It is a very walkable neighborhood of Tacoma. 

2.) Hilltop Neighborhood

View of Tacoma from Hilltop Neighborhood


The National Register of Historic Places specifies the geographic area of Hilltop as located within the City of Tacoma and bounded on the east by Tacoma Avenue South, on the north by Division Street, on the west by Sprague Avenue, and on the south by the edge of the bluff, which roughly equates to South 27th Street.

 Hilltop derives its name from its location on a high bluff overlooking Commencement Bay and the Port of Tacoma. It is adjoined by Tacoma's more affluent Stadium District.

Sound Transit plans to build a streetcar line on Martin Luther King Jr. Way, between Division Avenue and South 19th Street, by 2022, connecting to the existing Tacoma Link in Downtown Tacoma.


Houses located in the Hilltop Neighborhood

Hilltop Neighborhood has several things going for it, the first thing being affordability. If you are looking for a home at a reasonable price that is close to downtown, Hilltop is a great choice and much more affordable than its neighbor, Stadium District, which is much more affluent. Also, Hilltop has the proximity to all the action of Tacoma. You are close to downtown, it is within walking distance, and you are also close to the freeway as well. A lot of Tacoma residents commute to Seattle, so that is a big plus of choosing Hilltop.

Although Hilltop was known for its period of heavy crime in the 1980’s, it is now a completely different place and definitely is being changed by the changing population that is moving to the area. There is a lot of money being put into improving the neighborhood by businesses and residents alike. It is an up and coming neighborhood to consider, for sure.

Some of the must-see things in Hilltop Neighborhood include:

·         Peterson Bros

·         1022 South J

·         Quickie Too – Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurant

·         Johnson Candy Company

Quickie Too Restaurant-Tacoma, Washington

Johnson Candy Company - Tacoma, Washington

If you are looking to moving to the Hilltop area and you will have kids in school, the school ratings aren’t nearly as good as the surrounding neighborhoods like Stadium and North End, so be aware of that.

The average price of homes in the Hilltop Neighborhood is $359,000. The median rent is $965 for a one bedroom.

Hilltop is a very unique choice when it comes to Tacoma Neighborhoods. It is up and coming, so who knows how this neighborhood could develop over the next number of years. Also, it is still affordable to get in now, before it becomes the next hot spot!

3.) North End

View of the North End Shopping and Restaurants


North Tacoma, also called the North End, is a neighborhood that is most known for its waterfront parks and restaurants. The Point Defiance Park, located at the very northern end of this neighborhood, is a large urban park that also houses the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. It also features numerous hiking trails and beautiful beaches. There are several restaurants that serve fresh seafood and offer stunning views of Puget Sound.


Ferry headed towards Vashon Island from Point Defiance

Views of the North End

Also located in the North End is Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which is famously known as Galloping Gertie, the suspension bridge that fell during a storm in 1940. It has since been rebuilt and is quite the stunning addition to the already breathtaking views in the North End.


Tacoma Narrows Bridge


The North End is a well-established walkable middle-class neighborhood. The community has a small town feel. Most north end residents still work in Tacoma. Due to the University of Puget Sound being within the neighborhood, a notable number of residents work in the fields of education, health, social, and human services. The population is more educated than average, with just short of a quarter possessing a graduate or professional degree.

University of Puget Sound

The waterfront, especially around Old Tacoma, is increasingly being redeveloped and becoming an expensive place to live, although there are still a few moderately-priced apartments near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

 Shopping and Restaurants in the North End


The average home price in the North End is $323,000 and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1200. The schools located in the North End all boast high national scores and are definitely some of the best schools in Tacoma.

A home located in the North End


Some of the must-see points of interest in the North End include:

·         University of Puget Sound

·         Tacoma Narrows Bridge

·         Vashon Island Ferry

·         Duke’s Seafood and Chowder

·         The Lobster Shop

      ·         Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance Park Beaches

Point Defiance Park

North End neighborhood of Tacoma is filled with history, architecture, stunning views, top-notch schools, and an endless array of restaurants and community events to check out!

4.) South Tacoma

South Tacoma Shops


South Tacoma was originally formed around the Northern Pacific Railroad route that went through the area. It is now a hub of shopping, restaurants, and car dealerships that are conveniently located to most area of Tacoma. And if you are a car enthusiast, be sure to check out the car show that comes to the area every August.

 South Tacoma Car Show


South Tacoma is also home to the Tacoma Mall, as well as a variety of shopping options from low to high end in options. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area that you can easily stop in and check out during those shopping sprees.

Tacoma Mall


If you are looking for some relief in home prices, South Tacoma might be a place to check out. The home prices in this area are a bit lower than the surrounding Puget Sound area. The average home price in South Tacoma is $174,000 and the median rent is $990.

Wapato Park

Some must see things in South Tacoma include:

·         Tacoma Mall

·         Wapato Park

·         South Park

·         Pacific Southern Restaurant

·         Pasteles Finos Del Angel Bakery

·         Tibbets at Fern Hill Restuarant

5.) Northeast Tacoma


Views from the Northeast Area of Tacoma

Northeast Tacoma includes the areas of Port of Tacoma, Brown’s Point, and Fife Heights. Due to the separation of the area because of the Port of Tacoma, Northeast Tacoma is one of the most suburban and isolated neighborhoods of Tacoma.

This is area is quite hilly, so many of the homes have stunning views of Puget Sound.

Neighborhood located in the Northeast Neighborhood – Tacoma, Washington

Due to this neighborhood’s proximity to I-5, many of the residents commute to Seattle for work. This area is much closer to King County than any other area of Tacoma, and it is quite cut off from Tacoma, so you will inevitably see the perks of this neighborhood if you are looking for something more convenient to Seattle and its surrounding areas. You will also be able to skip the Tacoma Dome traffic back up by choosing this area of Tacoma.


 Northeast Tacoma Beach

The average home price in Northeast Tacoma is $317,000 and the average rent is $1400. Schools in this area have higher than average school ratings, so that is a plus if you are moving to the area with school-age children.

Some of the must-see things in Northeast Tacoma include:

·         Brown’s Point and its historic Lighthouse

·         Dash Point Park and Pier

·         Cliff House Restaurant

·         On the Greens Restaurant

Brown’s Point Lighthouse

The Cliff House Restaurant – Tacoma, Washington

Overall, Northeast Tacoma is a great suburban area of Tacoma with great schools, restaurants, views, parks, and a close proximity to Seattle!


Hopefully, our rundown of Tacoma Area Neighborhoods helped narrow down your search a bit! Give us a call or send us a message, we would love to continue to help you find the perfect house for your move to Tacoma!

Jeff Jensen

I am a 3rd generation Tacoma Pierce County native. After 26 years as a realtor in the community I grew up in, my name is synonymous with Quality Real Estate Representation and Service. I work professionally and tirelessly for my clients to achieve success and an outcome that benefits all involved. I love to participate in community events and represent my city. I have been here my whole life and I love Tacoma!






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