Boasting beautiful historic homes and buildings, nature destinations, and excellent amenities, North Tacoma is considered the most prestigious neighborhood in the city of Tacoma, WA, and has been named one of the best places to live in the United States several times over.

With the scenic Commencement Bay bordering its eastern side, and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains forming an imposing backdrop, the neighborhood is highly treasured for its gorgeous views, small town vibe, and economic opportunities.

North Tacoma is also the home of the University of Puget Sound, giving it a lively college town feel. With a population of over 28,107 as of the 2020 Census, the neighborhood feels like a separate town, with its distinct characteristics, features, and attractions. Yet, North Tacoma residents enjoy all the benefits of being part of a progressive city with fantastic urban conveniences and economic opportunities.

North Tacoma was the birthplace of the city. Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the land that eventually became the city of Tacoma was first settled in the neighborhood’s Old Town, near the head of Commencement Bay. The settlement was abandoned during the Indian War of 1855 to 1856, but the area around it was resettled in 1864.

North Tacoma, WA real estate

North Tacoma is composed of smaller prestigious neighborhoods with their own distinct character, such as the University of Puget Sound area, Old Town, North Slope and Stadium, and Proctor. These pocket neighborhoods boast many of the most expensive and luxurious homes in the city, including a number of million dollar properties.

A largely residential and urban area, you’ll rarely find acreage properties in this section of the city. The majority of homes here have lot areas of between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet, and square footage of between 2,500 and 10,000.

Single-family homes dominate the housing stock, but you’ll also find charming townhouses in traditional and contemporary architecture. The highest priced homes are waterfront properties along the bay.

Many of the most desirable homes in the city are elegant properties that are at least 50 years old — some even 100 years old or older. North Tacoma homes come with distinctive architecture, exquisite details, and impeccable mature landscaping. Cookie cutter homes are a rarity here, giving the neighborhood an air of old school elegance and character.

Living in North Tacoma, WA

  • Cost of living Compared to the rest of Tacoma, the cost of living in North Tacoma is higher. This comes with the territory as the top community in the city, with the highest priced homes, upscale amenities, and average household income that’s considerably higher than the city’s and the state’s.
  • Education Students in North Tacoma can attend Tacoma Public Schools, which includes the highly-rated Stadium High School, Science and Math Institute, and Lowell Elementary School. There are 23 public schools serving North Tacoma, as well as a number of private schools, giving residents plenty of options for education.The University of Puget Sound is a historic landmark in the neighborhood, providing the community with easy access to higher education, as well as cultural and entertainment options.
  • Employment Many North Tacoma residents work in private companies in the city, while a significant number work for the government and nonprofits. A vast majority work in sales, management, finance, and similar occupations.
  • Healthcare The city of Tacoma has several hospitals and healthcare facilities. The largest hospital, Multicare Tacoma General Hospital, is found in North Tacoma. Other hospitals, including Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center, and MultiCare Allenmore Hospital, are just a few minutes away. There are also a number of specialized healthcare centers, including senior healthcare.
  • Attractions and recreation The picturesque Commencement Bay waterfront is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Ruston Way, the neighborhood’s main waterfront thoroughfare, is lined with excellent restaurants and relaxing parks. Connecting Tacoma to Point Defiance, this two mile paved walkway ends at Point Ruston, a commercial and residential development that features a great collection of shops and restaurants.If you love to fish, the Les Davis Fishing Pier is the place to go. In addition to casting your line, you can also enjoy other activities in the area, including diving, swimming, and hiking along the Ruston Way Trail.

    The Puget Creek Natural Area just across the bay is also a popular attraction. This 66-acre natural preserve will make you forget you’re in the middle of a bustling city, with its miles of heavily wooded trails and three salmon bearing streams.

    Old Town Tacoma is a wonderful part of the neighborhood that combines history and contemporary attractions. You’ll find shops and restaurants housed in the city’s earliest buildings, as well as cultural and entertainment venues, museums, and more. It’s also home to Tacoma’s only Neighborhood Business District along Commencement Bay.

Interested to know more about North Tacoma, WA? Get in touch with me, Lori Lewandowski, to inquire about housing options, learn more about the community, consult about community resources and facilities, or discuss related concerns.

I’m a Top Producing agent at John L Scott KMS, and I work seven days a week to help you achieve your goals. Call now at  253.617.5922 or email me at

You can also view your housing options in other fine WA communities like Buckley, Sumner, and University Place.

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