Right now the sun is shining bright and the weather is hot (smoking hot) and summer is here full force. This is why we live here in the PNW, best summers. You have the mountains on the cascades and olympics glittering bright with the snow reflecting the sun, just enticing you to come hike. With the waves in the Puget sound and rivers and lakes throwing the sun right back at you, saying come in and swim and fish in our waters. Yep nothing better in the summer than in the PNW and with no abundance of mosquitoes at least where we live at the lake. You can just setup your chair and really enjoy one of the last slices of nature before you head to Canada and Alaska. Of course in the high woods and mountains, yes we do have bears and Mountain Lions, coyotes and wolfs.

With real estate I believe everyone has learned or is finally learning – Location is everything. And yes sometimes you can’t get the perfect location. But when you can, nothing is better than that amazing location. In my opinion these are my 3 top locations for a Primary or Investment home.

  1. Waterfront pure and simple. Nothing is better than having water at your back or front door and being about to jump in for a swim or paddle/boat off into the sunset. It is the best spot to be in the hot summer days and everyone will want to becoming over for that bbq and swim/boat time. Now with that said, yes some waterfront is not good. (If you are in a flood zone or a very swampy location). Remember even with waterfront there are prime locations, good spots, and then just okay spots. With regards to the PNW in Washington state we have Salt water and Fresh Water locations. We then can go further with location here in Washington state as we have a lot of choices to pick from. Would you prefer lake or river/stream or would you like salt water bay/sound or oceanfront? This is totally up to you and to be honest, all waterfront in my mind is a solid purchase. Of course there are levels of prime locations on the water front as well. For example on the lake a clean spot for swimming and dock with boating in front of your house is perfect. But as the same lake if it is marshy and you can’t really swim and too shallow for a boat, while again you are waterfront but less desirable location. Budget will also have a huge determining factor on what you can pick/afford. And at the end of the day, I believe water front is 100 times better than a cookie cutter home with pavement and homes all around you.
  • 2. Land and great large raw land with maybe a creek/river or pond or if you are lucky to have large land with salt water. Land is becoming harder and harder to find. There are many factors to why there is less land, the obvious is more people and more people wanting land instead of living downtown or in the cities. The big chunks of raw land that are clean, by clean I mean no wetlands or gophers to stop you from being able to build. Also flat with some hills is good, but steep and extremely hard to build on lots is also not the best. So you will always have different levels of land that is Best to not the best. I will say when the land is private and doesn’t have eye sores around it, being that of either man built/living presence or views such as mud flats or swamps. The really nice pieces of land usually get sold off market to investors/developers or if you are hunting for land, a really good real estate broker will call around for you to see if any owner is looking to sell. Another great way to buy big chunks of raw land is to look for timber land from logging companies. Sometimes these lots are further out in the country. But if you can afford to buy and hold on to the property until it is built up around you or development has come close to the big chunks of land you can make a good penny developing the land or selling to a developer/investor.
  • 3. Downtown Residential/Commerical Downtown Residential/Commerical is amazing and can always be fun and exciting living or living/working close to all the action of a downtown city. Depending where the city is, you can have key locations downtown, if there is water then of course closer to the water or even better on the water is of course the best of the best you can get. If you have a residential of condo on a nice corner spot with restaurants and bars with cute stores, this again is very attractive and definitely helps the value. I really like if you can find a building to buy that has residential on top and a commercial unit on the bottom that you can either rent or use yourself for a business. These always are great buys, but harder to find sometimes. If you are just looking for commercial buildings, I usually recommend making sure the buildings are in key locations, unless they there in gentrification going on through the downtown key areas. These area are called opportunity zones and have awesome tax advantages and if you hold them for a key time period are a great investment, as long as it is just not sitting there vacant. 

The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide to Downtown Tacoma, WA [2022]

The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide to Downtown Tacoma, WA [2022]

The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide to Downtown Tacoma, WA

On the bottom edge of Puget Sound lies Tacoma, Washington, a city of just over 219,000 people. It’s part of the larger South Sound region with a population of about 1 million.  After a period of decline, Tacoma made a comeback in the 1990s with a ton of development and restoration.  Now, young and old alike enjoy all that Tacoma has to offer.  With the waters coming into the middle of the city, the area is picturesque with tons of amazing areas and charm.

Living in Downtown Tacoma

People who live downtown love the views of Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, Commencement Bay, and the Port of Tacoma, where you can see commerce in action with the loading and unloading of cargo ships.  Downtown Tacoma is one of the most affordable places to live in the area.  Condominiums, lofts, single-family, and vintage homes are integrated within these neighborhoods:

The Foss Waterway

The Thea Foss Waterway area is a popular downtown Tacoma neighborhood that is great to hang out or live in.  There are condominiums for purchase, museums to visit, and a waterfront walkway where you can find restaurants, parks, picnic areas, and kayak or paddleboard rentals.  You can walk there from central downtown and access the waterfront via two bridges and a glass elevator.

The Theater District

Along with the restoration of old buildings are two theaters – the Pantages Theater and The Rialto.  Dating back to 1918, these are venues for music and theater.  A more modern venue was added in 1993 called Theater on the Square.  Lofts with tall ceilings and original bricks have sprung up throughout downtown and are trendy homes.

Pantages Theater In Tacoma, WA

Pacific Avenue

Tacoma’s charm shines through in the Pacific Avenue area.  Renovated brick buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s are now shops, museums, lofts, restaurants, and more.  Local hangouts include:

Plus, check out Dale Chihuly’s art inside Union Station (now a US District Court).

Other Neighborhoods

Tacoma Downtown has a few more neighborhoods worth mentioning.

  • Stadium District is a historic neighborhood with a grocery store, coffee shop, boutiques, and eateries.  There you’ll also find Wright Park, a 27-acre park with a conservatory, arboretum, hundreds of trees, walking trails, and a pond.  Stadium district is one of several neighborhoods known for revitalizing the neighborhoods to include single-family homes mixed in with mixed-use business districts.
  • St. Helens has stunning views of Commencement Bay
  • Dome District has shopping, restaurants, and the Tacoma Dome, where conventions and concerts occr.
  • McCarver Neighborhood has newer condominiums and townhomes and a maple-lined central street.

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Getting Around

Downtown Tacoma has everything within easy walking distance or via a free Link Light Rail. You’ll still want that car to get to neighboring cities, off to the mountains, north to Seattle, or south to Olympia.

Working in Tacoma

There are plenty of opportunities to work for small and large businesses in the downtown area.  Tacoma is home to lumber company Simpson, and food companies, Roman Meal and Brown and Haley.  Fun fact:  candy giant Mars, Incorporated, started in Tacoma in 1911.  The biggest employers in the area are Joint Base Lewis-McChord (an army base 9 miles south of the city), MultiCare Health System, the State of Washington, and Tacoma Public Schools.

The Downtown Tacoma Partnership will work with you to start your own business if that is your dream.

Working In Tacoma, WA


The Tacoma Public Schools serve the area with 36 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, and ten high schools.  There are non-traditional high schools, alternative high schools, and charter schools.  Downtown Tacoma is also home to the Tacoma School of the Arts for high school students and numerous private schools.

The University of Washington built a campus that incorporates some of the area’s historic buildings.  Other colleges close by are the University of Puget SoundTacoma Community CollegeCity University of Seattle-Tacoma, and Bates Technical College.

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There are so many things to do in Downtown Tacoma.  Pacific Avenue has unique shops, and restaurants in classic buildings.  Another option is Antiques Row, with several multi-level antique stores.  Find hidden treasures at Lily Pad Antiques, and many more.  Tacoma Mall is on the city’s outskirts for big store shopping experiences – think Macy’s, Nordstrom and JC Penney.

Museum District

Tacoma’s Museum District is comprised of world-class museums, including:

Each of these offers a unique perspective of the area.

Other Landmarks

If you haven’t realized, Tacoma cherishes its old buildings, incorporating them into neighborhoods.  There are 165 individual city landmarks and 1,000 historic properties scattered throughout the metro area.  Some near downtown are:

Fireboat No.1- National Historic Landmark - Tacoma, WA


While some may find the rainy pacific northwest weather an adjustment, there are plenty of sunny days to enjoy the waterfront and the mountains.  Metro Parks Tacoma maintains over 50 parks and open spaces in and around Tacoma.  We mentioned the easy walk to Foss Waterway, plus where 6th Avenue meets the water is a scuba diving area. Downtown’s Frost Park has sidewalk chalk contests.  Those with pups can take them to Rogers Off-Leash Dog Park.

Venture a little further to Port Defiance Park with a 5-mile drive leading to Owen Beach, Fort Nisqually, and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.  The Cascade Mountains, Mt Rainier, and Mt. St Helens are very close for wilderness seekers.

Moving to Tacoma

Downtown Tacoma retains its charm with many historic buildings, a friendly atmosphere, and a close-knit community.  It is worth checking out if you enjoy an urban atmosphere.  It has culture, education, unique homes, and always new mixed in with the old.

Ron Rougeaux, located in Olympia, Washington is a highly skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent. PNW Homes Group are committed to their key core values of trustworthiness, integrity, and loyalty providing quality service is his highest priority. Whether you are buying, selling, or curious about the market, PNW Homes has the answers. 

A local Tacoma real estate agent is ready to help you find your dream home!

Call Today!


Posted in Buying a Home