Introduction to Tacoma, Washington
Incorporated in 1874, Tacoma, Washington is the third largest city in Washington state with a population of about 200,000. The metropolitan area is home to over 3.5 million people and includes Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.
Tacoma is located in western Washington on Commencement Bay, off the southern tip of Puget Sound. It lies 25 miles northeast of Olympia and 26 miles south of Seattle. The peak of Mount Ranier is roughly 40 miles to the southeast and dominates the skyline.
Nisqually and Puyallup Native American tribes first inhabited the area along the bay. Lumber was the reason European-Americans first settled here. In 1852, the first saw mill was constructed and many more followed. The railroad came to Tacoma in the late 1800's in order to link up with shipping vessels using the deep water bay. That provided the impetus for the city's nickname "City of Destiny". Today Tacoma is the 6th largest shipping port in North America, making the city a major player in the wave of economic globalization.
Tacoma has earned many awards including:
- 1990 - Fourth Best Place to Live by Money Magazine
- 1995 - Top Mid-Sized City for Small Businesses by Entrepreneur Magazine
- 1998 - All-American City by the National Civic League
- 2004 - Most Livable Region (Tacoma-Pierce County) by Partners for Livable Communities
Precipitation is about 37 inches per year. Snowfalls average only around 8 inches annually. July average daily high and low temperatures are 76.1 and 55.0 degrees Fahrenheit. January average daily high and low temperatures are 46.9 and 35.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Well known companies with a presence in the area are Boeing, State Farm Insurance, Expedia.com, and REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.). The University of Washington, Tacoma is also located here.
Arts and Leisure
Cultural and other attractions include:
- The Tacoma Art Museum
- The International Center for Contemporary Art
- The Tacoma Philharmonic
- The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra
- The Tacoma Concert Band
- The Tacoma Opera
- The Tacoma City Ballet
- The Washington Contemporary Ballet
- The South Sound Playwrights Festival
- The Tacoma Little Theatre
- The Washington State History Museum
- The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
- More than 20 marinas
While top level professional sports are in nearby Seattle, teams in Tacoma include:
- The Tacoma Rainiers baseball team of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, affiliated with the Seattle Mariners
- The Tacoma Navigators of the American Basketball Association