Part of the Seattle metro area, Tacoma, WA, has a character all of its own — separate from the Emerald City. It is the core of the South Sound area, about halfway between Seattle and the state capital, Olympia. Interstate 5 runs through all three of these cities before heading up north to connect to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Fliers can catch a convenient light-rail connection down from SeaTac. The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport there is a major transportation hub for international and west-coast passenger connections and provides access to the entire Puget Sound area.
One of the most prominent features of Tacoma — and one of the most interesting — is the juxtaposition of working industry with hip, urban culture. On one hand, the city has the highest concentration of museums and cultural venues in the state. On the other hand, the downtown area is right next to the massive working cargo dock and train yard complex at the head of Commencement Bay. The Washington State History Museum, the Children's Museum and the Museum of Glass are just minutes away from the maritime and logistics companies that form the city's commercial and industrial economic backbone. It may seem like a contradiction, but this unique mix draws visitors from all over the world on business and pleasure trips — along with a fair share of people who want to settle down in this Seattle satellite city.
Aside from the cultural and economic base, the main reason most people love to live in Tacoma is for access to nature. Most residents who have the time head out on the sound or up to the various state parks on a weekly basis. Nature here is beautiful, accessible and evergreen — the mild weather of the Pacific Northwest sees to that.