People looking to embrace the Pacific Northwest way of life, but hesitant to pay Seattle prices, should look no further than Tacoma. Only a 30- to 45-minute drive from Seattle (and therefore totally commutable), Tacoma is situated in the northwest corner of the state on beautiful Puget Sound. The area isn’t known only for waterway views, however. Picturesque mountains, like Mount Rainier, make it arguably one of the most surreally gorgeous areas in the continental United States. Originally — and still — known for its booming lumber industry, Tacoma’s range has expanded over time, nurturing a reputation as a haven for artistic types. In fact, beloved glass artist and sculptor Dale Chihuly is from Tacoma and often credited with renewing worldwide interest in the stunning art form. The museum district alone boasts six world-class museums, with diverse themes, including classic cars, masterpiece paintings and the aforementioned glasswork. Tacoma homes for sale are currently listed at a median price of $275,000. Homes for sale in Tacoma can be found in neighborhoods like Fox Island, Ruston and Old Town, all of which offer stunning views and all of the amenities of the Sound.

Performing arts are also alive and thriving in Tacoma, with three major theaters (the Rialto, the Pantages and Theater on the Square) offering a full slate of events year-round. With an impressive range of local theater groups, opera, ballet and modern musical fare, the only difficult part about the Tacoma cultural scene is choosing which shows to attend. Night life is another cornerstone of the Tacoma way, with ultra-walkable areas like Sixth Avenue offering eclectic entertainment and dining options. The historic Proctor District is another hot spot for locals, thanks to its collection of funky boutiques, packed with one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods. Another local gem is the Blue Mouse Theater, which shows indie and other films at the paltry price of $4 per ticket! Of course, no evening out in Tacoma is complete without sampling some of the dizzying array of local beers and wines, for which the region is known and lauded.

Clearly, Tacoma’s proximity to both water and mountains make it ideal for nature lovers. Head to a local marina for boating or fishing opportunities, enjoy a round or two of golf or stroll through any of the area parks, particularly the Point Defiance Rose Garden. Be sure to also visit any of the area’s many farmer’s markets, featuring only the freshest and best locally grown produce.