Living in Pierce County

Pierce County may be one of the most geographically diverse counties in the nation, from the miles of marine shoreline along Puget Sound to the summit of Mount Rainier, one of the most glaciated mountain peaks in the continental U.S. With first-rate health care, school districts, and transportation and a unique combination of urban and rural areas, Pierce County is the perfect place to call home. Whether you prefer a small town, major metropolis, or something in between, Pierce County is home to numerous cities and towns offering an array of qualities. Urbanites are drawn to downtown Tacoma for its competitively priced living spaces with sweeping mountain, city and water views. Families gravitate toward Tacoma’s charming neighborhoods with big-city amenities. Pierce County communities are unique—enjoy rhubarb pie in Sumner, antiques in Puyallup, maritime in Gig Harbor, majestic gardens in Lakewood, history in Fife, or nature in the rural areas near Mount Rainier—it’s all here. BY KELLY LENIHAN

WEATHER

The Pacific Northwest is known for its rain. But the temperate climate of Pierce County averages only 39.9 inches of rainfall a year (less than most cities on the East Coast!).

TRANSPORTATION

Travel by land, air and water with the Port of Tacoma, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Sound Transit’s rail and bus system. The Pierce County Ferry, Amtrak and Pierce Transit are just a few more examples of the convenient transportation systems available.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Ready to go out and explore? Whether you’re interested in dining and nightlife, the performing arts, museums, shopping, farmers markets, hiking, golfing, and more—we’ve got you covered!

SCHOOLS

Exceptional academic institutions and learning experiences can be found in Pierce County. Please refer to our Education section for more information and resources.

LIBRARIES

Visit any of the eight Tacoma libraries or 19 Pierce County Library branches. Many services are available online: You can apply for a library card, request books, check the monthly calendar for events and classes, Ask a Librarian, and more.

PARKS, FACILITIES & TRAILS

There is something for everyone when you explore over 4,200 acres at 50 park sites throughout Pierce County, including three recreation centers, a sports complex, ice rink, skateboard park, two boat launch sites, two golf courses, trail corridors, a disc golf course. If you don’t want to leave Fido home, visit any of the dog-friendly parks.

HEALTH CARE

MultiCare Health System is a leading-edge, nonprofit, integrated health organization. It operates four hospitals and numerous clinics serving patients at 93 locations. Franciscan Health System is a comprehensive health care organization operating hospitals, same-day surgery centers, occupational health services, physical therapy clinics and centers for advanced medicine featuring state-of-the-art technology.

MILITARY

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of 12 joint bases worldwide, is an amalgamation of the Army post Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. JBLM has more than 25,000 soldiers and civilian workers. The joint base supports over 120,000 military retirees and more than 29,000 family members living both on and off post. Adjacent to JBLM, Camp Murray is home to the Washington National Guard and the Washington Air National Guard. The two armories at Camp Murray can be used for graduations, receptions, tournaments, youth events, potlucks, seminars and charity events.

New to Pierce County? Here’s What You Need To Know

After moving, you might need to file a change of address, update your car registration and get your license. Getting chummy with the neighbors might also be a swell idea. BY KELLY LENIHAN

UPDATE YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE

What: If you’re moving to Pierce County from out of state, you need to apply for a Washington state driver’s license. When: Within 30 days of moving Where: Your local DMV office (skip the long lines by scheduling an appointment online) dol.wa.gov

REGISTER YOUR CAR

What: If you’re moving to Pierce County from another state or country and bringing a vehicle, you need to transfer the title to Washington. When: As a new resident, you have 30 days to register and title your vehicle after moving to Washington. You can send in your paperwork by mail or visit your local licensing office in person to complete the forms to get your license plates. Where: Your local DMV office dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration

REGISTER TO VOTE

What: If you are new to Washington state, becoming a registered voter here will ensure that you have a say in local and state government, as well as in national elections. When: By 11:59:59 p.m. on the 15th day before Election Day. NOTE: Washington residents vote by mail. Where: Online, by mail or at the DMV sos.wa.gov/elections

GET A PET LICENSE

What: It’s the law. License fees help fund the cost of shelter and medical care for lost pets, as well as animal control. Pet licenses help animal control officers to reunite lost pets with their families. When: Within 30 days of moving Where: Depending on the city you live in, this link makes it easy to get your pet licensed in Pierce County: piercecountypets.org/petlicensing

USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

What: Pierce Transit operates buses throughout Pierce County. Where: Find your closest stop at piercetransit.org

GET A LIBRARY CARD

What: Pierce County Library System’s 18 locations bring people together, enrich lives and provide children and adults with opportunities to learn. Library cards are free. You can apply online at piercecountylibrary.org Where: To obtain a physical library card, visit your local library with photo ID and proof of address.