Tacoma ( /təkoʊmə/, US dict: tə·kō′·mə) is a mid-sized urban port city in and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Seattle, 31 miles (50 km) northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third largest in the state.
Tacoma adopted its name after the nearby Mount Rainier, originally called Mount Tahoma. It is known as the "City of Destiny" because the area was chosen to be the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the late 19th century. The decision of the railroad was influenced by Tacoma's neighboring Commencement Bay. By connecting the bay with the railroad Tacoma's motto became "When rails meet sails." Today Commencement Bay serves the Port of Tacoma, a center of international trade on the Pacific Coast and Washington state's largest port.
Like most central cities, Tacoma suffered a prolonged decline in the mid-20th century as a result of suburbanization and divestment. Recently the city has been undergoing a renaissance, investing in the downtown core to establish the University of Washington, Tacoma; Tacoma Link, the first modern electric light rail service in the state; various art and history museums; and a restored inlet, the Thea Foss Waterway.