What I Wish I'd Known

Puget Sound parents share tips on visiting Tacoma, helping your student pack, and more!


  • In addition to the helpful list that Puget Sound provides your student, bring a U-lock if you have a bike, a laptop lock, and a hanging shower caddy. It's also a good idea to have an Ethernet cable for faster internet access in your dorm room. 
  • You can purchase dorm room necessities at Bed, Bath & Beyond in your hometown and then pick them up at the Lakewood store (a 15 minute drive from campus). You can do the same at Target (a 10 minute drive from campus). 
  • Many students have bikes. Students can purchase used bikes at the 6th Avenue Bike Shop, and Puget Sound has a student-run bike shop that offers free bike repairs for all students.
  • Athletes arrive on campus earlier than other students; be sure your student-athlete has a meal card when they arrive. 
  • If your student plans to live off-campus in their third or fourth year, leases in the neighborhood typically run June–May.


  • Your student will meet with a faculty advisor during Orientation to pick courses, and then again mid-semester to plan for the following year. After their sophomore year, students have a faculty advisor in their major. 
  • If your student has an emergency, or needs after-hours care there are numerous hospitals nearby as well as urgent care services.  
  • Puget Sound Outdoors offers student-led trips during fall break if your student can't come home to visit. 


  • There are lots of transportation options. Your student can rent a Zipcar if they are 18 years of age or older. 
  • Make hotel reservations early, especially for Homecoming and Family Weekend and Commencement. Some local hotels have preferred rates for Puget Sound parents; make sure to ask!
  • Some of the best restaurants include: Cafe Europa, Indochine, Rosewood Cafe, Silk Thai, and Wild Orchid. Don't forget to try "the cookie" at Metropolitan Market. 
  • The closest supermarkets are Safeway, Metropolitan Market, and Fred Meyer. The closest pharmacies are Bartell's and Safeway. 
  • Take time to visit the Proctor neighborhood, which is walkable from campus.
  • Visit Point Defiance Park and Marina, which offers hiking trails, beautiful gardens, and kayak rentals.


  • Homecoming and Family Weekend, typically held in October, is a great opportunity to see your student in their new home. There are always open classes, concerts, and athletic events held throughout the weekend. 
  • Spring Family Weekend is organized by students and typically takes place in April. The luau is a popular event. 
  • Parents Council offers the opportunity to engage more deeply with the university. In-person meetings take place each Homecoming and Family Weekend and Spring Family Weekend.