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 and 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.