Our oldest just started Grant this fall in Kindergarten, and she loves it. I think that the arts focus is just amazing. They teach kids how to sing in harmony, the fourth graders learn violin and learn how to read music, and the fifth graders have a math segment where they take field trips to historic buildings and learn how to draw up floor plans. We also toured Bryant and Lowell. I really liked Bryant, but Montessouri education would probably not have worked well on my kid. Lowell has a great rep and we have friends who have kids there and love it. It seemed pretty much inside the box education to me, though, and I guess we were just looking for something different. Washington-Hoyt also has a great reputation and great test scores.
I wish I could tell you how to get good babysitters. If you find out, let me know. I can tell you not to use Craigs List. Maybe you have a teenaged neighbor?
As for peds, we see Dr. Kirk Starr at Pediatrics NW. I have been very impressed with the practice in general. I have a friend with a son and circumcision was never discussed, just proper cleaning and a warning never to let a dr. retract his foreskin. We don't vax, and our dr. is not thrilled with that, but respects our decision and never brings up the issue unless I have a question. I have found that the practice in general is pretty common sense, trusting of parents instincts, and hands off unless absolutely necessary - so if they tell you the kid needs to be seen, the kid really needs to be seen. Also, they have limited office hours on weekends, which was great when dd1 got sick, couldn't hold down water, hadn't peed, and was throwing up every half hour - saved us a scary, exhausting, expensive trip to the ER! I know there are some other great practices in Tacoma, too. I'm sure others can chime in.
If you need a chiropractor, I can't say enough about Cathryn Woon at Woon's Healing Arts. She is just fabulous, kind, smart, insightful, you name it. And the kids absolutely adore her.
Oh, and I would also recommend our dentist - Greg Zimmer. He is out in Brown's Point, but it is worth the drive. He is very practical, doesn't do flouride treatments on young kids, doesn't push unncessary treatments, and is very willing to work with budgets. Oh, and not only does his office run on time, but one day when he was late, they called to let me know to come 20 min late to my appointment. That was very cool.
ETA: Playgroups I can't really help you with either, as we made a network of friends through dd1's preschool that seem to stand us in good stead, but I can say the children's museum (free first friday of the month) and the zoo are great places to go hang out with the kids. Also, dh usually takes dd2 to storytime at the main library on Mondays at 10:30 (I think it starts up again in October) and there are usually a lot of littles there.