The Quadratic Assignment Problem (QAP) is a combinatorial NP-hard optimization problem that is not solvable in a polynomial time. It has a large number of real-world applications in diverse fields (e.g. facility arrangement in a hospital). The Whale Optimization Algorithm is a new meta-heuristic that achieves a great success in solving the continuous problems. In this paper, we propose a memetic algorithm using the Whale optimization Algorithm (WA) Integrated with a Tabu Search (WAITS) for solving QAP. In fact, this work employs Tabu Search to improve the quality of solution obtained by WA for QAP problem as a local search algorithm. This is an attempt to improve the convergence speed and local search of WA as its main drawbacks. Due to the combinatorial nature of QAP, the continuous values generated from the standard WA were converted to discrete values by the largest real value mapping. The WAITS algorithm is enhanced by a local search that defines a set of neighborhood solutions to improve the accuracy of the obtained solutions. Fourteen different case studies including 122 test problems are employed for analyzing the performance of the proposed WAITS. The results show that the proposed memetic algorithm finds near-optimal solutions with an acceptable computational time. WAITS is compared to several algorithms in the literature. The results show that the proposed algorithm outperforms similar algorithms in the literature.