South Hill was once a logging camp, but is now a bustling city at the base of Mt. Rainier.
As the oh-so-original name indicates, South Hill is an area on a hill, south of something. In this case, that something is the city of Puyallup, and further north, Tacoma. South Hill is a census-designated place that is somewhere between a city and a neighborhood bigger than a neighborhood, but not big enough to have its own neighborhoods. South Hill has a hard time escaping the shadow of Puyallup, which tends to outshine South Hill in terms of activities. South Hill does provide a great view of Mt. Rainier, so search out a rental property with an unobstructed view for some great morning scenery.
Moving to South Hill
South Hill is almost purely residential, so there are plenty of options in terms of where to live and what kind of living you're looking for.While its in the area of Puget Sound, with Tacoma and Seattle not all that far away, South Hill is removed enough from the sound that renting a place there is a smart move for the budget-conscious renter average apartments go for significantly less per month than equivalent places in the major cities. Sure, it means you have to drive, and yes, it means that you wont be smack dab in the middle of the urban lifestyle, but if youre on a budget, this is a great place to start out to try and get a foothold in the area.
It's drive, walk, or bike for South Hill residents, as there is one single bus route that runs through the city, the Pierce Transit 402. It runs up and down Meridian Avenue, but you'll have to switch buses if you want to go anywhere outside of South Hill. Its really just better to bring along a car or, especially if you want to partake in the outdoorsy lifestyle of the area, look at investing in a sport utility vehicle or crossover. Four-wheel or all-wheel drive is also pretty handy when the roads get slick, as they often do in the winter months. That being said, South Hill is a pretty walkable place; its just that theres not much to actually walk to. For the fliers of the bunch, Pierce County Airport Thun Field is located in the southeast part of South Hill, and is a great airport for the flying hobbiest.
It's Washington. It rains. Buy an umbrella. Aside from the overall dampness, it is rather pleasant as far as weather goes. The summers aren't too hot, the winters aren't too cold. There's snow, but not the blizzards of the northeast. There are hot days, but it will never hit the century mark like the south does. For many folks in South Hill, one of their most-used pieces of clothing is a nice, light, long-sleeved rain jacket, so grab one before you even head up to look at rental properties. Dont worry about sunglasses though, as South Hill is in the cloudiest region of the United States even during the summer they average a clear day only twice a week, and not even once a week in the winter.
Given its location and the fact that it is almost entirely residential and retail spaces, it should be no surprise that South Hill is very much a commuter city nearly half of the residents commute out of the city to work on a daily basis. Many of them commute up to the industrial and technological centers of Seattle and Tacoma, or at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to the west. They come back at night though, and this helps to produce a family-friendly environment where neighbors see each other and say hello on a daily basis, and where the folks down the block are always invited over for picnics. The city still manages to have a hint of edginess and trendiness, but that shouldnt surprise given its location.
Finding an apartment in South Hill isnt all that difficult, thanks to an abundance of professionally managed apartment complexes. There are almost always openings, as people move up closer to Seattle or Tacoma after getting their start, or move out further into the Washington wilderness. It wont be difficult to find a rental home with pretty much everything youre looking for, as there are plenty to sift through, and so many of them have different pluses and minuses. This also means that you wont need to plan too far ahead if youre looking to move to South Hill; just make sure youve got enough to cover a deposit and you should be able to find an apartment in a short time.
Living in South Hill
Like much of the Pacific Northwest, South Hill is a great place for folks who like the outdoors. The neighborhood itself is pretty much just city streets, but within an hour drive youve got boating and fishing at Tapps Lake, the open space of Puget Sound, and the beauty of Snoqualmie National Forest, one of the most beautiful forests in the United States. Hikers have miles of trails and fields they can walk through, but bring a map and a compass so that the forest service doesnt have to send out search parties. Mt. Rainier is also less than an hour away, so climbers have an easy destination to get to so they can spend the day on some rock faces.
Since Puyallup has a nice big fairground, a lot of the fairs and festivals in the area tend to be held there instead of in South Hill. Its not a problem for South Hill residents to get there though; its only a few miles away. Its a must-visit for the yearly Washington State Fair, one of the largest and most well-known fairs in the country, regularly drawing over a million people on a yearly basis. Puyallup also has the Daffodil Festival, celebrating the long history of growing daffodils in the Puyallup Valley.
With art, music, culture, and eclectic lifestyle shopping so close, up in Seattle, South Hill has unfortunately been left to the big-box national stores and movie theaters. Those looking for hip, trendy activities and shops will need to hop in their car and head upstate. South Hill does sport some unique, local flavors in its restaurants, with Thai, Mexican, Japanese, and much more conveniently located along Meridian Avenue.
South Hill doesnt have any neighborhoods, and the general feeling of the city is that it is a suburb in itself. It doesnt feel like its own centralized place, but more like blocks of families, neighbors that you want to get to know -- and will get to know. Even if youre not from the area, or not even from Washington State, folks will be friendly towards you and try to help integrate you into the community. With all of the major employers in the area, those who grew up there have become used to seeing new faces, and are pretty open. If youre looking for a quiet spot with small town values and a hospitable community, South Hill could be a great choice for a place to settle down.