University Place is a small city of 31,000 people. So while it has several neighborhoods, there's little difference between them. The price of living is virtually the same throughout -- the only thing that varies is what you see out the window. If you get an apartment by the water, or the golf course, you'll spend a bit more for the view; the further inland you get, the less you pay for an apartment. UP is a great choice if you're looking for a place with a small-town feeling with city conveniences. Businesses, parks, and residential areas abound, but there's none of the traffic, eyesores, or annoyances of a major city--though Tacoma's just a few miles away if you start to miss them.
If you plan on moving to University Place in the late summer or early fall, start looking a month or two early. In winter and spring, things will be a bit easier, so while you should be able to find a decent apartment complex without too much difficulty, you should still plan on 3 to 4 weeks to find the perfect place. The summertime is the best season to look for apartments, since many of the apartments, especially the bachelor and 1 bedroom apartments, are empty, and it's a renters market.
Even though it's generally expensive, there are a wide range of apartment complexes and prices available. The market offers decent prices on bachelor pads and 1 bedroom apartments, and even larger apartments can be affordable.
Meadow Park: Meadow Park is a residential neighborhood in University Place. The area has access to shopping, restaurants, golf courses, and parks -- but you'll want to have your own private transportation to get around.
Peach Acres: For a residential area in University Place with plenty of natural beauty, people choose Peach Acres, boasting beautiful views of Mount Ranier and the Cascade Mountain Range. You'll want a car or bike to get around here.
The convenient thing about University Place is that it's small and easy to get around. You can easily get around by bike. The streets are laid out nicely, and getting from one side of the city to the other isn't very challenging. Also, there are city buses covering the various neighborhoods, which also head into Tacoma regularly. This makes owning a car, nice but not essential.
Considering the numerous small restaurants and shops, and some of the best bakeries in the area, you could easily survive by walking most places. Considering gas prices, that's a major score.
Now that you have a basic idea of University Place, you can go find a great apartment and live in a city that really does feel like a small town.