Located just 35 miles south of Seattle at the foot of scenic Mt. Rainer lies the sprawling city of Puyallup (pronounced pew-al-up), a place full of rich history, quaint tree-lined neighborhoods, top-notch amenities, and home to one of America’s largest state fairs. If you’re not from the area or are simply looking to find a little more peace and quiet away from the city, read on to find out if Puyallup is the right neighborhood for you.
One of the key things to keep in mind about Puyallup is that it’s divided into two main pockets: Downtown and South Hill. Downtown is tucked away in the valley, and South Hill is about 10 minutes south of Downtown on top of (you guessed it) a steep hill that overlooks the valley. Each community has it’s own unique vibe and appeal depending on what fits your preferences and personality.
Downtown is where Puyallup got it’s roots in 1877 and has kept it’s historical presence alive with unique craftsman homes scattered throughout charming old neighborhoods, traditional festivals and parades, and long-standing brick buildings along Main Street that showcase Puyallup’s antique district along with many local eateries and businesses that have been around for decades.
Another perk is that one of the many Sounder Train Stations spread throughout Pierce and King counties can be found here. Many commuters choose this alternate method of transportation to save time and avoid traffic while also reducing impact on the environment. From the Puyallup Station, you can reach Lakewood in just 35 minutes and Seattle in just 45 minutes.
If you enjoy that classic small-town feel, old-world charm, and being near all the local hot spots and community events, Downtown may be more up your alley. Make sure to check out some of my favorite local businesses while you’re there:
- Coffee Shops: Anthem Coffee, Elements Coffee & Frozen Yogurt
- Breakfast/Brunch: Meridian Cafe, Charlie’s, Mrs. Turner’s
- Pub Fare: Crockett’s, TK Irish Pub
- Pizza: Fat Zach’s, Wicked Pie Pizza, Trackside
- Ethnic: Giorgio’s Greek Cafe, Bourbon Street Bar & Grill, Fiesta Taqueria & Tequila Bar
- Italian: Toscano’s, Mama Sortini’s
- Brewery: Powerhouse Brewery, CaskCades
- Cocktail Bar: Perry’s
- Donuts: Happy Donuts
South Hill has more of a suburban feel in contrast to the historic vibe of Downtown. With lots of recent development and growth expanding across a much larger surface area, you’ll find that the neighborhoods and homes here vary between old and new, with a large focus on new construction in recent years.
An abundance of malls and big-box stores (such as Target and Costco) and traditional chain restaurants (including Red Robin and Chick-fil-A) are well spread throughout this side of Puyallup, which gives a wider variety of options when it comes to amenities as well as shopping and dining out.
Aside from the commercial pockets of South Hill, there are also several parks and trails to enjoy, which is a nice balance if you want to get out and enjoy the outdoors without traveling too far.
Things may feel a little more compact on South Hill, but if you enjoy the convenience of being close to countless amenities and the hustle and bustle of a busy area, it may be the perfect fit for you. Here are highlights to check out while you’re there:
- Coffee: Dutch Brothers
- Breakfast/Brunch: Black Bear Diner, The Original Pancake House
- Pizza: MOD Pizza
- Ethnic: Chili Thai, Karma Indian Cuisine
- Italian: Olive Garden
- Brewery: The RAM, BJ’s Brewhouse, Bob’s Burgers and Brew
- American: Red Robin, Applebee’s
- Fast Food: Chick-fil-A, Panera Bread
- South Hill Mall (Target, Macy’s, JCPenny, Dick’s, etc)
- Sunrise Village (various shops, services, and restaurants)
- Tacoma Boys Specialty Market
- Hobby Lobby
- ‘At Home’ Home Decor Superstore
Fast Facts about Puyallup
- Current population: 41,570 (2019)
- Median age: 34
- Bachelors’ degree or higher: 24.6%
- Median household income: $65,719 (2017)
- Median home price: $397,313 (2020)
- Seattle – 36 miles, 45 mins
- Tacoma – 10 miles, 20 mins
- Olympia – 33 miles, 35 mins
- JBLM – 17 miles, 25 mins
- Avoid the traffic and take the Sounder Train. There’s a station located just north of Downtown that can get you to Lakewood within 35 minutes or Seattle within 45 minutes, with several stops along the way in both directions.
City Website: City of Puyallup
School District: Puyallup School District