I loved living in Tumwater, WA when I was going to school. It was a very short drive from Olympia, a big college town. It also has a very large native american population because the tribe land is there, with the casino.
The town of Tumwater is mostly neighborhoods and local restaurants. There is great food and local farmer's and fish markets. With a quick drive, you can easily get to Olympia where there are colleges, stores, the mall, night life, and cute little local shops downtown or on the waterfront.
Tumwater is a great little town when you would prefer to live in the suburbs but want the city close by. The only train station in the area is also in Tumwater which can take you to Portland or to Seattle within a couple hours.
Tumwater is a sleepy little town that celebrates holidays with children's parades and the businesses participate in trick-or-treating or Easter events. It's a great place to raise a family, or have an affordable off-campus apartment while attending college.