You know that the University of Washington has to be big if a whole neighborhood is named after it. At almost 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students combined, we’d say that’s big enough and then some!
The young population of the University District, also known as the U-District, makes it one of the most happening places to be. You’ll find what you might expect: great bars and restaurants for nightlife, quiet cafés for a place to study, but dig a little deeper and see that there’s so much more.
Things To Do in University District
Here are some things we recommend you check out if you find yourself in this part of town, both typical and quirky (kinda like one of our tours, huh?):
There’s a reason people flock to see UW year-round even if they aren’t students… because it’s absolutely beautiful! In the spring, cherry trees line the quad in full bloom. Wander through the Suzzallo and Allen Libraries and feel like you’ve become part of a Harry Potter film. Sit by the Drumheller Fountain and enjoy the weather. You can spend a whole day just exploring the campus.
You’ll be amazed at how far removed you’ll feel from the city in Union Bay Natural Area, the restored remainder of the filled former Union Bay. More than 200 of species of birds have been sighted here including ducks (!), eagles, herons and cormorants. You might also see some turtles, frogs or fish!
A unique name for a unique place, what you see is what you get here: very funky art. Located inside Café Racer, the Official Bad Art Museum of Art provides views of paintings and drawings while eating some seriously tasty food. You’ll certainly find a few pieces to discuss while you wait for your appetizer to be brought out.
Lots of hungry students means there’s a need for lots of tasty food, so you only need to worry about how to choose which restaurant you’ll be eating at! There’s almost every type of cuisine here: Xi’an Noodles for Chinese, Byrek and Baguette for Albanian, Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria for Salvadoran, Thai Tom for Thai, Portage Bay Café for typical brunch and SO much more. Check out Eater’s map for a big list of options.
Everyone needs a little time to indulge their inner shopper. The University Village Shopping Center offers some great clothing and tech stores among tasty restaurants to grab a bite to eat. Its proximity to the University makes it a great place to look for deals during the school year. Fun fact: Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar bookstore, Amazon Books, opened here in 2015!
Fans of natural history will love the Burke Museum, the oldest museum in Washington State. In 1855, a high school naturalist club started collecting items that eventually lead to the creation of the museum. Their website says, “For 130 years, the Museum has built upon this legacy, collecting objects that help us understand how the Northwest has grown and changed.” Pretty cool!
Find yourself looking for something to do after dinner that’s different from the norm? See what (or who) is playing at the Neptune Theater! Opened in 1921, the theater was formerly used to show classic films and has 800 seats with a great view. From live music to comedy to inspirational speakers, there’s always something unique happening here.