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University District, Seattle Travel Guide

University District Summary


  • The Burke Museum of National History and Culture and the Henry Art Gallery
  • Fun festivals, including the U District Street Fair
  • Excellent shopping at University Village
  • Assortment of inexpensive, tasty ethnic eateries (Indian, Pakistani, Asian -- the list goes on)
  • Beautiful University of Washington campus
  • Lots of cherry blossoms in the spring
  • Friendly people


  • Not the best area to walk around after dark
  • Geared toward a college-age population
  • Not within walking distance from downtown area; feels very separate

What It's Like

The University District, or "U-Dubs" as the locals call it, markets itself toward a college-age population. It's safe to say that this means two things: cheap food, and cheaper booze. Some restaurants even run on a purely donation basis. Whether you're craving Indian channa bhatura or a vegan sandwich, you'll find great ethnic and healthy options here.

The University of Washington -- the lifeblood of this district -- lends some superb scenery. Locals flock to the University during the springtime when the cherry blossoms paint the neighborhood with pops of pink and white. Although the University District has a secluded feel, Metro Transit buses run downtown regularly.

Safety can be an issue in this neighborhood. A year-round, seasonal homeless population, called the "Ave Rats," has been known to cause problems such as vandalism and harassment.

Where To Stay

Most hotels can be found several blocks from the University's border, on both the western and northern edges. Since this neighborhood is pretty far from the popular tourist sites, you'll find lodging to be cheaper than in areas like Downtown Seattle or Belltown.

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