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Fun Places to Visit near the University of Washington Campus

Fun Places to Visit near the University of Washington Campus

Cedric Thomas
Jan 25, 2024

Table of contents

  • Chihuly Garden and Glass
  • Space Needle
  • Drumheller Fountain
  • Pike Place Market
  • UW Waterfront
  • UW Medicinal Herb Garden
  • Madison Park Beach
  • Lumen Field
  • Seattle Roastery
  • Underground Seattle Donut Tour
  • Museum of Pop Culture
  • Gas Works Park
  • Henry art gallery
  • Golden gardens park
  • Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
  • Seattle Japanese Garden
  • Fremont Troll
  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Lake Washington
  • Seattle Center
  • University Village

Nestled along the shores of Lake Washington, the University of Washington has a gorgeous campus that includes all of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Students walk to class every day along the lush greenery, shining blue waters, and under the watchful eye of nearby Mount Rainier. 


In addition to the scenery, the University of Washington has a ton of exciting things due to its proximity to Seattle. The Emerald City is just a stone’s throw away from the university campus, making life at UW always fun and exciting. Whether you just want to hang out with other UW students or head into the city for a night on the town, there are plenty of fun places to visit near UW.

Apart from its academic excellence, UW is a university campus located in a vibrant and exciting city, with plenty of things to see and do. If you're a student at UW or visiting the university of washington district or campus, there are fun places to visit near the university of washington campus are numerous fun places to visit nearby. In this blog, we'll explore some of the top fun places to visit near the University of Washington campus.



Chihuly Garden and Glass

305 Harrison Street Seattle, WA 98109


Get inspired for class and check out the wondrous beauty of glass at Chihuly Garden and Glass, located in Seattle. This beautiful exhibition features the work of artist Dale Chihuly which explores all that glass can do. Chihuly pushes the boundaries of glass, and you’ll be in awe of the sizes, shapes, and colors that such a fragile material can become. 


Space Needle

400 Broad Street Seattle, WA 98109


Although this iconic structure is hard to miss no matter where you live near the UW campus, many residents have never actually taken the official tour. Feel free to wear your tourist hat and take the official Space Needle tour. There are two new levels of glass to experience at the top, including the world’s only revolving glass floor. 

You can take all the photos you want of the area from the top and may even spot your own place! 


Drumheller Fountain

Want to stay on campus and take in the beauty of Mt. Rainier? Head to the Drumheller Fountain, a showstopping fountain named in 1961. The fountain, also known as Frosh Pond, includes a large outer ring of water with a large spot in the middle. 


Follow along the avenue to the Southeast, and you’ll see Mount Rainier in the distance. Although the mountain is about 60 miles away, it creates a unique and beautiful backdrop to the already gorgeous UW campus. The view is incredible and one of the highlights of the whole university campus.



Pike Place Market

1531 Western Avenue Seattle, WA 98101


Another Seattle icon that is super fun to visit is Pike Place Market, known for its flying fishmongers and local fares. Pike Place Market was founded in 1907 and is one of the oldest public markets still in existence today. 


You’ll find a wide variety of stalls that include the freshest catch from nearby Puget Sound, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables from local farms. You’ll know you are in the right place when you find the famous “Public Market Center” sign! From that point, explore over 9 acres of historic shops that make up the entirety of Pike Place Market. 



UW Waterfront

Did you know that the university has waterfront access from campus for canoes and kayaks? The unique location of the University of Washington allows students and the public to enjoy Lake Washington by getting in the water. 


You can rent a canoe or kayak from the UW Waterfront and explore the nearby canals, waterways, and shorelines of the lake. It is best to check out the lake during the warmer months, primarily May through August. However, the UW Waterfront is still open for rentals on select days in September and October as well.


UW Medicinal Herb Garden

Want to learn more about plants and their natural attributes? The UW Medicinal Herb Garden is a great place to wander while you sip your favorite cup of coffee. Located between the Botany Greenhouse and Benson Hall, the UW Medicinal Herb Garden has hundreds of plants that bloom in various seasons. 

Harvesting the plants is strictly prohibited, but you can enjoy the plants and learn more about them by reading the placards near each variety. 


Madison Park Beach

1900 43rd Avenue East Seattle, WA 98112


While Seattle is a far cry from the pristine beaches of sunny Southern California, there are beaches to check out despite the colder temperatures. Madison Park Beach is just across the bridge campus and is worth checking out. 


While you won’t find a bunch of sandy beach space, there is a nice swimming hole and diving boards, as well as plenty of green grass to lay out on. Madison Park Beach is always brimming with activity and is a great place to people-watch as well. 



Lumen Field

800 Occidental Avenue South Seattle, Wa 98134


Cheer on the Seattle Seahawks or Seattle Sounders at iconic Lumen Field. This outdoor stadium is home to these two inspiring professional teams and houses concerts and other events year-round. 

Being inside this stadium is an experience by itself in that the unique architecture and design create a very loud experience. The decibel level can get quite high at Lumen Field, so bring your ear protection if you think you’ll need it!



Seattle Roastery

1124 Pike Street Seattle, WA 98101

We can’t talk about anything in Seattle and not mention the coffee, right? Starbucks started in the Emerald City, making it the mecca for anyone who loves that hot bean juice. Seattle is home to some of the best coffee in the world. 

You can book a tour at the Seattle Roastery to learn more about how the infamous coffee is sourced and has changed over the years. Any coffee lover would love to visit this fun place near the UW campus!

Underground Seattle Donut Tour

What goes better with donuts than coffee? For the ultimate fun for your taste buds, check out the Underground Seattle Donut Tour, which features four unique donut shops in town. You’ll get to learn all about the donut culture scene (yes, it is a thing), plus the history of each shop. 


Many of the shops offer unique flavor combinations and options that you may not have ever picked out before. The Underground Seattle Donut Tour is a fun activity to check out to find your own favorite donut flavor and shop.


Museum of Pop Culture

325 5th Avenue North Seattle, WA 98105


Are you interested in all things pop culture? The Museum of Pop Culture, also referred to as MoPOP, is a must-see stop for any Seattle university student. You’ll find an extensive collection of all things that have made a difference in the pop culture world, including guitars, science fiction, and a heavy dose of grunge and hip-hop love. 


The museum features plenty of other programs on top of the exhibits, making it a place to visit again and again. Admission includes access to 12 exhibitions, making it worth the effort to head on over on the next rainy day.


Gas Works Park

Located just a short distance from the University of Washington campus, Gas Works Park is a 19.1-acre public park that offers stunning views of Lake Union and downtown Seattle. The park is built on the site of a former gasification plant, and the remnants of the plant's machinery and infrastructure can still be seen throughout the park.

Gas Works Park is a popular destination for picnics, kite flying, and other outdoor activities. It also offers a great vantage point for watching seaplanes take off and land on the lake. In the summer, the gas works park also hosts a variety of events, including concerts, outdoor movies, and kite festivals.

The University of Washington is one of those places in university is that the whole university district and campus feels so much bigger because of its unique location. the university in Seattle is the university literally next door, and students get all of the excitement of a university campus plus all that the city and U district has to offer as well. Young professionals can access the campus of any university at UW, as well as take advantage of many of the programs and experiences in the nearby U district.


Henry art gallery

The Henry Art Gallery is a contemporary art museum located on the University of Washington campus. Founded in 1927, the museum is the oldest public art museum in Washington State and has a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art. The Henry Art Gallery is known for its thought-provoking exhibitions that challenge viewers' perspectives and push the boundaries of traditional art forms. 

The museum also offers a variety of public programs, including artist talks, lectures, and workshops. Visitors can explore the museum's permanent collection or check out one of the many temporary exhibitions that rotate the henry art gallery throughout the year. The Henry Art Gallery is a must-visit destination for art lovers and anyone interested in exploring the cutting-edge of contemporary art.


Golden gardens park

Golden Gardens Park is a beautiful beachfront park located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, just a short drive from the University of Washington campus. The park covers 87 acres and offers stunning views of the Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and the Seattle skyline.

Visitors to Golden Gardens Park can enjoy a variety of activities, including picnicking, sunbathing, and swimming. The park also features a boat launch, fishing pier, and hiking trails. During the summer months, the park hosts a variety of events, including concerts, outdoor movies, and beach volleyball tournaments.

One of the highlights of Golden Gardens Park is the beach, which offers a sandy shoreline and shallow water that's perfect for wading and swimming. Visitors can also watch the sunset over the water and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature.


Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is located on the University of Washington campus and is one of the oldest and most important natural history museums in the Pacific Northwest. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts and specimens, including fossils, rocks and minerals, plants, animals, and cultural objects.

The Burke museum offers a variety of exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages, including hands-on activities, guided tours, and lectures. One of the museum's most popular exhibits is the T. rex skull, which is the most complete T. rex skull ever found in the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle Japanese Garden

The Seattle Japanese Garden is a beautiful and serene garden located in the Madison Park neighborhood, just a short distance from the University of Washington campus. The garden covers 3.5 acres and features a variety of traditional Japanese garden elements, including a koi pond, waterfalls, and stone lanterns.

The garden is a popular destination for nature lovers, and it offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, tea ceremonies, and other cultural events throughout the year.

Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll is a unique and quirky public sculpture located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, just a short distance from the University of Washington campus. The sculpture depicts a giant troll lurking under the Aurora Bridge, holding a Volkswagen Beetle in its hand.

The Fremont Troll is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and it has become an iconic symbol of the Fremont neighborhood. Visitors can take photos with the sculpture and explore the surrounding area, which is home to numerous contemporary art galleries, shops, and restaurants.


Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo is a world-class zoo located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle, just a short distance from the University of Washington campus. The zoo covers 92 acres and is home to more than 1,000 animals from around the world, including elephants, giraffes, tigers, and gorillas.

The zoo offers a variety of exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages, including animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, and educational programs. The zoo also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including ZooTunes concerts, Brew at the Zoo beer festivals, and holiday light displays.

Lake Washington

Lake Washington is a large freshwater lake located just east of the University of Washington campus. The lake covers more than 22 square miles and offers a variety of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

One of the most popular destinations on Lake Washington is the Washington Park Arboretum, which is located just south of the University of Washington campus. The arboretum covers 230 acres and features a variety of gardens, trails, and natural areas. Visitors can take guided tours, attend educational programs, and explore the arboretum's vast collection of plants and trees.

Seattle Center

Seattle Center is a cultural and entertainment complex located just north of downtown Seattle, and it's a short distance from the University of Washington campus. The complex covers 74 acres and is home to a variety of attractions, including the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Pacific Science Center.

Visitors to Seattle Center can enjoy a variety of activities, including live performances, art exhibits, and educational programs. The Space Needle offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck, and the Museum of Pop Culture features exhibits on music, film, and popular culture.


University Village

University Village is a popular shopping and dining destination located just a few miles east of the University of Washington campus. The outdoor mall features a variety of upscale stores, including Apple, Crate & Barrel, and Pottery Barn, as well as a range of restaurants and cafes.

Visitors to University Village can browse the shops, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the outdoor ambiance of the mall. The mall also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including live music performances, food festivals, and holiday celebrations.

Young professionals flock to this area because of the access to nature. There are so many green spaces, trails, hikes, and parks to choose from to keep you busy for months, maybe even years! The natural beauty of the UW campus, paired with the location on the water and the city skyline, is something that is truly unique. 


Get out and explore around your UW Off Campus Housing to find all of the natural beauty and wonder that the Seattle area has to offer. Head to the beach, go out on the water or check out one of the many museums and iconic landmarks of the city. No matter the weather, there is always something fun to do near UW at any time of the year.

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