Fun Places to Visit near the University of Washington Campus

Fun Places to Visit near the University of Washington Campus

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 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.

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 university.

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. 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.

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

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.

Kristina Phelan
Fun Places to Visit near the University of Washington Campus

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