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Seattle and the Puget Sound Region

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.

The University of Washington is located in Seattle, a major metropolitan city nestled between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington. With a population of over 700,000, Seattle – the birthplace of many recognizable institutions such as Starbucks, Amazon, and of course, pickleball – is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. The city has a mild maritime climate with wet winters and warm, dry summers, and only has a handful of snow days per year. Despite its reputation for rain, Seattle doesn’t even break into the top ten of the U.S.’s rainiest cities – falling far behind places such as Miami, Nashville, and New York City. Seattle is much sunnier than you may think – in fact, Seattleites buy the most sunglasses out of anyone else in the country! 

Seattle locals might tell you Seattle is not a singular city, but rather an eclectic collection of neighborhoods. Each part of the city has a distinct feel. UW is just a block over from the main road in the University District – the Ave. The Ave is lined with thrift stores, coffee shops, and restaurants serving cuisine from around the world. The University Bookstore is also located along the Ave. Students may use their UPass to take advantage of Seattle’s robust transit system to explore the city free of charge. Take the bus to artsy Fremont, shop vintage stores or take a walk to the famous Bridge Troll. Or, take a stroll along the Hiram M. Chittenden  locks and stop in for a beer from one of several local breweries in Ballard. The Upass covers fare for the Link light rail system, which connects UW to the Ravenna, Capitol Hill, Mount Baker, and Othello neighborhoods. Students can also catch the Link to Amtrak and to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The Puget Sound region is renowned for its natural beauty. On clear days, students at UW can catch a glimpse of the Olympic range and Mount Rainier from campus. Public lands surround the city of Seattle – North Cascades    to the north, Rainer to the south, and Olympic to the west. Just over an hour east is Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest where you will be able to enjoy nature year round be it by hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing. During the summer months King County operates Trailhead Direct, a bus service connecting Capitol Hill to Mt. Si, Little Si, and Mt. Teneriffe. If you’d rather stay in the city, Seattle boasts a number of urban parks. Take a hike around Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood which offers panoramic views of Puget Sound or lounge on the shore of Green Lake, which is less than a twenty minute bus ride from campus. Across the water from Montlake Medical Center is the UW Arboretum, which is accessible by road and by boat rented from the UW Waterfront Activities Center.

Being a student at UW has its perks. Numerous Seattle area museums, galleries, and gardens offer student discounts or are free on certain days of the week, such as the following:

Did you know…

  • There are more pet dogs and cats than children in Seattle?
  • The 520 bridge connecting Seattle to Bellevue is the world’s longest and oldest floating  bridge?
  • Seattle was the first major U.S. city to elect a woman as mayor?
  • The Washington State Ferry system is the third largest in the world, carrying over 25 million passengers per year?
  • There are more houseboats in Seattle than in any other city in the world?
  • Pike Place Market’s gum wall is estimated to be made of over one million pieces of gum?
  • Seattle’s nicknames include the Rainy City, Emerald City, Queen City, Jet City, and the Gateway to Alaska?

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