Visitor Info

General Info

We look forward to your visit! Below you will find information on how to get to campus, weather, nearby restaurants and accommodations, as well as fun sites around campus & near Seattle. You can also take a virtual tour of the city. Please click here for additional information for colloquium speakers.

The picturesque University of Washington is located on a spacious, park-like campus about 5 km from the downtown area and the Seattle Center. Bike trails lace the region. UW-related news can be found at The Daily, our student newspaper.

For current Seattle news and events, you can visit the KOMO and KING5 news sites. You can also visit the sites for three of Seattle’s local newspapers: the Seattle Times, The Stranger, and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Useful Information for Visitors

Weather & Geology

pnw_reliefThe geological variety of the region is illustrated by the relief map. Mt Rainier lies 100 km south of Seattle, Mt Baker 120 km north of Seattle, the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle, and the Olympic Range west of Seattle. Ferries connect the Seattle region with the San Juan Islands, the Olympic Peninsula, and Victoria, B.C. Whales abound in the spring, eagles in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, and salmon in the winter. Ducks, geese and slugs are permanent residents. Metropolitan Seattle is surrounded by water; lakes and the Puget Sound wind through the area.

Vectors (Directions)


  • The Physics/Astronomy Building is on the corner of N.E. Pacific and 15th Ave. N.E. Our offices are on the third floor. The office phone is 206-543-2888.
  • From I-5 take N.E. 45th Street (exit 169) and drive east for about a mile. Turn right on 15th Ave. N.E. and drive south to the last light (N.E. Pacific).
  • If you arrive by air, the SeaTac Airport is served by all major carriers, with especially frequent service on United, Northwest, and Alaska airlines. The campus is about 20 miles north of the airport and five miles north of downtown. There are many choices of transportation to downtown and UW. See Google maps for a layout of the metropolitan region. Click this airport map to see the various passenger pickup/dropoff modes and locations of service. The campus map will help you to locate our building, and our office finding chart will guide you to our offices, all of which are on the third floor of the Physics-Astronomy Building.
  • If you come by taxi or airport shuttle, our street address is 3910 15th Ave NE, at the NE corner of NE Pacific and 15th Ave NE. The cab fare to campus is about $50. Shuttles are less expensive ($25) but can add 30-60 minutes.
  • The Sound Transit Link Light Rail operates between Sea-Tac Airport and the downtown Seattle transit tunnel. Several buses can take you between downtown and the University District – see King County Metro’s bus schedules & maps here. You can also download the One Bus Away app for real time transit info.
  • Getting into the building from street (basement) level is tricky. Walk up a flight of outside stairs and find any doorway on the first floor (main campus level) of the B or C wings of the building.
  • If you need to park, there’s a large U.W. underground lot which is entered from the intersection of 15th N.E. and N.E. 41st St. Ask the attendant at the toll booth for a campus map. On-street parking is limited to 2 hours.
  • The loading dock entry is at 3910 15th N.E., immediately north of the building. Drive down the ramp on the east side of the street north of the bus stop and into the basement. (Parking regulations in this area are strictly enforced!)

Lunch Spots & Restaurants

This is not a complete list of area restaurants, by any means. And restaurants are Darwinian, with new ones coming and going all the time. This list was last updated in 2015.

Most of these restaurants are on “The Ave,” which is the local nickname for University Way NE (14th Avenue). Those on the Ave. cater to students and, hence, are on the inexpensive side. Even so, the food is generally good. Most remain open for dinner. On foot, head west to the edge of campus, which is 15th Ave NE, and then go one block farther west to University Way. 40th through 45th Streets are west of campus; the higher the number, the farther north. The University Bookstore is on The Ave between 43rd and 45th. It is open every day at lunch time and on Thursday evening.

To reach the last two restaurants, walk along Pacific eastward from the Physics-Astronomy Building. Agua Verde is a block south of the PAB, and Ivar’s is reachable along NE Pacific just beyond the I-5 bridge (perhaps 8 blocks west of the PAB).

The District (tapas, sandwiches, full meals):
ground floor of University Tower – Best Western Hotel
NW corner of NE 45th & Brooklyn NE
(free parking in hotel lot, ask for pass at restaurant)

Shultzy’s (sausage and brat sandwiches)
4108 University Way

Big Time Brewery and Ale House (Sandwiches and local brew)
4133 University Way

Pizzeria Pagliacci (Pizza)
4529 University Way

Agua Verde (Mexican, very fresh, lots of seafood)
Boat Street at the end of 15th NE. 1 block south of the PAB.

Ivar’s Salmon House (fish)
On Lake Union just past the I-5 viaduct. Easy walk.

Visitors can find groceries and supplies at department stores like Bartell’s on 45th or Safeway on 50th. University Village is also a nearby shopping location.



Hotels listed below are all within 1.5 miles of the Physics-Astronomy Building.

Hotel Deca (formerly University Tower Hotel)
4507 Brooklyn Ave NE
206-634-2000 (toll free: 1-800-899-0251)

Silver Cloud Inn
5036 25th Ave NE
206-526-5200 (toll free: 1-800-205-6940)

University Inn
4140 Roosevelt Way NE
206-632-5055 (toll free: 1-800-733-3855)

Watertown Hotel
4242 Roosevelt Way NE
206-826-4242 (toll free: 1-866-944-4242)

College Inn Guest House
4000 University Way NE

University Travelodge
4725 25th Ave NE


Exit Interstate 5 at NE 45th Street, a few miles north of downtown Seattle. Go east — you will soon cross Roosevelt, 12th, Brooklyn, and University. If your hotel is on one of these avenues, turn left if the number is greater than 4500, right if less. For the Travelodge and Silver Cloud, continue along 45th past the University of Washington, down the viaduct, and head north on 25th Avenue. The Travelodge is across from the University Village shopping center on the left, and Silver Cloud is just past the shopping center on the right.



Hotels listed below are in the downtown area and are often good value, but parking options are more limited.

Hotel FIVE
2200 5th Ave.

Belltown Inn
2301 3rd Ave.

King’s Inn
2106 5th Ave.


Staying at an airBNB may be cheaper than a hotel, especially for extended stays. Visit their site here to find available lodging options.

Attractions / Fun Sites

Visit Seattle has several guides to food, shops, activities, hiking, and much more in and around the city. Their site also includes helpful tips for visitors.

A few well known places and activities include:

There are also several museums and art galleries:

See Seattle Parks and Recreation for a guide to the city’s parks. Some popular parks include:

The 20-mile Burke-Gilman Bike Trail is fun to walk or bike along. If you would like to rent a bike, the closest places to the university are Recycled Cycles and Ti Cycles.


Map of Western WashingtonA huge variety of other attractions lie within an easy drive of Seattle. Taking a few days to do one or two of them will make your visit much more memorable. Here’s a short list of regional scenic parks:


Some information on places to visit that are a short drive, ferry, or train ride away:

PLEASE NOTE: You must have a valid passport to travel between the U.S. and Canada!