A Beginner's Guide to Seattle

Moving to a new city is scary for a lot of reasons. There’s pressure to meet new people, explore unfamiliar terrain, and cope with being away from loved ones. Throw in the stress of performing well in college and that’s just a whole lot of emotional weight for a person to carry. Especially living on campus, it can be easy to get in the habit of doing the same things every day. Wake up, go to class, study, eat, study some more, eat more, sleep. Rinse, repeat. It can often feel claustrophobic staying on campus 24/7 without getting out to try something new or get a change of scenery.

Seattle is a huge city that has so much potential for exploration. In fact, Seattle is so dense that it’s sometimes difficult to know where to go first, other than the obvious Space Needle and Pike Place Market. But here is what I suggest:

1. Just a few stops away from UW on the Light Rail, Capitol Hill is the epicenter of pride for Seattle. Walk across the rainbow sidewalks and explore the neighborhood’s cute shops and restaurants. You can find delicious and customizable ramen at Ramen Danbo. Or incredible pasta on Broadway at Due Cucina, where you can pair your favorite sauces and pastas together in any combination you want, all for under $10-15. If you’re craving something sweet, Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery has a wide array of desserts that are perfect to share with friends. Or stop by Salt and Straw or Molly Moon’s for some delectable and unique ice cream flavors.  And if you’re interested in some discounted shopping, Crossroads Trading Post on Broadway has the coolest secondhand pieces for low prices.

2. Just a 10-15 minute bus ride away from UW, is Fremont, another whimsical and fun neighborhood. There you will find vintage stores and adorable cafes, such as Flying Apron which features all gluten-free and vegan treats. If you’re free Monday nights, All Together Skatepark features a program called Skate Like A Girl, that offers skateboarding lessons for women and trans people of all levels, which is a great way to get active and pick up a new skill. On Sundays, you can meander through the Fremont Sunday Market, chat with local vendors and small business owners, and see all the beautiful art, clothing, and food that local people are creating and selling.

3. On a weekend, I highly suggest using your Husky Card to take the water taxi over to West Seattle and check out the amazing West Seattle Junction: a street that features amazing shops and restaurants, including Bakery Noveau for the best croissants you’ve ever had. Walk along Alki Beach for an authentic rainy, Washingtonian beach experience. And if you have a little more time, walk on to the ferry for a quick trip over to Vashon Island for some more beautiful views of the water.

BONUS! If you are under 20 and into the arts hop on to TeenTix. It’s a website that will give you access to $5 tickets to an art exhibits, dance performances, symphonies, you name it!

It’s not the most extensive itinerary, but it’s definitely some material to get you started. Once you get off campus and explore the city, it’s relieving to know Seattle isn’t all lecture halls, textbooks, and cramming for exams. Happy exploring!