Residency Program: Visiting Seattle Tour

Okay, you planned a day to see the sites of Seattle but there is so much to do you can’t possibly fit it all in. How can you see the most popular sites and a bit of the "real" Seattle as well? Seattle has an award winning transit system and the University of Washington whole-heartedly supports leaving the car at home with its U-Pass program. Let's take a virtual tour.

Gasworks Park

From the University District at 45th and University Avenue catch the #71 bus for the International District. This bus will take you across the University Avenue Bridge, spanning the Montlake Cut between Lake Washington and Lake Union. Bus fare is $2.50 off peak. If it is a weekend day, ask for a day pass to use all day. Points of interest along this route include Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and REI, the mecca for outdoors enthusiasts. Once the bus reaches downtown, you will get off at the end of the line at International District station on 4th and Jackson Street.

Hammering Man

Once you are above ground it is a short walk south to see the sites of our "Chinatown". Immigrants from across the Pacific Rim have figured very prominently in the historic development of Seattle from the very beginning nearly 150 years ago. The Wing Luke Asian Museum at 7th and Jackson has an excellent collection of art and history. You can pick up a snack at Uwajimaya, the largest Asian grocery and gift market in the Pacific Northwest. In your travels in this neighborhood you will also see the home of the winningest baseball team (we like to dream) - the Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field. The Seahawks are across the street at Qwest Field.  Our newest professional sports team is the Sounders Football Club (soccer). The Amtrak station is located just north of the sports stadiums.

You can jump back on the bus or walk the few blocks to Pioneer Square. This is the oldest historical section of Seattle and still celebrates its role in the wild days of the Klondike Gold Rush with a free National Historical Park at First and Main. Take in the Underground Tour to get a feel for just what is was like before the big fire in 1889. Above ground, Pioneer Square is home to many fine art galleries. Go down Washington Street toward the Sound and hop on Metro Bus 99.

Ferry en route to Bainbridge Island

As you ride along the edge of Elliott Bay you will notice the huge cranes used to load ocean-bound container ships. Seattle is a primary port for Pacific Rim international trade. You exit the streetcar at the Madison Street station that is next to the ferry terminal. You might be ready for lunch by now and you will be walking right by a Seattle institution - Ivar's Acres of Clams (and other seafood) started by Hagland Ivar in 1939.  Grab your lunch and hop on a Washington State Ferry to Bremerton across the Sound.  It is about 1 1/2 hours round trip and a chance to rest your feet. 

Ivar also built the first aquarium a little further up the waterfront and the Pike Hill Street Climb. Mosey along three levels shops with craftsmen and vendors selling anything you can imagine at the Pike Place Market. Watch out for those flying fish! Next to the Market is Hammering Man standing guard over the Seattle Art Museum and the new home of the Seattle Symphony - Benaroya Hall. In the main hall you can see a wonderful display of Dale Chihuly glass. If you have not done enough shopping by now, a short walk up Pike Street takes you to Westlake Center, Nordstrom’s and Pacific Place.

Space Needle and Art Display at Seattle Center

Okay, time to rest those feet again. At Westlake Center you can hop on the Monorail to the Seattle Center. Created in 1962 for the World’s Fair, this is much more than a huge movie set for an Elvis Presley movie. It is a 74-acre gathering place for all Seattleites. Of course, there is the famous Space Needle. Throughout the year the Center is home to community festivals like Bumbershoot, Northwest Folklife and Bite of Seattle. Kids of all ages like to congregate at the Pacific Science Center. And all around you is the sound of music, from rock and roll at the Experience Music Project to the Seattle Opera. Whew! And that’s only part of the fun found at the Center. When you are ready, make your way to the west side of Key Arena - you will pick up a bus to whisk you away for a tour of some of the most popular neighborhoods where our residents live.

Fisherman's Terminal in Ballard

You are going to get on a #15 bus on 1st Avenue North just outside the Key Arena. This will take you to the quaint neighborhood of Ballard. As you go across the Ballard Bridge, you can check to see if the fishing fleet is in at Fisherman’s Terminal on your left, home to our own Deadliest Catch, the Northwestern adn Captain Sig Hansen's crew.  You will want to get off the bus at 15th Avenue West and Northwest Market Street. If you ask, the bus driver will remind you. You will pay your fare as you leave and be sure to ask for a transfer. Seattle is a patchwork quilt of diverse neighborhoods. We celebrate our multi-cultural heritage every summer with Seafair, which runs from the first weekend in May through Labor Day. Ballard is historically the Scandinavian community and is celebrated at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

By now you might be a bit tired of being the tourist - let’s get you back to the University District. Hop on a #43/44 bus going to the University District. The stop is at the same corner you got off the #15 - just walk around the corner so you are actually on NW Market Street. This bus travels through many neighborhoods that are convenient to the University. At the top of the hill you are in Phinney Ridge. The Woodland Park Zoo is north off 45th. Once you go under Aurora Avenue/Hwy. 99, you are in Wallingford. Just north of this area is Green Lake. Both of these areas attract young couples just starting their families. Continuing east, and over I-5, is the University District.  You are back where you started.

George Washington Statue at Dusk

We hope that you can see by this tour of Seattle that it is a thriving metropolitan area that offers a lot to its residents. The Seattle Chamber of Commerce provides a "Moving to Seattle" kit along with information on real estate, employment, schools and transportation. And if you really want to dig up information on Seattle, try the City of Seattle Office of Intergovernmental Relations website for Quick Facts and Citizen Information. And finally, check out the Emerald City at