Recreation and Leisure

Arts and Culture

The Seattle area is rich in arts, culture, and heritage. You can participate in a diverse series of film festivals, attend the ballet, listen to the symphony, explore the local music scene, or visit one of the many farmers markets, some of which are open year round. Check local publications like The Stranger, The Seattle Weekly, or Seattle Met for more information about local culture and events. Some of our favorites include:

Central District Forum for Arts & IdeasPike Place Market
Fremont Abbey
Henry Art Gallery
Kirkland Arts Center
Richard Hugo House
Seattle Arts & Lectures
Town Hall Seattle
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Olympic Sculpture Park
Frye Art Museum
Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
Center for Wooden Boats
Gay City

canoe at waterfront


The Seattle area has a very wide selection of dining options at all price points. Options may be found at: The Stranger, SeattleWeekly, and Seattle Met. For the closest happy hour, download The Stranger’s “Cocktail Compass” app. Listed below are a few favorite restaurants close to campus.

Outdoor Activities

hiking trail

The Pacific Northwest is known for its natural beauty and its quick, easy access to outdoor recreation. Surrounded by forests, water, and mountains, the area is full of opportunities for outdoor fun in all seasons. There is an extensive network of state and national parks within a short drive of Seattle that offer everything from short afternoon walks to multi-day hiking and camping trips. A few of our favorite area parks include:

Discovery Park, Seattle
Marymoor Park, Redmond
Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle
Saint Edwards Park, Kenmore
Washington Arboretum, Seattle
Volunteer Park, Seattle
Carkeek Park, Seattle
Seward Park, Seattle
Magnuson Park, Seattle
Alki Beach Park, West Seattle
Lincoln Park, West Seattle
Green Lake Park, Seattle
Ballard Locks, Seattle

driftwood on beach

Gaze longingly at the Olympics from the beaches of Discovery Park

Ballard locks

Visit the Ballard Locks and watch the boats go by

Take advantage of your student status while you're here, as well. You can visit the Waterfront Activities Center on the UW Seattle campus, and rent canoes and rowboats for $6/hr on weekdays and $8/hr on weekends! Climbing fans can get a student discount at the Seattle Bouldering Project, and those who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and all other Pacific Northwest pasttimes, should check out The Mountaineers.

In winter you can take advantage of the region's places to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe. Summer is a great time to rent a stand-up paddleboard, try windsurfing, or relax on a sailboat at one of the many waterfront areas, including Lake Washington, Lake Union, or Puget Sound. If you are a runner/walker, there are lots of local events ranging from 5Ks to marathons every month of the year including some right from the UW Bothell campus.

Burke-Gilman trailBicycling is popular not only for transportation but also recreation. Washington State was recently named the nation’s number one “Bicycle Friendly State” by the League of American Bicyclists for the fourth year in a row, and Seattle is regularly near the top of bike friendly city lists. There are numerous bicycle paths and trails throughout the area and in many of the parks. There is direct access to the UW Bothell campus from the Sammamish River Trail via the Burke-Gilman Trail which extends for 20.26 miles through neighborhoods just north of Seattle and the surrounding cities and towns. Learn more about bicycle trails and maps for King County.