Your new neighbors will tell you to head to The Ave when you’re looking for shopping or food. Don’t be confused: it’s actually University Way NE, but everyone calls it The Ave. It’s about 8 blocks of global cuisine from nearly every culture, as well as independent shops like The Globe bookstore. On The Ave, you’ll find ethnic delicacies like Indian food at Garam Masala and amazing Thai food at local legend Thai Tom. You can still appreciate the low-key, funky vibe of old-school Seattle at The Kraken Bar and Lounge—it’s a bit of a dive bar but cheap beer and live bands make for a good time.
You can definitely get by without a car in University District, since the area is one of Seattle’s most walkable neighborhoods. Biking is easy, and many bike rental shops in the area make it easy to get around on short trips. Public transit is currently limited to buses in the U-District, although you have the choice of either taking the King County Metro system buses or Community Transit buses, which are more localized to the U-District area. However, a planned expansion of the King County Metro system will soon bring a light rail stop to the neighborhood for easier access to the rest of Seattle.
Great schools and a walkable neighborhood with lots of nearby amenities makes U-District an attractive area to settle down. Its location near the University of Washington makes it an obvious choice for students. Some apartments in the University District even come fully furnished. However, because this neighborhood is highly in-demand, you’ll need to be prepared to pay a bit extra for all this convenience.
Fitness is a big part of the lifestyle in this conveniently located neighborhood. You’ll enjoy generally mild weather year-round and an abundance of outdoor parks and trails. Joggers and walkers enjoy the Burke-Gilman Trail that goes all through the neighborhood, and it’s especially beautiful in spring when the cherry blossom trees bloom.
When you’re looking for an apartment for rent in the University District, be prepared that you’ll be facing some steep competition. Although there is a wide variety of available housing, from rehabbed vintage lofts to brand-new condos in luxury buildings, almost all of it will require you to have a comfortable budget. However, if you’re on a tighter student budget, many people opt to live with roommates and can generally find them pretty easily. You’ll want to start looking for your apartment with some time to spare, although early summer is often the best time to find availability as students move out after the school year ends.
You can still find an occasional bargain on apartment rentals if you’re looking for a basic studio unit with few extra frills. But if you’re looking for a bit more luxury, you also have many great options—and it’s generally easier to find luxury units than those priced for student budgets. Many upscale apartments and condos offer amenities like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, onsite fitness centers, and rooftop patios. Many apartments for rent also allow you to bring a pet, though you should expect to pay extra deposits.
Whether you’re looking to stay in the U-District while you’re in school or decide to make it a more permanent home, you’ll love the time you spend here!