The University District, or U-District, surrounds the University of Washington in the northeast Seattle region. It's centered on University Way Northeast, which all the locals call "The Ave". Located just three miles from downtown Seattle, the District stretches from Ravenna to Portage Bay and from Interstate 5 or I-5 to Lake Washington. The University District of Seattle is one of the oldest, most loved, and diverse communities of Seattle.
The area is home to the University of Washington and many unique commercial districts. The "Ave", the Village, and Roosevelt Way are just a few areas that provide residents and visitors with a kaleidoscope of continental shopping and dining opportunities unparalleled anywhere in Greater Seattle. Museums, public art, theaters, sporting events and outdoor happenings abound.
The University of Washington moved into the neighborhood two years after the area was annexed to Seattle, while much of the area was stillclear cutforest or stump farmland. The district of neighborhoods grew with the university to become a microcosm of urban American cities. Many of the retailers and eateries today cater to the vast fraternity row students from the University of Washington. Great venues are available to all locals and tourists alike, but be prepared to fight the crowds of students when frequenting them.
The U-District StreetFair is the kick-off event for the festival season in the Seattle region. It is also the longest running street festival in the nation. Self-described as "country fair meets urban retail corridor", the StreetFair attracts more than 50,000 people and over 300 craft and food booths to the District on the third weekend of May each year. The StreetFair is an energetic and exciting celebration of arts and crafts, community information, music, and food. You'll find a lot of color and much creativity. There are two main stages featuring music from four decades, a special children's area with age appropriate events, an interactive oral history event to collect StreetFair memories, a wonderful medley of street performers and much more. The unique local and regional arts & crafts and an array of international food are available on location to delight your taste buds as well as other senses.
The Metro buses serve the area and when traveling via car the U-District is easy to navigate. Take exit 169 (the 45th/50th Street Exit) whether traveling north or south and head east (toward the UW Tower) on NE 45th Street.If venturing in by bike or foot, follow the Burke-Gilman Trail; traveling east along the shore of Portage Bay or traveling west along the north side of Lake Washington to Montlake Drive.
Determined by law enforcement to be somewhat unsafe and night, it is recommended that when in the area overnight or late evening to be accompanied with a friend or friends. Women are encouraged to eliminate being out late at night alone. Parking in well lit areas at dusk is wise and recommended.