Rediscover the U District before the Light Rail station opens on the Ave so you know all the best places to visit. After you’ve picked up new Husky gear and the hottest new book releases at University Book Store, we encourage you to stay in the neighborhood and discover some of the U District’s hidden gems. The Ave boasts some of Seattle’s best selections of multicultural stores and restaurants and a Saturday Farmer’s Market, all knit together in no more than a ten-minute walk. Find art, comedy, beer, and delicious eats in the U District.
1. The Burke Museum
Celebrating 120 years this year, the Burke Museum on the northwestern corner of the UW campus has remodeled and reopened—and it was worth the wait. In addition to a beautiful contemporary exterior, behind its doors are 16 million objects in their collection. In this new museum concept, galleries of indigenous art and culture, alongside exhibits of dinosaurs and creatures from the bottom of the sea, are set in context while visitors can look into the museum’s labs to observe the scientists at work. The Burke Museum offers high-quality, hands-on science and cultural learning programs across Washington, including special youth camps and their Girls in Science program. Another surprise is the excellent museum café—a new favorite lunch spot!
2. Big Time Brewery
Follow the yellow brick building into Seattle’s original brew pub, delighting beer aficionados and graduate students since 1988. What sets Big Time Brewery apart from other bars is that all their beers are brewed in-house for a unique, delicious experience you won’t find in your grocery store’s beer aisle. Offerings rotate daily, with their three standard brews (Scarlet Fire IPA, Atlas Amber Ale, and the Coal Creek Porter) always on tap—which all, of course, pair perfectly with their delicious and generously portioned lunch and dinner selections. Whether you’re looking for a new happy hour spot, an affordable dinner option, you just love beer, or likely all of the above, visit Big time Brewery today!
3. Scarecrow Video
The personalized recommendations of a bookseller are always preferable to big data. Similarly, the movie enthusiasts of Scarecrow Video can help you find something better than your Netflix algorithm could. Scarecrow Video, the world’s largest non-profit video library, makes ye olden days of video rental hip again with two floors and entire rooms dedicated to every genre. Blending new releases with cult classics and top-notch lesser known movies (plus popcorn and candy to put a ribbon on the experience), discover your new favorite film at Scarecrow. There’s also an in-house screening room to check out both staff or club favorites. If you find yourself wanting even more, Scarecrow offers multiple membership options for exclusive perks like rental discounts, two-for-one deals, members-only events, and more!
4. Jet City Improv
Since 1992, Jet City Improv has taken Seattle to (drumroll please) “a higher plane of comedy.” Local comics weave unique and laugh-out-loud funny scenarios with every show so that their recurring series never perform the same show twice. Twisted Flicks, probably their best known recurring show, involves dubbing really bad movies with a live musical accompaniment. Stabbin’ Cabin lovingly parodies both the 1980’s summer camp and slasher genres. The Tragic School Bus and Mile High Club offer more mature, adult humor, but no one will be turned away for their age (perfect for all the cool babies out there). Jet City Improv also offers discounted rates online and for large groups, making it the perfect place to kick back with a team or for parties and celebrations. If you’re inspired to join the cast on stage, classes are also offered to teach you to connect to your inner spontaneous, funny person (for better or worse).
5. Seattle’s Official Bad Art Museum of Art
Nestled on the fine line between the U District and Ravenna sits Café Racer, a brunch spot and café that offers an unexpected twist: a whole room dedicated to bad art. Not just funny bad, but like, bad. Take advantage of this one-of-a-kind, kitschy experience and grab some coffee, eggs, and hash browns while you’re there. Café Racer hosts open mic nights every Tuesday, comedy and improv on Wednesdays, and rotating music Thursday through Sunday, making the café into a venue supporting local and small artists. Cowen and Ravenna Park are conveniently located down the street, making the venue to laugh, or even delight over, some seriously bad art and maybe walk off some seriously good breakfast.