Getting to know the U District

The University District, or U District, consists of several unique segments that make up the whole. From shops and restaurants to activities and essential services, the areas surrounding 45th Street, Brooklyn/Roosevelt, North Ave, Mid Ave and South Ave provide the neighborhood’s residents and visitors with a range of amenities.  Although these segments are named for their flagship thoroughfares, their boundaries spill out to include nearby blocks—home to some of the U District’s most distinct and noteworthy treasures. Located one block from the University of Washington’s Seattle campus, the neighborhood is a destination for culinary adventure, shopping, and more.

45th Street

A gateway to the U District, NE 45th Street functions as the neighborhood’s spine and all the other U District segments intersect with it at some point. Getting to the U District from the interstate, you’re likely to enter the neighborhood via NE 45th Street. But bustling 45th Street is a place to go to, not through. Lined by historic buildings like the Blue Moon Tavern, Graduate Seattle and Neptune Theatre and dotted with cafes, 45th Street is a service-oriented hub with banks, business centers, medical offices and other necessities for everyday living.


Along the U District’s western edge, activity in Brooklyn/Roosevelt moves at a slower pace. An up-and-coming area, the northern end consists of single-family homes, while the south transitions into condos, townhomes and apartment buildings. However you interact with Brooklyn/Roosevelt, you’ll be well-served by its proximity to grocery and corner stores, bars and restaurants and the Roosevelt Way bike lane. The future home of a section of the Wedgwood to Roosevelt Neighborhood Greenway, the southern terminus Brooklyn/Roosevelt include various access points to (or over) Portage Bay’s shimmering waters.

North Ave

University Way NE stretches north to south through the heart of the U District. Widely known as The Ave, its characteristics shift and transform along its length creating the North Ave, Mid Ave and South Ave segments.

The mostly residential North Ave is home to University District Farmers Market—held every Saturday and featuring 70+ farmers, vendors and cooks. The University Heights Center, a vibrant and active community center located in a historic school building, is another vital piece of the North Ave’s fabric. The North Ave is packed with eclectic, locally owned retail shops that offer wares you won’t find elsewhere—from handmade jewelry and Celtic gifts to dance apparel.

Mid Ave

Because of its unique shops, key retail offerings and stable of eateries, the Mid Ave is always buzzing. Situated between residential slices of the neighborhood and the University of Washington campus, the Mid Ave brings everyone together—students, employees, residents, visitors and more. The diversity of people who interact with the Mid Ave is mirrored by its range of offerings, from vintage, thrift and costume shops to a historic cinema and gargoyle statuary. Restaurants along the Mid Ave dish up everything from Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern eats to Korean barbecue and Japanese udon.

South Ave

Dense and active, the South Ave segment’s proximity to the University of Washington campus make it a primary destination for college students. Bike and pedestrian-friendly and the future site of Sound Transit’s U District Light Rail Station, the South Ave is easy to get to, from and around in. An array of restaurants in the South Ave span numerous cultures, and—along with cozy coffee shops and cafes—they fuel students’ academic endeavors. Throughout the area, bookshops, news stalls and print shops dot the landscape, while quiet nooks and hidden dives provide space to study and decompress.