First Year Programs

One Bus Away Guide: Capitol Hill

Learn how to use the Seattle Transit system and your U-PASS on a tour of one of Seattle's iconic neighborhoods. Have issues or questions? Call or text us at 206-207-5564.  

The U-PASS is a bus pass plus more. Loaded right onto the Husky Card, the U-PASS provides members with unlimited rides on regional buses, commuter trains, light rail and water taxis as well as full fare coverage on vanpools. 

  • How to get there: Take the light rail from the U District Station or University of Washington Station. Get off at the Capitol Hill Station*. 

  • How to get back: Take the light rail from the Capitol Hill Station. Get off at the University of Washington Station (not the University Street Station!) 

*Be sure to tap on and off at the light rail! 

Capitol Hill is a hip neighborhood and a popular hangout spot for Seattleites of all ages. The area has many eclectic coffee shops, stores, and restaurants to explore, and is conveniently located just a short light rail ride from the U District. In addition to these options, Capitol Hill has an active night life with many venues for social dancing, music shows, and more! Explore some of Seattle's most interesting stores, coffee shops, and more as you take in the culture.  

Legend has it that Capitol Hill was named such because developer James Moore hoped that its name would convince the state to move the capital from Olympia to Seattle. Its reputation today is as a center of trend in Seattle, and the neighborhood is also seen as synonymous with the grunge scene as well as the center of LGBTQ life in Seattle. 

Tour Description: 

  1. Cal Anderson Park: Capitol Hill's popular neighborhood park began in 1889 in response to the Great Seattle Fire. The famed Olmsted Brothers designed the park, as part of their many works in the Seattle area. In 2003, the area was designated as Cal Anderson Park, after Washington's first openly gay state legislator. The park features a lovely reflecting pool and fountain, as well as a skate park, basketball courts, playground, and dog park. 

  1. Jimi Hendrix Statue: Legendary guitar player & singer, Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle & remembered by this statue. 

  1. The Elliott Bay Book Company: Located in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, The Elliot Bay Book Company is a full-service bookstore, home to over 150,000 titles, set on cedar shelves in a multi-level, inviting unique atmosphere. The bookstore offers one of the region’s best selection of new books, as well as a large collection of bargain editions. Elliot Bay presents an unparalleled schedule of author readings and events throughout the year. 

  1. Starbucks Reserve Roastery: The massive 15,000 foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery has a stunning, Instagram worthy interior, and sells rare blends and coffee flights. There's even a small coffee library on site. There are only five Starbucks Roasters in the world, and the others are in Shanghai, Milano, New York and Tokyo. 

  1. Twice Sold Tales: As one of Seattle’s oldest and venerable businesses, owner Jamie Lutton started selling used books out of a cart in 1967 and has since owned her own store front since 1990 as a business that would evolve into a neighborhood fixture and a business that helped define Capitol Hill. Although it has moved from its original location, it is now nestled just one block from Broadway, and still provides a relaxing and comforting environment for any book connoisseur, and, as if it couldn’t get any better, there are cats that live there! 

More Fun Places to Explore: 

  • Annex Theater: Seattle's longest-running fringe theatre, for live performances in a cozy setting 

  • Painted Crosswalks, Art & Murals: Capitol Hill is known as a gathering place for political movements, and the streets include rainbow-colored crosswalks launched for Pride Week and a Black Lives Matter mural that mark the site of the 2020 CHOP protests on Capitol Hill. 

  • The AIDS Memorial Pathway (AMP): The AMP is located right next to the Light Rail station.  The memorial features Christopher Paul Jordan's “andimgonnamiss-everybody”, described as "an homage to the bars and clubs in which Seattle’s gay community sought refuge", as well as the sculptures Monolith, Serpentine, Lambda, and Ribbon of Light. 

  • Volunteer Park: A beautiful park to either relax or walk around Volunteer Park helps break up life in the concrete jungle and is a great place to have a picnic, meet others, or just soak in the sun! 

  • Bruce Lee Memorial: Next to Volunteer Park in Lake View Cemetery lies a spot that’s visited by 10,000 people every year. This is where Bruce Lee, legendary Chinese American martial artist and film star, was laid to rest in 1973. His grave is not only a Seattle tourist attraction but a national and global pilgrimage site. 

  • Seattle Asian Art Museum: Located right in the center of Volunteer Park, the Seattle Asian Art Museum is a refreshing glimpse at Asian culture. For a day-of admission price of $12.99 or advance admission price of $9.99 (for students w/ ID), visitors can see paintings, statues, clothing and more from Chinese, Japanese and Korean history that spans centuries. Exhibits in the museum are also constantly changing and there are periodic dances, film showings and other performances.   

  • Station 7: Based in a retired 1920s firehouse, Station 7 is a home and dry goods shop with a focus on local and handmade goods. Station 7 offers a wide variety of goods, including jewelry, books, plants, ceramics, stationery, candles, gift items, personal care products, and much more. 

Food to Try:  

  • Dick’s Drive-In: In 1954, Dick Spady’s dream of cheap food, made fast with easy access to parking came true. For more than 50 years, Dick’s has been a Seattle icon, a hamburger joint that provides a good alternative to McDonald’s. Though Dick’s popularity could’ve prompted Spady to make the restaurant a national chain, he never did, choosing instead to keep everything local and in the Seattle area. Open until 2 a.m., Dick’s is also a popular hang-out/late-night food destination for college students up in the wee hours of the morning looking for cheap food. 

  • Tacos Chukis: A broke student who had recently graduated from UW, and who had limited job prospects, decided to invest in a bicycle and ride it over 1,200 miles down the coast to visit his hometown of Tijuana. Upon arriving, he was greeted by family and was quickly taken to eat tacos, tacos which he had so dearly missed and could not find back home in Seattle Once he returned to Seattle, he acted on his ideas to provide tacos for people obsessing over them the way he had, and Tacos Chukis was born. 

  • Salt & Straw: An iconic ice cream shop. A favorite from all around, Salt and Straw may not have started in Seattle, but it sure has made an impact! Multiple claim Salt and Straw is top notch, but you can go be the judge of that! 

  • Hot Cakes – Molten Chocolate Cakery: Founded in 2008, Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery is a rustic-chic sweet shop for one-of-a-kind homemade molten cakes, caramel sauces, creative cookies and sandwiches. 

  • Meet Korean BBQ: Meet Korean Barbecue is the destination for those looking to enjoy high-end meats in the KBBQ style. The restaurant offers all kinds of American and Japanese wagyu and Kurobata pork cuts, as well as dry-aged USDA Prime steaks and sides like Korean beef tartare with pine nuts and Asian pear.