. A good first impression at the University of Washington : Budget Travel Adventures

A campus tour, an anniversary, and a good first impression at the University of Washington

Drumheller fountain University of Washington As the plane prepared to land, I was ready for the rain that would greet me in Seattle.  After all, this city has a reputation for being quite wet and cold in Fall and winter.

As I made my way to the city from the airport, I was greeted with beautiful oranges, yellows, and reds as the trees were in full bloom with Autumn colors.  I had been to Seattle before and enjoyed the touristy aspects of the city – the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project, Pike’s Place Market, and a stroll along Seattle’s piers and waterfront.

However, this visit was different.  I wasn’t here to see the city.  I was here to kick off the College Football Travel Tour at the University of Washington.  On the agenda for the weekend was the football game between Washington and Oregon, a tour of the Washington campus, and a walk through the streets of north Seattle.  I wanted to find out what life was like as a college student here at the University of Washington and I was open to whatever experiences and opportunities crossed my path.

Much like the weather in Seattle, the University of Washington was a pleasant surprise.   Instead of rain, I was welcomed with sunshine and beautiful Fall colors.  I didn’t expect the people to be so friendly, the campus to be so beautiful, or the experiences to be so memorable.

The University of Washington was the perfect place to start the College Football Travel Tour as I was welcomed back to school.

A brief history and campus tour of the University of Washington

University of Washington entrance W Fall colorsAfter checking in at the University Motel, I enjoyed a 10 minute walk through the streets surrounding the campus.  The air was crisp and the early morning sunshine cast shadows on the ground as the beautiful colors of Fall hovered overhead.

As I walked down the main street of campus, trees spread out their branches with vibrant yellows and reds as I headed to Red Square for the start of my campus tour.  As I reached the George Washington monument, students and their parents were gathered together, talking to the campus tour guides Dan Fiedler and Brent Nagamine.  For an early, cool Saturday morning, there was a buzz around campus even though many campus buildings and streets were relatively empty.

Check out my interview with campus tour guides Dan and Brent as we talk about college life at the University of Washington!

All bundled up, the older guy with the notepad, camera, and video camera joined the students and their parents for a tour of campus.  Brent and Dan took the time to introduce themselves and split up the group to take them around campus.  The older guy and half of the students and parents joined Brent Nagamine, the third year communications major and marching band guy, as we headed towards Red Square while Dan and his group went in the other direction.

This weekend celebrated the 150th anniversary at the University of Washington so there couldn’t have been a better time to take a tour of campus to celebrate its history, accomplishments, and beauty.  The school has nearly 30,000 undergraduate students and nearly 42,000 students total.  However, this is a place that feels like a community despite its location in a big city with thousands of students.

However, this wasn’t just about numbers, history, or education opportunities.  While any tour guide might claim that their campus is the best because he loves his school, Forbes gave the University of Washington the distinction as one of the 10 most beautiful campuses in the country.  And part of a campus tour at the University of Washington is enjoying its architecture and natural beauty.

Cherry Blossom Quad University of WashingtonThe tour of campus included a history of the landmark brick towers that are in the center of Red Square.  We enjoyed a visit to Drumheller fountain with a view of Mount Rainier in the background.  We wandered through the Quad area to see the colors of the Cherry Blossom trees in the Fall and see one of the favorite places for students to hang out.

We learned about the first building on campus, Denny Hall, and got a view of Husky Stadium.  We checked out the Suzzallo and Odegaard library, which is open 24 hours a day for students to study.  We toured the liberal arts area (which is the Quad), the science quad (where Drumheller Fountain is located), and learned more about student life, the medical center, and unique classes and clubs that are offered on campus.

As we walked through campus, students, tour guides, and parents talked and asked questions.  Many enjoyed the Gothic architecture of the buildings, the Fall colors, and the quiet streets and views.

The University of Washington is a beautiful campus, easily walkable, with something to offer every student, parent, or visitor who comes to visit.  Brent and Dan mentioned that their best experiences as a students were the people and the community.  A tour of the campus, streets, and buildings showed me how much students enjoy calling this place home for a few years.

Check out this brief intro by University of Washington student Dan Fiedler:

Coming up on the College Football Travel Tour – interviews with campus tour guides Brent Nagamine and Dan Fiedler as well as a video tour of the University of Washington campus.

Husky stadium, college football tailgating, and college life

UW Brick Towers Red Square University of WashingtonAfter the tour was over, I spent the afternoon exploring the streets near campus that make this a college town in a big city.  From the largest university bookstore in the country to a wide variety of ethnic and cultural foods and restaurants, this college town has something to offer everyone.

For those that love the outdoors, this area features a number of trails, kayaks, canoes, and places to sit outside and enjoy.  Many people are active as the Burke Gilman trail is littered with bike riders, runners, and those enjoying the outdoors.

For sports fans, the Huskies are nationally recognized in a number of sports.  Yet the biggest game of the season was a few hours away as Washington would take on the top 10 ranked Oregon Ducks in the last game at Husky stadium.  The fans would be ready for this one, the boats would be on the water for tailgating, and the stadium would be loud.

Want to know more about college football?  Read my College Football 101 for travelers and football fans!

The University of Washington welcomes students from all walks of life and is truly a diverse community with people from all over the world.  The school has an international feel but is a place where everyone can feel at home.  The campus is a perfect outdoor escape with something for everyone just north of downtown Seattle.  Regardless of your interests, the school has unique educational opportunities as well as a a variety of clubs – from sports enthusiasts to nerds to vampires!

The campus tour was a great introduction to the University of Washington.  Like the city itself, the school made a great first impression and was a pleasant surprise.  Even though my college days are behind me, I felt the excitement of being on campus once again in a place that made me feel right at home.

More stories on tailgating, the college football game, things to see and do near campus, places to stay, where to eat, and college life at the University of Washington coming up on the College Football Travel Tour.

The College Football Travel Tour welcomes college football fans and travelers of all ages on this journey to explore college towns, local cultures and attractions, and some college football.

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Filed Under: College Football Travel TourFeaturedUniversity of Washington


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  1. A great start to the series. A pretty campus.

  2. Steve says:

    Love the UW campus. It really is a beautiful place. Looking forward to the rest of the details, and I’m very jealous that you’re doing this series. Great plan!

  3. Leah says:

    I’m glad you got your first stop under your belt. Great job! It looks like the weather was even ok.

  4. Great job – Is there someone going to college or this is your passion for college football?

    I have always heard of parents and students touring campuses and wondered what they look for in going to a college and why? So many go across country when they have a college in their home state for less

    • Eileen, this is a passion of mine since I was a kid. Check out my post “College Football Travel Tour hits the road” and you can read my story on why I am doing this.

      As for why kids go far away from home for college, I think it is similar to that of travelers and why we go so far away to visit other countries. Students want an experience different than the familiar and the places they grew up.

  5. Nice introduction to the series. University of Washington is a great place to start for many reasons including its beauty and the competitiveness of their football team. Always a tough game facing the Huskies at home.

    • School and campus were very beautiful. Very pleased with this visit and it was a good place to start. With the renovations to the stadium, it will be an even tougher place to play in the future!

  6. Erik says:

    It is a beautiful campus in a great city!

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