Hidden gems

Explore the Seattle campus

Parnassus cafe

Located in the basement of the Art Building, Parnassus is the oldest cafe on the UW campus and one of the oldest coffeehouses in Seattle. Students established Parnassus in 1951, and it remains student-run (with administrative and training support from UW Dining). The walls of Parnassus feature student artwork. Half of the cafe’s profits and all tips go directly to the Parnassus Endowed Fund, supporting the Parnassus Graduating with Excellence awards for undergraduate and graduate students.

People seated at table in Parnassus cafe

Gallagher Law Library

Located in William H. Gates Hall, the Gallagher Law Library is a wonderful place to be productive. Not only does the library offer plenty of tables, cubicles and open seating, but it also maintains a level of quiet rivaled only by the Suzzallo Library Reading Room. If you’re looking for a peaceful place where you can concentrate, this is a great option.

law library interior

Jacobsen Observatory

Built in 1895, the Jacobsen Observatory is the second-oldest building on the UW campus and was constructed using leftover stone from Denny Hall. This active observatory is staffed with a team of dedicated volunteers who are happy to share their passion for astronomy with the public.

Observatory telescope

Physics Building Pendulum

Beneath a glass dome in the Physics Building’s auditorium wing, the Foucault pendulum is an intriguing sight. Named for its inventor, 19th-century French physicist Léon Foucault, the pendulum demonstrates the effect of Earth’s rotation. The building, by renowned architect César Pelli, features other unique finds, including a planetarium, a sundial, and, in the leafy courtyard, a bronze sculpture (known by students as “the giant peanut”) by American artist Martin Puryear.

Pendulum in Physics Astronomy building

Grieg Garden

Once a parking lot, Grieg Garden is now a cozy clearing surrounded by trees and flowering shrubs. Situated on the north side of the HUB Yard, it’s best viewed in the spring, when rhododendrons and azaleas frame the space in drifts of lavender, crimson, magenta and pink. The garden features the likeness of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, in a bronze bust originally cast for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909. A group of Scandinavian fraternal societies gave the sculpture to the UW in 1917.

Grieg Garden statue

Medicinal Herb Garden

The   Medicinal Herb Garden was created  by the UW Pharmacy Department in 1911, with more than two acres devoted to a wide variety of medicinal, food, fiber, dye and ceremonial plants from around the world.  This peaceful spot, not far from Rainier Vista and Sylvan Grove, is free and open at all times.

UW Medicinal Garden: rows of plants

Note: Each photograph above was taken following the appropriate safety protocols at the time.