January 10, 2008

Welcome to the University of Washington, where it's as scenic as it is damp. Don't let the weather fool you, though -- there are plenty of things to enjoy here, regardless of the rain or sun. Whether you're strolling up The Ave or taking in a basketball or football game, UW is always bustling with activity -- enrollment is over 40,000. Without further ado, here's a guide to some of the campus's bests:

Huksy Stadium. Washington provides a number of fantastic sports venues, but Husky Stadium takes the cake. A sold-out night game against a quality opponent produces a noise level that has to be heard to be believed. Close runners up: Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmunson Pavilion and Husky Softball Stadium.

Pizza Ragazzi. It's one of the city's hidden gems, mostly because they only do takeout and delivery. Not only is it high quality pie, but they deliver until 4 a.m. This is especially convenient for late nights spent ... uh ... studying.

The Quad. A lot of campuses have a "quad" that they're proud of, but UW's is gorgeous. Set amongst the University's oldest buildings, the quad provides plenty of places to lie in the grass and read books and drink coffee while listening to trendy indie music. All you need is a Frisbee and a cigarette to complete the true college experience.

The Ave. During the day, The Ave (it's actually called University Way) is packed with college kids who frequent the many restaurants and specialty shops it has to provide. But after dark? Probably not the best place to go for a long walk by yourself.

The HUB (Husky Union Building) at about noon. Just about every athlete in the school can be found here, unless they're in class. Because they do go to class. No, really, they do.

Red square. When it rains, the bricks get extraordinarily slick, and you really have to watch your step to avoid public humiliation. Running is not recommended.

Seattle Mariners baseball. Safeco Field is just a 20 minute bus ride from UW, and center field bleacher tickets sell for $7. Now, whether or not the Mariners have been worth paying $7 for the last couple season is debatable, but hey -- can you go to any professional sporting events in Pullman?

Dick's Burger Bar. With four locations in the Seattle area, Dick's has become legendary amongst the inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest. It's affordable, it's fast, it's open until 2 a.m., and most importantly -- it's damn good.

Odegaard Library. Odegaard has plenty of books and such, which is nice, but most people go there to socialize. This is made especially easy by the fact that it's open 24 hours, which gives you plenty of time to get your work done. Unless, of course, you need to write a seven-page paper that you haven't started yet, and you have midterm the next day. Just a random, hypothetical example.

The 8, McMahon Hall. Located in the basement of McMahon Hall, The 8 provides numerous options that you can't get on the other side of campus. The pasta, salads, and sandwiches are all quality, but the biggest attraction? Pagliacci's Pizza, a famous Seattle pizza company with two locations on campus. Oh, and the Subway at the Hub ain't bad, either.

Dawg Pack -- men's basketball. The Dawg Pack definitely brings the noise for football games, but they're at their best inside the friendly confines of Bank of America Arena at Hec Ed. And it shows -- the Dawgs have lost just four home games in the past three seasons, and went undefeated at home in the '04-'05 season, building up a reputation as one of the toughest places to play in the nation. And they do it with class -- all taunts and jabs are taken in a clever, witty fashion, sans profanity.

Gas Works Park. Located on the water, Gas Works is a great destination for a late night walk. The Seattle skyline is just across the water, providing a breathtaking view of the downtown area. A close runner up: Dick's Burger Bar (yeah, it's good enough to mention twice).

Volleyball. The Huskies were national champions in 2005, and advanced to the national semifinals last season. Runner up: Husky softball, which placed third last season at the Women's College World Series.

Brandon Roy, who's tearing it up for the Portland Trailblazers. Roy won Rookie of the Year honors last season, and has the Blazers competing for a playoff spot and the Northwest Division title. Also notable: Tank Johnson, but most would agree that Roy's story is received with much more warmth and acceptance. Unless you're talking to gang members.

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