A Guide to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

by Molly FitzMorris, IELP Student Coordinator


Did you know that there’s a huge beautiful rainforest just a few hours from Seattle?  The Olympic Peninsula, just west of the Puget Sound, is home to Olympic National Park and the Olympic Mountains.  It is also home to emerald moss-covered trees, rivers, lakes, and stunning waterfalls.  The Olympic Peninsula is one of my favorite places on Earth, and a spring weekend is the perfect time for a visit.  Below I’ll give you some tips and places to see should you decide to go.


My must-see spots on the Olympic Peninsula:

Below are my absolute favorite places on the Olympic Peninsula.  If you plan carefully and spend one night in a town like Sequim or Port Angeles, you can leave Seattle Saturday morning, see all five spots below, and be back in Seattle Sunday night!


  1. Lake Crescent

lake crescent

East Beach, Lake Crescent, March 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris


Lake Crescent is a glacial lake, near the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.  When the water is still, it reflects the mountains that surround it.  If the weather is warm, you can swim or rent a boat to explore the lake, and on cooler days, you can hike nearby.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.


  1. Hurricane Ridge

hurricane ridge

Hurricane Ridge, photo courtesy of the National Park Service


Hurricane Ridge is nestled in the Olympic Mountain range.  You can drive about 17 miles from the town of Port Angeles up into the mountains to find the view pictured above (on a clear day, anyway).  You can look at the Hurricane Ridge webcam to see if the mountains are visible before driving up.  Be aware that you’ll need to pay to access Hurricane Ridge ($25 for a one-week pass, or $50 for a pass good for one year), and you’ll need to carry tire chains in your car if the road is snowy.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.


  1. Cape Flattery

cape flattery

Cape Flattery, February 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris


Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point in the 48 contiguous United States.  When visiting Cape Flattery, you can take a short, easy hike through a beautiful forest to several lookouts like the one shown above.  (I also highly recommend the nearby Makah Cultural and Research Center, a museum created by and about a local Native American tribe.  You can find more information about that here.)



  1. Lake Ozette

lake ozette

Cape Alava and Tskawahyah Island, near Lake Ozette, February 2016, photographed by Molly FitzMorris


While Lake Ozette is undoubtedly beautiful, what I enjoyed most about this area was the Ozette Triangle Trail.  This hike takes you a few miles, from Lake Ozette through a stunning rainforest to a gorgeous Pacific Ocean beach.  Once you reach the beach, you can see Tskawahyah Island, pictured above, and some magnificent ocean stacks.  Check out the Washington Trails Association’s website for more information about this hike.



  1. Sol Duc Falls

sol duc falls

Sol Duc Falls, October 2014, photographed by Molly FitzMorris


Sol Duc Falls is one of my favorite waterfall hikes, and it’s not far from Lake Crescent!  You can drive a few miles from Highway 101 down Sol Duc Road to the trailhead.  From there, it’s a short and easy hike to the waterfall.  Unlike a lot of waterfall hikes, this hike takes you across the Sol Duc River, so you can view the waterfall from above, instead of from below.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.


Other great spots:

  • Marymere Falls (info)

  • Hoh Rainforest (info)

  • Dungeness Spit (info)

  • Ruby Beach (info)


Be sure to check out all the relevant websites before going to the spots listed above, as sometimes roads can be unexpectedly closed or there might be a fee for parking or to visit certain spots.  Also, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket with a hood and comfortable waterproof shoes; it is usually very wet and rainy on the Peninsula!  Enjoy your trip to this nearby paradise, and take lots of pictures!

Top 5 Spring Break Activities

Spring break is coming! Time to pack your suitcase and go on a short journey with your friends around Seattle!

Don’t know where to go? No worries. We have listed top 5 spring break activities for you. Let’s check them out!

1. Visit one of Washington’s three National Parks!  

Washington State is well known for its three beautiful national parks: Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. You can go boating, fishing, camping, hiking, tidepooling, climbing, and see various wild animals in these parks. If you are a wilderness explorer, definitely check it out!


Olympic National Park


North Cascades National Park


Mount Rainier National Park

2. Visit San Juan Island! 

San Juan Island is the second-largest and most populous island of the San Juan Islands. Originally served as the seasonal fishing island by Native Americans and local people, San Juan Island is now a popular tourist site. People usually visit San Juan Island for whale watching, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, and enjoying local seafood.

3. Take the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia!

Victoria is internationally renowned as the “City of Gardens”. It is also the capital city of British Columbia in Canada. You can find heritage architecture, outdoor adventures, beautiful gardens, and local seasonal events in Victoria. And it is very convenient to take the 2.5-3 hour ferry between downtown Seattle and Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

4. Take a train down to Portland or up to Vancouver

If you can’t drive to Portland or Vancouver, it is a great idea to take the train: Amtrak Cascades. Amtrak Cascades connects Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Portland and Eugene, Oregon. You can also see Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge during your trip. You will get a chance to see some of the best city views and natural attractions on your way.


Amtrak Cascades

5. Have some fun in Leavenworth!

Leavenworth is a city in Chelan County, WA. The entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village. It is a good place to relax and enjoy some local food.



Have fun during spring break!

You are Welcome Here!

We welcomed almost 70 students to the IELP for Winter quarter. If there is a new student in your class, please give her or him a nice, warm welcome to Seattle.  We went high tech this quarter for the  Strategies for Success workshop at new student orientation. Students answered questions with text messages. These messages appeared live on-screen, so we learned a lot about each other.  I wanted to share the responses with everyone.  So here they are!

What are my goals?


What do I want to try in Seattle?


What am I good at?


What questions do I have about classes?


Tours in Seattle

In Seattle there are many ways to experience the rich culture and history behind many of our neighborhoods and sites. One way to do this is by tours. Tours are a fun way to learn more about a city, visit place you may have never noticed before, and have an opportunity to ask questions!

Below are some fun tours in Seattle, click on the title to learn more!


Pike Place Market

Seattle Free Walking Tours

Tours in large cities like Seattle can be very expensive. Seattle Free Walking Tours does not charge a fee and a tip, instead they ask you to “pay what you feel”. This means that you can pay as little or as much as you’d like.

This company offers two tours:

  1. Market Experience Tour
  2. Seattle 101

The Market Tour focuses on Pike Place Market while Seattle 101 focuses on downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and the waterfront. The Market Tour is a little over an hour long, and the Seattle 101 tour is about 2 hours long.

Washington Arboretum Tours


IELP students on a tour at the arboretum

On Sundays at 1PM you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center to go on a tour at the Washington Arboretum! You can learn about plants, ask questions, and enjoy the park!

On the first Thursday of the month you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center at 11AM to go on a Tram Tour! However you do need to register online.

Both of these tours are free. See here to learn more!

Click here to read about when IELP students when to the arboretum!

Olympic Sculpture Park Tour


The Olympic Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park, an outdoor exhibit, is a great place to enjoy the weather and see some cool sculptures! The tour lasts about an hour and you can learn all about the history, landscape, and of course, the sculptures themselves!

Check out the calendar here for more specific dates and times!

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour


IELP students and volunteers enjoying the free samples at Theo Chocolate

You can take a peek inside the factory of Seattle’s very own chocolate maker: Theo Chocolate! A typical tour is $10 per person, lasts about an hour, and includes chocolate sampling!

They also have fun events such as “Kids Ganache and Chocolate Bark Class” where you spend the day learning how to make chocolate ganache and bark. See here for more information.

On the first Thursday of the month starting August 2016 Theo Chocolate will begin offering 2 free tours that day. Make your reservations in advance!

You can book a tour here.


Underground Tour


Here you can see glimpses of Seattle’s past

In 1889 there was a large fire in Seattle. When officials began rebuilding the city they actually built it on top of some of the older, burnt sections of Seattle! Now there are many passageways and basements underneath the Seattle we know.

The Underground Tour takes people down to the area beneath Pioneer Square. Tickets are $20 for adults, or $17 with your husky card!

Visit here to learn more.



Visit Bellevue

Bellevue is a neighboring city to Seattle, it is easy to get to by bus. Either the 271 from UW Seattle Campus or the 550 from Downtown Seattle can get you there in a jiffy!

Bellevue Square Mall


Bellevue Square Mall, often referred to as “Bell Square” is a large shopping center with popular stores like ZARA, Macy’s, Nordstrom, UNIQLO, GAP, Lego, and more! Beecher’s Cheese, the popular cheese store in Pike Place recently opened a new location in Bellevue Square!

There is a skybridge that links Bell Square to Lincoln Square – where there is a movie theater, a bowling alley, and much more!

Bellevue Art Museum


The Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) is located right across the street from Bellevue Square Mall and Lincoln Square. They have many exiting exhibits, check them out here. Tickets are $10 for students with ID cards, $12 dollars for adults. However, each first Friday of the month is free!

Downtown Bellevue Park


This park is also located close to Bellevue Square Mall. The 20 acre park is a great place to have a picnic, play frisbee, enjoy the sun, and much more!

During the 4th of July (Independence Day) the park is full of people enjoying food from food trucks and sweet lemonade. In the evening the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra plays music while fireworks are set off.

Bellevue Botanical Garden


With 53 acres of land, the Bellevue Botanical Garden is a must-see. There is the Fuchsia Garden, the Native Discovery Garden, the Waterwise Garden and much more! Admission is free and you can even go on a tour – a tour begins each Saturday and Sunday at 2PM.

During the winter time the Botanical Garden hosts the Garden d’Lights. At the end of each year the garden lights up and creates lovely sights to see. While tickets are usually $5, there are some nights that are free! See here for more information.



All About Halloween

Halloween is celebrated in America every year on October 31. 

This is a fun holiday that is celebrated by people of all ages! It is typical  to dress up. People will dress up as witches, princesses, superheroes and more!


IELP Students dress up for the Mid Quarter Costume Party!

Little kids will dress up and walk around the neighborhood trick-or -treating. Trick-or-treating is when you ring on people’s doorbells and say trick-or-treat to receive candy.


There are many Halloween themed parties complete with pumpkins, skeletons, witches and black cats.


Many people carve pumpkins. At night, people will put candles in them. These are called Jack-O’-Lanterns. Sometime you will see them in front of people’s houses at night – there are even pumpkin carving contests! Many people will make funny faces, scary faces, or even realistic faces on the pumpkins!

halloween-hero-1-aHappy Halloween!

Visit “The Ave”

The Ave (although officially titled University Way) is a major street in University District. It has all sorts of places to eat and shop!

University Book Store


The University Book Store has all sorts of University of Washington gear such as hats, clothing, water bottles etc. They also have a large number of textbooks for students and regular books! Be sure to check it out when you have time!

The University Book Store has locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Bothell, Tacoma, Mill Creek and in the HUB!

Visit their website here

Cafe Solstice


While Starbucks is incredibly popular in Seattle there are many other cafes on the Ave to visit! Cafe Solstice is one of them. It is located right next to Shultzy’s a hot dog and burger place.

University District Farmers’ Market


Open year round on Saturdays, the University District Farmers’ Market is a great way to get locally grown food! It is located on “the Ave” (University Way) and between 50th and 52nd street. Find out more about the U District Farmers’ Market and special events here!

Although not technically located on “The Ave” these places are some that you must visit!

Portage Bay Cafe


Portage Bay Cafe is a super popular place to go for brunch. It has great, delicious food and a breakfast bar! Make sure to make a reservation before you go to make sure you won’t have to wait too long for a table.

Visit their website here

Guacano’s Tacos Pupuseria


A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish which is made from a corn tortilla with ingredients in the middle. This Salvadoran restaurant makes great food that is also affordable. Make sure to visit!

Visit their website here


Visit Fremont

Known also as the “Center of the Universe” Fremont is a quirky neighborhood with much to see!

According to legend, in 1991 Fremont was determined to be the Center of the Universe. Following this discovery the Center of the Universe Guidepost was erected and can now be found in Fremont! Make sure to check it out! Learn more here.

Make sure to visit:

Fremont Troll


IELP Students visited the troll on a trip to Fremont

In 1989 a national competition took place to create something fun underneath the Aurora bridge. A design for a troll underneath the bridge won! Nowadays this is a fun place to visit, during Halloween a birthday party called “Troll-o-ween” is thrown for the Fremont Troll. Visit here for more information!

Other statues to visit are:

Lenin Statue: This statue was originally located in Poprad, Slovakia; however after the 1989 Revolution an American Veteran brought it back to Issaquah with him. Right behind the statue is a ice cream shop. Read more about the Lenin statue here.


STEP Students visit the Lenin Statue

Waiting for the Interurban: This is an interactive sculpture. People will put shirts on the waiting figures and display “art attacks”. Read more here and learn the rules to participating in an “art attack” of your own.


Waiting for the Interurban can often be found decorated

Fremont Sunday Market


The Fremont Sunday Market is a great place to visit, rain or shine!

Both an indoor and an outdoor market, the Fremont Sunday Market is a great place to visit! You can find some great street food, vintage goods, art, and more!


IELP students pose in front of the Fremont Sunday Market Sign

Theo Chocolate Factory


IELP Students munch on samples at Theo Chocolate

Near the Fremont Sunday Market is Seattle’s local chocolate factory. You can even take a tour of the factory! Visit here to learn more about going on a tour. After the tour you can visit the store at 3400 Phinney Avenue North and try some free samples.

Your Friday Readings: Part 6

This is the last segment of Your Friday Readings. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed it!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

This essay was written by Jia Song

Nowadays, English schools abroad have been known by Chinese people because both educational institutes and parents are willing to send students abroad to practice English. The quality of the English schools concerns school officials and parents, so the department of education investigates several English schools abroad. The IELP at the UW in Seattle is qualified for students to learn English because the IELP English Program has a variety of courses, responsible instructors, and intensive class schedule.

Initially, the IELP English Program possess a variety of courses which can be freely chosen by students. The IELP English Program have numerous academic courses. For example, the ARW 5 course teachers students how to write academic papers when they go to the US university. Researching academic sources and citing these sources by using APA style are the most important skills in the ARW 5 course. These two skills are widely applied in the US university, so the ARW 5 course is a good preparation for attending the US university. Moreover, the IELP English Program offers cultural courses in which students can understand American culture. These cultural courses are instrumental for students to practice English in living situation.

Additionally, the IELP English Program have responsible instructors. At the beginning of one quarter, the instructors will give students syllabus which can tell students the outline of the class, so that the students can have general ideas about the class. Furthermore, the instructors will ask what students want to study, so the instructors can teach this knowledge and skills in later classes.

Lastly, the IELP English Program has intensive class schedule. Intensive class schedule can give students more time to study in spare time. For instance, the class schedule that one student has just occupied 5 hours a day, so she does not need to go to school on the entire day.

The classrooms of the IELP English Program are distant, so students have to walk a long way to reach the classroom. However walking is good exercise for students without spending money and time going to the gym.

In conclusion, the IELP English Program is a qualified English school to choose because it possess various courses, responsible instructors, and intensive class schedule. Students who would like to practice and study English should attend the IELP English Program. After attending this program, they will benefit a great deal in the future.