Art & Museum You Have To See In Seattle
Like all great world-class cities, Seattle is home to several fantastic museums as well as a burgeoning art scene. Long a hub for creative folks yearning for expression, recent years have seen a boom of all manner of artists. In the 1990s, the music scene transformed how the world listened to indie rock. Tech money has sponsored public exhibits all over the city from murals to sculptures and beyond. The entire ethos of the city is that of the coffee-fueled incubator of geniuses and outsiders alike.
And yet the collections in Seattle aren’t just about the arts. The sciences make a major contribution to various collections throughout the city. Want to take a quantum leap in the world of computing? There’s a museum for that! Feeling more low tech and want to see how seafaring vessels were constructed in the days of old? Seattle has that covered too. Some exhibits are even living – where animals can be viewed to the wonder of children and adults alike. Let’s take a look at some of the best art and museums the city has to offer.
Aesthetics on Display
When speaking of the arts in Seattle, one must begin with the Seattle Art Museum. Comprised of not one but three campuses, seeing the whole collection demands a journey through three different neighborhoods. The main building is downtown, at 1300 First Avenue (9-5 Wednesday-Sunday, closes at 9 Thursdays, closed Mondays and Tuesdays) and includes works by Monet, Rubens and O’Keefe. The Olympic Sculpture Park is a bit to the north at 2901 Western Avenue. It’s all outdoors, loaded with amazing reliefs, and open sunrise to sunset. Unfortunately, the Asian Art Museum is closed for renovations until 2020 – but is another must-see when it reopens!
A more esoteric art museum in Seattle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass installation at 305 Harrison Street. The entire space is a showcase for the brilliant glass artist Dale Chihuly. In three separate wings – the Garden, the Glasshouse and the Interior Exhibits – visitors can see a wide variety of sublime glass sculptures in all colors of the rainbow and every possible shape. It’s an astonishing collection and one which is ongoing as new works are added periodically. Tickets range depending on the package you’re interested in, and museum hours are 9:00 AM- 7:00 PM, except Friday-Saturday when it closes at 8:00 PM.
However, you may not need to go far at all to see some of Seattle’s best art. That’s because the Hyatt Regency itself is host to some amazing exhibits! Acting as patron to the local art scene, the hotel displays some incredible works. On the third through seventh floors, you’ll find the SHIFT collection, created by Brooke Westlund and Joseph Brooks. The five murals capture Seattle’s changing seasons in a special and unforgettable way. More art is found in the lobby and then there are the very rooms guests stay in. The mesmerizing black and white photography in the hotel’s 1,260 guest rooms were commissioned by R.C. Hedreen, the owners of the hotel and are all the product of local photographers. That means you’re actually sleeping in an important art exhibit!
And Now for Something Completely Different
While a healthy arts scene is vital to any great city, let’s not forget this is Seattle we’re talking about. That means that you should expect some of the museums in town to be off-center. The perfect place, to begin with, is the Museum of Pop Culture. This is the one-stop for all things with massive fandoms. In one room there’s a Nirvana exhibit. In the next a Horror Film exposition. There’s even a Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame! Hendrix guitars, an immersive space for gamers – it’s all here.
And if you’ve got tech geeks jonesing for a next-level museum experience, then check out Living Computers Museums and Labs. Loaded with immersive interactive exhibits, the space proudly sits their visitors in chairs instead of having them stand before their collection. There are looks back at the history of computing featuring famous inventors. The latest in current tech is also featured for those looking to have their fingers on the pulse of innovation. And if you want to look into the future of computing, the labs have even more to share!
Now if you’re feeling overloaded with circuits, gadgets and electric dreams, we won’t blame you if you want to simplify your museum learning experience. Come back down to earth at the Center for Wooden Boats. With a stated mission of preserving the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest and America, this is the place to test your carpentry skills. With almost 200 examples of wooden vessels on display, an auxiliary campus of the museum even allows you to try your hand at building a bow, mast or hull. It’s truly a different type of museum voyage!
The Science of Museums
Rounding out our Seattle museum categories are establishments dedicated to the furtherance of human knowledge. Let us begin with the Pacific Science Center, located just adjacent to the Seattle Center and the Space Needle. Fun interactive experiences cover everything from testing your math skills to solving puzzles. There’s also two giant IMAX theatres and a massive Laser Dome theater. Imagine earth-bound delights like a butterfly house in one room then a planetarium in the next. That’s what visitors can expect to encounter and more!
Finally, we must take a look at true living exhibits going on in Seattle. The Woodland Park Zoo is situated adjacent to the beautiful Green Lake district. This is the home to over 300 animal species, on display in the zoo’s signature pioneering naturalistic habitats. Giraffes, penguins, rhinos – they are all thriving here. But if you prefer aquatic life, make sure to stop by the Seattle Aquarium down at the Seattle Waterfront. Local and global species can be found swimming around in these tanks – just watch out for those sharks!