Seattle is a hotbed for museums, with attractions covering everything from Asian culture to maritime history to rock and roll. Add a little culture and learning to a visit at one of these great museums.
The downtown Seattle Art Museum offers an outstanding permanent collection and notable special exhibits that travel the world to get here. The oldest public art museum in the state, the Henry Art Gallery, now serves as a catalyst for some of the most exciting new work. Classic paintings meet contemporary art in an inviting atmosphere at the Frye Art Museum, just blocks east of downtown and always free. Just outside of Seattle, the Bellevue Arts Museum explores art, craft and design in a Steven Holl-designed building. The Seattle Asian Art Museum, located in Volunteer Park, is an exquisite landmark and houses one of the nation's finest collections of Korean, Chinese and Japanese art. Located at the base of the iconic Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass showcases the most comprehensive collection of Chihuly’s artwork ever assembled, including eight expansive galleries and both interior and exterior exhibits.
Aviation and Transportation
The popular Museum of Flight offers one of the most comprehensive air and space collections in the U.S. The original Air Force One is on display, and the Personal Courage Wing covers the innovative aviation developments throughout both World Wars. The Future of Flight and Boeing Tour offer an insider’s look, while Paul Allen shares his own private collection with the public at the Flying Heritage Museum. If you prefer to stay grounded, then visit the Northwest Railway Museum and afterwards, hop the next train to our spectacular Snoqualmie Falls.
History and Heritage
Maritime and Military
Seattle’s maritime history began once people realized that the Pacific Northwest had the resources, trees and water access to support the gold rush in California. Today, locations such as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park are dedicated to this important component of Northwest history. Or take a more hands-on approach to a historic craft at The Center for Wooden Boats. Military influence is also prominent in the Pacific Northwest, in part due to our access to deep-water ports. A number of museums honor the valiant efforts of the Army, Navy and Coast Guard throughout the region’s history. Many army and naval bases have additional museums, open to those with a military I.D.
Science and Nature
The Burke Museum is the oldest museum in the city, founded in 1885. It highlights everything from the recent discoveries in natural history to the finest traditional and contemporary cultural arts. . Pacific Science Center dates from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and now inspires a lifelong interest in science, math and technology through interactive and innovative exhibits and programs. The Washington Park Arboretum
is an incredible 230-acre green getaway located just east of downtown, featuring the nation’s largest collection of sorbus and maple trees, and the second largest collection of hollies. The Volunteer Park Conservatory, a Victorian greenhouse modeled on London's Crystal Palace, stands at the north end of Volunteer Park, designed by the Olmsted brothers, in Seattle's north Capitol Hill neighborhood and offers a perfect example of the beautiful blend of art and nature achieved here in the Northwest.
Seattle’s well-known penchant for innovation extends beyond the world of software, coffee, airplanes and online shopping. It covers some serious American popular culture, ranging from music to sci-fi. The Frank Gehry-designed EMP Museum is one of a kind. It offers 140,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, pop culture, live music venues and more.