Morning: Built on a verdant nine-acre site overlooking Elliott Bay, the Olympic Sculpture Park
is a wonderful place to get an introduction to Seattle’s vibrant public art. In the morning, the park — which opens 30 minutes before sunrise — is free from crowds, allowing visitors to leisurely stroll the zigzag pathways and serenely study the park’s sculptures and art installations, including the distinctive red-orange “Eagle” by artist Alexander Calder. On clear days, the stunning views stretch to the Olympic Mountains in the distance. It’s also worth a stop by the park’s pavilion, where visitors will find a Seattle Art Museum
gift shop and seasonally open cafe.
Afternoon: After lunch, tour one of Seattle’s unique cultural museums. The Northwest African American Museum
tells the historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The Smithsonian-affiliated Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience
, or “The Wing,” is dedicated to immersing people in uniquely American stories of survival, success, struggle, conflict, compassion and hope. Located in the charming Ballard neighborhood, the Nordic Heritage Museum
is the only museum in the United States to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Evening: Seattle’s diverse and creative community has generated a prosperous theater scene. Arrange for a night at the 5th Avenue Theatre
to enjoy top-notch Broadway musicals within the ornate 1926 interior that was inspired by ancient Imperial China. Or perhaps you might choose the award-winning Seattle Repertory Theatre
, where the compelling schedule includes a mix of classics, recent Broadway hits and cutting-edge new works in two theatre spaces. Or opt for an evening at the Paramount Theatre
, a historic and artfully renovated 1926 beauty with a full calendar of dance, music, Broadway theatre, comedy and more.
Morning: Just 40 minutes south of Seattle, Tacoma is full of artistic attractions. Glass art installations — including the stunning Bridge of Glass created by native son Dale Chihuly — dot the Museum District. Learn about the sculptures on the free, narrated cell-phone tour
offered by the Tacoma Art Museum
and then head to the Museum of Glass
for exhibits and glass-blowing demonstrations.
Afternoon & Evening: Continue a visual-art themed day back in Seattle at the Seattle Art Museum
, which has an engrossing permanent collection and an always-enticing array of special exhibitions. Follow up with lunch or happy hour at the excellent SAM TASTE Café
or walk one block north to nosh your way through the food stalls and restaurants at historic Pike Place Market.
Next, embark on a walking tour of the plentiful art galleries in historic Pioneer Square. The galleries are impressive at any time, but on the first Thursday of the month, Seattleites flock to the neighborhood for an art walk featuring exhibition openings, special events, artist demonstrations and more. Galleries stay open until 8pm on First Thursdays
. An indication of Seattle’s thriving artistic community, a host of other neighborhood art walks
are hot too, including those in Ballard (second Saturdays), Capitol Hill (second Thursdays), Fremont (first Fridays), Georgetown (second Saturdays), "Phinneywood" (second Fridays), Wallingford (first Wednesdays), and West Seattle (second Thursdays). Most are evening events perfect for pairing with drinks and dinner in any of these fun neighborhoods.
Add an event to an art trip:
Seattleites celebrate their rich culture and heritage through a variety of multicultural events and festivals that are offered year-round in neighborhoods across the city. Here are some highlights:
• Northwest Folklife Festival
(Memorial Day Weekend)
Cultural Festivals at Seattle Center (Year ‘Round)
• Click here
to search for more events throughout the year.