February 9, 2017
This February make the most of Museum Month while neighborhood hopping through Seattle
SEATTLE – For many travelers, one of the most challenging parts of trip planning is looking at all options and deciding where to go and what to do. During February, guests at 55 participating Seattle-area hotels will receive half price admission to more than 40 museums – a jackpot of options if you only have a short amount of time. Seattle Museum Month is the area’s biggest citywide travel deal of the year. Choose to hit as many locations as possible or spend longer at just one or two museums. No matter what pace you take, Seattle Museum Month is the greatest excuse to adventure around the city.
The Puget Sound is buzzing with the arts, but where to begin? In any direction, there’s somewhere unique to visit. Seattle Museum Month is not just about visiting cultural institutions, it’s also about discovering what makes Seattle a unique and vibrant destination.
For some crowds, a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach may be the best way to take everything in. Begin customizing your adventure by booking at a participating hotel at seattlemuseummonth.com/participating-hotels. After lining up somewhere to rest, choose some museums and begin mapping your way around the city.
See these noteworthy museums and exhibits and public transit route options for neighborhood inspiration.
Downtown Seattle and Commercial District:
Many hotels are located in the heart of downtown Seattle and in close proximity to Pike Place Market, theatres and entertainment, upscale dining, shopping and coffee on every street corner. This is a great launching point for several museums.
Step back in time at Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series at the Seattle Art Museum. The exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacob Lawrence, one of Seattle’s most beloved artists and a former professor at the University of Washington. Through a series of 60 panels, Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series documents the migration of African Americans from the rural south to the industrial north in the years after the First World War. The panels are jointly owned and typically displayed separately at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but now all 60 panels are viewable together at the Seattle Art Museum for the first time on the west coast in two decades.
Exhibits on view at the Frye Art Museum during February include Archipenko: A Modern Legacy, with 20th century avant-garde sculpture pieces; Those Without Voice, a reflection of urban life interpreted through photography and video; and Jim Woodring: The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and Wept, featuring surreal and fantastical work by a Seattle-based cartoonist and artist.
The University of Washington campus is surrounded with eclectic urban shopping and restaurants. The U-District is an enticing option for a cup of Joe at Slate Coffee Roasters, steaming bowls of pho, or a night of entertainment at the Neptune Theatre or Jet City Improv. During Museum Month, also take the chance to wander the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the Henry Art Gallery.
Take a look at 500 million years of geologic history at Life and Times of Washington State at the Burke Museum. Also on display, Pacific Voices is full with artifacts and stories of 17 different Pacific Rim cultures. At the Henry Art Gallery, see Chuck Close Photographs, featuring more than 90 photographic works from 1964 to the present.
Checking out the new Seattle Meowtropolitan cat café in Wallingford? Also consider stopping at Woodland Park Zoo, where bigger cats and other charismatic animals steal the show. Say hello to baby gorilla Yola at the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, where she plays with her family of western lowland gorillas. The zoo will celebrate Valentine’s Day with sweet treats for the animals.
Immigrants from Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland – settled in large numbers in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. If you want to learn about Nordic history and culture, head over to the Nordic Heritage Museum.
Seattle Center is home to some of Seattle’s most popular museums and is bordered by trendy shopping and restaurants.
The striking exteriors of the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), and Chihuly Garden and Glass are a visual feast for visitors arriving into Seattle Center.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is a treat for art and sculpture enthusiasts. Learn how molten glass becomes stunning art at 20-minute Community Hot Shop demonstrations in the glass garden between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Admire thousands of pieces of music and pop culture paraphernalia at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). ‘Trekkies’ among your party will appreciate Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, celebrating the franchise’s 50th anniversary. The Art of Rube Goldberg makes its world premiere at MoPOP beginning February 11.
South Lake Union:
Water-loving and marine-savvy adventurists are bound to find themselves at South Lake Union sooner or later. The water may be too cold in February for recreational boating, stand-up-paddle-boarding or kayaking, but the museums are worth a visit on their own.
Epicureans shouldn’t miss Edible City: A Delicious Journey at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI). As a beloved foodie destination, Seattle has a rich culinary history, a deep connection to local resources, and thriving community of restaurants and world-renowned chefs. Discover how all of the elements of Seattle’s food industry come together for their final plated presentation.
For those unbothered by the winter weather who still want a chance to get out on the water, the Center for Wooden Boats offers year-round workshops, classes, boat rentals and field trips.
An easy walk from Pike Place Market, Seattle’s waterfront is a picturesque vantage point for shots of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Enjoy panoramic views of the city on the Seattle Great Wheel or the multi-sensory flying ride Wings Over Washington at Pier 57. For a quick bite to eat, indulge yourself with one of Seattle’s favorite comfort foods – Ivar’s clam chowder.
For an introduction to Pacific Northwest marine biology and oceanography, visit the Seattle Aquarium. During Octopus Week, February 18-26, get to know the many legs and legends of the Puget Sound’s giant Pacific octopus. The Seattle Aquarium will host hands-on activities, presentations and octopus feedings. Don’t forget to say hello to the charming and entertaining sea otters on your way out of the aquarium.
The Olympic Sculpture Park is a must-go for any photographer or outdoor enthusiast. During Museum Month in particular, it’s also the perfect place to get some fresh air and let your mind wander and reflect over the expansive views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains alongside world-class sculpture.
One of Seattle’s edgiest neighborhoods attracts college students, foodies and culturists alike to the area’s lively clubs, artisan eateries and bars, and hipster-chic shopping. But these are not the only curiosities on the ‘hill during Museum Month.
Check out the Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi exhibit at the Asian Art Museum before the museum closes on February 27 for renovations. Take in the greenery and city views at Volunteer Park as a healthy and mindful prelude on your way into the museum.
Tabaimo is a globally-acclaimed contemporary Japanese artist known for her thought-provoking and immersive video installations. Her work represents a complex view of Japanese society through the combination of hand-drawn images and digital manipulation. Also on view during February is Terratopia: The Chinese Landscape in Painting and Film, which juxtaposes classic Chinese landscape with modern film.
Pioneer Square/Chinatown-International District:
Originally Seattle’s downtown, Pioneer Square is bustling with bars and shopping. It’s a lively neighborhood during sports season for Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners and Seattle Sounders FC games, but February has its own buzz with Museum Month.
History buffs will appreciate a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, which chronicles Seattle’s involvement in gold hunts of the 1890s and early 20th century.
A few blocks away, the Chinatown-International District is Seattle’s epicenter for multicultural tours, exhibits and events. Learn about Bruce Lee’s exciting life and career in Do you know Bruce? Part 3 at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. The Wing Luke Museum is the only museum outside of Hong Kong to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee. Day in the Life of Bruce Lee is the museum’s third and final exhibition in the series. Lee’s personal items such as diary entries, drawings, books, grocery lists, workout videos, and choreography plans are on display to show what it took for Lee to become the celebrated fighter and actor we remember today. The final room of the exhibit resembles the “Hall of Mirrors” pictured in the 1973 classic, Enter the Dragon.
Treat yourself to a hearty and delicious Friday night dinner on the Wing Luke Museum’s International Dumpling Crawl Tour, available through winter to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The tour stops at several family-owned restaurants serving up many types of dumplings.
Break up the day and unleash your playful side at the Seattle Pinball Museum. Choose from over 50 historic and modern pinball games upon entry and play to your heart’s content.
These two industrial neighborhoods are entering a modern and transformative era. Do not miss the colorful murals along the bus/light rail corridor entering SoDo. Commissioned by the cultural services organization 4Culture, the murals are designed to represent motion, speed and progression. More than 50 internationally-known artists will paint over two miles as more murals are added to the SoDo Track over the next two years.
Potential for amazement is sky high at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. With over 175 aircraft and spacecraft, thousands of artifacts and millions of rare photographs, the Museum of Flight is the largest non-profit air and space museum in the world. Technology enthusiasts should also check out Living Computers: Museum + Labs which offers hands-on experiences with 1960s to present day computer technology.
Seattle is the perfect starting point for Museum Month, but do not feel confined by the city limits. Seattle’s neighboring cities are also full of exciting participating museums. Drive south to Tacoma and Federal Way, east to Snoqualmie, or take a ferry across Elliott Bay to Bainbridge Island and Bremerton.
Museum Month’s new participants this year include the Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, at the Paine Field Airport. The rare aircraft and artifacts on display were collected by Paul G. Allen starting in 1998, and have been restored to their highest standard. The second new museum participant is the Suquamish Museum on the Port Madison Indian Reservation located on the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula.
Other drivable locations include the Bellevue Arts Museum, the Shoreline Historical Museum and the Pacific Bonsai Museum. About an hour south of Seattle in Tacoma, see more of Dale Chihuly’s glasswork at the Museum of Glass and study the beer, wine and coffee industries at the Steins, Vines & Grinds exhibit at the Washington State History Museum. Bring a car geek along to gawk at classic automobiles at LeMay – America’s Car Museum.
More museums are located just across the water from downtown Seattle. Take a short Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island or the Bremerton area to visit the Kids Discovery Museum, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Suquamish Museum, the Puget Sound Navy Museum, U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, Kitsap History Museum and the Valentinetti Puppet Museum.
For a full list of 2017 Seattle Museum Month participants, visit seattlemuseummonth.com/participating-museums/.
More information about transportation can be found at seattlemuseummonth.com/getting-around.
For images of Seattle museums, visit barberstock.com/collection/visitseattle/seattle-museum-month.
About Visit Seattle:
Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. For more information, visit www.visitseattle.org.
About Seattle Museum Month:
Seattle Museum Month is produced by Visit Seattle and funded by the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area (STIA), a dedicated marketing fund assessed from guests at the 61 downtown Seattle hotels. The program was created to encourage travelers to visit Seattle in February and celebrate the incredible arts and culture scene present in the region. For more information, visit seattlemuseummonth.com.