Seattle Museum Month, February 1-28, offers Seattle visitors staying in one of our 60+ partner hotels an unbeatable value: 50% off admission at our 40 museum partners, including many of Seattle’s most popular attractions.
You can go to as many museums as you like during your stay, and up to four people staying in the hotel room are eligible to use the discount, so it’s perfect for trips with friends or family. You’ll find the entire list of museums on seattlemuseummonth.com – but how to choose? Let’s dive in and I’ll try to make some suggestions according to your interests.
Today’s topic is: one-of-a-kind places.
Museum Month is in full swing and I’ve got one more set of recommendations for you. This post highlights unique experiences, to be found only here in the Seattle region.
Located in the Chinatown/International District, The Wing, or more formally, The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, is a National Park Service affiliate and the first Smithsonian affiliate in the Pacific Northwest. As the only pan-Asian museum in the nation, it offers an authentic and unique perspective on the American story. Your ticket provides access to compelling exhibitions, including a deep dive into the Seattle roots of global icon Bruce Lee, and a 45 minute guided Historic Hotel tour that takes you back in time to experience real Seattle history through the lives and stories of early Asian Pacific American pioneers.
Not far away in the SODO neighborhood you’ll find Living Computers: Museum + Labs. Geek out to your heart’s content here because this spot offers a one-of-a-kind, hands-on experience with computer technology from the 1960s to the present.
LCM+L honors the history of computing with the world’s largest collection of fully restored—and usable—supercomputers, mainframes, minicomputers and microcomputers. A large main gallery offers direct experiences with robotics, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, big data, the Internet of Things, video-game making, and digital art.
A few miles north, Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood drew significant numbers of Scandinavian immigrants in the early 1900s, drawn by jobs in fishing and lumber mills, and this neighborhood still bears traces of their cultural traditions. So it’s the perfect place for the Nordic Museum, an internationally recognized museum and cultural center that collects and preserves the values, traditions, art, and spirit of the Nordic peoples. It’s the largest museum in the United States to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries, and the stunning new building, which opened just last year, was recognized by Architectural Digest as one of the 15 most noteworthy museums opening in the world in 2018. Tip: This would be a good spot to have a lunch break at the museum’s Freya Café, or venture a couple blocks west for some classic fish and chips at the Lockspot.
Another Seattle neighborhood with deep roots and history is the Central District, located just east of the downtown core. Here you’ll find the Northwest African American Museum, located in the historic Colman School. Currently on view, Bold As Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home offers a rare and detailed look at Jimi’s Seattle origins. Through archival and family photos, his own artwork, personal artifacts, music, and multimedia, visitors discover how the icon’s Seattle upbringing shaped his life and career. The museum also offers a permanent exhibition that will help you explore the history, culture, and art of the region’s African American community.
For an entirely different sort of museum experience, hop in your car, or grab a Lyft (Museum Month visitors get a discount, see your passcard holder for the code) and head south about 24 miles to the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Set in a forest of towering conifers, the outdoor museum connects people to nature through the living art of bonsai. This unique place stewards more than 150 bonsai and the most diverse public collection in North America with trees from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States. Featuring sixty trees at a time, this cultural gem offers contemporary and traditional exhibitions, group tours, and education. One note: since we’re experiencing colder than normal temperatures and snow this month, check before you go to make sure they’re open. Bonsai are fragile and the museum may need to close temporarily to protect the collection.
Learn more about Seattle Museum Month at seattlemuseummonth.com and see my other posts for suggestions for arts & culture lovers, history & heritage buffs, and families. With 40 museums, we’ve got something for every interest. See you in February!