22 Jan Museum Adventures in the Emerald City: Seattle Museum Month
We absolutely love Seattle, Washington—the art and culture throughout the city are fantastic, the views over the bay are stunning, the food scene is great, it’s located within a short proximity to an abundance of options for outdoor adventures, and there are many wonderful museums to visit. There is always something exciting to do in the city, and, if you love museums like we do, this February would be the perfect time to visit, as it is Seattle Museum Month!
The “Hammering Man” sculpture located outside of the Seattle Art Museum.
Walking along the boardwalk at Waterfront Park in downtown Seattle.
What is Seattle Museum Month you might be wondering? Well, it’s a month-long promotion running the month of February. When you stay at a participating hotel in downtown Seattle during this timeframe, you will receive half-price admission to 40 of the best museums in the area. It’s a delightful way to spend a date night, a weekend staycation, or even a great reason to plan a Seattle vacation.
Views of the Space Needle at sunset.
Overlooking downtown Seattle from the Mt. Baker Ridge Viewpoint.
When we are traveling in a city, one of my favorite activities is visiting a museum, especially if it’s hands-on and interactive. Museums give you an opportunity to learn about cultures and history, you can be inspired, and sometimes, you even get to act like a kid again. They are like a window into a destination and can really allow you to peel back a layer of a city’s culture. Museums can also give you the ability to travel back in time—when looking at creations from the past, your mind can be transported to another era and you can have a special connection to those from a distant time.
Exploring the streets of downtown Seattle and taking a peek at The Seattle Times.
Whenever I look at a piece of art, whether ancient or modern, I imagine what life was like for the person behind the piece. Where was this piece created? What was the environment like? What was going through the creator’s mind? What was their life like? These are all questions that run through my mind, and suddenly I’m in an entirely different world. Whether you are exploring art, culture, history, science, or even quirky topics such as puppets or pinball machines, you can get a look into the lives of others, both past and present.
Gallery at the Seattle Art Museum.
We’ve been to The Emerald City twice, and both times we visited a different museum. On our first visit to the city, we explored the Museum of Pop Culture, and our second trip led us to explore the Seattle Art Museum. It doesn’t stop there—next time we visit, I have my eye on a long list of museums. I’d love to visit all 40 museums on the Seattle Museum Month list, but some of my top choices would be The Wing Luke Museum, MOHAI, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Living Computers: Museum + Labs, Museum of Glass, and the Seattle Pinball Museum.
Here’s a bit about the museums we visited and those that we’d like to visit on our next trip to Seattle.
Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum is a world-class museum for visual arts. It is located in downtown Seattle and is filled with galleries and collections of modern and contemporary art from cultures around the world. The design of the museum is gorgeous and we really enjoyed exploring both the art housed inside. One of the current exhibits that I would like to check out is Sondra Perry’s Eclogue for [in]HABITABILITY. Perry’s exhibit highlights the relationship between people and place, and it is explored in a digital space through the use of video and computer based media. Contemporary art is always a fantastic way to open your mind and gain a new or different perspective on the world.
MoPOP: Museum of Pop Culture
The Museum of Pop Culture is “dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture”. We visited MoPOP several years ago, but the one exhibit that really stands out in our minds is the Sound Lab exhibit, where there are soundproof rooms for guests to learn, play, rehearse, and perform—it’s such a unique way to get a hands-on experience with instruments and music. Some of the current exhibits I’d like to check out on a return visit are the Indie Game Revolution where you can play a range of different video games, and Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic which explores popular fantasy worlds such as Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings and more.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
The Wing Luke Museum explores the history of the Asian Pacific American community in Seattle. This community has had a large influence on the Pacific Northwest and l would love to learn more about it. Some of the rotating exhibits are the popular “A Day in the Life of Bruce Lee” (ends February 11th) where you can learn about his habits and routines for personal growth, “What’s in your Cup” which discusses the role that beverages play in creating a community, and “Teardrops that Wound” which covers the absurdity of war in an immersive exhibit. Given the permanent exhibits and the Historic Hotel tour, this museum is definitely near the top of my must-visit list. In addition to the permanent exhibits and the Historic Hotel tour, this museum is definitely near the top of my list. Plus, The Wing offers a range of tours that get you outside of the museum walls to supplement their exhibits while interacting with the city. The tours range from food tours, to exploring Bruce Lee’s Chinatown. What a fun way to bring a museum exhibit to life!
MOHAI: The Museum of History and Industry
A journey through the MOHAI will allow you to explore Seattle’s story. We always feel it’s important to learn about the history and culture of the place we are visiting, so this museum is a must. You will learn about Native American cultures and when they first interacted with Europeans, how the city was rebuilt after a majorly devastating fire, how the city gained riches from the gold rush, about the area’s history during the two World Wars, the boom of the two World Fairs in Seattle, and how the city challenges the status quo today. All of this and more can be explored through a wide range of interactive exhibits, and the museum plays host to some interesting rotating exhibits, as well.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
We’ve seen Chihuly exhibits in several places around the world, but nothing could compare to seeing his work in his own backyard of Washington. I’d love to explore the garden, glasshouse, theater and galleries. The wide range of special events would be fun to check out, too. Attending a yoga session under the glass, watching a glass blowing demonstration, or learning salsa in the greenhouse would all be right up my alley.
Living Computers: Museum + Labs
I have always been extremely interested in science and technology, so learning about computer technology from the 1960’s to present time – and in a hands-on way – nonetheless – sounds fascinating. At the Living Computers: Museum + Labs, you can learn about and experience robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, video-game making, digital art, self-driving cars and so much more. You can even join in on an education lab to learn a new skill!
Museum of Glass
Artists from the Pacific Northwest have made a significant impact in the Studio Glass movement, so it makes sense that this area would be home to the Museum of Glass. In addition to a permanent Chihuly collection, the museum is home to a wide range of rotating exhibits and interactive experiences such as making your own glass, live glassmaking, performances, and theater. We’ve made our own glass pieces in the past, and we’d love to give it another shot here sometime!
Seattle Pinball Museum
Quirky and out of the box museums are always some of the best. When you visit the Seattle Pinball Museum, you will find a collection of more than 50 vintage pinball machines that you can play all day long! It would definitely be a fun idea for a unique date night activity.
We want to reiterate that you only receive half-price admission to these awesome museums when you stay at a participating hotel in downtown Seattle. During our past visits to Seattle, we actually stayed at two of the hotels that are participating in the Seattle Museum Month. On our first visit, we stayed at the Grand Hyatt Seattle; the rooms were cozy and it was in a central downtown location, which made it easy to walk to many downtown attractions. The next time we were in town, we stayed at the Best Western PLUS Executive Inn. This hotel was located near the Space Needle (we had views of it out our window!) and it gave us the opportunity to explore a different area of the city. Both hotels were wonderful choices, and there are many of other great hotels participating in the promotion, too.
Space Needle views from our room at the Best Western PLUS Executive Inn.
So, no matter which hotel you stay at, or which museums you decide to explore, a visit to Seattle during Seattle Museum Month is sure to be an adventure that will open your mind and leave you inspired!
This post is brought to you in partnership with Seattle Museum Month, Visit Seattle and Travel Mindset. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own!