Museums and Attractions in Seattle

Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture

One of the foremost natural history museums in the region, The Burke Museum features both natural and cultural artifacts from the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Rim ranging from Native American totem poles and hand-carved cedar canoes to dinosaur skeletons, fossils, gems and minerals.

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The Children’s Museum, Seattle

The Children’s Museum, Seattle

The Children’s Museum, Seattle offers a fun, interactive learning environment for kids and families with exhibits such as a Global Village, Mountain Forest, Imagination Studio, Discovery Bay for toddlers, The Neighborhood, Cog City, Storytelling Circle and a traveling exhibit gallery.

Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

The brainchild of Microsoft co-founder, Paul G. Allen, Experience Music Project (EMP) is dedicated to exploring creativity and innovation in American popular music, from rock ‘n’ roll, to jazz, soul, gospel, country, blues, hip-hop, punk and other genres. Visitors to the Frank O. Gehry-designed, 140,000-square-foot museum can view rare artifacts and memorabilia and experience the creative process by listening to musicians tell their own stories.
Co-located with the Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, this one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts and memorabilia include works by Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, H.G. Wells, George Lucas, Gene Rodenberry, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg and other luminaries of the genre.

Henry Art Gallery

Henry Art Gallery Seattle

The Henry Art Gallery is the art museum of the University of Washington, located in a striking Charles Gwathmey-designed glass and textured steel building on the west side of the campus. One of the Pacific Northwest’s premier modern and contemporary art museums, the Henry Art Gallery showcases exhibitions and their related programs which invite dialogue about contemporary culture, politics, aesthetics and the traditions of visual art and design of the last two centuries.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Seattle

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, often called Ballard Locks, lie at the western end of the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. They were constructed to raise and lower ships (between six and 26 feet depending on the tides) to allow them to pass between fresh water (Lakes Union and Washington) and salt water (Puget Sound). Operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, the locks are one of Seattle’s most popular visitor attractions and offer a visitor center, fish ladder for salmon, steelhead and other fish and a botanical garden.

Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park

Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park,, Seattle

Operated by the National Park Service, the Seattle Park Unit of the Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park (there is another unit in Ketchikan, Alaska) is actually a free museum commemorating Seattle’s role as a gateway to the gold rush in the 1890s, when the young town provided provisions and transportation to some 70,000 prospectors.

Museum of Flight

Museum of Flight, Seattle

From the Wright brothers to outer space, the wonder of flight comes alive at one of the world’s largest air and space museums. With more than 150 historic aircraft on display, interactive exhibits and activities for the whole family, The Museum of Flight offers an exciting experience for the aviation enthusiast and general visitor alike. Museum exhibits include a retired British Airways Concorde jetliner, one of three in the world on display, Air Force One and the Personal Courage Wing which showcases 28 rare and restored World War I and II fighter aircraft.

The Future of Flight

The Future of Flight, Seattle

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour is located in Mukilteo, approximately 30 miles north of Seattle. The 73,000-square-foot commercial jet interpretive center is located at the west edge of the Paine Field airstrip, directly across from Boeing’s largest jet assembly plant. The center features an aviation gallery with interactive exhibits on commercial aviation, a theater and a roof-top observation deck to view the airport’s take-offs and landings. Exhibits include a flight simulator, cut-aways from fuselages of several Boeing airplane models and an airplane design program where guests can design an aircraft and have its airworthiness tested by computer. Tours of the nearby Boeing plant, which begin and end at the center, feature a 90-minute guided exploration of the largest building in the world by volume where Boeing’s 747, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner are built.

Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art

Museum of Glass Seattle

Dedicated to contemporary art with a sustained concentration on the medium of glass, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma features works by internationally-known artists. The Museum features 13,000 square feet of open exhibition space and a striking 9,200-square-foot hot shop Amphitheater which includes a hot glass studio where artistic teams blow and cast glass, a cold glass studio for completing artworks and raised seating for 138 visitors, complete with large video screens offering live glass blowing footage. Linking the museum with downtown Tacoma, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long pedestrian overpass shrouded in glass art from renowned local artist Dale Chihuly.

Museum of History & Industry

Museum of History & Industry

The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) celebrates the rich history of the Pacific Northwest and features noteworthy exhibits from the Smithsonian and Library of Congress. MOHAI showcases a large collection of regional historic and cultural treasures and the museum is an indoor playground for all ages.

Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science Center Seattle

The Pacific Science Center is a hands-on learning center for kids and families offering permanent and traveling exhibits. Permanent exhibits feature an interactive dinosaur display, Tropical Butterfly House, Insect Village, Puget Sound Model and Saltwater Tide Pool, plus other exhibits showcasing animals, technology and more. Two IMAX theaters showcase the latest in big-screen and 3-D films; the Boeing IMAX Theatre features a screen six stories high and 80 feet wide, with 12,000 watts of stereo sound.

Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium features a stunning 40-foot, 55,000-lb. viewing window into a 120,000-gallon aquarium filled with salmon, colorful rockfish, vibrant sea anemones, other native Washington marine life and interactive divers. Other exhibits include two pools filled with sea anemones and sunflower sea star, a pacific coral reef exhibit, marine mammals and an underwater dome, the aquarium’s largest exhibit.

Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum

Occupying a Robert Venturi-designed building in downtown Seattle, the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) boasts a collection of approximately 23,000 objects, ranging from native and Mesoamerican art to contemporary American photo and video installations. The museum offers noteworthy permanent collections of Asian, African, Northwest Coast Native American, modern and contemporary art, European painting and decorative arts. SAM also maintains an ambitious schedule of traveling exhibitions.

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Located in a 1930s art modern building in the heart of Volunteer Park on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the Seattle Asian Art Museum features noteworthy collections of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian art. The museum’s Japanese collection is considered one of the top-five in the U.S. and among the most distinguished outside of Japan.

Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park, SeattleThis nine-acre sculpture park features a 2,500-foot descending, Z-shaped path connecting the Belltown neighborhood in downtown Seattle with a beach on the waterfront. The path takes visitors past a range of permanent and rotating sculptures and major works by world-renowned artists such as Richard Serra, Alexander Calder and Mark di Suvero, while allowing visitors to take in the scenery offered by Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The park also features the PACCAR Pavilion, a glass and steel structure that houses a fluctuating exhibit, public event space as well as a café. The Gates Amphitheater sits adjacent to the pavilion, featuring descending grass terraces for outdoor films and performances.

Smith Tower Observation Deck

Once Seattle’s tallest building, Smith Tower, built in 1914 and restored in 1999, offers 360 degree views of the city, sound and mountains from its 35th floor observation deck. The deck is reached via the human-operated elevators.

Smith Tower Observation Deck

The Children’s Museum, Seattle

The Children’s Museum, Seattle offers a fun, interactive learning environment for kids and families with exhibits such as a Global Village, Mountain Forest, Imagination Studio, Discovery Bay for toddlers, The Neighborhood, Cog City, Storytelling Circle and a traveling exhibit gallery.

Space Needle, Seattle

Seattle Centre

A legacy of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the 605-foot Space Needle observation tower is an ever-futuristic icon of Seattle. The Space Needle features an observation deck at the 520-foot level with 360-degree views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Just below, SkyCity restaurant rotates on the hour and specializes in Pacific Northwest cuisine. A gift store is located in the Space Needle lobby.

Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle

Woodland Park Zoo

Often ranked among the top zoos in the country, Woodland Park is famed for setting international standards for animal care and its realistic landscape exhibits that allow animals to thrive and be seen in naturalistic environments. Popular exhibits include an African Savanna, Northern Trail, Tropical Rain Forest, Bug World, Temperate Forest Zone, Willawong Station and Australasia Zone.

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