5 Great Museums To See in Seattle

by Sandra Scott

Seattle has been on my destination wish list for years and I finally made it to the “Emerald City” with its impressive location on Puget Sound, backed by mountains and surrounded by evergreen forest. It is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, and there is plenty to see and do. I was impressed with the diversity of attractions, especially in the Seattle Center area. Tip: Seattle CityPass is a great way to save big on admission tickets to the most popular attractions.

Here are some of the best sites to see:

1. Space Needle

Fifty years old in 2012, the 605-foot Space Needle is the iconic image of Seattle. When it was completed for the World’s Fair, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Today, it is still the best place to get a view of the area. An elevator whisks you to the observation deck, with viewing spots both the inside and out, plus there is a snack bar, gift shop and revolving restaurant.

2. Chihuly Garden of Glass

The works of Dale Chihuly make up an eye-popping, magical display of colour. The newest attraction at Seattle Center is truly amazing and my favourite. I think of Chihuly as the “Willy Wonka” of glass—imaginative and beautiful, and the large, colourful artwork in the Exhibition Hall, the 40-foot tall Glasshouse and the monumental glass sculptures amid the trees and plants of the Garden all create an enchanting experience.


3. Pacific Science Center

I always learn something at a science museum. At the Pacific Science Center, I learned about the tiniest creatures, including one of my favourites: the lightening bug. For a surreal experience, try the butterfly house. There are more than 300 interactive exhibits, two IMAX theatres and a plethora of hands-on activities along with scheduled demonstrations.


4. EMP Museum

The unique free-flowing design of this building comprises 3, 000 panels made of 21, 000 pieces of stainless steel and aluminum. Exhibits explore the most definitive aspects of rock music, science fiction and pop culture. It was great fun watching people perform at On Stage, an interactive experience with guitar, drums and keyboard, just waiting for people to create their own music video—complete with hot lights and screaming fans.

5. Museum of Flight

Hands down, the Museum of Flight was my husband’s favourite, but I also liked checking out Air Force One, which is only one of 150 planes on exhibit at the world’s largest private air and space museum. He loved the simulators that allow you to experience an aerial dogfight or what it’s like to operate a glider, or to test your skills with those of an astronaut trying to link up with the Hubble Space Telescope. Check the schedule for free guided tours and informational talks by veterans.