Iconically, when visitors visualize a trip to Seattle they’re likely to think of flower-lined stalls at Pike Place Market, 360-degree views from the Space Needle and trips across Puget Sound on a Washington State Ferry. Indeed, these are Seattle’s most-visited attractions, however the city holds a trove of explore-worthy museums from north to south – both on and off the beaten path – telling the stories of the past through everything from our aviation museum to the Woodland Park Zoo.
If history’s your jam, you can learn about Seattle’s founding fathers at the Museum of History and Industry – perched on Lake Union’s southern shore (and a stone’s throw from Amazon’s Seattle campus). Watch their kitschy operetta telling the story about the city’s great fire, find the roots of Starbucks, or learn about innovations (and innovators) that put Seattle on the global map.
Wander your way through the city’s historic Chinatown International District and duck into the Wing Luke Museum to learn about life for Asian-Pacific immigrants to the area and how they’ve influenced it today. Their current exhibit, A Dragon Lives Here, hones in on Bruce Lee’s Seattle roots and focuses on the key roles that shaped his approach.
Steps from Chinatown harbor Seattle’s most interactive museum: The Seattle Pinball Museum. Tucked in a storefront within steps of Bruce Lee’s favorite restaurant, the museum offers dozens of pinball machines available for one-price freeplay, along with old-school beverages and a team of pinball lovers who’ve curated machines from the ‘60s to current day (and with a regularly-updated list available on their website).
Explore the Seattle Art Museum’s Northwest exhibits, and learn about Pacific Coastal nations through stunning pieces in their Native American collections. Want to stretch your legs? SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park sits on the north end of the downtown waterfront inviting visitors to wander, interact and take in the views across Elliott Bay to Bainbridge Island and beyond. With nearly two dozen sculptural pieces within 9 acres of greenspace.
Hidden away a few miles northwest of downtown in Ballard is the home to the region’s Nordic Heritage Museum. Their state-of-the-art museum is not only a work of architectural brilliance, but shares Nordic culture through collections of arts and objects harkening back to the city’s first fishing community.
Once you’re hooked on these gems, find more information on museums and cultural opportunities while in Seattle and its neighboring communities on Visit Seattle’s informative website: https://visitseattle.org/things-to-do/arts-culture/museums/