Frye Art Museum Courtesy of Mark Woods

Seattle Museum Month:
The Arts & Culture-Lovers Tour

Seattle Museum Month, February 1-28, offers Seattle visitors staying in one of our 50+ partner hotels an unbeatable value: 50% off admission at more than 25 museums, 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 at – but how to choose? Let’s dive in and I’ll try to make some suggestions according to your interests.

Today’s topic is: arts & culture! Here are some of my suggestions if you enjoy art.

Seattle Art Museum, or SAM, has been the center for world-class visual arts in the Pacific Northwest since 1933. In the heart of downtown Seattle, light-filled galleries invite you to wander through permanent collections and special exhibitions. SAM’s diverse holdings include Asian, African, Islamic, European, Oceanic, modern and contemporary art, and decorative arts and design. Visitors especially enjoy the remarkable Native American galleries and the charming Porcelain Room. A current highlight is the recently completely reinstalled American art galleries with American Art: The Stories We Carry.

The renovated Seattle Asian Art Museum is not to be missed. Housed in a beautiful art deco building in Volunteer Park, the expanded Asian Art Museum breaks boundaries to offer a thematic, rather than geographic or chronological, exploration of art from the world’s largest continent.

Asian Art Museum Jacob Foltz

Olympic Sculpture Park is SAM’s free outdoor art experience. In summer, it’s packed with dog walkers and joggers and strollers (both kinds), but in winter you can enjoy the art with more solitude. The collection includes large works by Richard Serra, Roxy Paine, Jaume Plensa, Louise Bourgeois, and Alexander Calder. While it might be brisk weather in February, you also might get to enjoy some beautiful clear views of Elliott Bay and the snowcapped Olympic Mountains.

One of Seattle’s top visitor attractions is also one of its most artful. Located at Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass is bursting with color and light and offers a comprehensive look at the work made by Dale Chihuly, one of the world’s living glass art masters. It never fails to delight with its rooms upon rooms of glass, impressive suspended sculptures, and colorful garden. On view through February, Winter Brilliance is a brand-new original light and music installation, using innovative video projection technology.

Art enthusiasts will also want to plan a short trip south to Tacoma. In addition to interesting special exhibitions, a highlight of visiting the Museum of Glass is the chance to watch glass artists at work in the Hot Shop Amphitheatre, located inside the 90-foot tall steel cone. And if you consider automobile design through the ages as its own unique art form, don’t miss the nearby LeMay – America’s Car Museum.

From the downtown Seattle waterfront, a 30-minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island (tip: walk on as a foot passenger for ease and savings) and a short stroll will bring you to BIMA, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Admission is always free, but even without the promise of saving on your admission cost this small gem of a museum is a worthy excursion for an engaging look at the art and craft of the Puget Sound region, in an impressive LEED Gold building. Don’t miss the retrospective exhibition of famed NW glass artist Ginny Ruffner, on view through February. An onsite café is great for a lunch break, or walk a bit further into town for numerous tasty choices. The ferry ride is another iconic Northwest experience, offering fantastic views of the Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay.

An exhibit space with white walls showcasing a variety of art in different mediums on the wall and on pedestals.

Ginny Ruffner: What If? at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Courtesy Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Also free, the Frye Art Museum is another gem, located just east of downtown Seattle. Established in 1952, the museum is now known for contemporary art exhibitions that explore the issues of our time, and thought-provoking programming.

A person in a yellow dress stands in an art gallery with four framed paintings hanging on the wall.

Courtesy Frye Art Museum

And not least, Washington State’s oldest art museum, the Henry Art Gallery, beckons you to the University of Washington campus. Don’t let its age fool you, the Henry specializes in presenting world-renowned contemporary artists and nurturing emerging talent. My tip: don’t miss Light Reign, the Skyspace by acclaimed artist James Turrell. This immersive installation is one of my favorite contemplative spots in the city.

Find your perfect hotel and learn more about Seattle Museum Month at  You’ll also find more suggestions for history & heritage buffs, families, and those seeking one-of-a-kind experiences on our blog. With so many participating museums, we’ve got something for every interest.  See you in February!


Banner image: Frye Art Museum

About the Author

Tracey Wickersham

Tracey Wickersham is the Senior Director of Cultural Tourism at Visit Seattle. A volunteer dj & host of a long running music program on KBCS 91.3 FM, she spent 6 years on the board of 4Culture, supporting arts, heritage, public art and historic preservation in King County. You'll often find her at the Tractor Tavern enjoying great bands, exploring one of the region's beautiful parks with her spunky blue heeler mix, or in one of Seattle's many live theater venues.

More Posts By Tracey Wickersham


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