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 on seattlemuseummonth.com – but how to choose? Let’s dive in and I’ll try to make some suggestions according to your interests.
Today’s topic is: one-of-a-kind places. This post highlights unique experiences, to be found only here in the Seattle region.
Located in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, The Wing, or more formally, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, is a National Park Service affiliate and the first Smithsonian affiliate in the Pacific Northwest. As the only pan-Asian museum in the nation, it offers an authentic and unique perspective on the American story. Be Water, My Friend is a popular exhibition exploring the life, teachings and legacy of international icon Bruce Lee, who had deep roots in Seattle.
Wing Luke Museum Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects
Nearby you’re in for another treat: Seattle has a pinball museum! The Seattle Pinball Museum offers about 50 playable games from the 1960s to the present. Your admission allows you unlimited play, although please note that kids must be 7 or older to play the games and must be supervised by an adult. One tip: this can be popular and crowded, so my advice is to choose a non–peak time for your visit if possible, so you can enjoy the games and maybe even talk with the owners, who are passionate pinball fans.
Courtesy Seattle Pinball Museum
If you haven’t filled up on snacks at the Pinball Museum, you’re in luck because you’re right in the Chinatown-International District, home to delicious dumplings and noodles to take a fuel break from your busy day of museum hopping.
Located at Seattle Center, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center offers the opportunity to explore interactive exhibitions, global health innovations, and powerful stories of community. You can also discover ways to take action on causes that you care about. Admission is always free.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center Courtesy of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
A few miles north, Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood drew significant numbers of Scandinavian immigrants in the early 1900s, drawn by jobs in fishing and lumber mills, and this neighborhood still bears traces of their cultural traditions. So it’s the perfect place for the National Nordic Museum, an internationally recognized museum and cultural center that collects and preserves the values, traditions, art, and spirit of the Nordic peoples. It’s the largest museum in the United States to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries, and the stunning new building, which opened in 2018, was recognized by Architectural Digest as one of the 15 most noteworthy museums opening in the world that year. Tip: If you didn’t eat in the C-ID, this would be a good spot to have a lunch break at the museum’s Freya Café, or venture a couple blocks west for some classic fish and chips at the Lockspot.
For an entirely different sort of museum experience, head south about 24 miles to the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Set in a forest of towering conifers, the outdoor museum connects people to nature through the living art of bonsai. This unique place stewards more than 150 bonsai and the most diverse public collection in North America with trees from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Featuring 60 trees at a time, this cultural gem offers contemporary and traditional exhibitions, group tours, and education.
Courtesy Pacific Bonsai Museum
Learn more about Seattle Museum Month at seattlemuseummonth.com and see my other posts for suggestions for arts & culture lovers, history & heritage buffs, and families. With more than 25 participating museums, we’ve got something for every interest. See you in February!
Banner Image: The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience