Music helped put Seattle’s name on the map, and the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is a tribute to that legacy. In addition to exhibits on grunge legends and a giant tower of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars, MoPOP rotates exhibits on TV, film, science fiction, and superheroes. Aspiring musicians jam on instruments in the upstairs recording studio. Another quirky local spot: the Seattle Pinball Museum has more than 50 vintage and new pinball machines. Guests ages seven and up can play all of them and hydrate with vintage sodas and snacks.
Seattle’s science and natural history museums offer plenty to geek out about. With a focus on dinosaurs, fossils, Northwest Native art, plant and animal collections, and cultural pieces from around the globe, the Burke Museum, features windows into working labs so visitors can watch active research in real time. Or jump aboard Seattle’s latest craze with the debut of NHL’s Seattle Kraken and enter the Hockey Science Lab in Pacific Science Center‘s HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever exhibit.
Want to soak up some local trivia? Check out the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park to learn the history behind how gold-seekers on the way to Yukon Territory contributed to Seattle’s growth. The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) offers exhibits of its own about the maritime, aerospace, and technological innovations that have shaped the city. In Ballard, the renovated National Nordic Museum pays homage to Seattle’s northern European immigrants while Wing Luke Museum in the Chinatown-International District celebrates the Asian American experience. The reopened Northwest African American Museum in the Central District explores what it means to be African American in the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle Art Museum’s expansive collection features world-class temporary and permanent exhibits from artists spanning genres and across the globe (don’t skip Olympic Sculpture Park just down the waterfront with its larger-than-life installations or the Seattle Asian Art Museum housed in a newly-renovated Art Deco building on Capitol Hill). For a more intimate experience, tour German landscape and portraiture and intriguing rotating exhibits at the always-free Frye Art Museum, or try the Henry Art Gallery’s boundary-pushing collection of contemporary works. Many museums offer free admission the first Thursday of the month.
Book Your Trip