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Your Ultimate Guide to Great Museums in Seattle

museums in seattle

When somebody mentions vacations, any number of things could come to mind. For some, vacation means wandering around on the beach. Others picture an amusement park or a cabin on a lake.

However, for some of us, the opportunity to interact with science or history sounds like a dream vacation.

Suppose you’re in Seattle and you’ve been to the Seattle Art Museum.  What kind of other museums are there to see? Read on and we’ll tell you about some of the best museums in Seattle.

Art Museums

There are many art museums in Seattle, so seeing at least one of them should be on every traveler or local’s to-do list. The largest and most famous is the Seattle Art Museum. It features a gigantic collection of art from around the world, including Meso-American, African, European and contemporary American art.

Another great thing about the Seattle Art Museum is that it’s free on the first Thursday of every month. Plan accordingly.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is technically part of the Seattle Art Museum, but it’s a big part, big enough to be a museum by itself. If you’re interested in spending your day viewing art specifically from the Far East, this is a great way to spend a day. Plus, since it’s part of the Seattle Art Museum, the first Thursday of every month is free!

And if you’re looking for other art museums, and if you don’t mind something a little more contemporary, the Frye art museum is always free.  This museum focuses primarily on painting and sculpture from the 19th century to present.

There’s also the Henry art gallery, which hosts a more eclectic art, from photography to costumes, but is a little further away in the University District of Seattle.

Museum of Flight

If you’re a fan of aviation, Seattle boasts a great museum dedicated to planes and spacecraft. It boasts flying machines from the dawn of aviation straight up to modern day.  There are fighter jets, bi-planes and even a presidential plane that president Nixon and Reagan traveled on.  It’s amazing to walk through these planes in person and get to be right where many famous world leaders were.

You can see the Apollo 17 lunar module and a lunar rover. There are also 747’s and a “Huey” helicopter, among others.

Like other museums in Seattle, it’s free on the first Thursday of every month, but only between 5 and 9 in the evening.

Burke Museum

UPDATE: As of the writing of this article, the Burke Museum is closed until the Fall of 2019.  Their massive expansion should add a much larger space in the museum.

In addition to being the oldest museum in Washington, the Burke Museum is also an excellent history museum. Also, like a lot of the other museums on this list, it’s free on the first Thursday of every month.

The Burke Museum is a great place to see dinosaur bones, as well as plenty of Native American art and artifacts, particularly those from the Washington area. Like many museums, it also has some exhibits that are only there at certain times of the year, or every few years.  It’s worth looking on their website at their rotating exhibits.   

Seattle Children’s Museum

With over 22,000 square feet of space and located at the Armory in the Seattle Center, the Seattle Children’s Museum is great for kids at 1 – 10 years old.  They have educational programs, an imagination studio and hands on kids exploring exhibits.  We loved COG city with all of its STEM exhibits and the kids could spend hours testing and playing with conveyor belts and flow pipes.

The Seattle Children’s Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm and is certainly worthy of a few hours of playing, but maybe not the entire day.

Woodland Park Zoo

This may not be a real museum, but who doesn’t love a zoo? The Woodland Park Zoo boasts a great collection of animals from raccoons to orangutans and many more. Exhibits include animals from the tropical rainforest to the African savanna, as well as rhinos, penguins, and plenty of others.

The zoo even boasts live video feeds of a few of its animals, in case you want to check up on them.

The Best Museums in Seattle

There are plenty of great museums in Seattle, from the various art museums to the Burke Museum and even the Woodland Park Zoo. Of course, there are plenty of others that we didn’t get to here. There’s also a pop culture museum, a museum dedicated to pinball machines, and even a US Navy ship that’s been opened as a tourist attraction.

If you’re interested, feel free to do more exploring on your own.

If you want to know more about Seattle and the various things to do there, please visit our site. We could tell you all about Seattle’s famous Space Needle. We can also teach you a few things about the Seattle Aquarium.

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  • Taylor Brilowski
    February 17, 2019 at 1:26 am

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Seattle. Can you believe the snow Seattle got a couple weeks ago?! It’s nothing like the snow we have back home but I guess it really shut down the area. I’m glad spring is right around the corner.

    • mm
      Jake Nyman
      February 17, 2019 at 8:03 am

      Yes, the snow was very abnormal! All of us in Seattle are looking forward to the spring!

  • Erick Retterbush
    June 1, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    What a great city Seattle is. They had an unbelievable snow storm recently, did you see that? I’m going to be moving up there in a few weeks and I’m glad I missed that.

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