Museums / Theaters, Seattle
Paul Allen donated his money to rebuild and renew this amazing theatre that was on it's way to closing down for good, it's by far the best place to see a movie in Seattle. With huge plush seats and a 90 ft long and 30 ft high screen thats nothing short of fabulous!
Don't miss out!
If you happen to be in the Seattle area on the first Thursday of the month, try to go to the Museum of Flight. The museum is free for the whole day!!!
If you are in Downtown Seattle, try to catch the bus #174 and it will drop you off in front of the Museum of Flight.
See the Air Force One on display at the museum.
Come visit the Paramount to see one of the most opulent theatres anywhere. Many won't think of a theatre as a tourist destination but in a country where entertainment is one of the main religions the Paramount ranks as a great cathedral. See a show if you can afford it or attend one of the first Saturday free tours if you can't. If you like the interiors of European palaces, the Paramount is for you.
The Paramount Theatre in Seattle opened in 1928 to rave reviews. It was the largest, most gorgeous, most incredible theatre west of Chicago. The 4,000 seat auditorium enveloped patrons in Baux Arts opulence with a four-tiered lobby, beaded chandeliers baroque plaster moldings, wall medallions, tapestries and wall paintings. By the early 1990s the theatre had run into debt and was threatened by demolition. But in 1992 Ida Cole, another Microsoft millionaire, came to the rescue and led a campaign to save the grand old lady. In 1993 and 1994 Ms. Cole and a number of other public and private partners embarked on a $30 million renovation of the theatre, restoring it to its original splendour. Today we are lucky to be able to visit this 'cathedral of entertainment' for broadway touring shows, concerts and public tours.
Location: 9'th and pine, across from the Convention Center bus tunnel stop
Why did so many Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, and Finns move to the Puget Sound region? And what did they do once they arrived? (Of course, you can't forget those Icelanders as well!) If Seattle is an American city which is clean, polite, and well-governed, the Scandihoovians are partially responsible. Of course, if Seattlites have a reputation for being somewhat dour and laconic, the Scandihoovians also have something to do with that. 3014 NW 67th Street, in the Ballard neighborhood.
Being the first building west of the Mississippi constructed with steel reinforced concrete, the Georgetown Powerplant was also a significant landmark in power plant development and is significant due to the preserved first generation steam turbines. There are also a number of other preserved pieces of equipment at the facility. However, the facility will likely significantly change next year or sometime in the coming years, as the soil is highly contaminated around the plant due to the many decades of industrial use in the surrounding area. Therefore, a project to dig up all the soil around the plant and process will be starting soon, or it is rumored.
Most of the equipment is not possible to operate due to its huge size, but there is one small steam engine that was originally used in one of the buildings in downtown Seattle to provide draft air for the boiler, and is a near duplicate of one or two engines similarly used elsewhere in the power plant but difficult for visitors to see due to their location. Thus, every once in a while, this example engine is fired up by compressed air.
The museum is only open to the public during the 2nd Saturday of every month, from 10 to 2.
During certain 2nd Saturdays, there is a model engine group that brings antique small engines and reproductions of small steam engines and operates them inside the building. If the weather is reasonably good, currently there are some outdoor model railroad clubs that operate some live-steam models on the outdoor model railroad. However, operation of the outdoor railroad equipment may not be available if the soil conservation project has started.
The museum also contains a number of oddities, including a fire truck historic to the city of Seattle as it was the first engine-powered fire truck the city owned (as opposed to horse drawn), plus various other odds and ends that should be on display elsewhere but currently no display location has been found.
There are several web pages about the power plant and the museum, but there does not appear to be any official web sites for the museum organization at this time. The powerplant itself is still owned by Seattle City Light, and the web page listed below is from their system.
Getting to the power plant museum can be a bit of an adventure. The official address is 6605 13th Avenue South Seattle, WA 98108, but most places will have trouble finding this, and even Google maps doesn't really give an accurate idea of the location if you just use the address. Google maps does know right where it is if you type in the entire name of the museum, however. When what is now Boeing field was built in the 1920s, the entire area around the power plant changed, and so roads that used to exist simply don't any more. Most likely, this is why it is hard to get a really accurate idea of the correct location using just the address.
The nearest significant street intersection is Ellis Avenue South & South Warsaw Street. From this intersection, turn towards the airport (southeast) onto Warsaw Street. This is a narrow, dead-end industrial street. You will then need to make an immediate left turn into a fenced-off area. Once inside the fenced area, go directly east on the paved surface, then directly south. There is a sign at the entrance to the fenced area, but it is hidden behind a smoker's improvised shelter (see photo 3) for a nearby industry. You will see the powerplant building looming over Warsaw Street and finding you way back there should be fairly easy once you get into the fenced off area, and there are some signs directing your way, but some of them are hard to see.
Getting here by public transit from Seattle involves using bus route 60 or 124 (previously service was on the 131 but references to that route are out of date), which stop at Ellis and Warsaw. There isn't a traffic light here, but thankfully on the Saturday I visited there wasn't such a huge amount of traffic that it was difficult to cross. Buses going north do not run on Ellis, directly in front of the museum. Instead, there is a stop on Carleton Avenue (2 blocks west on Warsaw) for going back to Seattle or if you are arriving from the south. Bus stops for route 106, the Seattle to Renton route, are located about 1/4 of a mile north of the plant at 13th Avenue South & Bailey Street, if an additional option is desired.
My Georgetown Powerplant Tip located in the Georgetown, Washington section.
My Additional Photos of the Georgetown Powerplant Museum from December of 2010.
As of December of 2010, the museum was being used to store the locomotive and cars of the Anacortes Railway, and I have a few photos of that equipment also, as it existed inside the museum.
May 18th was a mixed day of sun and showers, and during one of those brief encounters with the sun I decided to walk from my transit tunnel connection to the South Lake Union area in order to visit a few attractions there. Several blocks into the walk, however, the rain started coming down a little bit, and I just happened to be walking past this eccentric looking art gallery. As it appeared that the sun would come out very soon, I decided to step into the gallery for a while, so see what they had.
This was definitely a discovery of one of the more eccentric galleries of Seattle, if not THE most eccentric currently operating gallery in Seattle. Not being able to afford to distribute their art to a more conventional gallery, a little over 20 years ago a group of Seattle artists formed a collective gallery. This non-profit organization displays the artwork of those artists for a month before everything is taken down and re-arranged. It is currently the only artist owned and operated gallery in the Seattle area.
At the time it was incorporated, the gallery location was the office section of a recently vacated bus terminal (thus the name "Art Not Terminal"). Today, the area surrounding it is rapidly redeveloping and turning into a very upscale neighborhood, and it could very well be that the gallery becomes a featured attraction of the entire South Lake Union area, or maybe forced out due to increasing costs associated with this type of redevelopment.
How it Works: Each month a drawing is held. One artist gets the prime location in the entry room. Another artist gets the corridor between the entry and the back room of the gallery. Other artists wind up in the basement (the "Subterranean Room"). Other artists (non-member artists) may also display their artwork for a nominal fee. The First Thursday of Every Month is The Hanging, in which the artists install, hang, place, or otherwise put their artwork in the gallery. Opening shows are usually held on the first Saturday of the Month.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m
Location: 2045 Westlake Avenue, Seattle Washington 98121
How to Get Here: Located very close to the Westlake Avenue and 7th Avenue Streetcar stop. Many bus stops are nearby, as the nearby Westlake Mall has a very large number of bus routes, plus the monorail, plus the South Lake Union Streetcar, serving it. There is streetside parking available, but it can be difficult to find a parking spot in the area. You will have to use the parking pay stations as well. From Interstate 5 I suggest using the Mercer Street exit, heading south onto the first of several streets that you are able to turn left onto (Westlake is three blocks after you enter the downtown street grid off of the freeway ramp), then start looking for a parking place as soon as you cross Denny Way.
Located along the south side of Lake Union, this little facility is hard to categorize. It is a museum of sorts, as there are a number of wooden watercraft in the "park", and yet it is also a boat shop, where repair and construction of new boats is always under way. There are several buildings within the grounds, and many of the more historic craft have signs indicating what they are and their significance to wooden boat history.
Visiting craft are not always so marked, however.
You can come in and take a look at the boats being built, but you must not put yourself in danger from flying sawdust and all the other hazards that come with an active wood working shop.
The center is made up of a number of lashed together wooden piers with a few floating wooden buildings. All of these serve as active piers for the boats that come to visit the center, and so there is little protection against falling into the water if you are somewhat clumsy in your steps, so watch yourself and any children you have with you.
The one small portion of the Center for Wooden Boats is the Center for Wooden Boats Pavillion Park, which currently consist of two small structures on the very south end of Lake Union. One of these appears to be only used as an active boat shop, while the other contains a number of display boats, including the centerpiece: a wonderful single-tree Native American style canoe.
The primary center at the Center for Wooden Boats is the Livery, and it is closed on Mondays. Under normal circumstances it is possible to do quite a number of activities here, but alas I made the mistake of visiting on a Monday, and there wasn't too much going on here, including the closure of the boat rental area, and the water taxi not being in service.
The summer hours are 10 am to 8 pm, except Mondays, with the last boat going out from the livery being at 8 pm.
More will have to be written later for this place, as obviously I visited on the wrong day.
A local museum dedicated to the history of the West Seattle community. Changing exhibits. When I was there in March 2004, there was a display about the history of the local high school. On 61st Ave. SW.
The Museum of Flight Restoration Center is a workshop open to the public. It's hours are slightly odd: Tuesday-Thursday 8 am-4 pm, Saturday 9am-5pm. It is near the main entrance (to the right as one enters) of Paine Field in Everett. They request donations, but there is no admission fee. You can see historic aircraft being restored and can talk with the volunteer workers. Shown in the photo is the deHavilland Comet 4, a later version of the first commercial jet aircraft. The hanger door has a hole so that part of the airplane is indoors. The Boeing factory which makes 747’s is also at Paine Field and is open for public tours from Monday to Fridays. The main Museum of Flight is in Seattle at King County International Airport. The airport’s new name is not used much as people still refer to the old name, Boeing Field.
Glass Eyeball Museum:
I read of this place on a tourist map. I couldn't believe it. Someone actually spent the time to make a museum for glass eyeballs! I searched all around, but couldn't find the dang thing. I asked around, and people thought I was nuts. The tourist station person said she had not gone, but it wasn't a misprint. If someone knows if this thing is still around, let me know. I have to see this for myself! Will the search for the Glass Eyeball Museum be resolved? I'll keep you posted. UPDATE: I was in Seattle last week, and to my dismay, the Glass Eyeball Museum was no longer featured in the tourist maps. Sorry.
The Seattle Center has a number of facilities in it. Some of these are world famous (The Space Needle for example, or the much newer Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum) while others are maybe not as well known but still attractions in their own right (the various theatres and performance venues on the north side) while others are world class places at what they do, but just not that well known (the Pacific Science Center and the Chihuly Garden and Glass).
Other facilities in the Seattle Center are essentially completely unknown, and require that one really know the facility in order to find them.
The "Seattle Interactive Media Museum (essentially a video game museum) is one of these institutions located on the grounds of the Seattle Center that is almost impossible to find unless you are actually looking for it.
This is a very new museum, having had a home at this location for less than a year. Things are still getting settled in, and therefore when you visit things may be very different than when I visited on December 1, 2012. It may also be that this museum will alter its presence over time so that it becomes a bit better known.
When I visited on that day, in the evening, there were several video game systems set up and running, allowing the visitors to play those games. None of the operating systems were newer than approximately 1990. See photo 2.
The museum currently operates on a shoestring budget, and there is no entrance fee. There is a donations box near the entrance for those who wish to make a donation.
How to Get Here:
Towards the center of the Seattle Center there is a fairly large building that contains the various on-site restaurants. This is the only surviving building on the site from before the World's Fair: the 1920s Armory Building. This is where the Seattle Center food court is located. You will find a pizza establishment and a Starbucks (who else?) on the south side of this building, facing the Chihuly building. To the west of these to restaurants look for the opening in the wall that marks the entrance to the Seattle Interactive Media Museum (see photo 1). The entrance faces the Starbucks, but the new institution is in the southwest corner of the south side of the building, close to the south side entrance in the middle of the building.
If you are an art junkie be sure to visit Seattle around the first week of the month. On the first Thursday of every month, almost all galleries in Pioneer Square are open and free. Many galleries, if you arrive early enough, will provide free wine and snacks. The SAM (Seattle Art Museum) is also free on the first Thursday and has exibits which are changed frequently.
Sort of near downtown is the MAIN Goodwill second hand clothing (and other junk)store. It´s huge and worth a peek. AND, inside is a "Museum" with an old racing boat, and maybe a stuffed bear. Actually, I haven´t been there for years, but, hell, this is a fun side trip and is worth the trip ´cause you might find a new shirt!!!
The Microsoft Museum is a fascinating place for adults & kids alike. It presents an interesting history of computer technology and its effect on our lives and our culture.
The museum is not huge but is well stocked with all sorts of old and brand new computer technology. Much of it is hands-on. Best of all, it's completely free!
After touring the museum you can head upstairs to the Microsoft Company Store. You won't be able to buy any of the highly discounted software but you can purchase anything else they sell there.
Hours are Mon-Fri, 9am - 7pm, but call first to be sure.
This is an excellent must-see museum south of downtown Seattle. Here at the Museum of Flight you will get to see several special aircrafts, including the famous Air Force One (a Boeing 707) used by past presidents as well as a British Airways Concorde aircraft. So you must definitely come here, even if you are not an airplane enthusiast.