Seattle Center, Seattle

4 out of 5 stars 33 Reviews

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  • Sculpture
    Sculpture
    by fred98115
  • Pacific Science Center Arches
    Pacific Science Center Arches
    by fred98115
  • International Fountain and Children
    International Fountain and Children
    by fred98115
  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Chihuly Garden and Glass

    by glabah Updated Dec 11, 2012

    Born in Tacoma in 1941 and with art installations in various parts of the globe (some temporary and others permanent), Dale Chihuly is perhaps the most famous of artists living in Seattle today. His studio is here, but now in 2012 there is a gallery / museum / sculpture garden dedicated specifically to his artworks.

    The museum was installed at the base of the Space Needle, in replacement of the small amusement park that had been there for many decades.

    The museum consists of a number of indoor displays, so it isn't entirely a Chihuly garden. In fact, the garden part of the museum is aimed to be towards the end of the visit. There are a number of rooms dedicated to the works of Chihuly and giving some of his history.

    Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get photos of the garden and the Space Needle in the background. They are simply too close together to be able to include the huge structure next to the ground-level artwork. There are one or two exceptions, including the big yellow work shown in photo 3.

    Photography is allowed, but touching any of the pieces plus large bags of any sort are prohibited. These are one of a kind glass artworks that are worth at minimum many tens of thousands of dollars up to millions for the large pieces.

    According to museum docents, Dale Chihuly is still involved with the museum / garden, and sometimes does show up with new works or rearranges what is there, or otherwise makes changes. Therefore, if you come back in a few years some things may have changed in the intervening years.

    My best recommendation is to show up before sunset so that you can appreciate the garden and sculptures there during daylight, and again during darkness. Extra price package tickets are also available that include the Space Needle and allow for daylight and night visiting of both those structures at a bit of a discount.

    You will likely meet at least one docent that will offer to take your photograph next to one of the big pieces. This is no tourist trap: the photo is included with your admission. I didn't bite so I am not certain how this works as far as obtaining the photo from the photo kiosk in the lobby, but I assume it is similar to the system used in the Space Needle that allows the photo to be sent by e-mail.

    Ticket are fairly expensive relative to some of the other museums in town, but at the same time it is a very unique experience and if you like glass art it is worth the admissions price. If the price is too high, then try to get one of the package deals that include admissions tickets to this museum plus other attractions. General admission is $19. Day and night admission tickets are $26 - allowing one to visit once in the daylight and once at night with everything lit up. For $33 you can get a package deal for the Chihuly museum and the Space Needle.

    Ticket purchases may be made in advance on the web site, or at the ticket counter.

    The entrance to the museum / garden faces the Space Needle, and is exceptionally difficult to miss - just look west from the Space Needle. Photo 4 shows a view looking east at the back side of the main entrance, with the Space Needle (or what would fit in the photo) directly behind the museum.

    There is a gift shop in the museum as well, and this has a wide variety of items for sale including some of Chihuly's original works.

    I don't want to ruin the show for you at this museum, but if you are a glass artist fan, and a Chihuly fan in particular, you may also wish to see:

    + My Photos from the Chihuly Garden and Glass - a Travelogue of a few more photos of what I saw during my December of 2012 visit.

    + My Tacoma tips on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass including its major sections:
    - Seaform Pavilion
    - Crystal Towers
    - Venetian Wall

    Entrance to Chihuly Garden / Museum / Gallery Chandeliers by Chihuly Glass Artist Space Needle + Chihuly Glass Art in Garden Space Needle directly Behind Museum Entrance Exterior of Glass House, Garden from Outside Wall
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    Ride the Duck Tours: Land & Water Craft in 1.5 hrs

    by glabah Updated Feb 22, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Starting from the far east side of the Seattle Center, on an odd triangle of land across 5th Avenue North from the Experience Music Project, you will find a home of surplus war equipment used to give brief tours of Seattle from both the road and from Lake Union.

    While these tours do not give a huge amount of extensive history of Seattle, they do provide a great introduction to various parts of the city in only an hour and a half, from the unique perspective of a vehicle capable of moving on the water or on the highway.

    Even people who live in Seattle seem to take the tour every once in a while. Most likely this is because each of the captains have a unique personality, and make the tour a fun adventure. The trips seem to be particularly popular with children, though adults are certainly willing, able, and invited (or maybe required would be a better word to use here) to participate in the mayhem as well. Depending on the location, you will find the captains / drivers wearing all manner of different hats, and playing any of various songs along the way.

    On a clear day, you will be able to see Mount Rainier, downtown Seattle, and the Olympic Peninsula. One of the best viewpoints is from the top of the Washington Memorial Bridge.

    While the "Duck" vehicles are historic craft of sorts, the reality is that from the frame up each has been completely rebuilt to serve its new tourist role.

    See also the Seattle video I have of the craft driving down a boat ramp on the north side of Lake Union to enter the lake.

    The schedule depends on the time of year, with less operation during the colder months. Trips operate 3 days a week during the coldest months.

    One Word of Warning: Ride the Ducks does use tourist trap ploy of taking your photo as you board the craft, and then try to sell you the photo in a special album cover when you return - at a price that is fairly extreme for what it is.

    Amphibious Duck vehicle for Ride The Ducks tours Ride the Ducks view: Lake Union, Cascade Mountains Ride the Ducks view: a trip onto Lake Union downtown Seattle from Lake Union on Ride the Duck loading
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    Strolling through Seattle downtown

    by Maria250 Updated Aug 19, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Strolling through Seattle downtown was such a pleasure, even more so since I've been on a visit with my wonderful lady friends, which showed me around. - Because it is surrounded on three sides by water, built on six hills, and divided into numerous neighborhoods, Seattle can be a very confusing city to visitors. Most of Seattles' top attractions are located downtown. Get tourist informations on the city's layout, its neighborhoods, and the basics of how to get around, to explore the real Seattle.

    -Frommer's Review

    Seattle downtown Seattle downtown Seattle downtown source: www.visitseattle.org/Home
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  • fred98115's Profile Photo

    Seattle Center is indoor and outdoor joy

    by fred98115 Written Jul 13, 2011

    The Seattle Center, the remnant of a World's Fair in 1962, is a site for spending a day in multiple activities. There is the Pacific Science Center, a great hands-on museum for kids and parents. Relax around the International Fountain listening to music and timed jets of water. Take the elevator up the Space Needle and look out over the scene of two mountain ranges, a salt water harbor, and a city. Just kick back in the green space.

    Pacific Science Center Arches Space Needle and Arches Space Needle and Sculpture Sculpture International Fountain and Children
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  • kbl's Profile Photo

    Pacific Science Center

    by kbl Updated Apr 4, 2011

    The Pacific Science Center gives the opportuinity to younger visitors (being 33, I've considered myself as younger ;)) to explore science in a practical, not boring way!!.

    Great setup, good explanations and mega-fun !

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  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo

    Seattle Center

    by SteveOSF Written Oct 18, 2008

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    The Seattle Center is a remnant of the World’s Fair. Today, it resembles an amusement park complete with bumper cars, carnival rides, and a carousel. Its large open space is home to several special events. The Seattle Center is also one of the two stops on the monorail. The base of the Space Needle is located there. Both the Experience music Project and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame are found at Seattle Center.

    Seattle Center
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  • Bumbershoot Music Festival

    by akilgore42 Updated May 4, 2007

    Bumbershoot is a huge performing arts festival held every Labor Day Weekend at Seattle Center. It's pretty much Seattle's answer to Coachella and other well-known festivals, and definitely a local summer tradition. For a relatively low admission price you can see a lot of great bands, but you can also see dance performances, well-known comedians and galleries featuring local artists. There are plenty of food and novelty vendors as well. If you go early in the day, you can grab a free pass to the Main Stage act, usually a really popular artist whose tickets would normally be much more expensive. The Main Stage act alone usually justifies the ticket cost for me. Passes go quick, though I've never had a problem getting one if I'm in line when the gates open. And unlike similar festivals, they do a good job of keeping everything clean, sanitary and safe. Nice public bathrooms are available in the Seattle Center House if you are not a fan of outhouses, and the main stage is on astroturf, so you don't have to worry about standing in mud. Families with kids are welcome, and in fact there are plenty of activities for children available. I highly recommend it for anyone who plans to be in town on Labor Day Weekend.

    Related to:
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    • Music
    • Festivals

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  • Sweetberry1's Profile Photo

    Arial view of Seattle City

    by Sweetberry1 Updated Mar 23, 2007

    This Seattle City scene came into view, as soon as our airplane got below the clouds. Even though we had a few showers on the day of arrival, the weather soon cleared up, which made it so much more enjoyable.

    Arial view of Seattle City
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  • UKDaisy's Profile Photo

    International Fountain

    by UKDaisy Updated Mar 5, 2007

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    This was disappointing for me, as the fountain wasn't even switched on. Maybe I needed to visit the fountain at particular times of the day to see it in all its glory. Hence, my photos looks rather weak too. :(

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  • AprilT's Profile Photo

    Stop at Seattle Center

    by AprilT Written Jan 31, 2007

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    Seattle Center is near the Space Needle. Experience Music Project is located here. The building looks amazing, so many colors and shapes. It is an interactive music museum featuring popular music and rock 'n' roll, is one of Seattle's newer attractions. There is also a small carnival just next to it, I'm not sure if that's year round though. Also, just down the pathway, there is a great looking fountain where you can run down to the bottom or listen to music that's playing on the loudspeaker while you watch the water. Next to the Space Needle, there are lots of souvenir shops and an arcade as well.

    View of Space Needle and E.M.S. building Experimental Music Project from the Space Needle Fountain at Seattle Center Climb a rock wall at the arcade at Seattle Center Carnival near Space Needle

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  • Seattle Center

    by Naradja Updated Jul 24, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I was trying to avoid Seattle Center, specifically because I had no interest in the Space Needle and expected everything around it to be just as kitchy. Luckily for me, we ended up parking at Seattle Center ($5 all day) and cutting through Seattle Center on our walk downtown. Seattle Center turned out to be a great park. My favorite part is the fountain - the spray is coordinated with music and about every 5 minutes there is an explosion of spray and much screaming and running around of kids playing in the water, which triggers much laughing from adults sitting around the edges of the fountain. There is also a skate park - very cool to watch the talents of the skaters in their element. Wandering around, we discovered lots of quieter smaller landscaped areas, public art, and play areas. My ever-present dog was terrified of the amusement-park rides and didn't care for the explosions from the fountain, but she enjoyed viewing all the activity from a distance, and I had a great time just relaxing, exploring and people watching.

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  • Johnscarroll's Profile Photo

    Feel Like A Kid Again

    by Johnscarroll Updated Aug 20, 2005

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    The Seattle Center is the civic heart of the city and it's most popular tourist destination - I include locals in this too.

    The campus is modern architecturally. Built for the 1962 World's Fair, Seattle Center includes the new and spectacular McCaw Hall for the opera and ballet. Also, there is the Key Area for basketball and concerts. The fantastic Seattle Children's Theater is located here. Also, the Pacific Science Center maintains a huge presence along the south edge of the campus. There is a small ammusement park open April - September, and of course, the Space Needle.

    The price to ride the elevator to the observation deck is totally ridiculous - and I still pay it when I have new guests in town. The view can't be beat, especially during the summer.

    At the base of the Needle is the Experience Music Project and the new Science Fiction Museum. I love both! They are unique in the entire world - half museum and half ammusement park. I highly recommend these sights for anyone who grew up on the group Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, and Star Trek.

    The heart of the The Center is the International Fountain. It's a great place for a picnic, people watching, and cooling off on a hot summer day. I hope you brought a towel!

    The Seattle Monorail connects to Downtown at Westlake Center.

    Space Needle and Science Center
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  • LeoM's Profile Photo

    Seattle Center

    by LeoM Written Jun 7, 2005

    Seattle Center is the place to be when all the fun and social activities happen. The Children's Musuem is located there, as well as a wide variety of shops and restaurants. The area also has a stage where many social events have been sung or danced.

    Inside Seattle Center
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  • jamiesno's Profile Photo

    Seattle Center

    by jamiesno Updated May 29, 2005

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    Seattle Center is home to Seattle's most famous land mark that being the Space Needle however there is a lot more there than just the space needle.

    I didn't have much time to explore it all but will take more time next time around. Key Arena is there, the Experience Music Project, an amusement park, nice park areas and a massive fountain. Not the one seen in this picture. I would have showed a picture of it but on the day of my visit there was still no water in it. I guess where it was still spring and arasnosliw was so excited to show it to me :-) It is actually called the International Fountain built for the World Fair in 1962.

    There are theatres, science center, skate parks and a lot more. At the web site I have there you can find a map of all the facilities.

    Chances are if your in Seattle you will be spending some time in this area. You can get the mono-rail right to it.

    Seattle Center
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  • ejvigil's Profile Photo

    Relax on the grass and see the best view of....

    by ejvigil Written Jul 20, 2004

    the needle. After an exhausting day of touring the city. I laid down infront of the Space Needle and relaxed looking up at probably the best view of the needle. You felt it's magnificance standing above you. It's a great resting spot before you move on to the next adventure point of the day!

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