Raindrops keep falling on our heads, but there are plenty of cozy, fun things to do this February thanks to Seattle’s annual Museum Month. From kid-centered exhibits to libation-pouring game hubs and everything in between — discover our favorite museums in Seattle and beyond!
16 Can’t Miss Seattle Museums
Center for Wooden Boats
Tucked at the southern-most tip of South Lake Union, the Center for Wooden Boats has long been a local favorite. The hands-on maritime museum features exciting exhibits for everyone from the boating expert and sea-fairing novice.
Exhibits and guided activities highlight wooden boats, aquatic skills, and history of life on the water. Sundays are a particularly good time to visit, thanks to the long-standing Sunday Public Sail — a free cruise around Lake Union on a sailboat, steamboat, yacht or electric boat.
Chihuly Garden & Glass
Rain or shine, Chihuly Garden & Glass offers the chance to enjoy a riot of color in natural light thanks to its Glasshouse. The 4,500-square-foot exhibit is reminiscent of a conservatory with its soaring 40-foot glass roof, floor-to-ceiling windows, and intricate hand-blown glass flower installation.
Depending on the weather, stroll through the museum’s gardens, which are infused with brilliant glass-blown pieces. And be sure to leave time to stroll slowly through its indoor displays, including a gigantic interpretation of the seafloor.
USS Turner Joy Museum Ship
Though just outside of Seattle, this fascinating museum is too good to leave off the list. Located in nearby Bremerton, the USS Turner Joy Museum Ship is just an hour ferry ride away. Housed on a decommissioned and painstakingly preserved Vietnam-era naval destroyer. You’ll enjoy an up-close look at everything from living quarters and war boats to giant weaponry!
Museum of Flight
With six awe-inspiring galleries, the Museum of Flight spans more than a city block. It could take you days to explore every exhibit, but thanks to each exhibit being indoors or covered, any day is a good day.
Start in the Great Gallery, a 3 million-cubic-foot hall. From the rafters of its 6-foot glass ceiling, you’ll find suspended airplanes, helicopters, and more. But the planes don’t stop there. As the largest independent air and space museum, it’s home to more than 175 aircraft you’ll find through the following five exhibits — including a partial replica of a space shuttle!
MOHAI — the Museum of History and Industry— highlights the rich history of the Puget Sound’s inventors. Located beside the Center for Wooden Boats on South Lake Union, it includes a variety of hands-on exhibits and thought-provoking highlights. It’s even home to the Boeing B-1 — a wooden seaplane built in 1919 that had a longstanding career in the US mail service.
Photo Courtesy the Nordic Museum
Nestled beside the Ballard waterfront, the Nordic Museum showcases the rich history of Nordic immigrants from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The stunning architecture of this new space which opened in 2018 is as breathtaking as the culture it houses.
With a particular focus on the Viking Age, it highlights how these cultures contributed to haute cuisine, award-winning literature, iconic fashion, famous royalty, contemporary art, modern design, and sustainable living. Plus, you’ll get a look at the intricate wood carvings and the history of brewing beer in this fascinating culture.
Pacific Science Center
Kids and adults will love the Pacific Science Center where interactive exhibits range from virtual reality to water cannons. The Laser Dome features exquisite displays of light. And, the iMax theater is one of the largest in the world — fully immersing you in whatever story you’re watching.
With its brightly colored exterior, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is hard to miss from any elevation. And its eccentricities don’t stop there. This lively museum is a trivia buffs dream come true with its collection of experimental exhibits ranging from music to TV shows.
The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is home to the city’s widest array of art — ranging from ancient artifacts to modern works from throughout the world. Not sure where’s located, simply look for the 48-foot tall Hammering Man who stands near its front door, perpetually hammering away.
Get to know Puget Sounds aquatic residents at the Seattle Aquarium. The immersive exhibits take you beneath the water’s surface — quite literally in the museum’s underwater dome. And for those who want to get their hands wet, the touch tank allows you to pet sea anemones!
Seattle Pinball Museum
Pull back a pin. Watch the ball fly up, and test your thumb reflexes as you keep it whizzing and zigzagging! There’s nothing like a good game of pinball to transport you back to your childhood. Featuring more than 50 classic machines, you can even grab a pint while you play at the Seattle Pinball Museum!
Seattle Children’s Museum
With interactive exhibits for children of all ages, the Seattle Children’s Museum is the perfect destination for interactive learning and play. It’s located at the Seattle Center Armory, meaning you’ll also be conveniently close to a plethora of kid-friendly spots to grab a bite when need be.
America’s Car Museum
This is another outside of Seattle museum that’s just too good to pass up. Car enthusiasts will go gaga over the automotive collection at America’s Car Museum. The largest car museum in America, displays range from wind-up ignitions to wooden truck beds and more!
Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals from throughout the world. Exhibits are broken down by bioclimatic zones, allowing you to explore region by region.
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Featuring more than 16 million objects, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is never short on things to see! Exhibits range from indigenous artifacts to ancient dinosaur bones, showcasing the world’s evolution.
Frye Art Museum
Whether you’re an art buff or a broke college student, you’ll love the Frye Art Museum for its rich collection and free admission. A large portion of the museum’s galleries are filled with the personal collection of its founders — the Frye family. Their collection was predominantly 18th and 19th century paintings. However, the museum has begun rotating exhibits to showcase more groundbreaking and inspiring work, which offers a brilliant juxtaposition from the old to the new.