“I can’t understand it when people say they don’t like a particular color … How on earth can you not like a color,” said American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, who never met a color he didn’t like. While you could argue that each city has its own hues filtered through the local light, Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass is generous, like a juicy Starburst candy for the eyes.
Almost hidden beneath the Space Needle at Seattle Center, the unique Chihuly Garden and Glass shows off the artists hand-blown glasswork in eight themed galleries. (Scroll down for ticket deals.) Each glass sculpture installation interacts with light and space in a different way. Go in the morning or afternoon and you’ll see the whimsical creations in natural light, but come nightfall, the sculptures illuminate with electricity. (Savvy tip: a hand stamp gets you back in.)
On a recent trip to Seattle to visit my sister (who lives a lovely Ferry ride away on Bainbridge Island, but more about that later), I made a point of going to Chihuly Garden and Glass for the first time. For the photo opps, of course — even I can’t take a bad picture in this place.
My favorite area was the garden, where the artwork adds a magical touch to the lush natural foliage. Naturally we were set up to feel that way after wandering through the indoor spaces. Starfish and icicles, tangled glass tentacles, boats full of baubles, a freeform chandelier all shadows and light.
WHAT: Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center.
BEST DEAL: Save 25% on Chihuly Admission Tickets by booking select times (link takes you to a savvy partner offer).
OTHER WAYS TO SAVE: For the full Seattle experience, these are the top two choices.
- NINE DAY PASS: You can download a Seattle CityPASS and save around 48% on Chihuly Garden and Glass (or Pacific Science Center) and also the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, and EMP Museum or Woodland Park Zoo. Get it directly from CityPASS.
- TAKE A TROLLY TOUR: Emerald City Trolley Tour — Save a couple bucks when you book here via our here. If it’s raining or you just don’t want to walk the city, the Trolley will take you to Chihuly Garden & Glass and all of Seattle’s popular downtown attractions like: The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Seattle Center, Seattle’s Waterfront, Pier 66, Seattle Aquarium, The Great Wheel, the Argosy Cruise, Washington State Ferries, Pioneer Square, Seattle Art Museum, Westlake Center, and Pacific Place.
SAVVY TIPS: To help make your visit easier.
- Where to park: You can splurge on valet parking at the base of the Space Needle. Or use one of the parking lots:
- Mercer Garage (Third Ave N & Roy Street)
- First Ave N Garage (between John and Thomas Street)
- Fifth Ave N Garage (Fifth Ave N & Republican Street)
- Seattle Monorail: Great way to get to Chihuly Garden and Glass from downtown. Get on at Westlake Station and get off at the exhibition in a few minutes.
- Audio Tour: When you arrive, ask about the free audio tour. It has tracks for each room that you can play at your own pace.
- Night or Day: Your choice, of course, but they will stamp your hand, so if you want to go early and come back after dark, you can see how different the sculptures look illuminated.
- Dining: We liked the sandwiches at the venue’s Collections Café.
WHERE: Chihuly Garden and Glass, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109, at the Seattle Center, just beneath the Space Needle.
WHEN: Open Sunday – Thursday 11am-7pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-8pm. (The museum closes early for certain special events.)