Seattle Center

Officially known as the Century 21 Exposition, Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair market the birth of this buzz and trendy Seattle neighborhood. Running for half a year between April and October 1962, this historical event was meant to set the grounds for the city’s future, as seen by the representatives of the Cold War generation. The fair that attracted over 10 million visitors to Seattle is responsible for many of the city’s most iconic landmarks such as the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Center Monorail. Very different from the neighboring Belltown, Seattle Center is home to many of the city’s top sights and museums, offers plenty of entertainment options, but lacks the culinary scene that Belltown features.

Attractions Live Music Venues Theatre Venues

Seattle Center’s Top Attractions

Home to top attractions such as the EMP Museum, the Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden & Glass and the Space Needle, Seattle Center is worth spending more than a day sightseeing.

Chihuly Garden Space Needle EMP The Monorail
Pacific Science Center Children’s Museum The Gates Foundation International Fountain

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and GlassAddress:  305 Harrison Street, Seattle

Chihuly Garden and Glass Reviews

Buy Tickets

This impressive exhibition hall made up of 8 rooms, a glasshouse and a garden focuses on the creations of the Tacoma-born glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. An eccentric, yet very talented artist, Dale Chihuly has his works exhibited all over the world, but the Seattle venue remains the best place where you can sample his genius.

In the Exhibition Hall, you can admire some of his masterpieces, including the Sealife Tower, the Persian Ceilings and the Ikebana & Float Boat. The Glasshouse with its multi-colored ceiling decorations is the best place to admire a sunset on Seattle’s sky. In the garden, you can experience Chihuly’s metaphor of a perfect symbiosis between glass art and natural vegetation.

Seattle Space Needle

Space NeedleAddress: 400 Broad Street, Broad St. and Fifth Ave. N, Seattle

Space Needle Reviews

Buy CityPASS

Its easily recognizable silhouette dominates the Seattle Skyline. The Space Needle, an iconic tower built for the 1962 World’s Fair, continues to be a symbol for the city even after over half a century. Many of the locals consider it an expensive tourist trap and will recommend you to go atop Columbia Center for an even better and certainly cheaper view over the city. However, visiting Seattle without touring the Space Needle is like visiting Seattle without climbing atop the Eiffel Tower.

One way of saving some money and still visiting the Space Needle is to buy a Seattle CityPass, that grants access to five other top Seattle sights, including the EMP Museum and the Pacific Science Center.

Another option is to buy a combined ticket with the above-mentioned Chihuly Garden & Glass.

Seattle in One Day

Scavenger Hunt

Observation Deck

Not sure you have enough time to visit each of Seattle’s attractions? Take a tour and sample the Emerald City’s highlights in one day. The whole city becomes a giant game board while you play your scavenger hunt and explore Seattle in a playful and active way. Enjoy! Book your Space Needle Observation Deck tickets to enjoy picture-perfect views from the top of the world, and skip the lines.
More info… More info… More info…

The EMP Museum

EMP MuseumAddress: 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle Center, Seattle

The EMP Museum Reviews

Buy CityPASS

Housed by a futuristic building whose architecture is signed by Frank Gehry, the EMP Museum is an artful display of rock-and-roll history. If the architect found inspiration in one of Hendrix’s smashed-up guitars, this is exactly what you will find here: lots of Hendrix memorabilia, including the Fender Stratocaster guitar the artist used at Woodstock in 1969.

Another interesting exhibit is a tower made up of 700 musical instruments designed by Gerhard Trimpin – Seattle resident kinetic sculptor of German origins. Located on the museum’s second floor, the Icons of Science Fiction section is a great joy for Star Trek and Terminator fans.

Don’t forget that the EMP is included in the CityPass, so if you want to save some money, you also have this option.

Seattle Center Monorail

Seattle Center MonorailAddress: 400 Pine Street, Seattle

Seattle Center Monorail Reviews

Zipping passengers between Westlake Shopping Center located in Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle since 1962, Seattle Center Monorail is much more than a tourist attraction. It is also an easy and affordable way to commute between these two central locations, not to mention a method of avoiding to search for a parking spot at the Needle.

As the monorail was built for the 1962 Seattle’s World Fair, some may find “a blast from the past”. Despite the vintage flair, the ride is an interesting experience. You can embark at any of its two stations – Westlake Center Mall and Seattle Center. The trains (one red and one blue) arrive in these stations every 10 minutes, and the ride lasts 5 minutes. Both-way tickets and passes are also available for purchase.

The Westlake Center station is located within walking distance from the hotels area of Seattle Downtown. As the World Fair’s buildings are nowadays occupied by top attractions, including Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle Children’s Museum, the EMP, and Key Arena, the monorail is easy to fit into your visiting Seattle schedule.

Pacific Science Center

PacSciArchesAddress: 200 Second Avenue North, Seattle

Pacific Science Center Reviews

Installed on the premises of the former science pavilion for the World’s Fair, this interactive museum is one of Seattle’s top science museums, and a must-visit while in the city because of its virtual-reality exhibits. Here you can admire a tropical butterfly house, holograms and many other wonders of science. You can also attend fascinating laser shows and interact within hands-on demonstrations. On site you will find also the vaulted-screen Imax Theater, a laserium and a planetarium.

If you are traveling with kids, the Pacific Science Center is a good idea as they will learn many interesting bits about science, and get the entertainment for the day.

Read more about the Pacific Science Center, including admission prices details here.

 

 

The Seattle Children’s Museum

Seattle's Children MuseumAddress: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle

Seattle Children Museum Reviews

If you want your kids to learn a lot of useful things in a playful and entertaining way, do not hesitate: the Seattle’s Children Museum is the right choice for you. Although it lacks the modern-day bells and whistles, it certainly has its charm and the kids will love it.

The Cog City exhibit was renovated a few years ago, and it allows kids to play with balls and pipes, learning all about motion and velocity. The Fort Adventure is all about LEGO building, while the Global Village teaches them things about other cultures.

 

 

 

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors Center

Address:  440 5th Avenue North, Seattle

The Gates Foundation Reviews

A visit to this high-tech center located right opposite the Space Needle allows you to explore the journey of the world’s most unselfish billionaire. By going over the five rooms full of exhibits, you will have the chance of getting know more about the Gates’ life and work all around the world.

Visiting the Gates Foundation’s Visitors Center is also a great idea if you are traveling with kids as it will certainly be an educational experience.

 

International Fountain

Address: Seattle Center, Seattle, WA

International Fountain Reviews

This futuristic looking fountain with 287 jets of water is the perfect spot for a relaxing breaking during your Seattle sightseeing day.

On summer evenings there are also light-and-music shows in this central venue.

[Image courtesy of TripAdvisor]

 

 

 

Seattle Center’s Live Music Venues

Want to a attend a live music concert? Anything is possible at Seattle Center. Here are the main venues where this kind of events happen.

Key Arena The Vera Project Mural Amphitheatre

Key Arena

Key ArenaAddress: 305 Harrison Street, Seattle

Key Arena Reviews

A historic live music and sport events venue, the Key Arena was home many of Seattle’s best concerts and matches. Nowadays home to to the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Seattle University Men’s Basketball and the Rat City Rollergirls, Key Arena is also the place where top names perform live.

If you want to visit this iconic events venue while in Seattle, make sure you buy a ticket in advance.

 

See full list of Key Arena shows and book your tickets



The Vera Project

Vera ProjectAddress: 305 Harrison Street, Seattle

A music and arts venue for all ages, the Vera Project is another place at Seattle Center where you can attend various sorts of music concerts, but also visit arts exhibits and other kind of events.

With a focus on teenager and youth, this center is welcoming everyone interested in off the beaten path cultural activities.

 

 

 

 

Mural Amphitheatre

Mural AmphitheatreAddress: 305 Harrison Street, Seattle

One of the sites dating back to the event that gave birth to Seattle Center – the 1962 World’s Fair, this artistic mural was designed by Paul Horiuchi.

In the amphiteatre’s initial version, the mural was placed over a pool of water, located in the spot where now is the stage, and surrounded by temporary structures. Nowadays, the Mural Amphitheatre is the venue of various music events and festivals, including the Northwest Folklife Festival, Bumbershoot, as well as outdoor films.

 

 

 

Seattle Center’s Theatre Venues

Seattle Repertory Theatre Intiman Theatre Company Mccaw Hallt Seattle Children’s Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Seattle Repertory TheatreSeattle Repertory Theatre Reviews

Website: seattlerep.org

Known among the locals as the Rep, Seattle Repertory Theatre is the largest nonprofit resident theater outfit in the whole area of the Pacific Northwest. Its productions are elaborate and often times you can catch here big-name drama shows.

With a new sound system and an excellent line-up, the Rep is a Seattle Center theatre venue worth checking out.

 

 

 

 

 

Intiman Theatre Company

Cornish PlayhouseWebsite: intiman.org

Longtime  without a permanent home, the Intiman Theatre Company has, nevertheless, a long history of entertaining the audience and putting on stage many of Ibsen’s and Shakespeare’s masterpieces. This Tony Award winning regional theatre was founded back in 1972 by Margaret Booker.

After an abrupt closure in 2011 and a heroic reopening in 2012 under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Russell and Managing Director Keri Kellerman, the Intiman Theatre Company continues to do what they do best: create well-crafted plays!

You can find them at the Cornish Playhouse, as well as in other theatre venues across the city, such as the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, home of the 2016 Festival.

 

 

 

Mccaw Hall

McCaw Hall Permanent home of the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the McCaw Hall is a historical landmark and top theatre venue located at Seattle Center.

Here you can catch a majestic ballet show of the Pacific Northwest Ballet – the foremost dance company in the Northwest, producing over 100 shows a season from September through June. Featuring a lot less shows – four or five full-scale operas every season, the Seattle Opera puts up excellent performances in the same location.

See full list of Mccaw Hall shows and book your tickets


 

 

 

 

Seattle Children’s Theatre

seattle-children-s-theatreSeattle Children’s Theatre Reviews

Website: sct.org

Putting its performances on stage every Friday and Saturday morning, from September through June, Seattle Children’s Theatre has actually two venues, both located at the Seattle Center: the 482-seat Charlotte Martin and 275-seat Eve Alvord Theatres.