On my arrival to Seattle I walked from the King Street Amtrak Station to my friend’s office in downtown (about a 20 minute walk). We had lunch at Japonessa, which I would highly recommend. They have happy hour every day from opening until 6:30 PM (and then 10:00 PM to close). During that time their sushi rolls are pretty dang affordable ($5 Spicy Tuna roll, $6 for a California roll with Alaska crab, $10-$12 for some specialty rolls), especially for the level of quality. The rolls are also quite large, both in number of pieces and size. It’s right across the street from where Pike Place Market starts at 2nd and Union (so convenient for a lot of people visiting Seattle).
Afterwards we took a quick trip to the 17th floor of my friend’s office building, which has a really nice outdoor deck and some cool views of Puget Sound and the Olympics. He then had to go back to work, so I walked over to the Seattle Center. Along the way I met up with my “little brother” from my fraternity in college, who lives in Seattle. I hadn’t been to the Seattle Center in a long time. I had been as a kid several times (Space Needle, EMP, Pacific Science Center, etc.), but the last time might have been in middle school. In college it hadn’t been a stop when I came up for football games against the Huskies (which all ended in Duck victories of course!).
When doing some research on what I wanted to see in Seattle I found out about the Chihuly Garden and Glass. This hadn’t been around when I last visited the Seattle Center. Dale Chihuly is a world famous glass artist based in Washington. His work (created by teams of glass blowers under his direction) is in over 200 museums around the world and he has had notable exhibits at some of the most famous museums in the world. The long-term Garden and Glass opened in Seattle in 2012. The pictures on their website were quite impressive. Just pieces that were pretty astounding to be made out of glass. Chihuly quickly shot up to the top of my list of must-dos in Seattle.
At the Seattle Center I also wanted to visit the EMP (Experience Music Project), which was an old favorite. Initially I didn’t plan to visit the Space Needle (I’ve been several times as a kid), but with the beautiful weather (and the clear views of the Olympics) I reconsidered. My “little brother” and I figured we’d do the Space Needle first to take advantage of the daylight. The line however seemed pretty long. Finally we just decided to go for it (who knows the next time I’ll be in Seattle and with beautiful sunny weather). That however was quickly put to rest when we learned the next available elevator trip was at 5 PM (it was currently 1:30 or so)… I was planning to visit some of my favorite viewpoints up on Queen Anne, so I know I’d get some of the experience of the Space Needle (though it is really cool to have that 360 degree vantage).
My “little brother” grew up in Seattle, so he had seen a lot of the things at the Seattle Center (probably many times). He hadn’t been to Chihuly though, so we decided to do that first (before I did EMP). We bought our tickets at an electronic kiosk outside ($18 for adults if you buy online in advance, $20 at the door) and skipped the line inside.
You’re able to progress through a series of rooms with different works (with only a little need to maybe backtrack at a few points) before you end up in the gardens. My favorite piece is in the large greenhouse after you exit the main building. Then outside there are many pieces among actual plants in the garden. There’s an audio tour that you can play from your phone from the website, but at most museums I prefer to browse and worse case research later if I am really curious about something. With Chihuly the pictures definitely do the best storytelling, but I’ll try to add some comments in the captions. An impression I couldn’t shake was that it kind of reminded me of a visit to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but everything was made out of glass.
If you’re visiting Seattle I’d recommend a visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass, especially if you haven’t seen his work before. There is another large Chihuly museum in Tacoma (link here) that I really want to go to on a future trip after visiting this museum. Completely coincidentally when I got back from Seattle I began seeing Tweets from Fairchild Gardens in Miami about their own Chihuly exhibit that is happening until May! I definitely will need to check that out as well. Hopefully after you see the pictures you’ll want to check out his work, whether that’s in Seattle or somewhere else!
Chihuly Garden and Glass- 305 Harrison Street Seattle, WA