Museums in the Seattle-Tacoma Area

In the Puget Sound region, there’s no shortage of smartly curated fun.

Museum geeks, rejoice. The Seattle-Tacoma area is stocked with more than 20 intellectual institutions with interactive appeal. Museums focused on history, art, music, glass, and science fiction—among others—dot the region. Tour even just a few of them, and you’ll unlock centuries of great art and culture.

  • Seattle Art Museum
    A 48-foot-tall Hammering Man sculpture welcomes visitors inside to explore a permanent collection of more than 25,000 objects, while touring masterpieces on loan from institutions like Paris’s National Picasso Museum draw crowds.
  • Museum of Flight
    Among its collection of more than 150 vintage air and spacecrafts you’ll see the Concorde, one of only four on display outside of Europe and the only one on the West Coast.
  • Bellevue Arts Museum
    Housed in a whimsical red Lego-like building, this Eastside institution celebrates design in all forms: recent exhibits have showcased works by Beth Levine—an internationally renowned shoe designer—and a collection of pianos dreamed up by artists and designers like Dale Chihuly and Karl Lagerfeld.
  • Frye Art Museum
    Open since 1952, the Frye is a monument to 19th- and 20th-century European works. Frequent exhibits from emerging local artists keep the vibe fresh. 
  • Wing Luke Museum
    The first museum in the Northwest affiliated with the Smithsonian, the Wing Luke pays homage to the region’s pan-Asian past with an impressive collection of contemporary works and traditional Asian artifacts. Don’t miss the eye-opening historic hotel tour, which details the life of the Northwest’s early Asian immigrants. 
  • Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum
    Rock-’n’-roll culture and sci-fi history collide in these twin houses of pop-culture worship. 
  • Hands on Children’s Museum
    Turn the kids loose inside this Olympia standout, which packs in art studios, backyard wil- derness exhibits, and—fair warning—a “KidStruction Zone.”
  • Seattle Asian Art Museum
    Take in everything from centuries-old scrolls to ancient Buddha statues.
  • Museum of History & Industry
    Delve into the Pacific Northwest’s heritage, trace Seattle’s journey from wilderness to worldly city and tour a gallery of maritime artifacts.

—Lora Shinn