Without a doubt, Seattle is a hip and happening city full of fresh seafood, great coffee, an amazing food culture and tons of art. TONS. That’s why we approached it as a Art Tour of Seattle With Kids, and it’s just as much fun for the parents.
Seattle boasts a great many fantastic examples of public art, as well as showings of enormously talented local artists. To give you an easy starter list for your Art Tour of Seattle With Kids, our family put together the following high points from our recent visit.
Art Tour of Seattle With Kids
Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
More like a whimsical Dr. Seuss From Outer Space collection, Chihuly Garden and Glass features incredible artistic works by glassblower Dale Chihuly. Really to call him a glassblower is a vast understatement. Chihuly sculpts glass in such unusual ways with such vibrant colors that is defies the imagination. When we walked into the first exhibition room, we literally gasped out loud at what we saw. Over and over, we asked the kids what they saw in each creation, and our minds were blown with their creativity and imagination.
Outside in the garden, Chihuly has woven his art into natural blooming flowers and plants. Colors of glass creations and the flowers around might be similar so they blend together. In another spot, they are so juxtaposed that it conjures images of another planet.
- Open: 11-6 Sunday-Thursday; 11-7 Friday & Saturday
- Cost: Adults $24, Kids $14, Under 4 free
Olympic Sculpture Park
Among the lawns and walkways of Olympic Sculpture Park stand one of the most interesting collections of outdoor sculpture we’ve seen. All are available free to the public on a sloping hill with a gorgeous view overlooking the Puget Sound. We weaved through the park admiring sculpture after sculpture, all so different and interesting. Some were more difficult to decipher than others, which made it more fun.
The sculptures range from monolithic to humorous, from modern to traditional. Plus there are plenty of wide open lawns for the kids to run around and work off some energy.
- Open: 7 Days a Week during Daylight Hours (check website for specifics)
- Cost: Free
Walking Tour of Downtown
As we walked through downtown, we came across many examples of public/private partnership. High rise office towers, hotels, restaurants and more – they have all committed to making art a part of their Seattle presence.
We started at the Seattle Art Museum on First Avenue, and walked north through town towards Pike Place Market. Every street had an installation to stop and admire as we walked along. With the gorgeous bay to our left, we could pay homage to the original Starbucks location, and continue along an easy pedestrian mall all the way to Olympic Park.
- Open: 24/7
- Cost: Free
We would be remiss if we did not include the Seattle Space Needle as a true piece of art. This famous landmark is an artwork all to itself, and worth the visit just to understand the story behind its creators’ vision. Intentionally designed to look like a flying saucer, the Space Needle is an honor to the race for space.
There are so many interesting examples of paraphernalia from the 1950s and 60s inside. Plus if you haven’t been to the Needle lately, you are in for a treat. The whole viewing experience has been updated with clear glass instead of the old wire cage. Well worth the visit – plus those incredible views from the top!
- Open: Daily 10-8
- Cost: Adults $22, Kids $14, Under 5 Free
One day we ventured out for dinner to meet family that lives locally. They introduced us to the sweet neighborhood community of Alki Beach, the birthplace of Seattle dating back to 1851. Right on the water, Alki offers crazy-good views of the Olympic Mountains and nearby San Juan Islands across the Puget Sound. And Alki is also full of art. With more historic art lining the waterfront (including a smaller scale replica of the Statue of Liberty), the area is full of creative souls who make a living as artists in many mediums. There are galleries full of paintings and photography, sculpture and jewelry makers dotting the streetscapes. Alongside, there are plenty of cool people who look like they have interesting life stories to tell.
While there, check out Cactus Southwest Kitchen & Bar for dinner. We loved their take on Mexican cuisine, and coming from San Diego that is saying a lot. We can usually judge from a Mexican restaurant’s guacamole if they are going to be good, and this one did not disappoint. They also make a delicious margarita, and offer several non-alcoholic drink concoctions for the kids as well.