Don’t you love when you take a trip and one of the highlights turns out to be something that you didn’t expect? While I have an appreciation for art museums, I confess that I sometimes visit them out of obligation. You know, just because it is something that I am supposed to see in any given city.
However, when I began researching Seattle and Chihuly Garden and Glass kept surfacing, I got the feeling that there was something special about it. Maybe it was the thousands of 4.5 star reviews on Yelp…
Chihuly Garden and Glass ended up being an incredible addition to our weekend in Seattle and exploring the area’s waterfalls near Seattle! Every turn through the exhibits took our breath away at the stunning beauty all packed into one building. Check out our tips for making the most of your visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass.
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Chihuly Garden and Glass Parking
Located right next to the Seattle Space Needle (literally, you can’t miss it), this museum offers indoor exhibits, outdoor gardens that mix the art pieces with botanical pieces, and also a café where you can grab brunch or lunch before starting your day.
If you have a car, you can park at the Seattle Center, at the 5th Avenue North Garage or the Mercer Street Garage.
We are big fans of taking Uber instead rather than worry about parking. You can also take the Seattle Monorail if you are coming from downtown for only $2.50 each and it will drop you off right next to Chihuly.
Chihuly Garden and Glass Discount Tickets
The museum is open from 10am-6pm each day (an hour later on weekends) and tickets are $27 for adults.
If you plan to visit multiple top Seattle attractions, a discount pass might save you a considerable amount of cash. You can bundle two attractions together, such as Chihuly Garden and Glass with the Space Needle ($53).
Chihuly Gardens and Glass Galleries
Upon entering the building, you will find eight separate galleries, the Glasshouse, two Drawing Walls, the gardens outdoors, Chandelier Walkway, and lastly, a theater showing a video of how Dave Chihuly created his masterpieces with his glass blowing process.
You will enter the building through the first gallery which is the Glass Forest. It is a small, but mighty, introduction to the majestic pieces that are in your future, along with educational panels to teach you a little about Dave Chihuly.
The second gallery is inspired by the Native American culture. This Northwest Room presents his series of Baskets, Cylinders and Soft Cylinders. The textures of the tapestries, personal basket collection, and portraits were a lovely addition.
Sealife Room is a themed room that was definitely a favorite of ours. As you enter the gallery, you are greeted with a large piece that is worth a long look. Around the perimeter are smaller sealife creations accompanied by Chihuly’s drawings.
**Pro Tip** Don’t dismiss the staff photographers roaming around. They are happy to take your photo here and then you can email it to yourself for free at the kiosks.
The Persian ceiling is displayed above your head resting on a glass plane with light illuminating from behind. Stepping into this gallery was like stepping into a colorful wonderland as the colors reflected off of the walls as well.
Mille Fiori means a thousand flowers in Italian. Chihuly designed these floral gardens with inspiration from his mother’s garden, and with fire and gravity rather than tools.
This gallery has so many individual elements to catch your eye that you may want to sit awhile and take it all in.
Ikebana and Float Boats, Chandeliers, and Macchia Forest round out the last of the galleries before exiting the indoor portion of the Exhibit. The Macchia portion was created with Chihuly’s goal of using all 300 colors available to him. He also added a white cloud-like layer between the colored glass, and finishing off the process by rolling the molten glass in shards of colored glass.
In order to make the most of your time here, check out the Gallery Talks available throughout the day in each gallery. These valuable mini-tours will teach you more about the process involved with creating these incredible art pieces.
The Glasshouse is the centerpiece of the exhibit, and is over 4,500 square feet and 40 feet tall. The Glasshouse was designed with inspiration from Chihuly’s two favorite buildings, Sainte-Chappelle in Paris and Crystal Palace in London. The flower sculpture is made up of 1,340 individual pieces and is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.
Natural light plays a starring role in this piece allowing it to change its appearance and color as the day changes.
*Pro tip* Make sure that you check the “Special Closures” section of the website before visiting, as the Glasshouse commonly is closed in the afternoons for private events. We were so glad we checked, as we rearranged our day so as to visit in the morning and not miss this special feature of the museum!
The Gardens provide a beautiful backdrop to Chihuly’s glass pieces, and was designed to create a space where the trees, flowers, plants, and glass complement one another. There are often outdoor presentations in the gardens, so keep an ear out and don’t miss out.
Look closely, as you will find sweet reflections in some of the pieces as you stroll through the camellias, daylillies, and dogwoods.
This museum is one that surprises you with each new piece that it introduces. The color, talent, imagination, and creations of artist Dave Chihuly are magnificent. I highly recommend adding this location to your list of things to do when visiting Seattle. Don’t forget your camera! These images were all taken with only cell phones – it is an amazing and fun photography spot! Enjoy!
A special thank you to Chihuly Garden and Glass for providing complimentary admission in exchange for an honest review of our experience. As always, all opinions are our own.