There is a temple in Seattle dedicated to showing off the artistry of glass. It offers a lot more than simply a place to escape the rain for awhile (although it does come in handy for that.)
The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum features the spectacular works of artist Dale Chihuly, a Washington State native who is renowned for his sensuous, colorful glass art installations worldwide. Guided tours and an audio tour are available, or you can wander through self-guided.
General admission is a not-inexpensive US$24, but I recommend buying the Seattle CityPASS for US$89 which bundles a group of top attractions including Chihuly, the Space Needle, the Museum of Popular Culture (formerly the Experience Music Project,) and a harbor cruise.
Take your time in each of the exhibit rooms – there is a delight for the eyes everywhere you look.
A museum photographer is available in the Sealife Room if you’d like a free photo other than your own selfies. EVERYONE is taking photos throughout the galleries, so you need to be patient and wait for your moment.
Chihuly’s work is eye-popping both at a distance, and when you look up close….
The Persian Ceiling room’s display is all above you.
Backlit glass shapes sit on a clear ceiling that is spread across the entire room, like an extraordinary stained glass window throwing colorful light onto the people below….
The specially-built Glasshouse encloses one of the signature pieces at Garden and Glass.
It’s a sculpture that is suspended overhead, stretching about 100 feet down the length of the building. Natural light all around helps it glow without any extra illumination.
The space often hosts private events – what a venue to hoist a cocktail! – so always check the museum website for evening event closures.
The weather cooperated on the day of our visit, so we spent plenty of time in the outdoor garden, which is full of Chihuly pieces cleverly staged among vibrant plantings.
Springtime daffodils were out, and I don’t get to see many of those where I live in Texas.
You never know what little delights and secrets you’ll find …
Particularly impressive is how beautifully the plantings highlight the glass art, and the art in turn adds so much to the plantings.
The well-designed garden is not that big, but there is a lot going on in every part of it.
There is also a cafe on the premises, and a gift shop/bookstore.
I’m not sure why I didn’t think to buy a portable Chihuly umbrella to replace my rather beat-up travel umbrella that always goes in my suitcase. It would have been the perfect remembrance of one of my favorite places in Seattle.
Logistics – Chihuly Garden and Glass is co-located with the Space Needle, MoPOP, and several other Seattle attractions at the Seattle Center complex. There’s a mile-long monorail to the Center from the downtown Westlake Center near the Westlake Link light rail station. The monorail is US$2.50 one way, and it is not part of the local Orca Pass public transportation system.
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