The Colorful Wonders of Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Mille Fiori room Seattle horizontal (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Chihuly Garden and Glass Mille Fiori room; a true garden of glass in Seattle, Washington (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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.

Chihuly Seattle Sealife Room large blue glass sculpture vertical (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Chihuly Seattle Sealife Room evokes the ocean with this enormous blue glass sculpture (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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….

Chihuly Seattle Sealife Room closeup of blue glass sculpture (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Closeup of some of the nautical touches – shells, rays, sea urchins – in the Chihuly Garden and Glass Sealife Room, Seattle WA (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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….

Chihuly Seattle Persian Ceiling room horizontal (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Chihuly Garden and Glass Persian Ceiling Room – look up! (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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.

Chihuly Glasshouse with Seattle Space Needle in background (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Chihuly Glasshouse with the nearby Seattle Space Needle in background (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The space often hosts private events – what a venue to hoist a cocktail! – so always check the museum website for evening event closures.

Chihuly Garden Seattle exterior of Glasshouse (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Exterior of the Chihuly Glasshouse in Seattle, looking back in from the garden (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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.

Chihuly Garden Seattle flowers plus blue glass spikes (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Blue glass spikes and swirls among the flowers outside at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle WA (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

You never know what little delights and secrets you’ll find …

Chihuly Garden Seattle with Space Needle reflected in glass orb (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The Seattle Space Needle reflected in a rain-dropped glass orb outside at Chihuly Garden and Glass (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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.

Chihuly Garden Seattle red contrast with green plants (photo by Sheila Scarborough

In the Chihuly garden in Seattle, red glass sculpture contrasts with lush green Pacific Northwest surroundings (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

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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