Museums in Portage Bay

Select Local Merchants

After putting on an all-puppet production of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale to the disdain of their business-minded fathers, the members of the Young Naturalists Society decided to start their own museum of artifacts and nifty facts. The resulting Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture is a nesting ground for Northwest natural history. A blend of permanent and rotating exhibits bejewels the senses through The Life and Times of Washington State exhibit, which guides the viewer past the state's oldest tusk-wielding citizens and shows how tuskless we've become in 545 million years. Through May 31, the museum proudly displays the Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway exhibit, where you can see how professionally excavated fossils stack up against the dino-bones you uncovered in the basement crawlspace.

University of Washington, 17th Ave NE & NE 45th St
Seattle,
WA
US

Tucked inside an art deco building within Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park, the economically-sized Seattle Asian Art Museum showcases cultural artifacts from China, Japan, Korea and India. From silk screens to sculpture, scrolls to woodwork, the museum nods at history at every turn. It also includes a children’s room that lets little ones learn by doing and creating. Outside, Noguchi’s “Black Sun” sculpture lines a decorative pool within Volunteer Park, making for a wonderful photo vantage point that includes Seattle’s Space Needle in the background. Through the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, the museum even offers a Saturday lecture series on visual and literary arts topics. Bargain-hunters take note: The museum is free to all visitors the first Thursday of each month.

1400 E Prospect St
Seattle,
WA
US

Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, known around town by its MOHAI acronym, recently relocated to a waterfront location in South Lake Union, and is now housed in the former Naval Reserve Armory building. It’s a smart change for the popular historical and educational spot, considering its new proximity to some of Seattle’s biggest businesses: outdoor retailer REI and Amazon.com. The museum’s permanent collection traces the city’s history, with nods to the city’s 1962 World’s Fair, the surprising 1999 WTO riots, and the birth and growth of aerospace giant Boeing. Temporary exhibits address topics as diverse as Seattle-specific artists, the history of gay culture citywide or the many engineering feats that have helped a region filled with bodies of water and steep slopes stay connected. The newly-opened Bezos Center for Innovation explores Seattle’s history of entrepreneurship and engages guests in interactive activities to elicit their inner CEO.

2700 24th Ave E
Seattle,
WA
US

Buy here for an hour of rowing on Lake Union and an annual individual membership to the CWB for $15 (up to a $60 value).

1010 Valley St
Seattle,
WA
US

Founded in the 1970s as a grass-roots service group with the belief that art establishes connections between people and their neighborhood, the Fremont Arts Council is both instigator and mastermind behind many of the neighborhood’s annual events. These include the homegrown, spectacular summer Solstice Parade and Festival, May Day, Trolloween, the autumn equinox Luminata around Green Lake Park and the Feast of the Winter Solstice. The nonprofit organization also commissioned and maintains the famous Fremont Troll statue under the Aurora Bridge, along with the whimsical six figures that make up the Waiting for the Interurban sculpture. Headquartered in a vintage brick warehouse marked by a former smokestack emblazoned with the word “Solstice” in gold letters, the group also regularly hosts meetings and workshops with local and international artists.

3940 Fremont Ave N
Seattle,
WA
US

If the walls of the Moore Theatre could talk, they would probably brag, and with plenty of reason. Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the Moore Theatre has thrived as Seattle's oldest-running entertainment venue since 1907. Behind its quaint exterior, flanked with Italian and Byzantine terracotta details, lies a playhouse of grandiose opulence and architectural marvel. Inside, a grand lobby of marble, onyx, and mosaic flooring leads to an auditorium where ceiling frescos of cream and gold lord over 1,400 seats. In its burgeoning years, the venue played host to performances by Ethel Barrymore, the Marx Brothers, and Harry Houdini, becoming a beacon for vaudeville's best and a vacation home for audiences during the Great Depression. Lately, the venue has welcomed a broad variety of community-based lectures, beauty pageants, and dance troupes. Its glimmering interiors have also added eye candy to many videos from rock bands such as Wilco, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam, and comedians such as Wanda Sykes and Patton Oswalt.

911 Pine St
Seattle,
WA
US