Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden aren't just places with chilly winters and beautiful sea ports. They're the five Nordic countries, and since 1980, Nordic Heritage Museum has been the only museum in the U.S. to celebrate the contributions of immigrants from that area. Today the museum continues that tradition by sharing their rich history through carefully cultivated exhibits.?
Size: three floors of permanent exhibits displaying part of a 65,000-piece collection that includes artifacts, fine art, and music
Immigration Stories: Lifelike dioramas spin the tale of a Scandinavian family immigrating to the U.S. in the 19th century. The exhibit traces their path?from their entrance at Ellis Island through their travel west to Ballard?with scenes from a post office, a blacksmith shop, and a family home.
Common Bonds: Five third-floor galleries dedicated to the people from each Nordic country celebrate immigrant contributions achievements in the Pacific Northwest.
Past Exhibits: Danish Modern: Design for Living displayed mid-century modern era furniture designed by Danish artists, including Hans Wegner's famed Round Chair.
Special Programs and Events: At Craft School, artisans teach techniques such as woodcarving and photo preservation. During the annual Nordic Christmas celebration Yulefest, visitors shop while feasting on traditional Scandinavian fare before paying Santa a visit.
As the founder of Seattle Food Tours, Michael Rogers couldn't have started a more perfect business for himself: as a former chef and frequent traveler, he appreciates the feeling of discovering new places. He's surrounded himself with a team of similarly knowledgeable tour guides, including a professional baker, a wine tasting expert, and an international tour guide.
Given the group's impressive backgrounds, it's not surprising that they operate top-notch excursions. They lead the curious through Pike Place Market, and even though it's one of the most visited culinary destinations in the country, their trip grants access to five spots not featured on any other market tour. A progressive dinner through Belltown Restaurants welcomes groups to sample libations from a nationally renowned cocktail bar, and taste the creations of a sushi chef who is a two-time James Beard nominee. Each outing can be amended for vegetarians or those with fork allergies, or reserved for private groups.
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.
The craft masters at Seattle Glassblowing Studio & Gallery guide pupils to artistic bliss by expounding on a spectrum of steps needed to create intricate pieces. Whether joining 10?25 fellow artisans in a group workshop or forming a clique in a one- to three-person private class, students turn provided materials into bowls, cups, and decorative piles of glass shards. Professional glass wielders safely impart etiquette and basic techniques such as gathering glass on a rod and shaping it into colorful geometric forms.
The shop's instructors also offer their own artistic services, including custom commissions such as functional lighting and installation pieces. Damaged glass heirlooms undergo repairs in the cold-working shop, where artisans restore shattered pieces and polish away dullness left behind by covetous pawing.
Presented as a gift to Seattle residents from Charles and Emma Frye, two philanthropic Seattleites, the Frye Art Museum in the First Hill neighborhood is lean and low when viewed from the street. The building’s stark mid-century concrete profile belies the rich collection of artwork and airy galleries held inside. Opened in 1952 as a home for the couple’s private collection of 232 paintings, entrance is free in perpetuity for Seattle residents. And while the Frye founding collection focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, visiting exhibitions have expanded this content and routinely feature contemporary artists such as Mark Mitchell, Joshua Kohl, Jason Hirata, Henry Darger and Helmi Juvonen, among others. The museum also hosts a gift shop and small cafe with outdoor seating in warm months, but is closed on Mondays.
A nationwide department store with a prominent outpost in Downtown Seattle, Macy’s is the place for one-stop shopping for the family and the home. The longtime retailer carries brand name and private label clothing and shoes, and have extensive furniture and housewares departments for any upscale homeowner looking to bring their look up a few notches. Even better, they are known for their frequently-occurring sales, which means even mid-level folks can splurge on great pieces for their home or their closet. The stately 1929 building takes up a city block and spans six floors, plus a basement, and holds an annual holiday parade with inflatable floats, marching bands and costumed characters, which ends in the lighting of the huge Macy’s star on the corner of the building.