Art, food and fun highlighted our three-day weekend in the Emerald City. We started off our Saturday morning with a monorail ride www.seattlemonorail.com from the central shopping area to the Center City area, home of the iconic Space Needle. The monorail, which was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, costs just $2.25 and is only $1 for seniors, children under 12, disabled, and active duty military.
The trip takes only minutes between Westlake Center Station at 5th and Pine Streets and The Seattle Center Station. Purchase your ticket at the kiosk or from the cashier as you enter the train. The monorail runs every seven minutes or so from 8:30 a.m. on weekends (7:30 a.m. during the week) until 11 p.m.
The monorail drops you off steps from at the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass and EMP Museum (formerly called Experience Music Project).
We’d been to the Space Needle on previous visits so headed right to the Chihuly Garden and Glass www.chihulygardenandglass.com.
We should have bought our tickets online—the lines were long for the cashiers inside and at the outdoor kiosks, and cost $2 more than the online price. Plan ahead! Once you have your ticket and have reached the admission area, ask to have your arm stamped so that you can return in the evening (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) to view these magnificent glass works illuminated. The sun sets quite late in Seattle during the summer months so keep that in mind when planning your return visit.
The Chihuly Garden and Glass is included in Seattle’s City Pass www.citypass.com/seattle so if you plan to visit more than one of the included attractions—yes, the Space Needle is one of them—you may want to opt for the $69 City Pass. You’ll save money and time since you won’t wait on line.
Once inside, be prepared to be awed. There is a reason Chihuly Garden and Glass is on everyone’s “must see” list. We heard more than a few “wows” as soon as we stepped into the first gallery. Dale Chihuly’s glass art works are beyond stunning.
These photos cannot capture the splendid forms, movement, intricacy and vibrant colors in Chihuly’s work but they do give an hint of what you’ll experience at Chihuly Garden and Glass. It is a magical place.
It seems as you move from gallery to gallery the works get progressively more beautiful and intricate. The lighting, staging and even the music in the galleries combine to create a magnificent experience.
Further delight your senses with a stroll through the gorgeous gardens. The art is so beautifully integrated in the various plantings that you’ll want to linger a good long time.
We had the added benefit of a spectacular day—clear, blue skies and temperatures in the mid-70s. The soothing background music being performed by a gentleman playing the Eyhu on the street just outside the garden added to our enjoyment.
The works on display are included in a fairly comprehensive catalog titled, Chihuly Garden and Glass, available in the gift shop in the lobby. It is one of many available volumes featuring Mr. Chihuly’s art. In addition to the usual museum gift shop items like books and calendars featuring the artist’s work, original pieces of Chihuly’s glass art are also on offer and priced from $5,000 to $12,000.
If you’ve worked up an appetite after your stroll through the garden, head over to the Seattle Center Armory a few steps away www.seattlecenter.com. Originally built in 1939 to house the 146th artillery and its half-ton tanks, it was repurposed for the 1962 World’s Fair and became the city’s first vertical shopping mall, called the Food Circus.
Today, in addition to a public space that hosts more than 3,000 free family entertainment and cultural events each year, you’ll find a food court that’s got something for everyone. Though Starbuck’s and Subway do have a presence here, they share the main floor with more interesting offerings from the likes of Eltana’s Wood- Fired Bagel Café www.eltana.com, Seattle Fudge, MOD Pizza www.modpizza.com , Kabab (Mediterranean cuisine) www.seattlekebab.com, Cool Guys Fry Bar, Ceres Roasting Company www.ceresroastingcompany.com , Bigfood BBQ www.bigfoodmobile.com , Quincy’s (burgers and seafood) , Blue Water Taco Grill www.bluewatertacogrill.com , Plum Pantry (vegan and organic selections) www.plumbistro.com, The Confectional (cheesecakes), www.theconfectional.com and Skillet Counter www.skilletstreetfod.com.
Mediterranean street food, beef baracoa, fish tacos, Belgian style fries, individual cheesecakes, pizza, vegan fare, and a terrific fried chicken sandwich are among the tantalizing possibilities we deliberated for lunch.
We chose Skillet Counter where the Fried Chicken Sammy with a fennel seed crust, kale, and jalapeno aioli on a potato roll called out to my traveling companions. I had a delicious curried carrot soup and a salad. We met Chef Mike “Mookie” who kindly shared his recipe for the soup and the aioli. Looking forward to whipping up some of that at home!
If you’ve got little ones in tow—you’re in luck—Seattle’s Children’s Museum www.thechildrensmuseum.org is just downstairs. Here you’ll find interactive exhibitions, hands on, and age appropriate activities for children ages 10 months to 10 years.
After our satisfying lunch at Skillet Counter, we headed down towards Elliott Bay to the Olympic Sculpture Park, part of the Seattle Art Museum www.seattleartmuseum.org or www.visitsam.org. Next, time for a stroll and more art in a fabulous outdoor setting.