Content originally written for the Let’s Go: USA & Canada Guide by our researcher-writer, Graham Bishai.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St.; (206) 753-4940; www.chihulygardenandglass.com; open Su-Th 10am-8pm F-Sa 10am-9pm
No, not the sick bong you got last week. Dale Chihuly’s blown glass is real, complex, mind-blowing art. Located in Seattle Center, this museum showcasing the works of a Washington native will shatter your expectations.Twisting contortions of colored glass challenge your imagination and your conception of what is possible. The exhibit, partially inside lets you first see Chihuly’s art on display in an indoor exhibit, and then as part of outdoor gardens, where they look like creations of a Dr. Seuss-esque fantasy world. Go to one of the live glass blowing demonstrations, which will not just teach you about the science and evolution of glass blowing, but give you an appreciation for how difficult it is. Go to this museum early in the day—it often closes early due to special events.
Admission $26; last entry 1 hour before closing; wheelchair accessible
Museum of Pop Culture
325 5th Ave.; (206) 770-2700; www.mopop.org; Memorial Day through Labor Day open daily 10am-7pm, rest of year open daily 10am-5pm
Housed in a futuristic building, this museum has artifacts central to American pop culture, from Jimi Hendrix’s passport to the axe from The Shining. Don’t miss the Sound Lab, where you can try playing instruments in music studios and get digital lessons on how to play instruments and how they are used in music production. You might realize you suck at the drums, but hey, it was fun, and now you know. An exhibit on Nirvana shows the history of the world famous rock band who originated south of Seattle in Washington State. The sci-fi and horror exhibits are excellent, too, but if you’re squeamish, maybe avoid the horror exhibit. The museum, located in Seattle Center, has a rock & roll focus, and its content is more geared for middle aged folks, focusing on 90s and early 2000s pop culture.
Admission $28, students $25; wheelchair accessible
Woodland Park Zoo
5500 Phinney Ave N.; (206) 548-2500; www.zoo.org; May-Sept open daily 9:30am-6pm, Oct-April open daily 9:30am-4pm
You’re never too old to go to the zoo. Crazy travel partner getting to be too much? Drop them off where they can roam with the animals. Just don’t leave them there after closing time (unless they’re bothering you). There’s an extensive African Savanna exhibit, a tropical rain forest, and more. Make sure to take a map or else you might well get lost in the zoo’s winding pathways. There’s events and talks from zookeepers during the day, so check the board when you arrive to see what happening when you visit.
Admission $20.95; wheelchair accessible
Graham left behind the stressed-out chaos of Cambridge for the laid back life on the West Coast. A refreshing change of pace, he assumed, until the line for coffee on his first morning took 2 mins longer than he’s used to, and the Northeast nasty jumped out. Starting in Vancouver, Graham meandered south, toning his calves being a pedestrian on San Francisco’s hills and by navigating the monstrosity that is Los Angeles using just his feet and public transit (only resorting to Uber twice!) Graham’s love for the West Coast life only increased as he sat by the Puget Sound in Seattle, sipped kombucha in the crunchy cafes of Portland, climbed into a waterfall in Yosemite and stayed in an abandoned opera house in Death Valley. By the time he hit upper 80s sun of San Diego, buff calves and sun tanned, the words “West Coast, Best Coast,” almost slipped out of his mouth. Identity crisis looming, he figured it was time to go home.