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A Deep Dive Into Seattle Culture: Events and Attractions
January 17, 2023 By CityPASS
Because there are so many different things to see, do, and experience for all interests, Seattle is the cultural hub of the Pacific Northwest. Exploring the city's cultural side is the best way to understand its history and roots and what makes it unique.
From art to music to food, the list of things that make Seattle culture worth checking out is never ending. Here's why Seattle needs to be on the radar of anyone looking to get away and explore the best of the Emerald City.
What Makes Seattle a Culture Hub of the Pacific Northwest?
The Seattle arts and culture scene offers many options for dining, museums, and events. Famous for its markets, coffee shops, and music, Seattle has no shortage of culture. There's quite the fine arts scene that includes mediums like painting, studio glass, and textiles. Additionally, Seattle boasts many venues with live performances, including the acclaimed Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Want to laugh? Check out Jet City, Seattle's famous improv group, which is constantly performing to entertain locals and tourists alike.
Seattle is also home to many professional sports teams representing Washington state, including the Seattle Mariners (baseball), Seattle Kraken (hockey), and the Seattle Seahawks (football). This gives a nice balance to round out many of the city's other top attractions.
How To Experience Seattle Culture
To really experience Seattle culture, get to know the city's different neighborhoods, all of which have their claims to fame. For example, Capitol Hill is a trendy area packed to the gills with coffee shops, bars, and trendy places to eat. If you're looking for something more relaxed, head to West Seattle, a residential area with beautiful parks and beaches on Puget Sound. In fact, one-third of the city's green space lies within this area.
Exploring different neighborhoods allows you to see Seattle through a local lens and discover its culture just like a local would.
Learn All About Pop Culture and Seattle's Role in it at the MoPOP
Your first stop should be Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture, which is located in the Seattle Center, a tourism hub constructed for the 1962 World's Fair and also home to the iconic Space Needle. The museum's building itself is an architectural wonder designed by famous architect Frank L. Gehry and featuring one of the largest indoor LED screens in the world.
Called MoPOP for short, this museum has several interactive exhibits for visitors to discover, of which 17 have traveled to other museums around the country and the world. Once inside, you'll dive into all things pop culture, ranging from music to cinema to video games and beyond.
To understand Seattle's undeniable role in influencing music, MoPOP has one collection you absolutely can't miss. This museum has the world's most extensive collection of artifacts and photographs from local legends Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. There are individual exhibits dedicated to the Seattle rock icons, as well as one that dives into all things Pearl Jam.
View Incredible Art and Structures at Chihuly Garden and Glass
Also located in Seattle Center is Chihuly Garden and Glass, an exhibit just next to the Space Needle that features the work of artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibit is divided into three main parts: the Glasshouse, Garden, and Interior Exhibits. The Glasshouse is the heart of the exhibit, a structure that houses one of the artist's biggest suspended sculptures. It's a 100-foot installation that simulates a coral reef.
The Glass Forest is another point of interest. You can walk through glass creations of all shapes and colors, letting your imagination run wild. After diving into Chihuly's art, check out the rest of the space, as Chihuly Garden and Glass features a small café, dining, theater, and retail.
Dive Into the Seattle Music Scene at a Local Venue
When you think of Seattle, you probably think of coffee and grunge music. Even though grunge emerged in the 90s, Seattle still has a thriving music scene and tons of local venues worth checking out. Today, Seattle has expanded beyond grunge, meaning you can take in many different genres, including alt-rock, pop, indie, and hip-hop.
The Seattle Theatre Group also operates popular venues, including the Paramount Theatre, Neptune Theatre, and The Moore Theatre. These theaters host acts from all genres and types of music, so there's sure to be something to pique your interest.
Get a Taste of Seattle's Coffee Culture
No trip to Seattle is complete without trying a cup of coffee — or ten. A great place to start is the city's iconic Pike Place Market, a hub featuring the oldest market in the U.S. that's still open, along with top dining options, cafés, and attractions, like Seattle's Gum Wall. Pike Place Market is right on the water and just a short walk away from the Port of Seattle.
One of the most popular coffeehouses in Seattle is Storyville Coffee, which features all kinds of caffeine creations and breakfast treats. Many of the city's other top coffee shops are found near the most popular attractions, so a good cup of joe is never far away.
Spend Time at Pioneer Square, a Culture Hub
Pioneer Square has just about everything you need to explore Seattle culture. The city's oldest neighborhood is known for its dining scene, beautiful parks, and Romanesque Revival architecture. One of the most interesting things to do here is to take an underground tour for a glimpse of what Seattle looked like before the fire that raged through the city in 1889.
To learn more about Seattle's history and roots, check out the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, which explores the thrill of the Gold Rush. If you're looking for art galleries, Pioneer Square boasts several of them. Two popular options are the Davidson Galleries and the Stonington Gallery, which focus on art from the Pacific Northwest.
Try a Staple Seattle Seafood Dish
Seafood doesn't get any fresher than in Seattle. Oysters, crab, sushi, you name it, Seattle's got it. Even better, you'll find top-notch seafood throughout all the city's neighborhoods, so you're bound to find a good meal anywhere you go. You can't go wrong with Taylor Shellfish, RockCreek, or Seattle Fish Guys, some of the city's most popular spots to try delicacies straight from the Pacific.
Explore Seattle Culture for Less
If you really want to get into Seattle culture, the best way to do so is with CityPASS® tickets that let you see more for less. The traditional Seattle CityPASS® ticket gets you into five of the city's top attractions and saves you compared to buying individual entrance tickets.
For a shorter visit, Seattle C3® tickets get you into three attractions and save you up to . You can explore many of the spots on this list, including the Space Needle, MoPOP, and Chihuly Garden and Glass. So what are you waiting for? Your ticket to the best attractions in Seattle is just a click away!
Lodging in Seattle
To get the most out of your stay in Seattle, we recommend finding lodging near Seattle's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you: