Seattle-Tacoma museums are beginning to re-open (again). We remain hopeful! Check this page for a list of museums around the Puget Sound region that have already re-opened, or expect to re-open soon. We’ll update the page regularly, so feel free to come back from time-to-time to see what new outings may be available to you and your family. Last update: April 2, 2021.
In accordance with the Washington State’s Safe Start Phased approach, museums are allowed to re-open if they comply with current guidance measures. So not all museums will open at the same time or in the same phase. Find county phase status.
Museums will limit capacity, some by requiring advance timed-ticket purchase. In addition, museums will enhance cleaning procedures and air quality, provide hand sanitizers. Of course, face coverings and social distancing are required for all staff and visitors. Here are a few other tips:
Tips for visiting museums in 2021
- Refrain from entering Museums if you are feeling unwell.
- If you have forgotten your face mask, request one or leave.
- Practice frequent hand washing and sanitization.
- Maintain physical distancing throughout the Museum.
- Avoid touching objects, sitting down, or lingering.
- Follow directional signage for one-ways routes.
Seattle Museums re-opened 2021
(Listed alphabetically by museum name)
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the University of Washington campus in Seattle is the oldest public museum in Washington state. The building sits on ancestral land and collaborates with diverse Native populations. The collections includes millions of biological, geological, and cultural objects from here and around the world dating from the 1700s. Smithsonian affiliate. Open Tuesday-Sunday. Advance purchase tickets. Admission: $22.
Klondike Gold Rush Museum in Seattle, located in the historic Cadillac Hotel building is a National Park site. Two floors of exhibits detailing the world’s last gold rush are designed to be self-guided. The Visitor Center and Museum is open Saturdays. The auditorium, restrooms, and bookstore remain closed. Admission is free.
Museum of Flight n Seattle is the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world. The aerospace museum features dozens of aircraft and spacecraft, tens of thousands of artifacts, and millions of rare photographs, plus exhibits, experiences, and a world-class library. Adult admission: $25. Membership begins at $89 and includes FREE admission for 2 adults plus other benefits and discounts. As a token of their deep gratitude for your support at this difficult time, when you renew or buy a new membership now, you will get two additional months of membership! 14 for the price of 12!
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) (re-opens April 2) in Seattle at South Lake Union Park details history in the Puget Sound region, told in rotating and permanent interactive exhibits. Smithsonian affiliate. Open Thursday–Monday, 10 am–5 pm. Advanced timed tickets are required. Adult admission: $22; free to members. Free 1st Thursday of each Month from 5–8 pm.
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), at Seattle Center explores the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary music and popular culture from rock ‘n’ roll to present day. Located in the visually stunning building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank O. Gehry, with the Space Needle as a backdrop. Open weekends. Advance purchase tickets. Tickets: $30.
National Nordic Museum in Seattle is the largest museum in the U.S. to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. People of all backgrounds are welcome at this internationally recognized museum to be inspired by the art and traditions of the Nordic peoples. Adult admission: $18. Membership begins at $55 and includes FREE admission plus other benefits and discounts.
Seattle Art Museum (SAM) in Seattle is a world-class visual arts center featuring global art collections, temporary installations, and special exhibitions from around the world that bridge cultures and centuries. Adult admission: $20. Membership begins at $79 and includes FREE admission to SAM/SAAM plus other benefits and discounts.
Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) (re-opens March 28 to the public) with limited capacity and hours Fridays–Sundays. Re-opens May 7 for members. Tickets for future dates are released weekly on Thursdays at 10 am. If dates are sold out, please check back on Thursdays when tickets are released. Everyone must get tickets online in advance.
- PACCAR Pavilion at the Olympic Sculpture Park continues to be closed. The outdoor spaces at the Olympic Sculpture Park remain open to the public 365 days a year and are free to visit.
Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle exhibits the history, culture, art, stories, and experiences of Asian Pacific Americans in order to advance racial and social equity. Named for former WA state attorney general, Wing Luke. Smithsonian affiliate. Open Wednesday–Sunday. Advance ticket purchase. Admission: $17.
Seattle Museums that remain closed
(Listed alphabetically by museum name)
Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a/Latino/a Culture in Seattle (South Park/Boulevard Park) is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. The Museum shares the migration, experience, and history of showcases the history of Chicano/as and Latino/as culture through a social justice lens to cultivate pride, appreciation, and understanding of their significant contributions in the state of Washington. The museum’s artifacts and various art forms create a historical legacy that brings to life the story of Chicano/a/Latino/as in the Pacific Northwest. Open weekdays, except major holidays. Free admission.
Tacoma Museums re-opened 2020
(Listed alphabetically by museum name)
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma at Point Defiance Park features volunteers and staff in period clothing who demonstrate crafts of the 19th century and engage visitors in historic dialogue. Regular adult admission: $9.00 (does not include events). Membership begins at $45 and includes FREE admission for 2 adults plus other benefits and discounts.
LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma (re-opens April 3) is rated as one of the best automotive museums worldwide. LeMay AMC features rotating automobile exhibits from their collection and artifacts representing 100 years of history. New hours: Friday-Sunday 10am-5pm. Adult admission: $18; free for AAT members.
Museum of Glass in Tacoma (re-opens April 3) is the West Coast’s largest and most active studio and contemporary art museum dedicated to glass and glassmaking. Experience glass art from emerging artists as well as masters. New hours: Friday–Sunday from 10am–5pm. Admission: $17.
Washington State History Museum in Tacoma displays artifacts, photographs, and other materials from the Washington Territory to present day in order to make history relevant to our modern lives and support civic dialogue where all are welcome. Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Third Thursday of each month: Open 10:00 AM-8:00 PM with FREE admission from 3:00-8:00 PM.
Other Puget Sound area museums
(Listed alphabetically by location)
Bainbridge Island. Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) galleries and the Museum Store are open daily from 10am-5pm. The BIMA Bistro is currently serving only its popular Tuesday night takeout. BIMA is open with enhanced safety procedures at 25% capacity during Phase 2. BIMA is a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle and an easy five-minute walk from the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. Museum admission and parking are free.
Bellevue. Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) provides a public forum for the community to contemplate, appreciate, and discuss visual culture in a space where artists and audiences directly participate in their joint experience of art. Visit BAM to be inspired by art, craft, design, and illuminating ideas. Open weekends only with timed entry tickets. Museum admission is Pay-What-You-Can, generously underwritten by Overlake Medical Center & Clinics. BAM Museum Store shopping appointments are not included in timed-entry admissions and should be made separately.
Edmonds. Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds explores Northwest history through its inhabitants, landscape, climate, industry, and culture. Open Thursday-Sunday. Admission: $10.
Everett. Schack Art Center in Everett exhibits regional and international art, emerging young talents, and also features a glassblowing gallery. Open Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free.
Federal Way. Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way offers the most diverse public collection of bonsai in North America. The outdoor setting features a collection of bonsai trees from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Admission is by donation.
Langley. Langley Whale Center on Whidbey Island works to protect whale habitats. Go there to learn about orcas and other whales, cetaceans, and marine mammals in the Salish Sea. Usually open Thursday and Friday and some weekend days–check the link to their Facebook page for updates. Free Admission; donations greatly appreciated (as well as purchases in their store). You can also take this VIRTUAL TOUR of the Whale Center.
Mukilteo. Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Mukilteo. Boeing Future of Flight is excited to welcome guests back to the Gallery, Sky Deck, Boeing Store, and Paper Plane Café. The Boeing Factory Tour will remain temporarily closed. The newest exhibit features over 150 current and future Boeing products and services, plus the following exhibits: Above and Beyond, the Destiny Module, and Drones & Robotics experiences. The Sky Deck offers sweeping views of Paine Field, the Boeing Everett Factory, and the North Cascades mountain range from Mount Baker to Mount Rainier. Open Thursday-Monday, advance purchase tickets recommended. Tickets: $12.
Renton. Renton History Museum. (re-opens March 10) Located in an historic Art Deco firehouse, the Museums’ exhibits highlight Renton’s stories, past and present. Open Wednesday-Friday. Admission is $5.
Tulalip. Tulalip Tribes Hibulb Cultural Center is a 50-acre natural history preserve with longhouse, research library, gift shop, and exhibits. The historic canoes, archaeological artifacts, and storytelling will enlighten you to the history, traditions, culture, values, seasonal lifeways, and spiritual beliefs of Native American Tribes who are the successors to the Treaty of Point Elliott. Admission is $10.
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But wait, there’s more!
- Seattle Aquarium re-opens with timed ticketing and limited attendance
- Woodland Park Zoo re-opens with a new, safe, outdoor experience
- Video tours of Seattle’s best attractions
- 16 Puget Sound lighthouses you can visit for free
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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Seattle, WA 98101