Chihuly Garden and Glass – Where Glass and Art Dance in Colorful Delight

Imagine stepping into a world of whimsy, a world of color, a world of spectacular immersive art.  That is what you are stepping into when you visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle.  For us the Chihuly was an add on.  We bought the City Pass tickets to see other major attractions.  I saw this was part of the ticket and after a few recommended we had to see it, we decided to tack it on.  After spending two hours and taking thousands of photographs we now tell everyone that this is a must visit!  See why we feel this museum is a must visit when in Seattle

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Dale Chihuly, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, in 1968 went to Venice, Italy to study glass blowing.  After falling in love with the art, he became a world renown gloss blowing artist, making priceless chandeliers and art installations all over the world.  In 2012 he opened the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition of his work.  This museum is truly a visual experience, I need this post to be a photo essay to truly show you some of what you experience in this museum. 


A young girl looking at white spiky glass chandeliers
After entering the museum, you are greeted with “Winter Brilliance”, and right away you know you are about to see something special

In the Museum

A brown glass bowl next to a Native American woven basket
One of the first rooms exhibits Chihuly’s respect and fascination with Native American Art.  There is a collection of glass bowls made to emulate the natural style of Native American woven baskets*
Collage of pictures of blue blown glass art installation
The next room contains this soaring blue tower meant to represent the sea and a wave.  Look closely and you see that each piece within the whole is its own form of intricately created art*
Class wavy flower bowls displayed on the cieling
The next room has nothing on the wall or floor, but look up and you are treated to a beautiful array of glass blown pieces covering the ceiling
A collection of colorful, whimsical glass sculptures
The Mille Fiori room is the largest room in the entire museum.  It’s a full display filled with whimsy of a glass garden with snaking tall pillars, around elaborate glass boulders, and flowers out of a fantasy novel*
A boat filled with colorful, whimsical blown glass pieces
The Float Boat is filled with colorful and whimsical shapes, with so many details you don’t know where to concentrate
Giant glass flowers in the form of lamps
The final room in the museum is filled with large glass flowers of all different colors and patterns

The Glasshouse

A vine of large orange and yellow glass flowers installed on the ceiling of a glasshouse
Before entering the garden, you can go through the glasshouse.  While it’s a glasshouse you’d find like other gardens, this one has glass flowers hanging from the ceiling
The Space Needle as seen through the ceiling of the glasshouse
And an excellent view of the space needle

The Garden

Outside the museum is a whole other garden.  Here you can truly see where nature mixes with art, as the glass pieces weave seamlessly with the natural plants and flowers in the garden. 

The green garden with the whimsical glass pillars
Colorful balls, pillars, and whimsical art sculptures mixed in nature
A tall green glass tower made to look like the trees surrounding it

Tips and Tricks

  • Art museums, especially ones like this where you can’t touch, can be tricky with children.  We involved the kids by encouraging them to take photos with their devices (Our children have older generation Google Pixels).  Once they started to take photos, they started to really enjoy the museum.  They looked for unique angles, admired the detail, and tried to see what they could include in the picture.  Some of the photos you see in the blog post were taken by my children.  If you have a child who will not be able to resist touching I would suggest skipping this exhibit. 
  • Plan to spend 1-2 hours in the museum.  There is much to see, but it can get overwhelming because there is so much detail. 
  • Plan to see this the same day you are visiting the Space Needle.  They are right next to each other and in the same area. 
  • While I think the Chihuly Garden visit is worth the cost of admission, if you are planning to do the Space Needle, Aquarium and/or Argosy Cruises then go ahead and purchase the City Pass.  It will save you money
  • Note that your admission comes with free access to photos taken by the professional photographers on site.  Feel free to ask them to scan your tickets and get pictures of your family in front of the flowers.  We were never all the garden at the same time as the photographer, so we didn’t get one, but I saw lots of groups take advantage of this. 
  • At the time of our visit (October 2021), masks were required but vaccinations were not.  Be sure to check out the latest COVID restrictions.
  • While the museum does have a small café, it does not have a lot of choices.  I would suggest doing the museum before or after lunch at the Armory, which has a food court with a lot of options near-by
  • There are occasionally live glass blowing exhibits to learn about the process.  Those are interesting to watch if you can catch one. 
  • The museum gift shop has some lovely jewelry, glass art pieces, and unique clothing if you are interested in a fun, artsy souvenir to take home.

While the Chihuly Garden and Glass was the last attraction we visited in Seattle, it turned out to be a family favorite.  I would highly suggest prioritizing this museum in your itinerary and spend a morning or afternoon admiring this overwhelming art and talent that is truly unique. 

Want to know more about what to do in Seattle? Check out my post, the Ultimate Long Weekend in Seattle to plan your next trip.

Chihuly Garden & Glass

* Starred Photos taken by Atma Photography

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  1. Pingback: The Ultimate Long Weekend in Seattle | Around the World with Kids

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