From beginning to end the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition balances on the extremes of what is possible in the artform of blown glass as well as expanding into the myriad ways of displaying it. Since the 1970s Chihuly has devoted himself to years of experimentation and through this dedication has succeeded in stretching the limits of glassworking. His creations are monuments to progress of the arts when pursued passionately and whole-heartedly.
The grandest display of Dale Chihuly's signature glass sculptures in the world come to the Pacific Northwest. Eight large rooms compose the indoor exhibit and you can find high quality photographs and descriptions of each on the Chihuly Garden and Glass website. There is also a Theater showing Chihuly’s hot shop process in action, interviews and a showcase of installations around the world. And of course the amazing Glasshouse and Garden ensures your experience ends with a "Wow!"
Tourist Tip #1 See it for yourself. The photographs are fabulous, but being there is truly indescribable.
What Critics are Saying
“It is hard not to feel inspired after visiting the new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit… It is also hard, as a local, not to approach the new exhibit with an air of cynicism – superiority, even. Chihuly isn't new, after all. He has been installing works in hotels, banks, theaters, universities and public spaces around the world since the 1980s. Saying you are familiar with Dale Chihuly’s work in the Northwest is on par with explaining your familiarity with pine trees...or Dick’s hamburgers…"
Tourist Tip #2 You may have seen a portion of Chihuly’s work before, but never quite like this!
Huberman continues... "What is different – and worth paying the ticket price – is how the objects are displayed. At Chihuly Garden and Glass, in fact, the space has been manipulated very carefully to showcase the work. Several Chihuly Garden and Glass employees comment that Dale Chihuly was extremely hands-on in the process of building the exhibit… Knowing that, there is no doubt the art is displayed precisely to the artist's specifications. So even the way the work casts shadows upon the wall (a beautiful side effect throughout the exhibit) seems intentional. And for every Northwest artist and craftsman who has been hand-picked to sell their eco-conscious wares in the gift shop: you’ll realize it’s not all about Chihuly.”
Tourist Tip #3 Unlike many displays of fine art, flash photography is allowed throughout the exhibition. So bring your camera or take advantage of the professional photographers on staff who wander the exhibit offering to take a complimentary picture of you, your friends and family.
“Children who love art, color and imagination will find much to enjoy in the newly-opened Chihuly Garden and Glass museum at the Seattle Center. The spires in the neon Glass Forest, whose narrow shapes were produced by dropping molten glass off of stepladders, made my four-year-old think of the Space Needle. Chihuly selected the tower in the Sealife Room knowing that children would enjoy finding the golden glass shells and sea stars nestled among its blue tendrils… While parents might worry about taking children into a museum of breakable art, the exhibit has worked hard to become kid-friendly.”
Tourist Tip #4 Make sure to plan enough time to enjoy your visit, at least 1 to 2 hours. If you schedule around lunch or dinner make sure to eat at Collections Café. You can even make your reservation online in advance!
Tourist Tip #5 You’ll want to use the restrooms at the entrance, since there are none in the Exhibition Hall, and you might be there longer than you think.
What People are Saying
Visitors show overwhelming support for Chihuly Garden and Glass with 97% of reviewers giving Chihuly Garden and Glass a 4 or 5 out of 5. Out of these 85% of TripAdvisor.com reviewers giving this exhibit a perfect score – amazing! *
Reviewed November 13, 2012 NEW on TripAdvisor.com by Rosalie B from Victoria, BC
“It was hard to believe the art work was made out of glass. The colors were beautiful. Wish I had known in advance that this was so near the Space Needle."
Tourist Tip #5 Save Time. Buy Online! You can purchase a combination Chihuly Garden and Glass + Space Needle package – available now!
Reviewed November 12, 2012 NEW on TripAdvisor.com by jcmc968 from London, United Kigdom
“This is quite a new exhibition that did not show up in either of our guide-books, so this wonderful experience was a complete surprise to us. We are no great fans of glassmaking per se, you don't have to be though in order to be dazzled by the sheer scale and beauty of Chihuly's work. It really is one of the most striking and jaw-droppingly stunning places we have visited, easily the best sight to see in the city.”
Tourist Tip # 6 There are Hosts available to answer your questions, simply ask!
“Chihuly Shows His Colors and PNW Native American Inspiration”
Reviewed August 17, 2012 on TripAdvisor.com by dutchessabroad from Seattle
“Extra perk: You can get your picture taken for free. Just as is customary at the Space Needle you can collect it at a machine and send a copy to your own email and that of friends, and/or post it on Facebook.”
As if the indoor exhibit wasn’t worth the price of admission by itself, the doors suddenly open up to the massive Glasshouse — orange, yellow and red glass flowers spill downward from the ceiling. Looking up, the Space Needle towers above, and suddenly you feel very small and very big at the same time.
Exiting the glasshouse you enter a world where nature and art intermingle and dance. Some sculptures require a double take, “Is this an exotic flower species?” No, it’s an amazingly intricate work of art in glass. The spheres are a special treat, reflecting you and the world around you in unequal perspective. Like Alice through the looking glass, this experience will change your view.
Visit at night for a different experience in lights!
What Critics are Saying
Chris Barton of the L.A Times observes “…The Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit attempts to split the difference between the wonders of the sculptor's surreal, technicolor inventions and complimentary wonders from nature's palette.”
What People are Saying
“Beautiful! Definitely worth the money.”
Reviewed November 12, 2012 NEW on TripAdvisor.com by mrosabou from Oregon
This was one of my favorite parts of our Seattle trip! I loved how the glass blended so elegantly with the natural elements in the garden.
Tourist Tip # 7 Ask the exhibition desk for their current schedule of spotlight talks.
Housed within the Exhibition Hall, the Collections Café menu takes inspiration from Chihuly’s travels and presents dishes with a Northwest twist. A carefully selected group of dedicated ranchers, fisherman, foragers and farmers supply the restaurant with the best the Northwest has to offer.
Collections is a great place to get a bite or drink (beer & wine only) before an event at Seattle Center with daily specials and seasonal menu changes.
What People are Saying
“Culture at the center”
Reviewed November 12, 2012 NEW on TripAdvisor.com by perplexed97123 from Oregon
“Beautiful inside and out. The Collections Cafe' was excellent. Chihuly's personal collections are on display there and worth the price of admission."
“Artful restaurant in Seattle Center”
Reviewed November 5, 2012 on TripAdvisor.com by WendyMoss from Seattle, Washington
"I have been here twice, once in June and once at the end of October. The summer visit was for drinks and hors d'oeuvres, sitting outside enjoying views of the glass art by Dale Chihuly and The Space Needle with great wine and tasty small plates on the side. Then, before going to a Key Arena performance late October, I made a reservation for myself and 2 friends. We were all delighted by great food, great desserts and the very interesting collections of Dale Chihuly on the surrounding walls as well as within the tops of each glassed table... All in all, I don't think there have been many good choices around Seattle Center and this has become my top choice before a show."
Reviewed October 17, 2012 on TripAdvisor.com by Bill R from Seattle
"Collections Cafe would, by the name, imply casual cuisine. However our food was closer to gourmet. Exotic flavors in a variety dishes. We had roasted chicken, chopped salad, sides of razor clams, octopus and asparagus. Everything dish with accompanied sauces was delicious. Our server, Ashlyn, provided us impeccable service. We followed a great meal with a tour of the Chihuly museum, a short stroll away. Another great experience and an end to a perfect evening."
Much more than books, this shop located at the main entrance features crafts and gifts by local artists from Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest. From umbrellas to local musical artist’s CDs to kits for making your garden grow, there is something for everyone. You can even buy Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork with over twenty pieces on display for purchase at any one time. Walk in for the experience - walk out with an original work of art.
So, if you are looking for something to do during the holidays with family and friends in Seattle, wanting to check out a new and exciting restaurant or just seeking the best things to see in Seattle – Chihuly Garden and Glass is a great all-around pick!
* As of November 28, 2012 Chihuly Garden and Glass ranks 5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.com with a total of 987 reviewers to date. Of these, 837 reviewers give Chihuly Garden and Glass a perfect score – this is 85%. Also, 116 reviewers give a 4 out of 5 accounting for another 12%. Thus 97% of reviewers give Chihuly Garden and Glass a 4 or 5 out of 5.
* As of November 28, 2012 Yelp.com reviewers also give this new addition to Seattle’s “Must See” list good marks, ranking it 4.5 out of 5