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Chihuly Garden and Glass: Seattle's Most Beautiful Display

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When you think of Washington, do you just think of rain? Maybe you think of the phenomenally gorgeous National Parks that reside within the state.

Most Likely, you think Seattle! Most travelers that make their way to Seattle want to see the iconic Space Needle. It’s awe-inspiring, it really is. BUT if you have a little extra time, I highly recommend visiting Chihuly Glass and Garden, it’s one of my favorite things to do when we spend the weekend in Seattle.

You can even buy a ticket that combines your Space Needle and Museum ticket.

Visiting Chihuly Glass and Garden makes an excellent romantic evening, and you could even combine it with one of these 10 Vegan Restaurants in Seattle, for the perfect date night!

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Chihuly Display © Provided by Flannels or FlipFlops Travel Chihuly Display

Who is Chihuly?

By Bryan Ohno – Chihuly Studio photography collection, Seattle, Washington, CC BY 3.0, © Provided by Flannels or FlipFlops Travel By Bryan Ohno – Chihuly Studio photography collection, Seattle, Washington, CC BY 3.0,

Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma Washington September 20, 1941. He attended the University of Washington where he studied interior design and architecture. He left school to study art in Italy and then moved to the Middle East. After a visit to Petra, he became re-inspired and returned to the University of Washington. In a weaving class he incorporated glass shards into the woven tapestry. After graduation he began working for an architecture firm in Seattle. He blew his first glass bubble in his basement by melting stained glass and using a metal pipe.

After a stint of working as a fisherman in Alaska, he received a scholarship to attend the first glass program in the United States, held at the University of Wisconsin. He went on to receive his MS in sculpture. Mr. Chihuly then attended the Rhode Island School of Design and began working with neon, argon, and blown glass. He soon became the first American glassblower to work in the prestigious Venini factory on the island of Murano.

Later, he returned to Rhode Island to teach for the next 11 years. In 1971 he cofounded the Pilchuck Glass School north of Seattle. Tragically, 1976 he was launched through the windshield of a car while on vacation, causing permanent sight loss in his left eye and damage to his right ankle and foot. In 1990 he bought a building on Lake Union in Seattle and turned it into his hot shop and studio.

Where else can I find his work?

Chihuly’s art has been included in exhibits in more than 200 museum collections world wide. Currently, in addition to traveling exhibits, there are permanent Chihuly exhibits in

  • Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center- Omaha, Nebraska
  • Toyama Glass Art Museum- Toyoma City, Japan
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass – Seattle, Washington
  • Oklahoma Museum of Art- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Morean Arts Center – St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens- Columbus, Ohio
  • Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center- Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Tacoma Art Museum- Tacoma, Washington

Get discount tickets to Chihuly Garden and Glass!

Chihuly Garden and Glass

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got tickets to go in. We could see bits of gorgeous colored glass peeking out from above the fence and was intrigued. I had been to the Museum of Art in Tacoma a few years ago and seen some of Chihuly’s art, but what awaited us inside here was beyond my imagination.

Chihuly Garden and Glass © Provided by Flannels or FlipFlops Travel Chihuly Garden and Glass

The rooms are dark with spotlights illuminating the displays. The vibrant colors and wild shapes of his work just dominate the room. There is so much detail, so much movement and beauty that it is hard to know where to look.

From perfect spheres, to bowls, to huge dangling chandeliers there is blown glass everywhere! It’s not only remarkable to think of how it was created, but also transported, assembled and displayed. We spoke to an employee there who told us that every piece is assembled on-site (and they have to dust them frequently!)

Each room is more impressive than the next. In this colorful room shown below we were told that if you look up you can find glass angels. Since the pieces are removed to be cleaned, they aren’t put back the same way twice, so you can always look up and try to see how many you can find. I love anything that can be a challenge or can be turned into a competition so this was fun for me

At the end of the inside exhibits, there is a cafe you can have lunch at. You can also go into the glasshouse. This completely glass room, with blown glass in the ceiling is super cool, and gives you a unique view looking up at the Space Needle. From here you can either exit (why?) or head out into the garden portion.

The garden

OH. MY. GOSH!! The GARDEN, you guys… it is so awesome! There are glass pieces everywhere intermixed with nature. Gorgeous plants, trees and bushes with pops of beautiful brightly colored glass. We even saw a bunny hiding in one of the exhibits. Our timing was pretty great because it was almost dusk, so we wandered through the Garden and then waited a few minutes until it started getting dark, and wandered back through. Once the lights came on around the garden it went from awesome to downright magical. The colors just popped and glowed, and oh.. I just loved it so much.

We happened to have some good timing and stumble upon a glass blowing demonstration at the end of the garden. It was very informative and fun, and we watched 3 glass artists make a vase from start to finish. When you exit the garden, look for the silver “airstream” type trailer and look for the times that they will be doing demonstrations, it’s worth your time.

Glass blowing demonstration © Provided by Flannels or FlipFlops Travel Glass blowing demonstration

I could include a thousand photos of our day here, but I really want you to explore it for yourself. There is no way pictures can do this place justice! Here is the link to their homepage to get tickets.

Come to Seattle! You’ll love it here! There are a lot of Free Things to do in Seattle! Or you can use it as the start to the most beautiful road trip in Washington State! No matter what you do, I promise you will want to come back for more! The Pacific Northwest has SO MUCH to offer! If you have an extra day I highly recommend you drive down to Portland and explore for the day! If you enjoy the beauty and art of Chihuly Garden and Glass, you’ll absolutely love Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland!



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