Seattle Center is a festival, arts, and entertainment center just north of Belltown in Seattle. It was originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair but now hosts a collection of excellent museums and the Space Needle as its centerpiece.
Museums located at Seattle Center include the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), the Pacific Science Center and IMAX Theatre, and the Seattle Children’s Museum (located in the Armory). Chihuly Garden and Glass is a fantastic art museum with works by local artist Dale Chihuly. It’s possible to combine a visit to some of these museums with admission to the Space Needle.
Another building on the campus is Key Arena, which used to be the home of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics. It now holds concerts and other events as well as the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Key Arena opened in 1962.
In the center of the campus is the International Fountain. It’s 220 feet in diameter with a 10 foot stainless steel dome in the middle. There are several different water jets that are often synchronized to music. The fountain runs year-round.
Between the fountain and Key Arena, you can find sculptures of two orcas with their backs outside the “water”.
The Seattle Center Armory was built before the 1962 World’s Fair and actually served as the city’s armory. It holds a food court with several restaurants and is the home of the Seattle Children’s Museum.
Gates Foundation Discovery Center
A block north of MoPOP is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center. It’s an excellent and inspiring space that explains how the foundation improves living conditions around the world. It also explains the tremendous amount of work that still needs to be done. Admission is free.
There are video touch screens to learn about stories of individuals who were impacted by the foundation. Interactive exhibits let visitors contribute their ideas on how to make the world a better place.
To get to Seattle Center, you can ride the monorail from Westlake Center downtown. It costs US$2.50 for a one-way ticket.