A world-class institution, the Seattle Art Museum is a must-see on a visit to Seattle. It’s mega amount of gallery space displays its eclectic collections in a unique, cohesive way rather than being, as it used to call itself, “a collection of collections.”
Upon entering the Seattle Art Museum, you’ll feel a palpable sense of excitement in the air. Above the ticket counter hangs Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang's Inopportune: Stage One, a series of white cars exploding with neon. (Yes, actual cars. It's a big room.) Deeper inside, one of the nation’s premier collections of Northwest Coast Indian at and artifacts unfolds. You could spend a few hours exploring this collection. Other highlights include its European and American art collections and its Northwestern contemporary art collection.
Between the two museum entrances (one in the old building and one in the new) is now the “art ladder,” a free space with various installations cascading down a wide stepped hallway.
The Seattle Art Museum is in downtown Seattle, just a few blocks up from Waterfront Park. The museum has both a restaurant and café that make for cool breaks during a visit. The SAM shop sells interesting jewelry, toys, arts, and gifts from Seattle designers as well as designers from around the world. The bus or streetcar will take you there.