Seattle Day 2 - Part 1
EMP Museum - Chihuly Glass Garden - Kerry Park
A leftover wonder from the 1962 World's Fair, the Seattle Monorail only has two stops, one in Seattle Center and the other in Downtown Seattle. Also make sure you have cash, as I believe that, that is the only way you can pay for a ticket, but the fair is cheap and the ride is neat so hop aboard. Once you get off at the Seattle Center station, right across is the perhaps the structure the city most famous for, the Space Needle, which is also another feature leftover from the 1962 World's Fair.
While I'm sure the view from the Space Needle must be impressive at the 520 feet tall and 360 degree Observation Deck, I decided to skip the elevator ride to the top and save my money for other things, like entry into the EMP Museum.
Formerly known as the Experience Music Project Museum, EMP has expanded its collection to all things pop culture and music and now is officially known as just EMP Museum. If you're a music and pop culture geek like I am, prepare to spend a chunk of time here as I ended up spending nearly 4 hours full on nerding out.
My initial main reason to stop by this architecturally interesting place was for the exhibit, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, which came complete with an audio tour narrated by bass player for the band Krist Novoselic. Seeing handwritten lyrics from Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl's drum set and Novoselic's guitar was a huge experience for any Nirvana fan, including me.
But the nerd out session didn't end there, other exhibits featured artifacts from Jimi Hendrix's life in London and equipment from his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience were featured.
Then weaving through the various floors of exhibits there was a room dedicated to letting you try out different guitars and other musical instruments. Then came the pop culture nerd out, with an exhibit featuring the Icons of Science Fiction where props from everything you could imagine were on display from one of Ed Wood's flying saucers from Plan 9 From Outerspace to an original Cyberman suit from a Fourth Doctor episode of Doctor Who.
The Angel of Death from Hellboy II and The Shining's Jack Torrance's infamous axe greeted you on another floor dedicated to the world of horror movies. And the nerdtastic fun didn't stop there, where another room featured props, costumes and manuscripts from the world of Fantasy where you could see Cersei and Tyrion Lannister's costumes, the face of Fauno from Pan's Labyrinth and pages from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
After grabbing lunch at EMP's cafe (moderately priced and tasted delicious) I exited through the Sky Church (a term coined by Jimi Hendrix where people can come together and enjoy music) where a crowd had started to form watch the Michael Jackson classic Thriller music video.
Next stop was Chihuly Garden and Glass, a museum dedicated to showing the glass sculpture art of Washington State native Dale Chihuly. In retrospect the exhibit provided a unique experience to photograph Chihuly's art, but I found the price of admission lofty, despite a discount due to part of the museum being closed, and the often very crowded space filled with campers (photographers of any ilk, mostly with iPhones and DSLR's who stand in one spot taking a photograph for what feels like an eternity) who would not budge, took away from the experience.
If you do decide to spend the dough to go, I would avoid high tourist season and the weekend (I went on a Friday) and perhaps then you might enjoy it. Or if you find yourself traveling to Las Vegas, stop by the Bellagio and other hotels on the strip and you're bound to see similar sculptures by Chihuly on display without having to splurge on a ticket and wait for the person in front of you to learn how to master their iPhoneography and watch as they decide on just the right filter to apply before posting it on Instagram as they then contemplate on whether or not to move on to the next art piece.
I had originally intended to go to Kerry Park either at night to capture the ever famous Seattle skyline all lit up, or at sunset, which would hopefully provide a golden view of Mount Rainer in the distance. However I was tired and trying to conserve funds for the second half of my summer journey, so while I was in the area, I hailed a cab for a short drive to snap a quick pic before returning to Seattle Center.
Regardless of what time of day you do you end up going, if you're looking for a Seattle skyline shot, Kerry Park is one of the best places to go.
I managed to cram a lot in, in the two and a half days I was fortunate enough to spend there, so next up on the blog will be the second half of my exploits in Seattle. Stay tuned!
Quick Tip: For pretty much all Seattle tourist attractions, it's always cheaper to buy your ticket online, before you go.