Visiting the Seattle Art Museum

One of our favorite activities when we travel is enjoying local museums and art. We think the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon when visiting the city. SAM houses a diverse collection of art old and new and easily provides several hours of entertainment in a comfortable and spacious setting. It’s also just one block from Pike Place Market, making for a convenient stop on a day of Seattle sightseeing.

Thinking about including Seattle Art Museum in your travel plans? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit. Check out the KAYAK Seattle travel guide for more Seattle vacation ideas, too.

Native art at Seattle Art Museum

How to get to the Seattle Art Museum

SAM’s entrance is located on the southeast corner of 1st Avenue and Union Street, just one block south of Pike Place Market. Parking is available in the 3rd and Stewart Garage for $8 (up to four hours) with validation at the SAM ticket desk.

Claude Monet’s “Fishing Boats at Étretat” (1885)

What art is in the Seattle Art Museum collection?

We think SAM’s greatest strength is the diversity of its collection. As you move from room to room, you’ll discover American landscapes, Islamic art, Native wood carvings, Egyptian artifacts, traditional Asian art, European porcelain, modern sculpture, and everything in between. Some of the “big names” are here, too, with works by Monet, Warhol, Pollock, O’Keeffe, Matisse, Rubens, and others.

Check the museum calendar for special exhibitions, which have previously included Picasso, Wyeth, Kusama, and other traveling collections.

Yonder Sky guide Daniel enjoying a temporary exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled” (1982) while visiting Seattle Art Museum
Yonder Sky guide Daniel enjoying a temporary exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled” (1982)

When is the Seattle Art Museum open?

As of 2018, the Seattle Art Museum’s hours are:

  • Wednesday: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • Thursday: 10 AM – 9 PM
  • Friday – Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • Monday – Tuesday: Closed

The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day but open most other holidays.

How much does the Seattle Art Museum cost?

As of 2018, suggested admission fees are:

  • Adults: $24.95
  • Teens (13-19): $14.95
  • Children (12 and under): Free

A $2 discount is available for Seniors (65+) and active military with ID.

SAM admission is free to all guests on the first Thursday of each month and free to seniors on the first Friday of each month. Guests who hold a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card also have free access the first full weekend of each month through the Museums on Us program.

Exterior of the Seattle Art Museum on 1st Avenue

Is the Seattle Art Museum worth visiting?

Though not as grand or world-class as the Louvre or the Met, the Seattle Art Museum is home to a wonderful collection of art old and new from artists around the globe. We think it’s the ideal size: large enough to wander for a two-hour visit or longer, but not so huge that it’s overwhelming. We recommend SAM as a great downtown destination for a leisurely afternoon in Seattle. If you’re visiting during the rainy season, it’s also the perfect place to get indoors for a few hours.

About the Author

Yonder Sky
Yonder Sky offers small group day tours and private customized trips in the Seattle area. Come join us as we explore nature, history, and local cuisine at Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park, Washington wineries, and more!