Top 20 Seattle attractions

Museum of Pop Culture

Museum of Pop Culture

The amazing Museum of Pop Culture is next to the Seattle Space Needle.

You can't miss the striking building for the Museum of Pop Culture in the Seattle Center, with thousands of shimmering panels in gold, silver and metallic pink. 

This space age building is is a must see for lovers of American pop culture, grunge music, fantasy and science fiction movies.

See cool exhibits on Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Jimmy Hendrix, and browse memorabilia from iconic movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Terminator and the Matrix. This fantastic museum has a treasure trove of famous popular culture items like instruments, costumes and props, in a fully immersive experience with rousing music, theatrical lighting and exhibits, and awe inspiring architecture.

The Museum of Pop Culture opened in 2004, and was commissioned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and designed by Frank Gehry. It's located at 325 5th Avenue North, next to the Space Needle. Check hours & admission.

10 best things to do at Museum of Pop Culture

Museum of Pop Culture, lobbyMuseum of Pop Culture, lobby

1. See costumes and props from movies like Star Wars and the Terminator, at the Science Fiction exhibit.

Dalek costume from Dr Who (1988) at Museum of Pop Culture.Dalek costume from Dr Who (1988) at Museum of Pop Culture.

This Dalek costume is from the Dr Who tv series (1988), and was operated by an actor standing inside and pushing the Dalek along on wheels. 

Jawa costume at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Jawa costume at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

Take a look at the eerie and diminutive Jawa character from the Star Wars movies.

T-800 Endoskeleton from Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.T-800 Endoskeleton from Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

Get up close to the terrifying T-800 Endoskeleton from the film Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), and see the original leather jacket worn by Arnold Scharzenegger in The Terminator (1984).

General Roth 'h' ar Sarris, Galaxy Quest, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.General Roth 'h' ar Sarris, Galaxy Quest, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

This scary dude is General Roth 'h' ar Sarris from the film Galaxy Quest (1999).

Proton Pack from Ghostbusters, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Proton Pack from Ghostbusters, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

The Museum of Pop Culture has the original proton pack from Ghostbusters II (1989), and the parking sign and ghost trap from Ghostbusters (1984).

2. Browse cool exhibits on Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

The Museum of Pop Culture has the best memorabilia collection in the world, from grunge rock bands Nirvana and Pearl Jam. That's no surprise, given that Seattle was the epicenter of the grunge movement in the 1990's. See guitars, handwritten lyrics, costumes and set-lists, and learn about the social forces leading to the emergence of Seattle's grunge movement in the 90's.

Curt Cobain's guitar at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Curt Cobain's guitar at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

This guitar was played by Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, and is a Univox Hi-Flier Phase 3 guitar (1989).

Dave Grohl's drums at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Dave Grohl's drums at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

See Dave Grohl's Tama Rockstar-Pro drum kit (on the right), one of many that he used while playing for Nirvana.

These dramatic stairs lead to the awesome Pearl Jam exhibit.

Pearl Jam exhibit at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Pearl Jam exhibit at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

Pearl Jam at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Pearl Jam at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Mike McCready's guitar, Seattle Museum of Pop Culture.Mike McCready's guitar, Seattle Museum of Pop Culture.

This stratocaster guitar was spectacularly smashed by Mike McCready in 1995, and Eddie Vedder's harmonica can be seen to the right.

Pearl Jam's first practice space, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.Pearl Jam's first practice space, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.

This is an authentic re-creation of Pearl Jam's first practice space in Belltown Seattle at Galleria Potatohead under the Black Dog Forge blacksmith, featuring original instruments and equipment.

Pearl Jam memorabilia, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.Pearl Jam memorabilia, Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.

Here's some other Pearl Jam memorabilia, including masks from the Vote for Change Tour (2004), a selection of t-shirts (1992 to 2008), and a letter from President Obama (2017).

3. Enter the scary world of horror, to see memorabilia from movies like Alien and Friday the 13th.

The Scared to Death exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture, documents the thrilling history of horror film over the last 100 years.

Step inside a theatrical set that looks and sounds like a haunted house, with plenty of frightening monsters and creatures. These chained corpses are suspended from the ceiling, and make quite an impression when you first walk in!

Zombie costume from Thriller at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Zombie costume from Thriller at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

Do you recognize the zombie costume from Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983) music video?

Severed heads from The Walking Dead, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Severed heads from The Walking Dead, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

These severed heads in fish tanks are from The Walking Dead (2012).

Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th movie (2009), at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th movie (2009), at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

This is the cold blooded killing machine, Jason Voorhees, from the Friday the 13th movie (2009).

Pamela Vorhees severed head, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Pamela Vorhees severed head, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

His mother's severed head (Pamela Vorhees) is also on display at the Museum of Pop Culture.

The Thing (1982) at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.The Thing (1982) at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

The Thing (1982) is a horror science fiction film, set in an isolated outpost in Antarctica, where an 100,000 year old creature rises from the snow and ice to wreak havoc!

Coffin at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.Coffin at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.

Step inside a coffin to have your photo taken, in the exhibit's spine-chilling vampire section.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer stake, at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.Buffy the Vampire Slayer stake, at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans can check out the stake used by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the popular 1990's TV series.

4. See all your favorite science fiction characters at the Hall of Fame.

Scully and Mulder's ID passes from the X-Files, at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.Scully and Mulder's ID passes from the X-Files, at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.
 
These are Scully and Mulder's ID passes from the X-Files (1993 to 2018) TV series.


Dr Spock's tunic, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Dr Spock's tunic, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

See the original tunic worn by Dr Spock on the 1960s Star Trek TV series.

Neo mask from the Matrix movies, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Neo mask from the Matrix movies, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

This is the silicone bust worn by Keanu Reeves while playing Neo in the Matrix movie (1999), known for its ground breaking special effects.

Indiana Jones jacket and fedora, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Indiana Jones jacket and fedora, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

You'll instantly recognize the leather jacket worn by Harrison Ford's swashbuckling character in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and his fedora from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

5. Check out the guitar Jimi Hendricks played at Woodstock in 1969.

Jimi Hendrick's guitar that he played at Woodstock, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Jimi Hendrick's guitar that he played at Woodstock, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

See the Fender Stratocaster (1968) that Jimmy Hendrick's played during his stirring rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock.

6. Look up at a giant sculpture with 700 instruments in a tree.

The spectacular Rocks and Branches Sculpture pays homage to the guitar, by converging 700 instruments into a single tree!  Forty of these computer controlled guitars, can play compositions by local sound artist, Gerhard Trimpin.

Rocks and Branches Sculpture, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Rocks and Branches Sculpture, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

7. Stand in-front of the the world's largest video screen!

World's largest video screen, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.World's largest video screen, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

Immerse yourself in a rich sensory experience as music videos blare out from a sophisticated sound system at the Museum of Pop Culture, on a 40-foot high video wall known as the Sky Church.

8. See costumes from the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings in Fantasy Land.

Fantasy Exhibit, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Fantasy Exhibit, at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

Step inside the magical real of an enchanted forest, to see the Fantasy exhibit, with a magnificent silver scaled tree, tunnels to crawl through, and medieval buildings.

Dragon at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Dragon at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

Rouse the European sleeping dragon from his deep sleep!

Harry Potter costumes at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.Harry Potter costumes at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture.

See costumes from the Harry Potter movies, including Albus Dumbledore's cloak (center), Sirius Black's jacket (right), and the elegant blue school uniforms from the french students who visit Hogwarts in the movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).

Wizard of Oz dorothy costume, from Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.Wizard of Oz dorothy costume, from Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

This chequered blue and white dress was worn by Judy Garland's character Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz (1939), on her way to finding the Emerald City.

Cowardly Lion costume from Wizard of Oz, at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.Cowardly Lion costume from Wizard of Oz, at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.

The Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard of Oz, fetched an astounding $3.1 million dollars at an auction in 2014, and is made of real fur and skins.

9. Check out guitars from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Nancy Wilson at the Guitar Gallery.

The fascinating Guitar Gallery at the Museum of Pop Culture, documents the evolution of the guitar from its earliest days to today.

Guitars on display, Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.Guitars on display, Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

See a wall of guitars from musicians Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Magic Sam, and Carrie Brownstein (left to right).

Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar, at Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar, at Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

Stevie Ray Vaughan's 1951 Fender Broadcaster known as "Jimbo" is also on display at the Museum of Pop Culture.

Nancy Wilson's guitar on display, at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.Nancy Wilson's guitar on display, at Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle.

There's also Nancy Wilson's 1965 Fender Stratocaster.

10. Play some cool indie games.

Indie games, Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.Indie games, Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

The Museum of Pop Culture also includes the genre of independent video games, with plenty of hands-on fun with video games open to the public to play.

Know before you go

  • Address: 325 5th Avenue North, Seattle, WA, 98109, next to the Space Needle.
  • Amenities: Gift shop and café.
  • Parking: Paid parking lot across from the museum at Key Park Northwest on Broad Street.
  • Tickets: Pay at the ticket booth, or purchase online. To save money, purchase the Seattle City Pass combining six popular Seattle attractions.
  • Hours:  Check here.

Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

Other fun things to do at the Seattle Center

The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass are within walking distance of the Museum of Pop Culture.  

If you have children, take them to the Pacific Science Center.  It has a play area for toddlers, planetarium, tropical butterfly house, science demonstrations and Tinker Tank where they can build things.  The Seattle Childrens Museum will also keep them engaged for hours, with creative play spaces best suited for kids under age 7.   

Just outside the Museum of Pop Culture, take your kids to the elaborate Artists at Play Playground.   A short walk away is the International Fountain where kids can splash around on a hot day.

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