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Is the Seattle Art Fair Worth the Trip?

The annual Seattle Art Fair draws creators and collectors from across the globe. This unique event has earned a reputation for innovation since its inception in 2015.

But art festivals take place all over the county. So is this one much different from the others?

Today, we’re exploring what makes this festival special, so you can decide if it’s worth your precious vacation time.

Let’s dive in!

Pike Street Public Market in Seattle
Pike Street Public Market in Seattle

About the Seattle Art Fair

In late July, art collectors from around the Pacific Northwest gather in Seattle, Washington, to enjoy works from artists worldwide. Over 85 galleries and hundreds of artists exhibit their crafts each year. 

Traditional mediums, such as painting and sculpture, are the tip of the iceberg for this unique event. Robotics, technology, and performance art are other major themes. This is no surprise, as a prominent Silicon Valley tech mogul created the show. 

Paul G. Allen, co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, started the Seattle Art Fair in 2015. After his death in 2018, Art Market Productions, one of the event’s sponsors, absorbed the show. This organization runs fairs and exhibitions in San Francisco, New York City, and the Hamptons.

READ MORE: Is Seattle Safe for Tourists?

In addition to its modern, international motifs, the event celebrates the area’s rich cultural history by acknowledging its original inhabitants. Seattle was built on Coast Salish land where Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Muckleshoot, Duwamish, and Puyallup peoples traditionally lived. 

Where Is the Seattle Art Fair?

For some people, Seattle evokes images of hot coffee, grunge music, and rainy weather. But the city has much more to offer than these stereotypes. This diverse area combines ancient roots and progressive ideals surrounded by stunning natural scenery.

Surrounded by Olympic National Park to the west, Mount Rainier to the southeast, and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to the north, there’s endless beauty to explore in every direction.

The Seattle Art Fair takes place at the city’s Lumen Field Event Center, where countless festivals, boat shows, and car shows are held annually. In addition, Lumen Field is home to the Seattle Seahawks football team. 

Is There Food Available At the Seattle Art Fair?

You won’t go hungry at the Seattle Art Fair. Lumen Field’s Indoor/Outdoor Lounge offers snacks, sandwiches, and salads. You can get a cup of coffee and a bite to eat at one of many Starbucks carts found throughout the fair.

If you’re thirsty, grab a cold one at the Elysian Brewing Company’s Modern Pale Ale Bar or the fair’s specialty cocktail bar. Additionally, VIP ticketholders can enjoy perks such as a raw oyster bar, and specialty drinks at the AIG Lounge. 

Finally, if you’d rather go off-site for a meal, you’ll find many restaurants near the venue. There’s something for everyone, from deli sandwiches and pub food to fresh seafood and authentic Japanese fare. 

Do I Need Tickets For the Seattle Art Fair?

Entrance to the Seattle Art Fair does require a ticket. Prices range from $35 to $65, depending on whether you want to visit for a day or the whole weekend. 

If you’re lucky enough to get a Select VIP ticket, you’ll enjoy extra perks, including private tours and access to more food and beverage options. However, VIP tickets are by invitation only, so you’ll need an inside source to go all the way.

Other Fun Things To Do in Seattle

Once you’ve had your fill of fine art, there’s still plenty to do and see throughout the city. Here are a few of our top picks for a superb Seattle experience. 

Visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass

Art and nature meet for a one-of-a-kind gallery featuring the works of Dale Chihuly. His pieces are interspersed among the lush gardens, creating an otherworldly landscape. 

One of the world’s largest glass sculptures hangs from the museum’s atrium roof. Watch videos of the artist at work in the theater or explore one of the museum’s eight galleries. If you’re a plant lover, you can even find a map of the flora online to make the most of your garden stroll. 

View Seattle From the Top of the Space Needle

After your walk through Chihuly, head upstairs to one of Seattle’s most iconic attractions, the Space Needle. On a clear day, you’ll see views of the skyline, Elliot Bay, Mount Rainier, and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. 

The Space Needle is open daily. Even better, a Seattle CityPASS will cover your entry to Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Space Needle, and three other sites of your choice. 

Stroll Through Pike Place Market

No trip to Seattle is complete without a trip to Pike Place Market. Hundreds of shops and restaurants offer just about anything you can think of. The market covers nearly ten acres of historic buildings.

You’ll find handcrafted goods and clothing, books, antiques, and collectibles. Fresh seafood, produce, and cut flowers are available at the many farmer’s markets. You can also treat yourself to a cone of home-churned ice cream. Don’t forget to visit the flagship Starbucks shop for a caffeine fix while you’re there!

Best Places to Stay Near the Seattle Art Fair

There’s too much to Seattle to take in over a single day. After all, it can take a whole weekend to experience everything in Pike Place Market alone. So when you’re ready to call it a night, check out one of these highly-rated places to lay your head. 

Issaquah Village RV Park

The Issaquah Village RV Park is just 20 minutes from the Seattle Art Fair. This wooded campground is at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, so it’s a perfect escape from the busy city. 

Spacious sites offer full hookups with 20, 30, and 50-Amp electrical outlets. In addition, there’s a dump station, a laundry facility, and bathrooms with showers. You’ll also find free WiFi and a playground for the kids.

Gaslight Inn

The charming Gaslight Inn offers modern amenities in a historic setting. Located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, this early 1900s Craftsman-style home features eight guest rooms and plenty of public lounge space for reading or enjoying a locally-sourced cup of joe. 

The pool and veranda are covered with lush greenery, giving the outdoor space a secluded feel in the middle of this bustling city. Be aware that this is a child-free property, so don’t book here if you’re traveling with little ones. But if you’re looking for the most relaxing accommodations in central Seattle, the Gaslight Inn just might be it.

Silver Cloud Hotel

For folks looking to stay closer to the Seattle Art Fair, the Silver Cloud Hotel is directly next door to Lumen Field. The rooftop pool overlooks the stadium seats and provides excellent views of Elliot Bay. If you want to feel the energy of a crowd without being immersed in it, you’ll love the Silver Cloud. 

Jimmy’s on First offers an upscale food and cocktail menu, so you don’t need to leave the hotel for a great meal. They also provide dry cleaning services, a fitness center, and a gift shop.

Is a Road Trip to the Seattle Art Fair Worth It?

The Seattle Art Fair is one of the city’s premier summer events. The exhibits feature works unlike anywhere else, blending ancient and modern crafts into mind-bending creations. 

If you’re not sold on the festival itself, Seattle’s other attractions will surely please you. Whether you’re looking to explore the area’s rich cultural history, enjoy the local flavors, or venture into the surrounding temperate rain forests, you’ll find something to love about the Emerald City.

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