Most Seattle visitors already know about the area’s great museums, like the Seattle Art Museum, the Experience Music Project, and the Museum of Flight. But the Emerald City also boasts other, off-the-beaten path museums that are worth a visit as well if you have the time and the specialized interest. Some places, like the diminutive Giant Shoe Museum only merit a passing glance while others merit a longer look.
While there are far too many to mention, here are a few standouts that you might otherwise miss, with estimated UberX fares from Westlake Center:
If the Shoe Fits
Giant Shoe Museum, Pike Place Market DownUnder Level, Store #424. Estimated UberX Fare: $4-$5. Cost: $1. Open M-T 11am-5:30pm, F 10:30am-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm
Easily Seattle’s goofiest entry in the category, it’s really more of a coin-operated, Coney Island-style exhibit dedicated to fantastical-sized footwear than an actual museum. Local legend has it that the founder was inspired to start the museum when he learned that his grandfather had owned a shoe belonging to the Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest man. Put in a quarter and you get a peephole view of Wadlow’s shoe. For an additional 50 cents, you can see a collection of truly Brobdingnagian brogues.
Learn to be a Pinball Wizard
Seattle Pinball Museum, 508 Maynard Ave S. Estimated UberX Fare: $5-$7. Admission: $12-$20 . Open Sun, Mon, Wed. noon-5pm, Thu – Sat, noon-10pm.
This museum proves that one person’s old school pinball arcade is another’s “interactive display of kinetic art.” At least that’s how the owners of this International District storefront describe their collection of vintage pinball machines dating back to 1934. But you can do more than just ooh and aah over the games; you can play as many of them as you want as often as you want during your visit, depending on your admission.
See Computers Shrink
Living Computer Museum, 2245 First Ave. S. Estimated UberX Fare: $7-10. Admission: $2 for youth (6-17), $6 for adults. Free on first Thursday of the month. Open Tues.-Sun. 10am-5pm. Closed Monday.
Paul Allen’s (yes, that Paul Allen) hands-on computer museum not only gives you a glimpse into how computers evolved from early room-sized systems to the laptops of today, it also allows you to try out the old systems. You can use a teletype, operate a punch card maker, and play Pac-Man on an Atari 800, to name just a few of the options available.
Bill Gates Saves the World
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors Center, 440 Fifth Ave N. Estimated UberX Fare: $4-$6. Admission Free. Open Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm.
If you’ve ever wondered what the charity founded by the original Microsoft millionaire is up to, this is the place to find out. The center across the street from the Seattle Center tells the story of the Foundation and its relief projects while taking a look at some of the world’s most pressing problems and the challenges in addressing the issues. The interactive exhibits also show inventions and challenge visitors to come up with ideas to solve existing problems.
An Air Museum of a Different Sort
Flying Heritage Collection, Paine Field, 3407 109th St. SW, Everett. Estimated uberX Fare: $36-$48. Admission: $10 for youth (6-17), $14 for adults. Open daily 10am-5pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day, and Tues-Sun the rest of the year.
If you’re a History Channel buff or a student of the military, you’ll be in your element at this collection of World War II-era fighting planes from the US, Russia, Germany, and Japan. The museum retells the story of the war through the airplanes and armaments used to fight it. All of the planes have been carefully restored, many ready-to-fly.
Visit DOS-ney World
Microsoft Visitor Center, 15010 NE 36th St, Building 92, Redmond. UberX fare: $27-36. Admission: Free. Open Mon 11:30am-7pm, Tues-Fri 9am-7pm. Closed on weekends. Call 24 hours before your visit to verify schedule.
See a little bit of the past, a lot of the present, and get a glimpse at the future of the company that brought you the Microsoft Disc Operating System so many years ago. The center gives Microsoft an opportunity to show off its latest products and gives enthusiasts a chance to try them out while also giving visitors a look at where the software giant is headed.