Why You Should Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass at Night

Chihuly Garden and Glass at night - the insta-famous flower installation at the Glasshouse

Chihuly Garden and Glass is a popular Seattle attraction that has likely graced your Instagram feed. The museum exclusively features the work of Dale Chihuly, an American blown glass sculptor. His blown glass sculptures are shown in exhibits across the world, and you may have seen an installation in your local art museum or botanical garden.

His most recognizable sculptures are characteristically massive, often weighing thousands of pounds and standing more than 15 feet tall. These installations remind me a lot of sea anemones or thousands of octopus legs, as they’re made of up of wavy blown glass tubes (probably not the most refined art commentary you could get haha, but you have to admit they look oceanic…).

I had the chance to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass on a trip to Seattle, and while I initially balked at the $22 entrance fee (now $30-35), I’m glad I got to visit. I’d especially recommend going at night, as I did, and here’s why.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass Turkish Ceiling
the Turkish ceiling installation—one of my favorites
A boat filled with colorful blown glass balls at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Why You Should Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass at Night

1. The colors really pop in the Glasshouse at night.

The Glasshouse is home to the iconic glass flower installation (first photo in post), which looks bright and cheerful during the day (based on photos), and very dramatic at night. Since the Glasshouse lets in so much natural light, the flower installation really pops against the dark evening sky.

The only downside of going at night is that you won’t be able to get as clear a shot of the Space Needle through the Glasshouse windows—the illuminated flower installation in the foreground will make the Space Needle look dimly-lit in contrast. If you go earlier in the evening though, you can catch this installation while it’s still light outside, and also get to see it after sunset.

Chihuly Garden and Glass at night - the large garden installation against the glasshouse

2. Most of the installations are indoors anyways.

Almost all of the famous installations are indoors and have no natural light, so your experience doesn’t change whether you visit during the day or at night. Of course, the garden and insta-famous Glasshouse installations do offer different experiences based on the sunlight, but they’re incredibly beautiful regardless.

neon pink and blue sculptures that resemble very tall plungers at Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass Turkish Ceiling

3. You can combine your visit with the Space Needle and see the city lights.

The famous Space Needle is right next to Chihuly, and you can buy a combination ticket for a big discount. At night, you’ll be able to see the city lights from the Space Needle, which offers more romantic views than during the daytime.

4. You can time your visit to see Chihuly in daylight and at night.

Morning tickets (10am-12pm) cost $30 for adults and are $5 cheaper than afternoon and evening tickets. If you arrive late enough in the afternoon though, you can see the exhibits as day turns to night.

As a pro tip, you can also save money by buying your ticket on GetYourGuide, where they cost $25.20 currently for all entry times.

Indoor garden made of blown glass at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Is Chihuly Garden and Glass Worth it?

With the hefty sticker price, you might be wondering if the Chihuly Garden and Glass is worth seeing. I cringe if I have to spend more than $15 on a museum (I’m pretty cheap haha), but I really enjoyed this one. And I don’t say that for every museum (I’m also picky about museums)—I didn’t think MoPOP was worth the $30 price tag, even though it’s a tourist favorite.

I just found the art really impressive and fun to see in-person. I especially liked the Turkish ceiling installation, and I also liked being able to learn more about the process of making these sculptures, as the museum had a space where they showed some short documentaries. Chihuly himself actually doesn’t do most of the glassblowing anymore, as he suffers from old injuries. He has entire teams of people help him blow the glass and physically put the sculptures together while he directs the process.

As a solo traveler, I personally think that visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass at night is worth it. The installations are really eye-catching, and the documentaries are interesting. The museum is pretty small for the price, but I actually didn’t mind since I got to see everything and didn’t feel overwhelmed (in larger museums, I usually get bored after a while and don’t get to enjoy everything anyways).

If you’re going with kids, I might not recommend the museum since there aren’t really any interactive exhibits, though sometimes there are live glassblowing demonstrations. If you get tired easily, I would also plan ahead since there’s not a whole lot of seating within the installations, outside of the one bench in the Turkish ceiling exhibit and the documentary viewing area. In terms of accessibility, the museum is all on one floor and doesn’t have stairs, so that’s a plus if you have mobility issues.

A boat filled with colorful and eccentric blown glass shapes Chihuly Garden and Glass
A massive blown glass installation Chihuly Garden and Glass that stretches from the floor to ceiling

Where to Stay Near Chihuly Garden and Glass

If you’re hoping to stay near the museum, here are some options:

Budget: Travelodge by Wyndham Seattle By The Space Needle

Mid-range: Hyatt House Seattle/Downtown

You can also check out private apartment rentals nearby.

Let me know if you end up visiting (at night or during the day) and what you thought of the Chihuly Garden and Glass. If you’re looking for other things to do in Seattle and like outdoor adventures, check out my guide to hiking around Seattle without a car. There are some seriously gorgeous hikes in the area!


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