Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry—more commonly known as MOHAI—has been one of the city’s top museums since its founding in 1952. With a vast and varied collection, MOHAI is an excellent place to take the kids, to research, or just to learn something new about the region. Items and exhibits include everything from photographs to paintings, souvenirs from past Seattle events, and artifacts from every-day life to wartime to the region’s maritime history.
The museum was originally opened in 1952 at its Montlake location, but in 2012 faced the need to move to a new location due to changes to SR 520. The new South Lake Union Park location has an impressive 50,000 square feet of space! This location is easy to get to from downtown Seattle, too.
On December 29, 2012, MOHAI will open its new location in South Lake Union (new address listed below). For its Grand Opening celebrations, the museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for free, provided you reserve a time slot online.
860 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
$14 for adults
$12 for students/seniors/military
Kids under 14 are free with an adult
Entrance is free for members. Members also get guest passes as well as discounts at the café, gift shop, and on classes and workshops. Memberships start at just $40 per year.
Why You Should Visit:
- MOHAI is one of the most kid-friendly museums in town and is a popular field trip destination.
- If you need or want to learn about Seattle’s history, a visit to MOHAI is more fun than reading about it online or at the library.
- There is a nice mix of interactive and static exhibits.
- Need to do some research for school or personal interest? The Sophie Frye Bass Library is a great resource. The library is not located at the museum, but instead in Georgetown, at 5933 6th Avenue S.
- The museum is pleasantly close to downtown and Seattle Center, which makes combining a visit to MOHAI with other Seattle things to do easy--great to impress out-of-town guests or kids, too!
MOHAI’s permanent collection includes upwards of 100,000 items—but this doesn’t mean you will see all 100,000 on display when you visit. Approximately 2% of the collection is out at any one time and combines with temporary or special exhibits. This ensures that visitors are likely to see new items on repeat visits. Items range in date from early 1800s up to recent happenings, and are from all aspects of local history, from handmade tribal baskets to World War II artifacts and beyond. Exhibits include photographs, physical items, and interactive exhibits.
Things to do Nearby
Within two blocks of MOHAI’s South Lake Union location are a number of restaurants. Buca Di Beppo (701 9th Avenue N) is just two blocks west, while Daniel’s Broiler (809 Fairview Avenue N); Chandler’s Crabhouse (901 Fairview Avenue N); and Joey Lake Union (901 Fairview Avenue N. Ste A200) are just to the east. Continue up Westlake Avenue, along Lake Union, for a few more nicer dining options. Alternately, if you have kids in tow and need a quick bite, there’s a Taco del Mar at 604 Boren Avenue N.
MOHAI’s location in South Lake Union puts it in close proximity to downtown and Seattle Center. Seattle Center is just eight blocks to the west and is walkable or a short drive. There you’ll find plenty of restaurants in the Center House food court, as well as even more restaurants dotting the perimeter. Or if you want to combine activities with the museum, look into an IMAX film, the Pacific Science Center, a visit to the EMP Museum, or a jaunt up the Space Needle—all at Seattle Center.
Directions and Parking
Due to construction on Mercer Street, you may not be able to rely on GPS systems alone! Follow up-to-date directions on MOHAI’s website.
The closest and most convenient lot is at 1200 Westlake Avenue N. The lot is run by Standard Parking, but MOHAI visitors get great rates here--$5 on weekdays and $4 on nights and weekends for up to ten hours. Make sure to get your ticket validated at the museum.
Visitors can also find ample parking on the street or in other lots.
MOHAI is also right on the South Lake Union streetcar line from Westlake Center, as well as on several city bus routes.