The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle was originally known as the Experience Music Project (EMP), with the separate Science Fiction Museum attached. Now, the two museums are united under one title and one admission fee. The museum houses both permanent and temporary exhibitions—including several interactive exhibits—focusing on music history and science fiction.
There is no better place for music lovers to get up close and personal with memorabilia from some amazing bands. There’s also no better place for nerds and geeks alike to indulge in some very cool pieces of science fiction TV and movie history.
Located centrally on the edge of Seattle Center, MoPOP is close to lots of other things to do and see in Seattle Center and downtown Seattle. It's also one of the attractions featured in the Seattle CityPASS, so if you're planning to do more than one attraction, this is the perfect way to save on tickets overall.
However, because this is one of Seattle's major attractions, the cost isn't cheap. If you're thinking about going, read on for highlights of visiting as well as ways to save on ticket costs.
Exhibits and Events
MoPOP exhibits rotate often enough that repeat visits are likely to yield new experiences. What you can count on seeing on any visit are exhibits showcasing musicians and science fiction shows and movies. Past exhibits have included several about Jimi Hendrix, as well as everyone from Jim Henson to Michael Jackson.
The Guitar Gallery is a permanent exhibit detailing the history of guitars from the 1700s to the present. The museum also has a very cool and very large spiral sculpture inside. Additionally, the science fiction wing of the building (home of the formerly separate entity that was the Science Fiction Museum) now houses a collection of sci-fi memorabilia, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and a rotating special exhibit. Past exhibits have included "Battlestar Galactica," "Alien Encounters," and "Robots: A Designer’s Collection of Miniature Mechanical Models." This museum is, in every way possible, a sci-fi nerd's paradise.
The interactive exhibits are part of what makes MoPOP so unique and fun to visit, as well as a great place for budding musicians. In the Sound Lab, you can actually record your own music in a private booth. If you don't know how to play, computers teach you how to strum a bit of guitar and tickle the keyboards so you can put something together. Another interactive exhibit, On Stage, allows anyone to be a rock star on stage with lights, smoke effects, and fans.
MoPOP hosts a few annual events, including the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival (a film festival organized by MoPOP and the Seattle International Film Festival); Sound Off! (a 21-and-under battle of the bands); Hall Pass (a program designed to help teens meet artists, musicians, and creative professionals); and an Oral History Program, which interviews musicians, authors, and other creative professionals. MoPOP is also home to one of the largest New Year's parties in town.
MoPOP Seattle Coupons and Discounts
MoPOP admission is not cheap. Even though the admission fee is worth it for most people who visit, saving a bit of money is always a good thing, and there are a number of ways to get discounted admission.
A limited number of free passes are available through the Seattle Public Library. You'll need to reserve your pass online in advance, usually for a specific date, but you can't beat free. Additionally, if you're a teen, there are discounts for visitors aged 13 through 19 via the TeenTix program. Buy in-advance online for a discount of three to five dollars (the discount comes up after you click into the Buy Tickets screen).
Another way to save money is to use a CityPASS, which gets you into six of Seattle attractions for one price and comes out cheaper per site than buying individual tickets. You can also look in Seattle TourSavers books or other local coupon books for discount packages on multiple attractions.
Entrance to MoPOP is also free if you buy an annual membership to the museum, and children under 4 years old always get in free while children ages 5 to 17 get in with a small discount. Additionally, students and military service members with valid identification can get a discount on admission.
Museum of Pop Culture
325 5th Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109