Art and history blend to make Issaquah a creative must-visit

Creative flow breathes life into everything and everyone it touches, and in a city rooted in water, it flows a little more easily. Issaquah has emerged as a premier destination for the arts in the Pacific Northwest, and its vibrant culture pours through its downtown neighborhoods, from architecture to street murals to maker’s spaces and beyond. Follow the flow to Issaquah and discover your muse through ours.

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Art for All

Artistic work should be enjoyable and accessible to all without any unnecessary barriers. In downtown Issaquah, art lovers of all backgrounds can enjoy plenty of pieces spanning a world of styles, many of which honor the city’s fascinating history and creative pulse that spans decades. All it takes is a look around the Creative District to feel inspired, from the old-time Western Falsefront buildings popular when the town was founded to the boldly painted brick fronts that give the area its splash of color.

Kick off your public art tour at the beautiful Blue Door outside of Issaquah City Hall — tall, bright, and radiant, this gift from our Moroccan sistercity stands as a warm welcome to visitors and locals, while “The Creek” and “Heron” (both on Alder Street at Front Street) transform brick walls into reflections of the Issaquah Creek. Treat yourself to a hike on the Rainier Trail, and you will find Thomas Dambo’s latest creation in the Northwest Trolls series, the 14-foot Jakob Two Trees, which is wholly constructed from recycled materials.

Murals, sculptures, and statues are just some of the public art displays available to those touring downtown. The City of Issaquah Art Commission has dressed up the streets with an extensive series of utility box installations, transforming the ordinary into incredible works of art. “Creative District” at Front Street and Sunset Way is a nod to the city’s cultural hub, while “Moons” at Julius Boehm pool is a fun and colorful take on the night sky’s brightest light. There are more than ten utility box installations in the Creative District alone — how many can you spot?

Where Beauty Gathers

The outdoor art mainstays give way to opportunities to take in breathtaking works inside or out in Issaquah. The city’s Creative District has become a booming market for maker’s spaces and events in recent years, offering visitors an experience as immersive as it is inspiring. While strolling the streets, be sure to stop in and see Alison Lang and her incredible letterpress at So, There. Her open and inviting studio space doubles as a shop for her line, so you can explore where she prints glassware, cards, and gifts while picking some up for yourself.

Art forges connections between people, and Issaquah fosters those connections for community members and visitors alike. The Downtown Issaquah Association hosts an array of diverse artistic celebrations year-round, from artisan markets to author fairs and beyond. Summertime brings the tunes to the city with an outdoor concert series that is free and open to the public in July and August.

Get Your Hands Arty

Museo Art AcademyWhether you’re a life-long creative type on the hunt for inspiration or simply interested in trying something new, the buzzing art scene in Issaquah has plenty of opportunities to embrace the artistic flow and create your own masterpiece. Happy Time Studio offers expert-led weekly classes in a warm environment that encourages creatives to connect with each other. If shopping the gallery of gorgeous glass art at Art by Fire isn’t enough, step into their viewing area and sneak a peek at the pro’s process, or try your hand at a glassblowing class to curate your own treasure.

For a tasty twist on artistic creation, go in a culinary direction at Boehms Candies, where you can treat yourself to a window tour of candy-making on-site or take a chocolate-making class from the masters (don’t forget to have a taste test while you’re there!) To channel your little one’s inner artist, bring them down to Museo Art Academy for classes in everything from graphic design to pottery, taught specifically with kiddos in mind.