11 Outdoor Destinations for Art Lovers

These Outdoor Art Displays Are Totally Photo-Worthy

Missing art museums? You still can get your art fix outdoors. Check out our list of murals, sculptures and other art displays that you can enjoy while you get some fresh air in parks, gardens and city streets across Washington and Idaho.

Good news: Some sites welcome well-behaved leashed dogs and have picnic areas and restrooms. Even better news: These attractions are free unless otherwise noted. So get ready and remember to pack your camera.

(Check for road alerts before you go, and call or go online to confirm the availability of specific attractions and services such as fuel, lodging, restaurants, seasonal events and gatherings.)

1. Port Angeles

New pieces are added to Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center each year. A handy park map leads to more than 100 artworks, some of which are hanging in trees, burrowing in the ground or tucked into the foliage. Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Photo: “Madonna” by John Liczwinko; courtesy Webster’s Wood Sculpture Park

2. San Juan Islands, Roche Harbor

Find more than 150 sculptures along five marked trails in the 20-acre San Juan Island Islands Sculpture Park, near Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. Bonus: Some art is for sale and visitors can use shells, driftwood, floats and other found objects in the large starfish-shaped sand area to create their own sculptures. Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Photo: Courtesy of San Juan Islands Sculpture Park

3. Bellingham

Sculpture Northwest recently opened the David Marshall Sculpture Gallery in Bellingham’s Big Rock Garden Park. The permanent outdoor exhibit has nearly 40 works by local and international artists. It is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Western Gallery at Western Washington University in Bellingham is temporarily closed because of COVID-19, but the outdoor sculpture collection spread across the 205-acre campus is accessible all the time. Look for work by Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi and more than 30 other artists.

Read our recommendations for things to do and see in Bellingham.

Photo: Sculpture in Big Rock Garden, Courtesy of Visit Bellingham

4. Olympia and Tenino

Pay attention and you may spot 70 colorful murals in the streets of downtown Olympia. Just south of Olympia, in Tenino, contemporary art dots the landscape of the Monarch Sculpture Park. In addition to picnic areas, the site includes a one-acre maze shaped like a butterfly and an interactive sound garden. Sculpture park hours: Dawn to dusk.

Photo courtesy of Monarch Sculpture Park

5. Seattle

The Seattle Art Museum’s nine-acre downtown Olympic Sculpture Park is not only the Emerald City’s largest green space, it offers great views of Puget Sound. The park is dotted with more than 20 sculptures by international and local artists including Alexander Calder, Richard Serra, Louise Nevelson, Ginny Ruffner and others. Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Photo: Courtesy of Visit Seattle/by David Newman

6. Wenatchee

In Wenatchee, the Art on the Avenues program presents more than 90 sculptures along the Apple Capital Loop Trail and throughout the city. Some of the sculptures are for sale, so the exhibit may look a bit different each time you visit.

Photo: Pre-Mathematics by Bernard Hosey

7. Raymond

More than 200 steel sculptures depicting local animals and traditional ways of life are located along Scenic Byway 101 through the Willapa Harbor and in downtown Raymond on the Willapa River. Spot them while driving or take a self-guided walking tour.

Photo: Courtesy of Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce

8. Kitsap Peninsula

Have some gas in the car? A newly created Kitsap Peninsula map will lead you to more than 40 outdoor art discoveries in urban and natural locations in Poulsbo, Suquamish, Bainbridge Island, Silverdale, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor, and other locations.

Photo: Abstract structure in Bremerton, courtesy of Visit Kitsap Peninsula

9. Vancouver

In downtown Vancouver there are nearly 40 murals depicting the city’s history and culture in a span of 20 blocks. A self-guided mural trail walking tour starts in Uptown and leads down to Vancouver’s redeveloped waterfront area.

Photo: Columbia River, by Travis Czekalsk and Matt Erland; Moving Business Forward, by Guy Drennan

10. Spokane

Spokane’s self-guided Sculpture Walk includes the artwork in the city’s downtown Riverfront Park and along the Centennial Trail. Local favorites include Ken Sperling’s “Childhood Express” (a giant red Radio Flyer wagon), Sister Paula Turnbull’s garbage-eating “Goat,” and the Rotary Riverfront fountain by Harold Balazs and Bob Perron. The city also has a map with locations of murals and artist-made signal box covers.

Photo: Goat, by Sister Paula Turnbull; courtesy of Visit Spokane

11. Art Displays in Idaho

Look for maps and guides to sculptures, murals and other public art in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, McCall, Pocatello and Moscow.

Leave plenty of time to explore the public art in Boise. The city boasts a multitude of murals downtown in Freak Alley Gallery, an extensive public art collection around town, and about two dozen outdoor sculptures at the Idaho Botanical Garden (Admission: $8; Seniors: $6; AAA discount).

Photo: El Trinidad, Courtesy Idaho Botanical Garden

1. Port Angeles

New pieces are added to Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center each year. A handy park map leads to more than 100 artworks, some of which are hanging in trees, burrowing in the ground or tucked into the foliage. Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Photo: “Madonna” by John Liczwinko; courtesy Webster’s Wood Sculpture Park

2. San Juan Islands, Roche Harbor

Find more than 150 sculptures along five marked trails in the 20-acre San Juan Island Islands Sculpture Park, near Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. Bonus: Some art is for sale and visitors can use shells, driftwood, floats and other found objects in the large starfish-shaped sand area to create their own sculptures. Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Photo: Courtesy of San Juan Islands Sculpture Park

3. Bellingham

Sculpture Northwest recently opened the David Marshall Sculpture Gallery in Bellingham’s Big Rock Garden Park. The permanent outdoor exhibit has nearly 40 works by local and international artists. It is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Western Gallery at Western Washington University in Bellingham is temporarily closed because of COVID-19, but the outdoor sculpture collection spread across the 205-acre campus is accessible all the time. Look for work by Richard Serra, Isamu Noguchi and more than 30 other artists.

Read our recommendations for things to do and see in Bellingham.

Photo: Sculpture in Big Rock Garden, Courtesy of Visit Bellingham

4. Olympia and Tenino

Pay attention and you may spot 70 colorful murals in the streets of downtown Olympia. Just south of Olympia, in Tenino, contemporary art dots the landscape of the Monarch Sculpture Park. In addition to picnic areas, the site includes a one-acre maze shaped like a butterfly and an interactive sound garden. Sculpture park hours: Dawn to dusk.

Photo: Courtesy of Monarch Sculpture Park

5. Seattle

The Seattle Art Museum’s nine-acre downtown Olympic Sculpture Park is not only the Emerald City’s largest green space, it offers great views of Puget Sound. The park is dotted with more than 20 sculptures by international and local artists including Alexander Calder, Richard Serra, Louise Nevelson, Ginny Ruffner and others. Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Photo: Courtesy of Visit Seattle/by David Newman

6. Wenatchee

In Wenatchee, the Art on the Avenues program presents more than 90 sculptures along the Apple Capital Loop Trail and throughout the city. Some of the sculptures are for sale, so the exhibit may look a bit different each time you visit.

Photo: Pre-Mathematics by Bernard Hosey

7. Raymond

More than 200 steel sculptures depicting local animals and traditional ways of life are located along Scenic Byway 101 through the Willapa Harbor and in downtown Raymond on the Willapa River. Spot them while driving or take a self-guided walking tour.

Photo: Courtesy of Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce

8. Kitsap Peninsula

Have some gas in the car? A newly created Kitsap Peninsula map will lead you to more than 40 outdoor art discoveries in urban and natural locations in Poulsbo, Suquamish, Bainbridge Island, Silverdale, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor, and other locations.

Photo: Abstract structure in Bremerton, courtesy of Visit Kitsap Peninsula

9. Vancouver

In downtown Vancouver there are nearly 40 murals depicting the city’s history and culture in a span of 20 blocks. A self-guided mural trail walking tour starts in Uptown and leads down to Vancouver’s redeveloped waterfront area.

Photo: Columbia River, by Travis Czekalsk and Matt Erland; Moving Business Forward, by Guy Drennan

10. Spokane

Spokane’s self-guided Sculpture Walk includes the artwork in the city’s downtown Riverfront Park and along the Centennial Trail. Local favorites include Ken Sperling’s “Childhood Express” (a giant red Radio Flyer wagon), Sister Paula Turnbull’s garbage-eating “Goat,” and the Rotary Riverfront fountain by Harold Balazs and Bob Perron. The city also has a map with locations of murals and artist-made signal box covers.

Photo: Goat, by Sister Paula Turnbull; courtesy of Visit Spokane

11. Art Displays in Idaho

Look for maps and guides to sculptures, murals and other public art in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, McCall, Pocatello and Moscow.

Leave plenty of time to explore the public art in Boise. The city boasts a multitude of murals downtown in Freak Alley Gallery, an extensive public art collection around town, and about two dozen outdoor sculptures at the Idaho Botanical Garden (Admission: $8; Seniors: $6; AAA discount).

Photo: El Trinidad, Courtesy Idaho Botanical Garden

–Written by Harriet Baskas

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