Sleek and modern, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center is a free museum focused on global philanthropy, including the many projects and partnerships of the multi-billion dollar foundation. Across 5th Ave from the Space Needle and spread throughout the first floor of the organization’s operational headquarters, visitors can wander past glass partitions etched with inspirational slogans and informative photographic displays that educate and inform on topics like global poverty, universal access to fresh water, combating pervasive infectious diseases and other seemingly intractable problems. Even signs above the water fountains here, which read, ‘What if you had to walk three miles for this water?’ are thought-provoking.
The Center is divided into four distinct galleries – Voices, Family & Foundation, Partnerships and Innovation & Inspiration. Near the end, in the Innovation and Inspiration gallery, stations encourage visitors to react by sketching their causes and reflecting on their own passions. The Center also includes a small theater that shows short films on some of the foundation’s notable work including addressing homelessness in Washington state and profiling some individuals who have helped to make India polio-free.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters is located at 440 5th Avenue North. The Visitors Center is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-6pm with slight adjustments over holidays.
Admission and 60- or 90-minute regular public tours—with advance reservations—are free.
Paid parking is available in the neighboring 5th Avenue Garage. The Seattle Center Monorail connects the area to downtown as do Metro buses 3 and 4.