Frequently Asked Questions


Hours of operation:

Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm

Summer hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm, starting the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend and ending the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend.

Where do I park?

Parking is available in the adjoining Seattle Center Fifth Avenue Garage. Parking fees vary. We cannot validate parking. Nearby on-street parking options are also available. When planning your group visit, please keep in mind that, while we do not have bus parking available at the Discovery Center, we can help to arrange pickup and drop-off points.

Do I need to schedule a visit?

No reservations are necessary to visit the Discovery Center during our hours of operation. If you’d like a guided tour, we ask that you schedule it two weeks in advance or join our drop-in public tour, available every day we are open at 2pm.

Is there admission or tour fees?

Admission is always free at the Discovery Center.

Can I visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus?

The campus is an active workspace and is closed to the public. However, visitors can take a cell phone audio tour, available 24/7. Dial in to (206) 577-3617 to learn more about the campus’ history, programs, and design features.

Can I reach the Discovery Center using public transportation?

You can reach the Discovery Center via the Seattle Center Monorail, as well as Metro buses 3 & 4.

Is food available at the Discovery Center?

Food and beverages are not sold at the Discovery Center, but Seattle Center has a variety of options.

Is photography allowed?

Photography is absolutely allowed — and we encourage sharing on social media. Follow our handle on Twitter and Facebook @DiscoverGates. 

About the Discovery Center

Why was the Discovery Center created?

Here at the Gates Foundation, we think of ourselves as impatient optimists. We know firsthand the good that we’re all capable of — and so we created a space where everyone can experience the power of optimism and discover how to take action to make the world a better place.

What’s the Discovery Center’s mission?

The Discovery Center is a catalyst to educate, inspire, and motivate local and global awareness and action.

How often do exhibits change?

The Discovery Center is a dynamic environment. Special exhibits change every six to eight months. Permanent exhibits, while consistently on view, are constantly evolving with new features and real-time updates such as our social media dashboard, Stay Connected.  

Join our email list to hear about upcoming exhibits and programs.

Is the Discovery Center available for events?

The Discovery Center is not available for private events.


Can I drop-in for a tour?

We offer a free public tour at 2pm every day that we are open.

How long are the guided tours?

General tours are around 60 minutes long. School tours can range from 60 – 90 minutes.

Can I schedule my group tour at any time?

Guided tours can be scheduled for 10am – 4pm, Tuesday – Saturday, except 2-3 pm which is held for the drop-in public tour.

How small — or large — can my group be?

Our minimum is 10 and we can accommodate as many as 75 visitors at one time. Larger groups will be divided into smaller tours — each with their own guide.

If your group is larger than 75 people, we recommend an initial orientation followed by a self-guided visit.

Book a Free Tour

Planning a visit? We offer free group tours and a drop-in public tour at 2 pm every day we are open.

Learn More

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