46 Cheap, Fun, and Free Things To Do In Seattle, Washington

It’s no secret that Seattle is expensive. From renting an apartment to going out, buying groceries, or just simply existing, it costs quite a bit to live in Seattle!

To ease off on those piling bills, we’ve compiled the best cheap, fun, and free things to do around Seattle. Living in Seattle during our college years for a collective of 7 years, Berty and I definitely know a thing or two about free things to do in Seattle. Cheap college students know all the tips!

We’re sharing all of them with you here, updated for the most accurate and current information (because a lot has changed since we went to college). Let’s get started!

46 Cheap, Fun, and Free Things to Do in Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market - Things To Do In Seattle For Free
Produce at Pike Place Market

1. Explore Pike Place Market

  • Address: 85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
  • Cost: Free, unless you purchase any of the delicious foods, plants, works of craftsmanship, or clothing at the market!
  • Opening Times: Daily, 9AM-6PM (though some restaurants are open late!)

Exploring Pike Place Market is easily one of the coolest and most iconic free things to do in Seattle!

The market has been running since 1907 and was renovated in 1974 for millions of visitors each year.

Did you know that Pike Place Market also has a haunted past?

2. Seattle Underground Tour

  • Address: 614 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Cost: $22 for adults (18-59 years), $20 for seniors (60+ years) + students (with ID), $10 for kids (7-12 years), and $50 for the Underground Tour and Underground Paranormal Experience Combo Ticket
  • Opening Times: Daily, 9:30AM-7PM

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is the original and most famous touring company that takes Seattlites and visitors alike through the winding tunnels of Pioneer Square underneath Seattle.

The tour provides visitors with the history of Pioneer Square, the fire that covered the buildings and storefronts, and how the underground buildings were restored.

3. Seattle Center Monorail

  • Address: 370 Thomas St, Seattle, WA 98109 (by Space Needle) and 4th Ave, Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101 (Westlake Center)
  • Cost: $3.25 for adults (age 19-64), $1.50 Youth (age 6-18), $1.50 for Reduced Rate (Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards, U.S. military with ID, ORCA LIFT cards accepted)
  • Opening Times: Monday-Friday, 7:30AM-11PM; Saturday-Sunday, 8:30AM-11PM

Take a ride along the Seattle Center Monorail that stretches across 0.9 miles of elevated straddle-beam monorail line in Seattle, Washington.

The Seattle Center Monorail takes two minutes and departs every 10 minutes from two stations: one by the Space Needle at the Seattle Center Station and the other in the Westlake Center Station.

Free Things To Do In Seattle - Olympic Sculpture Park

4. Olympic Sculpture Park

Covering nine acres of Seattle’s waterfront, the Olympic Sculpture Park is not one to miss!

Here you’ll find work by award-winning, talented artists like Alexander Calder, Tony Smith, Ginny Ruffner, Beverly Pepper, and Mark di Suvero.

Learn more about the collection at the Olympic Sculpture Park here!

5. Seattle Center

  • Address: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109
  • Cost: Varies from free activities to paid ones, depending on what attraction at the Seattle Center you visit!
  • Opening Times: Daily, 7AM-9PM

Within the Seattle Center, there are numerous attractions and activities including the Seattle Center Armory, Space Needle, International Fountain, Artists at Play playground equipment, Climate Pledge Arena, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, and the Skate Plaza!

While some of these attractions cost a small amount, many of these activities are affordable things to do in Seattle!

6. Seattle Art Museum

  • Address: 1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
  • Cost: $23 for adults, $21 for seniors (65+), $21 for military (with ID), $16 for students (with ID), $16 for teens (15-18), and children 14 and under visit for free
  • Opening Times: Wednesday-Sunday, 10AM-5PM

Visit the Seattle Art Museum to see collections like Indigenous Matrix: Northwest Women Printmakers or Anthony White: Limited Liability.

Admission to the Seattle Art Museum is free on the first Thursday of every month!

Also, purchase your tickets online a day in advance to save $3!

Free Things To Do In Seattle - Visit The Gum Wall

7. Gum Wall

The Gum Wall started after a patron of the theater on which the Gum Wall resides placed a piece of gum on the wall, topping it with a penny in 1991.

At 8 feet high and with a breadth of 54 feet, the Gum Wall is estimated to have over 250,000 wads of gum on the wall and has reappeared after numerous attempts to clean the wall!

Heads up: If you plan to walk around the city, here’s what to wear in Seattle to stay comfortable and dry!

8. Seattle Public Library

The Seattle Public Library is not only a keeper of thousands of works of art, but it is also one of its own!

The dramatic architecture of the Seattle Public Library is striking to all and is filled with wonderful views of the city.

Free Stuff To Do In Seattle - Pioneer Square

9. Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is full of art galleries, coffee shops, and trendy bars within the 1800s Romanesque Revival buildings.

You can explore the subterranean streets in an Underground Tour or stay above ground and learn about Seattle’s roots at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Free Things To Do In Seattle Washington

10. Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park is a public park that was once a synthetic gas manufacturing plant. Personally, we think it’s one of the coolest free things to do in Seattle at night. Then, you can see the twinkling city skyline across Lake Union, and watch fire dancers in the park. However, come with a group of friends for safety!

If you are looking for a long, scenic walk, the Burke-Gilman Trail runs past Gas Works Park and follows the Burlington-Northern Railroad for 12.5 miles!

Fun fact: Gas Works Park was featured in “10 Things I Hate About You” when Kat and Patrick go paintballing! See more famous movies set in the Pacific Northwest!

Seattle Free Attractions - Discovery Park

11. Discovery Park

Seattle’s largest green space includes Discovery Park, which highlights miles of trails, beaches, and views of the Puget Sound, or Salish Sea.

Discovery Park is home to the West Point Lighthouse – one of the 18 active lighthouses in Washington State!

Free Activities Seattle Washington Park Arboretum

12. Washington Park Arboretum

Created by the University of Washington, the Washington Park Arboretum stretches along the shores of Lake Washington.

The Washington Park Arboretum covers 230 acres with an assortment of plants, which includes those in the Japanese Garden (this garden has an entrance fee).

13. Free Museums in Seattle 

One of the best free things to do in Seattle is to visit the museums!

Seattle-area museums participate in Free First Thursdays, which means every first Thursday of the month is free admission.

Here are the museums that participate in Free First Thursdays:

Alternatively, you could visit the Seattle Public Library to check out a Museum Pass.

The Museum Pass allows you to book a visit to a museum up to 30 days in advance, and receive FREE admission any day of the week.

This is one of the best free things to do with kids in Seattle, especially if you are local to the area!

Here are the museums that honor the Museum Pass:

14. Ballard Locks (Hiram M. Chittenden)

At the Ballard Locks, you can explore a visitor center, museums, exhibits, theaters, and the gift shop!

These are wonderful free things to do in Seattle with kids because of the busy boat activity in the Ballard Locks, picnic locations, and the interactive Fish Ladder Education Center!

15. Kerry Park

Situated on the edge of Queen Anne, Kerry Park is a one-block park that has a stellar view of Seattle.

Kerry Park has an unsurpassed view of Seattle, Mount Rainier, and the Puget Sound (Salish Sea), and is gorgeous at sunset!

Bend Oregon Farmers Market

16. Visit Seattle’s Farmers Markets

The Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets are a fun way to explore new neighborhoods and discover local growers and makers.

Each day of the week, there’s a market going on somewhere in the city. Here are the latest market days:

  • Sunday: West Seattle (Year-Round), Capitol Hill (Year-Round)
  • Wednesday: Columbia City
  • Thursday: Lake City
  • Friday: Phinny
  • Saturday: Magnolia, University District (Year-Round)

While you’ll probably end up spending money at the farmer’s market, it’s one of the best affordable activities in Seattle. Bonus points, your money is staying local!

17. Take a Day Trip From Seattle

Who said you have to stay in the city? There are so many cool day trips from Seattle to plan that are free or cheap! (Minus the gas, of course)

For trips on the closer side, discover Wallace Falls Trail, or Rattlesnake Ledge trail for easy and convenient hikes near Seattle.

If you want to venture a little farther out, you can drive all the way to Mount Rainier National Park, or North Cascades National Park!

It’s also possible to visit the Olympic Peninsula in one day, but we actually don’t recommend that. Doing it in one day means most of your time will be spent in the car, and that’s no fun! We recommend visiting the park for at least 3-4 days. A long weekend would be sufficient to see all the best things to do in Olympic National Park.

Read More: 10 Adventurous Weekend Getaways From Seattle, Washington

Cities in Washington State - Seattle, Washington - TheMandagies.com

18. Explore the Seattle Waterfront

  • Address: Seattle, WA 98101
  • Cost: Free
  • Opening Times: Daily

The Seattle Waterfront is an open-air promenade, perfect for a trip with the whole family. It had year-round attractions, restaurants, and events to experience no matter what time of year you visit!

Here, you will notice several people capturing pictures. Between the Seattle Ferris Wheel, Aquarium building, and gorgeous views from the pier, it’s hard to pass up!

19. Fremont Troll

Underneath the Aurora Avenue Bridge, the Fremont Troll sculpture guards its keep while clutching a Volkswagen Beetle.

Designed by four local artists, the Fremont Troll took a whopping seven weeks to build!

The area surrounding the Fremont Troll is known as the “Troll’s Knoll” and includes a community garden, small park, and great views of Mount Rainier!

Check out other public sculptures in the greater Fremont area, such as the Fremont Rocket, the Saturn, Fremont Dinosaurs, and Rapunzel at the end of the Fremont Bridge.

Read More: 34 Impressive and Fun Facts About Washington State

20. Alki Beach

Popular for its views of the Puget Sound, walking path, volleyball courts, and restaurants, Alki Beach is a beautiful getaway from the bustling city of Seattle.

Alki Beach is one of the most affordable things to do in Seattle because it is completely free to visit!

Sit down, relax, let the kids build a sand castle or two, and enjoy the rhythm of the saltwater waves at Alki Beach.

21. Golden Gardens Park

Golden Gardens Park is a great city park on the water of the Puget Sound that has excellent mountain views, trails, and a dog off-leash area.

You can even have a beach bonfire at Golden Gardens Park (open May 28-September 4)!

22. Lake Union

Found just north of central Seattle, Lake Union is a freshwater lake that is popular for boating, watersports, and leisurely walks.

Gas Works Park, the Ballard (Hiram M. Chittenden) Locks, and National Nordic Museum are all situated along the shores of Lake Union.

23. Green Lake Park

Green Lake Park is another great location full of free activities in Seattle for all ages!

The large green space in Green Lake Park serves as a preserve for wildlife as well as a wonderful recreational hotspot for runners, walkers, boating, picnics, and swimming.

24. Seward Park

Found on the shore of Lake Washington, Seward Park is part of Seattle’s south end and occupies all of Bailey Peninsula.

Seward Park has a playground for kids and views of Mercer Island’s skyline across Lake Washington.

Free Activities in Seattle Washington

25. Volunteer Park Conservatory

The Volunteer Park Conservatory is a historic greenhouse on Capitol Hill.

The Victorian architecture of the Volunteer Park Conservatory was modeled after London’s Crystal Palace in 1912 and is surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Fun fact: The Volunteer Park Conservatory is made up of 3,426 panes of glass!

26. Silent Reading Party at the Hotel Sorrento

  • Address: 900 Madison St, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Cost: $8 at a barstool, $12 for a chair at a shared table, $15 for an individual chair, $25 for a chair by the fire, $40 for a loveseat for two, $50 for a table of three or four
  • Opening Times: First and third Wednesday of every month, 6PM-8PM

Since 2009, Hotel Sorrento has hosted the Silent Reading Party with live piano music in their Fireside Room.

The reading party at Hotel Sorrento is one of the best free things to do in Seattle for those who want a fun solo activity, date night, or relaxing activity in Seattle.

27. Art Walk around Seattle Neighborhoods

Free Art Walks in Seattle’s neighborhoods take place every month!

At Seattle’s Art Walks, local artists and small businesses come together to create fun, free, and engaging community events.

Neighborhood Art Walks that happen regularly in Seattle include (in monthly order):

Free Walking Tours in Seattle, Washington

28. Seattle Free Walking Tours

Seattle Free Walking Tours are kid-friendly, give you a good picture of Seattle’s unique culture, and are full of free stuff to do in Seattle!

With Seattle Free Walking Tours, you can get a full picture of Seattle and visit Seattle’s most popular sites including Downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, historic totem poles, Seattle’s waterfront, Pike Place Market, the Gum Wall, and more!

Make sure to book a reservation to ensure you get a spot and, if you feel inclined, pay what you feel (payment is voluntary, but appreciated!).

29. Hugo House’s Works in Progress

Hugo House’s Works in Progress is an open mic for writers that is open to the public!

At this free activity in Seattle, you’ll get your fill of poetry, fiction, essays, memoirs, plays, unclassified, and unclassifiable works of literature by those participating in Hugo House’s Works in Progress event.

At Works in Progress, expect to hear 26 five-minute reads, or read your own!

Read More: The Ultimate Twilight Tour in Forks, Washington

Free Seattle Activities

30. Best Sunset Spots in Seattle

It is no surprise that Seattle’s beautiful skyline is unique for its Space Needle, exceptional architecture, and position along the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain Ranges.

Check out Golden Gardens Park, Kerry Park, Discovery Park, and Jose Rizal Park to see these wonders at sunset!

See More: The Most Popular TV Shows Set In The Pacific Northwest

31. Hang Out at the Beach

Due to the Puget Sound creating inlets, lakes, and peninsulas, Seattle is home to many beaches.

Here are a few beaches you can visit in Seattle for free:

32. See the Amazon Spheres

The Amazon Spheres are situated in front of the Amazon corporate building and house 40,000 plants from cloud forest regions all over the globe!

You can visit the atrium or take a tour of Amazon’s headquarters.

33. Alki Point Lighthouse

The Alki Point Lighthouse is a fully functioning, automated lighthouse that is one of eight lighthouses open to visitors on Puget Sound.

Visit the lighthouse on your own or join a tour of the U.S. Coast Guard site in the summer!

34. Ladies Musical Club of Seattle

The Ladies Musical Club of Seattle is Seattle’s oldest musical organization (131 years old!) that is founded and run by women!

You can join the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle or attend one of their free public concerts around the city.

35. Waterfall Garden Park

Located in Pioneer Square, Waterfall Garden Park is one of the city’s first ‘parklets’ that includes a 22-foot artificial waterfall!

The waterfall in Waterfall Garden Park is a tribute to U.S. Postal Service workers. If you’re already around Pioneer Square, it’s one of the many super easy and free things to do in Seattle.

Read More: The 16 Most Iconic Waterfalls in Washington State

36. Woodland Park Rose Garden

The Woodland Park Rose Garden was built in 1924 and has more than 200,000 annual visitors!

Containing over 200 varieties of roses and 3,000 individual plants, the Woodland Park Rose Garden is one of two dozen certified American Rose Test Gardens in the U.S.!

37. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Commemorating the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

This is where you can learn about the history of Seattle, participate in a guided tour around Pioneer Square, and interact with exhibits at the visitor center. If you love history and geography, this is one of the free things to do in Seattle that you can’t skip out on.

38. The Log House Museum

The historic Log House Museum is located in a turn-of-the-century log structure that was once a carriage house to the Fir Lodge–a prominent home built on Alki Beach.

Take a tour of the museum or visit at your own pace to learn about the rustic-style home and its former owners, the prominent Seattleites, William and Gladys Bernard.

Because admission to the museum is through a voluntary donation, the Log House Museum is one of the most affordable activities in Seattle.

This wooden boat is found in Friday Harbor!

39. Center for Wooden Boats

Visit the Center for Wooden Boats to experience maritime heritage, the boat gallery, and boat show exhibits!

Every Sunday, the Center for Wooden Boats hosts free 45-minute rides. For free things to do in Seattle, this one definitely takes the cake!

Come early to sign up for a limited spot, they fill up fast, especially on nice summer days.

40. Take a Hike!

One of our absolute best things to do around Seattle is to take a hike! There are several hiking trails around Seattle that are free to discover. Coal Creek Falls in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is one of our favorites.

If you have a car, there are many trails to discover that aren’t too far from the city. Read all about our 30+ favorite hiking trails in Washington!

To make this even cheaper, you can actually rent a Washington State Park Discover Pass or Northwest Forest Pass from the library. More information on that here!

Cherry Blossoms at University of Washington

41. Walk Around the University of Washington

The University of Washington is Washington State’s biggest university. It has numerous popular visiting spots, especially during the iconic cherry blossom season. Berty and I both were students here, so we know VERY well that there are many free things to do in Seattle here!

Some fan favorites at the University of Washington are the Henry Art Gallery, the Burke Museum (free on first Thursdays), and the gigantic water fountain.

Affordable Things To Do In Seattle Washington

42. Take a Ferry to Bainbridge Island (walk-ons)

One of the cheapest ways to see some of the best views of Seattle is on the ferry across the waters of the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island.

Test your luck and see the Southern Resident killer whales, walk around the quaint Bainbridge Island downtown, and get back on the ferry to go home!

43. Take a Photo at the First Ever Starbucks!

After walking through the cobblestone streets of Pike Place Market, you must get a coffee or tea from the very first Starbucks! While it may not be one of many free things to do in Seattle, a Starbucks drink is totally worth it here, even if it’s just for the novelty!

Read More: The 30 Best Things To Do In Washington State

44. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Western Regional Center

Located on Lake Washington in Seattle is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This is an organization that works to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s climate, weather, oceans, and coasts.

You can visit the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory to learn about the research of the global ocean! 

45. Jimi Hendrix Park

Found next to the Northwest African American Museum, Jimi Hendrix Park celebrates Jimi Hendrix and the nearby multicultural community where he grew up.

At the Jimi Hendrix Park, you’ll find a welcoming green space, a chronological timeline of Jimi Hendrix’s life and career, a butterfly garden, and sculptures.

For music lovers, this is one of the best things to do in Seattle for free!

46. Take a Scenic Drive

Yes, it may include going to other places besides Seattle, but it’s one of the easiest things to do in Seattle with kids. If you are needing a way to see things in a familiar, contained environment, take one of these scenic drives in Washington. (Specifically on the west side of the state.)

Our favorite routes are Snoqualmie Pass, The Mountain Loop Highway, and Chuckanut Drive. It’s one of the easiest free things to do in Seattle, if you have a car!

Read More: 19 Iconic West Coast Road Trips You Need to Plan

What are some of your favorite free things to do in Seattle? Let us know in the comments below!