Wondering what to do in Seattle? The city has lots of things to offer. The music industry, arts and entertainment, history, mountain trails, and the neighborhood draws tourists from all over the world. While some really cost a fortune here, there are also several fun things to do in Seattle that you can enjoy without breaking the bank. With that, here are 20 best free things to do in Seattle, Washington.
What to do in Seattle for free?
1. Stroll around Pike Place Market
Off to grab something to eat? Pike Place Market has lots of foods to choose from. But it’s not only that… you’ll find a variety of handmade stuff, flowers, specialty shops, and a cluster of farmers market all over the place. Different events are also organized here like workshops, classes, and live performances. This is, in fact, one of the best things to do in Seattle for free for every tourist because of its lively atmosphere. Try not to go there during the busy hours though.
2. Take a quick breath at the Waterfall Garden Park
The Waterfall Garden Park is a good alternative to start your morning if you don’t feel the Pike Place Market yet. Wash off sleep from your face by taking a quick visit to this serene spot in Seattle. The highlight of this park is definitely the 22-foot waterfall and its overflowing charm. Tables and chairs are available nearby. You can also eat your takeaway lunch here.
3. Visit Frye Art Museum
Filled with paintings from the 19th century until the present, the Frye Art Museum offers free admission to everyone all days of the week (except Monday). It features different exhibits and most of them are gifts from Charles and Emma Frye’s personal collection. You’ll find a series of portraits and landscapes depicting different social, political, religious, and environmental issues. Aside from these exhibits, you’ll also find classes and workshops here.
4. Go face to face with large artworks in Olympic Sculpture Park
Near the Pike Market, you might want to do a side trip to Olympic Sculpture Park on your way there. Large artworks like “The Eagle” by Alexander Calder are recipes for a picture-perfect shot while you’re at the park so be sure to grab your camera before planning a trip here. A 60-minute public tour is also available for free where you get to learn details about the landscape design, site history and the sculptures around the park.
5. Hike at the Discovery Park
Discovery Park is a 534 acres park and the largest city park in Seattle that you should not miss. Set aside a perfect morning and take a hike here for a wonderful view of the sea and the lighthouse. Aside from the hiking trails, the park also has other amenities like a basketball court, tennis court, volleyball courts, and play area for kids. This is one of the best ways to spend a weekend in Seattle.
6. Watch a performance from the Ladies Musical Club
Perfect for classical music fans, the Ladies Musical Club from Seattle conducts series of free public concerts from October to May all throughout the town. Some of the popular venues are the Frye Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Seattle Public Library.
7. Fall in love with Seattle’s skyline
There are lots of viewing decks in Seattle with a breathtaking skyline view but most of them come with a price. Kerry Park, on the other hand, equally has the same view but the most fantastic part is it’s for free. It will bring you on top of Seattle- a nice view of the city and the harbor. The iconic Space Needle – one of the top Seattle attractions can also be seen from here.
8. Conquer the fear of public speaking and join Works In Progress
Every first and third Monday of the month, Hugo House Cabaret conducts an open mic session for anyone who wants to read their literary pieces on stage. All types of work are welcome so some pieces may not be suitable for children. You can sign up and wait for your name to be drawn or just sit back and listen to the performers– either way, admission is free. It will surely be a fun way to let your creative juices out and meet other writers in Seattle. Hugo House is located at 1021 Columbia St.
9. Immerse in Seattle’s culture in Seattle Center
Seattle Center houses different events and exhibits which reflects the culture and lifestyle of every Seattleites. From Art installations to Community created events, you will find a lot of things buzzing around here. One of the highlights of the center is the International Fountain which seeks more attention with its 12-minute water show. Lastly, did I mention that the Seattle Center is a great place for children too?
10. Support local artists through an art walk
Art walks are also popular in Seattle in support of various local and world-class artists. At certain times of the month, these art walks are offered free of charge. West Seattle Art walks occur every second Thursday from 5 pm while Georgetown Art Attack has free art ride tours every second Saturday from 6 pm to 9 pm. Enjoy free live music, good food, and interesting art galleries in this one of a kind Seattle experience.
11. Have a blast in a Silent Reading Party
One of the most recommended free stuff to do in Seattle is the Silent Reading Party. This is not your typical party because attendees gather to read their books at the Fireside Room of Sorrento Hotel – which is also one of the best hotels to stay in Seattle. All these happen while they’re being served by waiters plus, soothing instrumental music playing in the background. If you want a stress-free evening, this might be perfect for you. The event occurs every first Wednesday of the month from 6 pm.
12. Watch a summer concert in Ballard Locks
Ballard Locks has become a popular tourist destination every summer because of the “Parade of Boats” event. But aside from that, there’s also an annual summer concert usually held every Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm in the Carl S. English Garden. People of all ages can listen to a variety of music from volunteer bands and orchestras. Admission is free but donations are highly appreciated.
13. Spend an afternoon in Seattle Waterfront
If you want to take the Pike Place Market, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and the view around it in one Instagram worthy shot, go over to Seattle Waterfront. It’s a chill place to walk around, grab a snack, or venture into fine dining. The view of the bay looks appealing most especially during sunset. You can take a few snaps or hop on to a scenic cruise – a good way to end your Seattle activities for the day.
14. Savor cheese and wine at the Metropolitan Market
Who would want to spend hours in a grocery store like the Metropolitan Market? Maybe not unless you’re offered a free taste of different cheese and wine, right? Yes, that’s right! Once inside, you might actually find a counter filled with sample wine and other foods to try. But it’s not only that… strolling around this market is already a feast because of the wide range of foods that you can find here. Not to mention, all of them are nicely packed too.
15. Visit the 8-story Seattle Public Library
The Seattle Public Library is definitely a unique library experience. This 8-story building has colorful hallways, interesting viewpoints, and a contemporary structure that will surely make it to the top of your list of fun things to do in Seattle for free. Visiting this library won’t take you an hour if you’re not planning to get something. In fact, half an hour is even more than enough to take a few snaps here and there of its interesting architecture.
16. Get your sails up at the Center for Wooden Boats
The Center for Wooden Boats is a hub for sailing enthusiasts. The center contains a collection of non-motorized wooden boats that are available to the public for free. There’s also a public sail every Sunday morning where volunteers take passengers for a 1-hour ride at Lake Union. This event happens all year round, rain or shine, and for free! However, due to a limited number of volunteers and sailboats, slots for this ride are in a first-come, first-serve basis on-site or via online reservation.
17. Spot weird sightings in town
Got a lot of free time? Why don’t you play around hunting for weird sightings around Seattle? Would you believe these weird sightings are actually very interesting for your ‘gram feed? There’s the Fremont Troll, a bike stuck in the middle of a tree, the gum wall, the wall of death, a gigantic pair of boots, and so much more to hunt. There’s also the giant coffee pot which is actually a pretty cool dive bar and restaurant with live music, karaoke, and cheap food and beer.
18. Take your kids to free spray parks and wading pools
Taking the entire family to Seattle during the hot season? You might just be in time for the opening of the spray parks and wading pools! These parks are opened on days where the average temperature gets 70 degrees or higher. Splish and splash with your kids all day long for free in any of these locations: Ballard Common Spray Park, Beacon Mountain Spray Park, Georgetown Playfield Spray Park, Green Lake Park Wading Pool, Highland Park Playground Spray Park, Volunteer Park Wading Pool, Van Asselt Playground Wading Pool, and a lot more. Not all parks are open daily so be sure to check the nearest park for their schedule.
19. Join a free guided meditation by the Epiphany Church, Seattle
This might be a weird addition to your itinerary of things to do in Seattle on a budget but if you have spare time, why don’t you try joining one session of this free guided meditation by the Epiphany Church? This guided meditation is offered every morning of Wednesdays and Fridays and is perfect for travelers who are planning to stay longer in Seattle. No special registration is required.
20. Watch the sunset in Golden Gardens Park
Not sure why this park is named the Golden Gardens when it’s all sand and sun down here. This beach in Seattle accepts thousands of tourists every year for a beach volleyball match, a picnic by the sea, or summer swimming. It also gives you a nice view of the Olympic Mountains. Sunset by this beach is magical and you can end your day with a bonfire.