Want to get out of the house, but don’t want to spend a fortune? Need to make sure you keep the kids happy, too? Relax. The Greater Seattle area and her outskirts offer an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities to suit all kinds of interests and people of every age.
Free outdoor places to visit: It’s not surprising that in an area characterized by so many parks, gardens and other outdoor green spaces, many of them can be enjoyed for no admission fee at all. One thing to consider is procuring a Discover Pass, which is basically a parking pass for Washington parks, although the Washington Parks Department offers several free parking days throughout the year. Check out the Washington Parks and Recreation website for a comprehensive list of parks in your area or an area you want to visit: http://www.parks.wa.gov
Other popular free outdoor attractions in the Greater Seattle area are:
- Bellevue Botanical Garden
- Seattle Arboretum
- Olympic Sculpture Park
- Gasworks Park
- Waterfall Garden Park
- Red Square, Suzzallo Library, The Quad, and the UW Fountain (all located on the UWcampus)
- Kirkland Waterfront
- Pike Place Market (part inside, part outside)
- Gum Wall at Pike Place Market
- Fort Casey, Fort Warden and Fort Ebey (day trips from Seattle)
- Various beaches lining Elliot Bay, Lake Washington, Lake Union, and the San Juan Islands(see https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/coastalatlas/)
- Alki Point
- Quinault Rain Forest (day trip)
- Hoh Rain Forest (day trip)
- The International Singing Fountain at Seattle Center
- Snoqualmie Falls (day trip)
- Paradise Lodge on Mt. Rainier (day trip)
- Seattle Waterfront
- Farmers Markets in several locations (seasonal): http://seattlefarmersmarkets.org
If you’re looking for outdoor exercise, opportunities abound! Seattle and the Eastside offer several scenic paved trails for biking, walking, running, or rollerblading. See http://www.seattle.gov/parks/burkegilman/bgtrail.htm and http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/about/capitalimprovements/eastlakesammamishtrail.aspx for specific information about accessing a trail route near you.
How about a hike? Visit the Washington Trails Association website to find a hike that suits your needs: http://www.wta.org
Free indoor opportunities: If you’re looking to visit an attraction that normally requires an admission fee, several establishments offer free admission on certain days:
• Wing Luke Asian Museum: Offers occasional free activity days. The next free day is November 14, 2015.
- Burke Museum: First Thursday of every month is free.
- Seattle Children’s Museum: Last hour of every weekday (4:00-5:00) is “donation hour.” Anyadmission price is acceptable as a “donation” for entrance.
- Seattle City Hall Free Lunch Concerts: Offered every first and third Thursday of the month.
- Frye Art Museum: Free tours offered at 1:30 on Wednesday through Saturday.
- Seattle Art Museum: First Thursday of each month.
- Seattle Asian Art Museum: First Thursday and Saturday of each month.
- Point Defiance Zoo: Free admission for veterans on November 11 and 12, 2015.* Point Defiance Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, The Seattle Aquarium, and the Pacific Science Center offer discounts for customers with a City Pass, but no free admission days.Always free:
• The Center for Wooden Boats
• Klondike Gold Rush Museum
• Frye Art Museum Gallery (no guided tour)
• Pacific Bonsai MuseumGet started with your free explorations today!