Free Seattle Attractions Worth Checking Out

Seattle, Washington
••• The Seattle skyline. Sankar Raman/Moment/Getty Images

There are many free and fun things to do in Seattle. Some are obvious—getting out to a park is always free and Seattle’s parks are often beautifully unique. Most Seattle-Tacoma museums have free days at least one day a month. But what else is there to do? What if you don’t like parks and museums? No worries! There is much more to do that’s free or cheap.

Do be aware, though, that Seattle parking is not always free. Do some research and find the cheapest lot ahead of time, though, and you can keep the day very cheap. On Sundays, street parking is free, but finding a spot can be tricky in some locations.

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    Seattle Center

    Seattle Center
    ••• Seattle Center's Space Needle. Kristin Kendle

    Many of Seattle’s major landmarks are free to visit. You can wander around the Seattle Center for free. View the Space Needle, go into Center House and art galleries, hang out by the International Fountain—all free. The free ride area of Metro Transit buses gets pretty close to the borders of Seattle Center, otherwise, parking near here will likely still cost you a few dollars.


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    Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

    Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is a store, but also a bit of a museum. You can see Sylvester the mummy, a collection of shrunken human heads, and other surprising and interesting items.


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    Seattle Asian Art Museum
    ••• Kristin Kendle

    Seattle and Tacoma's museums alike offer at least one free day a month each. Most also offer free nights for seniors, teens and/or teens. But on a weeknight per month, the general public can also enter Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Bellevue Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum and more for free.


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    The Center for Wooden Boats

    The Center for Wooden Boats is a resource for all who love sailing or wooden boats, and it has things to do for free. Admission is free and allows you the chance to get up close to the collection of non-motorized boats. Free sails take place every Sunday on Lake Union. Sign up is only in person the day of the sail so get there early.


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    Fremont Troll
    ••• Doug Rowan/Getty Images

    The Fremont Troll is a giant sculpture that lives, appropriately, under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont near N. 36th Street. There isn't much to do at the Troll, but you can climb on him and he makes a great photo op. He's just one of Seattle's weirder sights to see!


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    Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection

    Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all year round, you can view the impressive bonsai collection at Weyerhaeuser.


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    Parks and Green Spaces

    Olympic Sculpture Park
    ••• Olympic Sculpture Park looking toward the Space Needle. Kristin Kendle

    Seattle is filled with parks and green spaces that are all free. Depending on the park, you might hang out on a beach, enjoy the view, take a hike or explore unique places like old water towers or glasshouses.

    • The Olympic Sculpture Park overlooks the Puget Sound and features large-scale outdoor artwork and some lovely water views. - 2901 Western Avenue
    • Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill is one of Seattle's most interesting parks. Within its bounds, you'll find an old water tower you can climb (with great views), the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and a vintage glasshouse. - 1400 E Galer Street
    • Gas Works is no ordinary park. A former gasification plant, the park preserved the ruins of the former plant. Some of the ruins, you can get up close to and touch. Others are fenced off. This is also an ideal park to fly a kite on a windy day. - 2101 North Northlake Way
    • Washington Park Arboretum is an urban green space near Lake Washington. With more than 200 acres of trails, it's a massive and...MORE shady park. - 2300 Arboretum Drive E
    • If you seek a beach to hang out on, visit Carkeek Park or Golden Gardens.
    • For great walking trails, Greenlake Park or Alki Beach Park are perfect!
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    Seattle Waterfront

    Seattle Waterfront
    ••• Seattle's waterfront. Kristin Kendle

    The Seattle Waterfront area includes many attractions all along it, including Pike Place Market, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, and the Olympic Sculpture Park.


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  • 09 of 11

    Pike Place Market

    Photo of Pike Place Market at Christmas
    ••• Pike Place Market at Christmas. ML Harris/Getty Images

    Pike Place Market is right along the Seattle Waterfront. Parking here will cost a fee, but you can wander the market, watch the fish get tossed, or add in a stroll of the waterfront area all for free.


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    Metropolitan Market

    Yes, it’s a grocery store, but no ordinary store. Cheese and other food samples are often out for the trying. Cheese classes are offered for free to the community every month or so. Special wine and cheese tastings also take place here for free.


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    Seattle Public Library

    Seattle's Public Library
    ••• N i c o l a / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Visiting a library might not seem like a thing to do, but exploring this eight-story-tall wonder is an adventure. Colorful hallways, surprising viewpoints, and more await around every corner.