Seattle on a Budget


Pike Place Market (Free). Established in 1907, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously-operated farmers market in the U.S. Enjoy samples of local foods from vendors and be entertained by street musicians. Entrance to the market is free, street performers gladly accept donations.

Glass Art Displays (Free). Various locations throughout downtown Seattle have displays of glass art for viewing. Some places to see these exhibits include: the U.S. Bank Building at 5th & Pike, The Sheraton Hotel at 6th & Pike, Benaroya Hall at 3rd & University and various galleries. Free.

University of Washington Campus Tours (Free). You don’t have to be a student to take this tour of the UW campus. The 90-minute walking tour allows visitors a glimpse of Red Square with its gothic style buildings, Drumheller Fountain, Husky Stadium and other notable sights. Spring is an especially beautiful time to visit when the cherry trees on campus are in bloom.

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Pike Place Seattle

Fremont Sunday Market (Free). Host to more than 180 vendors from around the region who bring fresh flowers and produce, crafts and world imports. Market hours are Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the winter and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the summer, rain or shine. Browse the flea market in search of the rare or funky or eat in one or the neighborhood bistros.

Safeco Field (low cost). Visit the home of the Seattle Mariners. The tour includes areas of the ballpark that are not normally open to the public, such as the press box, luxury suites, field, dugout and visitor’s clubhouse. Hours and dates vary.

CenturyLink Field (low cost). Visit the home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC. The tour allows fans to sit in a luxury suite, suit up in the visitor’s locker room, and eventually set foot on the same playing surface as the players.


Out to Lunch Concerts (Free). Free public concerts are held in Seattle’s downtown parks and plazas every Wednesday and Friday at lunchtime during the summer. Groups range from classical to rock and jazz.

Seattle Center (Free). The 74-acre park was the site of the 1962 World’s Fair and now is the city’s cultural center—location of the Space Needle, Seattle Opera House, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Children’s Museum, Seattle, Children’s Theatre, Pacific Science Center and Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Entrance to the Seattle Center grounds is free.

Seattle Centre

Northwest Folklife Festival (Free). One of the largest folk festivals in the country—arts, crafts, music, food, performers—on the grounds of the Seattle Center, Memorial Day weekend.

Pioneer Square Artwalk (Free). A long-standing tradition among art lovers and one of the most successful regular gallery tours in the nation. Take time to meander thorough Pioneer Square’s galleries on the first Thursday of the month from noon – 8 p.m.


Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Free). Actually a museum dedicated to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, this is one half of a two-part park; the other half is in Skagway, Alaska.

Coast Guard Museum (Free). Collection of Coast Guard memorabilia, uniforms, guns; when not on duty, Arctic icebreakers are usually moored nearby. Located on the Seattle waterfront at Pier 36. Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Seattle Art Museum (Free). Free on the first Thursday of the month. Major Asian, African and Pacific Northwest art collections. Open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Seattle Asian Art Museum (Free). Free on the first Thursday of the month and free for families on the first Saturday of the month. Located in a 1930s art modern building in the heart of Volunteer Park on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, the Seattle Asian Art Museum features noteworthy collections of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian art. Open Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Thursday, 10 – 9 p.m..

Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park,, Seattle

Frye Art Museum (Free). This museum houses a large collection of German and American art as well as others. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sunday noon – 5 p.m.

Museum of Flight (Free). Free on the first Thursday of every month from 5 – 9 p.m. This museum is considered one of the foremost flight museums in the world. Walk within inches of a Blackbird spy plane or board the original Air Force One. Open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (low cost). Museums co-located with $15 admission (online) and $18 admission (walkup) allowing access to both museums. Experience Music Project is dedicated to exploring creativity and innovation in American popular music, from rock ‘n’ roll, to jazz, soul, gospel, country, blues, hip-hop, punk and other genres. Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is a one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts and memorabilia include works by Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, H.G. Wells and George Lucas. Open daily; summer hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and winter hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Scenic Parks

Seattle boasts many parks that offer stunning views of the city, Elliott Bay, Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Mountains or just a quiet shady retreat from the fast-paced city. Pack a picnic lunch of fresh fruits, meats and cheese from Pike Place Market and enjoy Seattle from off-the-beaten path.

Olympic Sculpture Park (Free).The nine-acre park unifying the Belltown neighborhood in downtown and the waterfront features a 2,500-foot, descending, z-shaped pedestrian path leading to a beach on the waterfront. With sweeping views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains, the path takes visitors past sculptures and major works by world-renowned artists such as Richard Serra, Alexander Calder and Mark di Suvero. Open daily; opens 30 minutes prior to sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Free). One of the city’s most popular visitor attractions, locks raise and lower boats between salt and fresh water between 6 to 26 feet. Watch salmon make their way up the fish ladder from the viewing window or just watch pleasure boats go through the locks.

Washington Park Arboretum (Free). The Arboretum collects, conserves and teaches about plants that are hardy to the Northwest. Its 230 acres are filled with 10,000 native plants and its landscape is an excellent setting for hands-on learning and recreation. The Arboretum is recognized as one of the most beautiful and diverse collections in the western United States.


Japanese Gardens (Free). Located at the south end of Washington Park Arboretum, this garden contains native Japanese flowers, shrubs and trees.

Discovery Park & Daybreak Star Indian Center (Free). Situated in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, Discovery Park is the perfect urban retreat. Spend the day exploring 534 acres of wooded trails where small animals hide among native plants. Open meadows and bluffs overlook Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Stop by the Daybreak Star Indian Center to view original Native American arts and crafts.

Kerry Park (Free).- This small grassy strip on Upper Queen Anne offers a picture-perfect view of Seattle Center, downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay. On clear days Mount Rainier looms above providing a stunning backdrop. Free of charge.

Volunteer Park (Free). The park includes a conservatory, a water tower with an observation deck that is often voted one of the best free view in Seattle, the dramatic Art deco building of the Seattle Asian Art Museum and a wading pool which is operational in the summer months, daily 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.


Metro Buses (Free). Exploring downtown is convenient and affordable thanks to Metro Transit’s Ride Free Area in the downtown core, which includes the1.3-mile Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. The tunnel begins at the Convention Place Station on Ninth Ave. and Pine St., runs through the retail core, financial district, Pioneer Square and ends in the International District. Tunnel hours are 5 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday and 6 a.m. – midnight on Sunday.

Link Light Rail (low cost). Sound Transit’s Link light rail line runs from downtown Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). Downtown stations are located in the Downtown Transit Tunnel at Westlake Center, the financial district, Pioneer Square and the International District. The train then makes stops in several neighborhoods south of Seattle before reaching the Sea-Tac/Airport Station, an approximately 30-40 minute trip. The Sea-Tac/Airport Station connects to the airport through the airport parking garage via lit and covered pedestrian walkway.

South Lake Union Streetcar (low cost). The streetcar traverses the South Lake Union neighborhood through the Denny Triangle ending in the downtown core area. It runs daily 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The Seattle Center Monorail (low cost). For a quick, inexpensive trip between downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center try the monorail.  Terminals are located on the upper level of Westlake Center and at the Seattle Center near the Space Needle. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Out on the Water

Washington State Ferries (low cost). Take a scenic ferry ride across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton from downtown Seattle. Ferries depart from Colman Dock on the Seattle waterfront.

Northwest Outdoor Center (low cost).- Rent a kayak for a pleasant afternoon around Lake Union or to take off-site to any of the dozens of popular kayaking locations around Puget Sound. Kayaking instructions and organized kayak trips are also available.

Washington State Ferries

University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center (low cost). Enjoy a peaceful canoe ride on the waters of Lake Washington near the Arboretum. Located behind Husky Stadium at the UW, the Waterfront Activities Center rents rowboats and canoes during the week and weekends. Hours vary throughout the year depending on daylight; call for current hours.

Alki Kayak Tours (low cost). Guided sea kayak adventures overlooking the Seattle skyline. Also offering inline skate rentals, bike rentals, longboards, and boat rentals.

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