Top 10 things to do in Seattle for free or nearly free
My hometown of Kansas City excepted, there is no other city in the US I’d rather live than Seattle, Washington. Nestled between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Puget Sound and Lakes Union and Washington and buoyed by a mild year long climate, Seattle has been called the “Emerald City” due to it’s ever verdant vegetation.
But just because Seattle is evergreen, shouldn’t be a reason for you to depart with your greenbacks. There are many things to do for free or nearly free in Seattle and the metro area. Here is my list of the Top 10 Emerald City freebies.
10) Pay your respects to some hometown heroes There are several icons of film and music who have called Seattle home. Several are buried here such as Jimi Hendrix and Bruce and Brandon Lee
Also in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle are the graves of Martial Arts Legend Bruce Lee and his son Brandon Lee. The gravestones are beautiful marble and the grave-site is almost always covered with flowers from their many fans. The cemetery is called Lakeview and is located at 1554 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112-2805. The land overlooks Lake Washington and the Lees couldn’t have picked a more beautiful place to be at rest.
Kurt Cobain’s former home is located at 151 Lake Washington Blvd East is still often visited by fans of Nirvana. It really is a beautiful house but is a private residence and has a large fence around it. Visitors are expected to remain off property and be respectful, but it is definitely worth a drive by.
9) The Seattle Center Home of the Space Needle Seattle’s most iconic landmark this 76 acre park has several sights to visit for free. It is also the home of the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project) which contains the science fiction and fantasy hall of fame and has exhibits featuring costumes from films such as “Star Wars”, “Star Trek” and even “The Wizard of Oz” apropos given Seattle is the “Emerald City” There is a fee to visit it.
There’s also a museum for local artist Don Chihuly where his stunning glass works are displayed. Like the Pop Culture Museum there is a fee to visit, but outside of the museum is a garden where you can see several of his works for free.
The center also features several gardens and a wide variety of fountains and free concerts as well.
8) Some of the loveliest public parks in the US
Shown clockwise: Gaswork park with it’s gas sculptures and great views, Olympic Sculpture Park like an art museum you can ride a bike through, Discovery Park with it;s lighthouse and often empty beaches, Chinese garden park, Volunteer Park with the ‘Blackhole Sun’ sculpture, and Waterfall Park a 25ft waterfall right in the heart of the city, (also, not pictured Kerry Park that sits on a hill and is the vista point for all the famous pictures of the downtown skyline and Space Needle
7) Really interesting sculptures and statues
Clockwise One of the only statues of Lenin in the US, The Fremont Troll under a bridge sculpture, Chief Seattle, The big Giant Hat and Boots (makes about as much sense as a statue of Lenin) The waiting for the interurban statues of people waiting on a bus. (It’s a local tradition to dress these statues up in costumes. Every time you go by the are wearing something different) and Jimi Hendrix.
6) The Chittenden Locks also known as Ballard Locks. Seattle has lake Washington on one side and the Puget Sound on the other with the small lake union in between, A canal connects them all but due to the slight variance in elevation a series of locks is needed. The locks enable boaters to connect. There is also a water ladder for salmon as this is a migratory route for them as well. The steps are glass encased so you can watch the salmon move through them, Different species of salmon breed at different times so you can usually see salmon any time of the year.
5) First Thursday Free Museums
The Seattle Art museum, The Seattle Asian Art museum, The Northwest African American Museum, The Luke Wing Asian Museum, the Museum of History and Industry and Burke natural history museum are all free on the first Thursday of each month. If you happen to be there then you’ll save a lot and have a full day.
4) The Waterfront and Ferries
3) Center for wooden boats
2) Free Wine and a nice swim in Lake Washington
- Pike Place Market This iconic local landmark is only second to the Space Needle in fame. The market is huge and covers several city blocks. It is a place where you can find just about everything.
Pike place also has the very first Starbucks and there is usually a queue to get it. My personal favorite place there is “Piroshky, piroshky” a Russian bakery with a mouth watering assortment of piroshkys (stuffed fresh baked rolls filled with anything edible
So what do you think? Have you been or do you live in Seattle? All comments are welcome. Let me know what you think.
8 Replies to “(Don’t let your budget make you) Sleepless in Seattle. Here’s 10 things you can do for free”
Great post! I’m hoping to visit Seattle later this year and will definitely reference this post again for ideas. The clear walls to see the salmon sounds awesome.
Thsnks Seattle is a great place to visit. You’ll have a blast there. Make sure you let us know how it works out for you.
Great reading ! I will be in Seattle last week of June, with a couple of hours extra time to spare between flights, after clearing immigration there, and boarding for KC. Do you think I could get from the Sea-tac airport to Renton and back, after visiting Jimi’s Memorial ? How best do you think I could reach there and back ?
Hi Indiajones. I am going to check a couple things for you. Getting from SeaTac to Downtown Seattle is a breeze. They have a light rail that’s pretty easy. You’re best bet may be to take a taxi from downtown to Renton rather than the airport. I’m going to check a couple things and I’ll have more info in a couple minutes
My bad. Renton is not near downtown. It’s actually quite close to SEATAC It has been a couple years since I was there I was thinking it was over by Lake Washington, It’s a pretty clean shot. I have a fare finder tool to see if I can get you an estimate and length of time to get there. Also, it’s short of enough of a distance you might be able to Uber it. Its a 15 min drive Taxi rates I’m getting are around 25us one way. You said you are going to KC do you mean Kansas city. That’s where I’m from!
It will depend on how long it takes you to clear customs obviously but if you have a couple hours, it’s probably doable. The advantage of maybe an uber is they could possibly wait for you to visit the grave and take some pictures if you wish and drive you back to seatac
there is a bus for 7$ but it takes about 45 minutes it has a couple stops first which may not work timewise
Thanks for the tips, GG, you’re a brick ! After I get to Seatac, I’ll make a quick assessment of the time on hand, and take an Uber to the place and back – can’t take chances with the bus. Maybe I can latch on to some other guy heading for the Memorial, while on the flight to Seattle, and badger him to join me and split the cost of the Uber.
Yes, I’m heading for Kansas City from Seatac – my old friend and classmate of 40 years ago is right there, going to catch up with him !