(Don’t let your budget make you) Sleepless in Seattle. Here’s 10 things you can do for free

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Top 10 things to do in Seattle for free or nearly free

One of America’s most beautiful cities, Seattle is full of freebies

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

Jimi Hendrix’s grave was for years was just a basic headstone. On November 26th 2002 (the day before what would have been his 60th birthday) His body was moved to this new marker. His remains are interred at the Greenwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Renton, WA. Fans can also see a lifesize statue of Hendrix at Capitol Hill near downtown.

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 ESeattle, WA 98112-2805. The land overlooks Lake Washington and the Lees couldn’t have picked a more beautiful place to be at rest.

The marble just glows under the frequent rain and mist of Seattle.

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.

Cobain’s former home located along Lake Washington Blvd and has several beautiful private homes nearby as well.

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.


This totem pole is located at the Seattle Center
The Chihuly Sculpture Museum has an outdoor garden where several of his works can be seen for free


The Space needle as seen from the Seattle Center

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.

The canal locks
Boats moving through the locks


Salmon moving through the ladder

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

The ferries are about 8.00 per person or 20.00 per car so they definitely aren’t free but the views are definitely worth the trip.
The waterfront has restaurants, shops, the Seattle aquarium and is a great place to stroll, drink coffee or watch the many ships move along Puget Sound. And some great clam chowder too.

3) Center for wooden boats

A great place for a stroll, the center offers free boat rides on Sundays. A great place to explore and spend a lazy afternoon

2)  Free Wine and a nice swim in Lake Washington

Seattle has some great wineries. Many offer free wine tasting and are have a nice garden to relax in.  There are a few across the sound in Vashon but most are around Lake Washington. The lake also has free swimming beaches and are usually a bit secluded from the highway so it really seems private
  1. 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.
    The bronze pig greets visitors to Pikes Place. The bronze statue is so well known it isn’t uncommon for locals to just tell someone to ;meet them by the pig”
    “Home of the flying fish” Pike place Fish handlers will throw the order through the air and then skillfully catch it. The throwing fish is a show you can see for free and definitely don’t want to miss.
    It isn’t just fish. fresh fruit and flowers are available year long.
    Yours truly at Pike Place. (My college sweatshirt was in the wash)
    An example of the artistic and odd, the gum wall at pikes Place has chewing gum stuck to the wall. It’s artistic but I wouldn’t recommend touching it.

    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

    These things are crazy yummy. I love getting a piroshky and a cup of coffee and watch the ships glide along the sound. My favorite lazy afternoon in Seattle.

    So what do you think? Have you been or do you live in Seattle?  All comments are welcome. Let me know what you think.

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