The best FREE things to do in Seattle!

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Seattle is the largest city in Washington State. It sits on the Puget Sound and is surrounded by gorgeous mountains, endless greenery, and water. There are some must-dos during your first visit to Seattle, including a visit to the Space Needle. The views from the top are amazing! Seattle is a beautiful, walkable city, you can take a self-guided walking tour! There are so many things in Seattle you can do for free, and I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite free things to do in Seattle for you in this post.

Gas Works Park

This may be one of my favorite places in all of Seattle. You might not find this on the tourist list, but it is a locally loved and visited spot, that is worth a stop on your trip. Its a free place in Seattle to visit, even parking is free! Gas Works Park is located North of Seattle on the bank of Lake Union (which is where the Sleepless in Seattle house is located). The park is about 20 acres and contains a hill great for panoramic views or kite flying, a kid’s play structure, and walking trails. The remains of equipment from Seattle Gas Light Company abandoned and overgrown with greenery make this park truly unique. The views of the Seattle skyline from Gas Works are absolutely perfect! If you are lucky enough to be in town for the 4th of July, Gas Works is a great place to watch the city fireworks!

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The equipment at Gas Works is what is left of the only remaining coal gasification plant in the United States. The Seattle Gas Light Company used the plant from 1906-1956.

Here are some pictures from our last visit to Gas Works Park!

Kerry Park

When it comes to breathtaking views of Seattle, you cannot beat Kerry Park. Gorgeous by day, and absolutely stunning at night, this gem of a place is worth 2 visits for sure! Unlike Gas Works, Kerry Park doesn’t offer much in the way of a full days activities. It’s less of a “park” and more of a “place”. There is a walled ledge where you can view the city, Elliot Bay, and if you are lucky and its a clear day you can see Mount Rainier! It sits on Upper Queen Anne hill, in NW Seattle. Be sure and check out the gorgeous houses in this affluent neighborhood while you are there. Because Kerry Park is in a neighborhood, parking can be challenging. The park doesn’t have designated parking, just find a spot along the streets, and walk to the park.

Freemont Troll

Yep, there is a troll, that lives under a bridge in the Seattle neighborhood of Fremont.  You should plan 30-40 minutes here, including parking and walking up. You may have seen him in the movie 10 Things I hate about you or Twilight.  The Troll was “born” in 1989 when the city was looking for a way to keep under the bridge clean and free of drug dealing and dumping.  The troll is 18 feet tall, has a shiny eye, and a VW beetle crushed between his hands. You can walk up close and really check him out. Parking is a bit of a pain since it’s a neighborhood, so be prepared to walk a bit to see him. The troll even has his own Facebook page! Don’t leave Seattle without hanging out with this guy for a bit.  Parking is free, which is a bonus in Seattle!

Pike Place

Seattle’s Public Market is not only one of the oldest farmers markets in the nation, but also one of the most photographed spots in Seattle. There are 9 acres of things to explore here. You should plan at least 2 hours here. Delicious locally grown fruit and veggies, gorgeous flowers, and unique crafts. There are also tons of quirky shops and food vendors along with a magnificent view of Elliot Bay. Don’t forget to find the fish market with the famous fishmongers throwing fish and shouting chants as people buy their fresh-caught fish. See if you can find the monkfish buried in ice at the fish market. Stand and wait to see what he can do!

While you are at Pike place, you can roam up and downstairs and aisles exploring all of the things there are to see. You will be treated with sounds of fishmongers, shoppers, street performers singing, and children playing. Across the street is the ORIGINAL STARBUCKS. If you cross the street toward the bay, you will find more souvenir shopping, the aquarium, the big Ferris wheel, and some great views.

first starbucks

This popular area of Seattle is free to walk around, but there are costs associated with parking, and shopping.

Bonus: The Ultimate Insiders Guide to Pike Place!

Gum Wall

The gum wall is exactly what it sounds like.  It is so gross and so weird, you will love it! Buy some gum ahead and have it chewed so you are prepared to leave your mark on Seattle.  Walk out of the market near the fishmongers and the bronze pig (it’s huge ) and down the alleyway (it’s downhill). As you turn the corner, you’ll see it, in all its sticky colorful glory. The wall is about about 50 feet long and full of used chewing gum.  The wall has only been cleaned off and that was in 2015 when they removed 2300 pounds of gum! It’s back to its sticky self now, you can’t even tell it was cleaned.  So when in Rome Seattle, right? Get your gum good and sticky, find your place, and stick!

Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park is such a great find! It’s right downtown and combines views of the Space Needle, the Bay, Seattle’s piers, and ferries with flowers, greenery, and art. We also saw so many little bunnies on our walks here!

The Olympic Sculpture Park is part of The Seattle Art Museum. This Seattle Park is free, the museum is not. We even found free parking (yay)! The park is 9 acres of green space to walk around and enjoy. It is such a great way to have a little refuge from the busy city. You can stroll around and check out all the different sculptures. Your walk can lead down to the water, where you can walk around Pier 70, or continue on to Myrtle Edwards Park to relax or have lunch. There is a great little secluded beach area here with driftwood to sit on, it’s one of my favorite spots in the city.

Seattle Center

Seattle Center is the area around the Space Needle. There are a lot of things to do here that cost money, but it is free to walk around. If you don’t want to pay to park you can take the monorail in. It has a fountain to play in and extensive grounds to walk. Key Arena is here, and hosts concerts and other events.  The Pacific Science Center is also here and has a ton of fun rotating exhibits as well as a laser light show,  IMAX, and a butterfly house.  Seattle children’s museum is great but definitely geared toward younger kids. 

MoPOP is the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. Its the very colorful “structure” you see from the Space Needle. It has rotating exhibits and experiences focusing on cinema, science fiction, video games, music, and fantasy. Again, there is a fee to get into the museum, but you can still get some fun and colorful pictures from the outside for free 🙂

Chihuly Garden and Glass

is my favorite part of the Seattle Center. It is not free. But you can see some of the sculptures from walking the Seattle Center, which is why I mention it. That being said, of all the things at the Seattle Center, this would be the one I recommend you pay to go see! Chihuly is a local artist whose medium is blown glass. Let me tell you, his work is AMAZING!  You will absolutely love going through this museum.  It’s magical. You can also get a combination ticket that combines the Space Needle and the museum. 

Enjoy these Free things to do in Seattle!

I know you will love your time in the Pacific Northwest, and I hope these free things to do in Seattle help maximize your budget and your fun! If you have longer to stay in Washington I highly suggest renting a car and driving to one (or all) of Washington’s 3 National Parks, they are all absolutely breathtaking!

You should also read: Mount Rainier Waterfalls, North Cascades National Park, Tree of Life in Olympic National Park, and The Best Beaches in Washington

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