When it comes to things to do in Seattle, you might think the city is an expensive place to visit. However, that’s not entirely true. Yes, many of the things to do in Seattle are on the pricier side and won’t exactly fit into a backpacker’s budget.
But! If you don’t mind doing things slightly outside of the city center and looking for alternative ways to do them cheap or free, then you will be surprised by how affordable exploring this beautiful city can be.
Here are some suggestions on how to have a fun time in Seattle and not break the bank.
Hike in the Rainy, Green Mountains of the Pacific
There are many beautiful hikes in the Pacific Northwest but few are as accessible and urban as the hikes in the green mountains surrounding Seattle. Hiking in the mountains is a great way to escape the city and get some fresh air, but it’s also a great way to get your blood pumping and release some stress while in the city.
Nothing sounds better than spending a weekend hiking in the mountains and then coming back to the city with a fresh perspective. You can hike any number of Mountains around Seattle such as Mount Si, Granite Mountain, or Mount Teneriffe, but the most accessible and popular one is the hike around Mount Baker.
The hike around Mount Baker is just under 5 miles and has amazing views of the city, Lake Union, and the surrounding mountains. The best part? It’s free! Just make sure to go when it isn’t raining and remember to bring lots of layers, a raincoat, and a good pair of hiking shoes.
See a Show at the Seattle Rep or Intiman Theatre
There are many things to do in Seattle, and two of the city’s most respected arts venues are the Seattle Rep and Intiman Theatre.
The Rep is also the city’s largest theatre company, with a yearly season featuring a mix of both old classics and brand-new contemporary shows.
The Rep has had many famous actors and directors on their stage, including Dustin Hoffman and David Mamet, and the current season offers some interesting productions you won’t see anywhere else. The Rep also puts on free outdoor performances on the lawn outside the theatre during the summer and fall.
For example, they are doing outdoor productions of Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and Othello. You can sit on the lawn with a drink in hand and take in a Shakespeare play under the stars. Intiman Theatre is a smaller theatre company putting on shows that are more experimental and contemporary.
Some of their productions are revived classics, but most are brand-new shows created by artists from around the world. Intiman also hosts a yearly Festival of New Works during which they give emerging artists a chance to try out new shows.
Visit the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
MoPop is the city’s premier museum for all things pop culture. From the visual arts to music and film, MoPop has something for everyone. Their collections include everything from the clothes worn by Johnny Cash on stage to the original Spock’s Vulcan ears from Star Trek.
They also have rotating art exhibitions from artists around the world. One of their most popular exhibitions is currently “Women of the New York Underground” featuring works from women who were part of the visual arts scene in New York in the 1970s. They’re also currently showing an exhibition on the history of the Japanese city of Kyoto.
The museum is free on the first Friday of every month and always has great exhibitions on topics that will interest both casual and serious pop culture fans.
Go on a Food Tour
Looking for things to do in Seattle? Why not try a food tour? Food tours are a great way to try out different food while also learning more about the city’s history and culture.
Seattle has a thriving food and beverage scene, but it’s hard to know where to start given the number of options. One of the best ways to explore this vibrant scene is by going on a food tour. Food tours are a great way to try out different food while also learning more about the city’s history and culture.
There are a number of food tours in Seattle, but one of the most popular is the Public Market Tour offered by Seattle Food Tours. This two-hour walking tour takes you through downtown’s famous Pike Place Market, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. Tours are led by knowledgeable guides who give you the inside scoop on the best places to eat and shop at the market.
The tour ends with a tasting at the Salmon House, one of the most famous restaurants at the market. Along the way, you’ll also learn about the history of the market and how it became one of the most popular tourist destinations in Seattle.
Go on Food Boats and Floating Markets Tour
Another great way to explore the local food scene in Seattle is by going on a food boat and floating markets tour. These tours take you around the city’s famous Lake Union where you’ll visit a variety of floating markets and taste the freshest seafood imaginable. While the tours vary, many of them include stops at the famous crab and fish markets in the city, as well as stops at salmon farms. On many of the tours, you’ll also get to visit a famous floating restaurant, most notably the famous Boat Street Café.
These restaurants float on houseboats in Lake Union and offer some of the best views in the city and fresh seafood that isn’t found anywhere else in the city. The tours are a great way to see the city while also getting to try the freshest and best seafood in Seattle.
Check Out the View from Kerry Park
Kerry Park is one of the best things to do in Seattle if you want to see the iconic skyline.
Located on the south side of the city, this park takes you above all the buildings in the city and gives you a bird’s eye view of everything below. Kerry Park is also close to one of the best places to go for a run in Seattle, the Seward Park trail. This trail is one of the most popular places for running in Seattle, so it’s a great way to relax (or exercise) and take in the views.
This park is also one of the best places in the entire city to catch the sunset, so it’s worth checking out even if you just want to see the view during the day. Because the park is on a hill, it’s a great place to go to get above the clouds and see the whole city as it sits below you in a sea of clouds. The view from Kerry Park is truly one of the best things to do in Seattle.
Go on a Boat Tour
There are a variety of boat tours in Seattle that are a great way to see the city from a different perspective while also learning more about its history and culture. One of the most popular tours is the Seattle Underground Tour, which takes you under the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and into the remnants of the city’s original downtown, which was mostly destroyed in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.
Another popular tour is the Whale Watching Tour, which leaves the city’s famous Elliott Bay and takes you on the hunt for some of the biggest animals in the world. Seattle is located on the Pacific Ocean, and it’s a great place to go whale watching from June to October when the whales migrate up from Mexico.
The boats can get really close to the whales, so it’s a great way to get up close and personal with some of the biggest animals in the world.
Watch Live Sports Games for Cheap
There are a ton of great sports teams in the Seattle area, including the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, and the Seattle Sounders. If you’re visiting during the season, it’s a great way to experience the city and support local teams. Tickets to individual games are always going to be expensive, but there are a few ways to save money.
First, don’t hesitate to buy tickets in advance. This is especially true for the Seahawks, who tend to sell out. It’s also worth checking out deals on sites like Groupon or Living Social, which sometimes offer discounted tickets. It’s also a good idea to check if your hotel has any packages with the local teams.
Some hotels will offer discounted tickets or even packages that include tickets, transportation to the stadium, and a hotel stay. If you’re visiting during the off-season, a great way to experience the sports culture in the city is by going to a Seattle Sounders game.
While you can find all kinds of things to do in Seattle, there are a few things you won’t find. Instead, you’ll have to rely on some creative thinking to come up with great things to do in Seattle yourself.
To get around the city, you can take advantage of public transportation, including bus, light rail, and commuter rail, or you can drive your own vehicle. If you’re driving, make sure to drive responsibly and lower your speed (and your speed bumps) around the city.
You can also rent bikes from many locations throughout the city to get around. However, these aren’t necessarily the most fun ways to see the city. They’re more for people who prefer to stay on paved roads rather than explore the city on their own. If you do choose to go on a bike tour, make sure to wear a helmet. Also, don’t forget to bring your own bike lock or use one you can buy at the rental shop.
There’s a reason why Seattle is called the “City of the Future”; it’s filled with beauty, innovation, and growth. While it’s not exactly the cheapest city to live in, it’s an amazing place to visit, and you can have a great time without breaking the bank.