Series: City Guides

5 Free Things to Do in Seattle

Posted on Aug 20, 2020

If you are visiting Seattle for the first time or have recently moved to the city and have some downtime, there are lots of free things you can do in the area. Whether it’s visiting parks with unforgettable views of the city, free summer concerts that give you a chance to enjoy great music on a warm evening, or one of the hundreds of hikes just a short drive outside of the city, you’ll never run out of free and fun things to do in Seattle.

1. Visit a Park

If you are new to the area and looking for free stuff to do in Seattle, you can’t beat visiting a local park. Seattle has hundreds of parks within the city to choose from. In fact, there are over 485 parks around the city, making it unlikely you’ll visit them all unless you make a real effort.

The largest park in the city is Discovery Park, which consists of over 500 acres of lush forest, stark ocean cliffs, and secluded beaches. Sitting on the site of Fort Lawton, Discovery Park offers no shortage of trails for hiking, bike riding, or casual strolls. If you have children, there are an abundance of play areas available or wildlife to watch.

Want some of the best views of the city? Check out the view from Kerry Park. Kerry Park is located in the Queen Anne Hill neighborhood of Seattle just outside of the downtown area. Kerry Park is a relatively small park at just under 1.5 acres, but boasts some of the best views of the Seattle skyline. Be prepared for a strenuous walk up the hill to the park, and get there early for the best seats.

Staying near downtown in one of our home rentals? Take a brief detour to Volunteer Park. Centrally located in downtown Seattle, Volunteer Park consists of 40 acres of hiking trails, play structures, museums, and a beautiful botanical garden. Climb the water tower for great views, or visit the Volunteer Park Conservatory on the first Thursday or Saturday of the month for free entrance. Check out our guide to getting around Seattle to see how you can use the city’s great public transit system to get there.

2. Attend a Concert

Seattle has a great music scene with live music in any number of breweries and coffee shops, as well as the giant music festivals Bumbershoot and Northwest FolkLife. There are also free events in Seattle featuring great music that you’ll have to check out during your stay. What is the best time to visit Seattle? If you want live music, the summer months when the weather is warm and the nights are late are hard to beat.

The Seattle Chamber Music Society (SCMS) puts on the spectacular “Music Under the Stars” series summer evenings at five parks in total around Seattle. You can now watch this virutally, and the SCMS will continue to publish updated information about their free Summer Festiva Concert series on their site.

The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) puts on a free series of live music at various venues in the downtown Seattle area during July and August. Past concerts have been held at City Hall Park, City Hall Plaza, Denny Park, Westlake Park, Union Square and other central locations in downtown Seattle. The Downtown Summer Sounds series is a great way to get free live entertainment, meet new people and experience new parts of the city.

The Concerts at the Mural series are four concerts put on by KEXP 90.3FM radio station and Seattle Center. This series of concerts is free and has a beer and wine garden available. Concerts typically start at 5:30 pm but be aware that seating at these popular concerts is first-come, first-served so be sure to arrive early to get a great spot.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many free summer concerts have been temporarily postponed. If you are planning on visiting or moving to the area during the summer months, be sure to check back on these sites regularly to receive updates as the situation develops.

3. Go for a Hike

What can you do for free in Seattle? Go for a hike! If you have a love for the outdoors then you’ll have a great time living in Seattle. There are tons of great hikes in and around the city that you can do for free! For one of the most accessible hikes in the metro area, hit Discovery Park and do the 2.8 mile Loop Trail. The Loop Trail offers great views of Puget Sound and the Park has a lighthouse and beaches that you can visit after the hike.

If you’re willing to take a drive about an hour outside of the city there are hundreds of hikes available. Mount Rainier National Park is about a 1.5-hour drive from the city and offers an endless number of hikes, trails, and bouldering options. The park does get busy during the summer months, so if you want to beat the crowds try going on weekdays.

Located on West Tiger Mountain, the Poo Poo Point hike features 7.2 miles of moderately difficult hiking with exceptional views. You can find the trailhead just outside the city of Issaquah, which is only a short drive out of the city. The trail isn’t the only draw to West Tiger Mountain. Paragliders use the North Launch Viewpoint as a launch site, so once you’ve reached the summit sit and enjoy the view and watch the paragliders at work. There’s no parking pass or entrance fee required, which makes the Poo Poo Point hike a great free option just outside the city.

If you’re new to the city and wondering how to make friends in Seattle , consider joining a hiking group. Hiking groups can introduce you to the best local trails, and help you make connections with others that share your interests.

4. Hit the Farmer’s Market

Ready to get some fresh produce, browse vendor wares and meet new people? Check out some of the free farmer’s markets in downtown Seattle. These outdoor markets are some of the best free things to do in Seattle. The Pike Place Farmers Market is the city’s oldest farmer’s market. Established in 1907, the market is now held in 5 different locations downtown. You can catch a market in Pikes Place, City Hall, The Regrade, South Lake Union, and First Hill.

The original Pikes Place Market offers much more than fresh groceries, though you can get those too. You’ll have access to a variety of vendors, including a number of artists and craftsmen. If you’re a seafood lover you can’t beat the wide availability of fresh seafood. There’s so much to do at the Pikes Place Market that you’ll probably need to return multiple times to take it all in. Don’t worry: entrance to the market is free, so take your time and enjoy yourself.

5. See the Locks

If you love engineering and wooden boats you’ll have to visit the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Known by locals as the Ballard Locks, the Locks are an integral part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Locks are used to move boats between Puget Sound and Lake Union and Lake Washington. The Locks also prevent the mixing of saltwater from the Puget Sound with fresh water from the lakes and help maintain the water levels in both lakes.

Want to learn more about the Locks? Take a tour! Free guided tours are offered from March through November at the Visitor Center. Tours last about an hour and give you a great introduction into the history of the Locks and their important role in the local economy and ecology. If you have children, the Locks are a fascinating glimpse into a major engineering project that continues to be used on a daily basis.

See the Most of Seattle with Zeus Living

If you’re visiting the Emerald City on business or wondering “should I move to Seattle?” and want to get to kn ow the city better, rent a beautiful furnished home or apartment from Zeus. Our homes and apartments have everything you need for an unforgettable trip.

We’ve created the ideal home rental experience for stays 30 days or longer. Our rentals are tastefully furnished and stocked with all of the basics you’ll need for your stay, including kitchenware, utensils, vacuums, linens, coffee makers and more. All Zeus rentals come with fast WiFi, HD TV, and everyday essentials like dish soap and paper towels.

Staying with Zeus you’ll have access to on-call technicians for the duration of your stay, and thoughtful features like self check-in and online pay options. Ready to find your next home away from home? Visit Zeus today and browse our rentals in the Seattle-Metro area.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you're into whale watching, discovering new hiking trails, or strolling down the art walk, there are endless activities to put on your Seattle bucket list. From hikes to a tour of the Locks, visits to the local farmer’s market, or watching a free summer concert in your local park, these free activities are fun, easily accessible and sure to be entertaining.

If you want great access to events downtown, stay in one of our home rentals in the Seattle-Metro area. Our rentals are centrally located, tastefully furnished, and stocked with everyday essentials so that you can spend your time getting to know the city! To find the perfect place to stay in town, visit Zeus today!

Sources
  • https://visitseattle.org/things-to-do/outdoors/seattles-top-parks/
  • https://downtownseattle.org/events/downtown-summer-sounds/
  • https://www.seattlechambermusic.org/concert_series/music-under-the-stars/
  • http://www.seattlecenter.com/events/featured-events/concerts-at-the-mural
  • http://www.seattlechambermusic.org/concert_series/2020-summer-festival/
  • https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/poo-poo-point
  • https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm
  • https://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Locks-and-Dams/Chittenden-Locks/
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