5 Free things to do in Seattle

5 Free things to do in Seattle contributed by travel blogger Elisabeth Bunch is part of a series we’re doing on interesting or fun places you can visit in cities you travel to.

Traveling can get expensive and that tends to hinder the wanderings of many. However, exploring a new city doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out these five free things to do in Seattle.

Explore Pike Place Market

free things to do in Seattle - Check out the "flying fish" at Piles Place Market, photo Pages of My Passport

Check out the “flying fish” at Pike Place Market, photo/Pages of My Passport

Pike Place Market is full of quirky vendors who sell just about anything - including fresh flower bouquets, live lobsters, chocolate pasta, handmade tile art, and organic skincare products. I enjoy taking the time to talk to the artisans here and to listen to their stories - many of them are actually from other parts of the country or the world. During my last visit I met a friendly Italian man from Venice! You’ll also witness the unique buskers that perform throughout the market, playing homemade instruments made of floor mops, plastic buckets, and metal washboards. Of course, a stroll through Pike Place isn’t complete without checking out the trademark “flying fish” that are thrown through the air in the seafood section. Don’t forget to leave your mark on Seattle; add a piece of chewing gum to the famous Post Alley Gum Wall, just below the market.

Wander Around the Waterfront

free things to do in Seattle - Ride the Seattle Great Wheel at the Waterfront, photo Pages of My Passport

Ride the Seattle Great Wheel at the Waterfront, photo/Pages of My Passport

The Waterfront District in downtown Seattle is on the shore of Elliot Bay, which makes for a pleasant walk along the water. You can stop into Ye Olde Curiosity Shop for a free fudge sample or to get your fortune told at Estrella’s Prophecies. Make sure you look up while inside the store to see the shark jaw, porcupine fish, two-headed bull calf, and the “old man of the sea,” which hang from the ceiling. Other sights not to miss along the boardwalk are the sculptures, the Washington State ferries and the Seattle Great Wheel. If you’re up for a longer walk you can even make it down to see Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Visit the International District

free things to do in Seattle - the International District photo Pages of My Passport

Check out the New Century Tea Gallery in the International District photo/Pages of My Passport

At first glance, Seattle’s Chinatown-International District doesn’t seem like much, which unfortunately causes many visitors to overlook this area. However, like many places, it just takes some exploring to find the secret treasures. The area is guarded by giant red dragons which wrap themselves around the electrical posts at the district’s entrance. The Chinese herb and grocery stores here host walls full of beautiful glass jarred medicinal herbs, rare and unavailable in most other parts of the city. My favorite spot here is the New Century Tea Gallery, run by the Li family. The kind owner and his wife will teach you about the different styles of traditional tea service from various parts of Asia and tell you about the history of each loose leaf tea you smell and sample. You will most likely also be met by their darling and energetic young daughter, who tends to ramble off at visitors in Chinese, oblivious to the fact that they have no idea what she’s saying.

Browse the Elliot Bay Bookstore

free things to do in Seattle - Browsing Elliot Bay Book Company. photo/Page of My Passport

Browsing Elliot Bay Book Company. photo/Page of My Passport

You’ll walk across the colorful rainbow roads crossroads on your way to the cozy Elliott Bay Book Company in Capitol Hill. Once inside, select a genre and grab a book from one of their endless shelves before settling down in a reading room to enjoy it. Can’t make a decision? Elliot Bay’s staff has handwritten recommendations placed throughout the store to help you choose something good. To further immerse yourself in the the Pacific Northwest culture, select a book from their local authors’ shelf.

Get outdoors at Gasworks Park

free things to do in Seattle - Remnants of the old Seattle Gas Light Company at Gas Light Park photo Pages of My Passport

Remnants of the old Seattle Gas Light Company at Gas Light Park photo/Pages of My Passport

Gasworks Park is on the north shore of Lake Union. From here you’ll have a beautiful view of the Space Needle and the city’s skyline across the water. But, the park itself is uniquely attractive. The industrial remains of the former Seattle Gas Light Company’s gasification plant lay juxtaposed on lush green hills. Seattleites come here to walk their dogs, go on a run, fly kites, picnic, or to just enjoy some fresh air. You will also probably spot some yogis or parkour enthusiasts practicing their sport. Or why not get active yourself? If you don’t feel coordinated enough for yoga or parkour, try “ice blocking,” where individuals race to the bottom of a hill while sitting on a large block of ice. Gasworks’ smooth, grassy hills are the perfect terrain for this recreational activity that is popular among the locals.

There are many more great free things to do in Seattle but this list will get you off to a great start!

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What are your favorite free things to do in Seattle?

Elisabeth Bunch is a 25-year old adventurer born in the Pacific Northwest. She began exploring the planet in 2012, working at an orphanage in Honduras for 3 years. Since then, she traveled to 18 different countries across four continents. She shares her travels and helps others to plan their own through her blog, Pages of my Passport. You can follow her adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

Want to discover great Asian food in Seattle? Read Where to Eat Some of the Best Asian Food in Seattle from Marco Mamma.


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