There are actually loads of free things to see and do in Seattle. Our list of things to do in Seattle showcases why so many people love this city and why so many people are moving here.
Things to Do in Seattle
Seattle is a creative, artistic and magical city located on the shores of Elliott Bay. You might think that with such a great city, that everything is expensive, however that’s not the case.
If you’re first time visitors, or a die-hard local, let us take you on a quick tour of things to do in Seattle. You’ll quickly see how many of the things do in Seattle that are actually free.
1. Free Activities In Seattle: Visit Ye Old Curiosity Shop
If you’re a fan of the strange, odd or what the heck is that?, you’ll love visiting this odd little gem of a store.
Ye Old Curiosity shop is a relic shop was started by Joseph Standley back in 1899. He became an avid collector of Indian and Eskimo artifacts, as well as natural curiosities and opened Ye Olde Curiosity Shop to house all of his many unusual artifacts.
From shrunken heads, walrus skulls and mummies, this little shop does not disappoint. The store is full of strange curios that inspire either a sense of awe or a sense of delightful discomfort.
Just be careful what you buy, you never know what will come home along with your purchase. (scary laugh ensues! Muhuahahaha!)
Address: 1001 Alaskan Way, Pier 54, Seattle, WA 98104
2. Climb The Fremont Troll… If You Dare
You’re most likely familiar with the tale of “The Billy Goats Gruff.” But if you aren’t, you should still make a stop by the Fremont Bridge and see what lurks beneath.
Just north of downtown Seattle and under the Fremont bridge is a troll. A very large, school bus sized troll feasting on a VW beetle.
In 1990, four local artists built the troll. The tale goes that he had a habit of grabbing your car if you don’t pay his toll. He is 18 feet tall and looks like he’s crawling out from the ground.
The Volkswagen Beetle he’s holding is a real car encased in cement. So, get on down to the Fremont bridge to climb the troll…if you dare.
Address: Troll Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
3. Enter The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company
The top thing that kids want to be when they grow up is an astronaut.
Reality likes to squish this dream, but at Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company, some of us can still dream. And that’s why you should visit The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company as one those free activities in Seattle.
The store is an outreach and fundraiser for The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas. A non-profit tutoring and writing center for children. The store is full of an incredible collection of toys, star maps, astronomy books and the like.
All the decoration in the store feels like something out of the early space age. While this is a store, it’s almost like a miniature museum for space-exploration-inspired-imagination.
Address: 8414 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
4. Have Lunch In The UPS Waterfall Garden Park
On the corner of Second and Main in Seattle is a little commemorative park that most people don’t really notice. But stopping by for a look is well worth your time in Seattle.
The UPS Waterfall Garden Park marks the birthplace of the United Parcel Service or UPS as it’s commonly known. This secluded park has a 22-foot, man-made waterfall that flows constantly. And a double patio sits under it with tables and chairs. You can bring your lunch or get take out or coffee at one of the many restaurants near the park in downtown. And then, if the weather permits, you can sit and enjoy the odd collection of sounds from nature and from the bustling of downtown Seattle.
The park celebrated it’s 100-year year commemoration of the UPS legacy, with the dedication of the park and monument to the dedicated postal workers in 2007.
Address: 219 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
5. Visit The Art Installations At NOAA
NOAA actually stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and this campus is located in the Sandpoint area of Seattle. While visiting this location is one of those free activities in Seattle, it does require a photo ID to get a day pass. And you will have to give up a little bit of privacy in the form of a bag search. But it’s absolutely worth it!
The NOAA campus on the Lake Washington shore features “A Sound Garden” by Douglas R. Hollis. This masterpiece is a massive musical instrument. It features a large pipe and a wind-vane sculpture.
Nature actually plays this instrument. And the wind is fairly constant in Seattle, so you will likely experience a “natural” performance.
NOAA place also features five other public artworks by other nationally important artists.
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
6. Check Out (And Possibly Contribute To) The Gum Wall
One of the more unusual things to do in Seattle is on a wall, just outside the Post Alley’s Market Theater. And this wall is covered with gum. That’s right, gum. And not new gum, but chewed gum. In as many colors as you can imagine.
In the 1990’s people began to stick gum on the wall as they waited for an improv comedy show. 30 years later, it has continued to grow over time. Some may debate whether this is art or litter. But it’s magnificent all the same. And, nobody will blame you for contributing. Besides, if the gum wall grosses you out, it’s right next to Pike Place Market, which you can wander to your heart’s content, for free.
Address: 1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
7. World Famous Giant Shoe Museum
Now this one isn’t exactly one of the “free” activities in Seattle per-say. But, it only costs a few cents. And with inflation, a few cents is practically free.
Pikes Place Market is known for fish throwing fish merchants, the original Starbucks, and a plethora of unique local booths and shops. But most people probably stroll on by one of the most interesting things in Pikes Place Market and don’t even realize it. The World Famous Giant Shoe Museum.
It’s next to the Old Seattle Paperworks. And you can toss a few pennies in the machine to see a collection of giant shoes. Seriously, these are shoes that belonged to giants and is worth the few coins you have in the bottom of your purse.
The only question you’ll be asking yourself when you leave is, “I wonder how tall those people were that actually wore those shoes?”.
Address: 1501 Pike Pl #424, Seattle, WA 98101
8. Seattle’s Central Library
Wait? Are you telling us to visit a public library? Yep. And it’s one of the most beautiful free things to do in Seattle.
The Seattle Central Library is a work of contemporary postmodern architecture. The building itself looks like a space freighter from a 1980’s sci-fi epic and was designed by world famous artists Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus.
The inside of this giant glass library, you feel like you’ve entered a different world. This building is listed as one of Americans’ 150 favorite structures in the US. Be sure to find the Red Hall.
Address: 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
9. Explore Gas Works Park
Instead of letting an old coal gasification plant just rot on the banks of Lake Union, Seattle acquired it in 1962 turned it into a magnificent park. From the viewing hill that has one of the best views of Seattle you’ll ever see, to the quaint neighborhood it sits in, Gas Works Park is a true gem for Seattle.
A lot of the gas plant is now explorable by both adults and kids alike. Let your curiosities go and enjoy these “other era” structures that are still magnificent to look at.
Address: 2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103
10. The Mystery Soda Machine
If you’re into mysteries, look no further than a local mystery called the Mystery Soda Machine, on the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East. Nobody knows where it came from or who even stocks it. But it dispenses mystery sodas.
While the sodas are now popular sodas, it still only costs 75 cents to use and each button says “mystery.”
So, it’s free to see and almost “free” to use.
Address: 916-918 E John St, Seattle, WA 98102
Yes, you could get a City Pass and go on a cruise of the sound. (Which is amazing BTW) You can use that same pass to get into the Space Needle or the famous Chihuly Glass Garden. The tourist City Pass will get you into a lot of things, but it’s fairly pricey and not necessary to have a fun time in Seattle.
Many of the things to do in Seattle have either an old world charm or are just fun to do. And there are so many more we could add to this list!
Keep searching Seattle when you visit. Visit the Seattle Visitors Bureau or the Seattle Yelp page for more fun things to do. And if you find any really unique free activities in Seattle, let our readers know in the comments below.