Exploring Seattle: Activities Free of Cost, Rich With Delight

Footloose and fancy free: Sometimes you just want to experience a city's indulgent riches without emptying your bank account. Thankfully, Seattle is a city where doing just that is a feasible goal. Here, \ natural beauty abounds, so sometimes soaking up the city's finest points means simply heading up the region's steep hills (or toward the water....or into thick patches of forest...). Choosing from alfresco excursions can prove a challenge, since there's such an abundance of options, but urban sites like Discovery and Gas Works parks are pretty much a guarantee. If you happen to have a bit more time to spare (and perhaps have a car at your disposal), consider road tripping to Olympic National Park or Mt. Rainier, where the sites and hues prepared by Mother Nature will simply steal away your breath.

But Seattle also offers up culture for free, too, at spots like downtown's Pike Place Market, the brand-new home of beloved radio station KEXP and the lounge at Hotel Sorrento Hotel . Certain venues typically come with a fee (like MOHAO), but if you stay on the ball and do your research, you can find special days and times when free events are on offer, too. Pike Brewing Company, for example, gives complimentary behind-the-scenes tours that serve as an added incentive to patronizing this restaurant-pub.

Gas Works Park

On the north end of Lake Union, you'll find what may be the most unique park in the area. The 21-acre industrial area, formerly the site of a gas plant, was transformed in the 1975 into a recreational complex (a worldwide first). You'll find...  Read More

Pike Place Market

Sights, smells and sounds make Pike Place a head-spinning whirlwind for first-time visitors. Fishmongers near the main entrance entice buyers with loud hawking and dexterous salmon throwing antics, the briny smell of fresh seafood filling the...  Read More

Discovery Park

Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, this expansive urban park--the largest in Seattle --offers two miles of beach trails and nine miles of winding footpaths. Ostensibly a bluff-top reserve, Discovery Park protects a remarkable...  Read More

Northwest Folklife Festival

This nationally-recognized folk festival is regarded as one of the best around. Join in on the fun from May 27 through 30, for the 45th Annual Festival, presented by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. This popular gathering celebrates a diversity of...  Read More

This slumbering volcano is the second-tallest mountain in the continental United States. Because of its northern locale and more extreme weather, Washington state's prime peak is used by many mountaineering groups to train for ascents of the...  Read More

Outside the city
Olympic National Park
Photo courtesy of Lana_aka_BADGRL

Olympic National Park provides Seattle visitors with a huge range of recreation options in a compact area. About an hour to an hour-and-a-half southwest of Seattle on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, the nature preserve centers around the...  Read More

Stroll through the grounds, and admire the fascinating large-scale works on display at this nine-acre green space. Extensive landscaping enhances the park's beauty, and a walkway, extending from the beach to Belltown, provides views of the Puget...  Read More

Museum of History and Industry
Photo courtesy of Loren Javier

The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) is the largest private heritage organization in Washington State, devoted to teaching and preserving the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region and the country. Although an entry free is...  Read More

Fireside Room (Hotel Sorrento)
Photo courtesy of Andrew Giammarco

Inside Hotel Sorrento, a grand social room awaits. "Swathed in ochre mahogany paneling, furnished in eclectic midcentury-modern, outfitted with a baby grand piano and encircling a wide, octagonal central column, the Fireside Room is a throwback...  Read More

KEXP 90.3 SEATTLE venue
Photo courtesy of SkB Architects

To build the vision for its "New Home" venue in Seattle Center, KEXP reached out to peers like musicians, teachers, business leaders, politicians and heads of arts organizations. The beloved radio station says, "They encouraged us to remain...  Read More


Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne