Thursday, January 3, 2013

Free things to do in Seattle

Seattle skyline from West Seattle
Seattle can be an expensive city to visit or it can be easy on the budget, like free. The Emerald City offers visitors many things to do that don’t cost a penny.

Activities that won’t break the bank include walking along the waterfront, visiting Pike Place Market or touring a winery. These are all free. In fact, it’s possible to build a vacation around just doing the free things Washington’s largest city has.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is the best known farmers market in the United States. The market, founded in 1907, is a colorful place to walk through with its farm fresh fruits and veggies, flowers and seafood markets. Watch as workers toss salmon around like baseballs. There are also boutiques with funky clothes, art galleries, magazine stores and restaurants; in short, the market has something for everyone.

Seattle Waterfront

Just below the Pike Place Market, Seattle’s waterfront offers opportunity for a pleasant stroll. The water side of the street is lined with the usual souvenir shops, but there are also places for visitors to sit and watch the seagulls at play or the ferries crossing Puget Sound. It costs a few bucks, but if the day is nice, why not enjoy a relaxing ferry ride. Ferries leave frequently from the terminal on Alaskan Way.

Visitors who want to wade in Puget Sound can head over to West Seattle’s Alki Beach for more unobstructed views of the islands as well as a look back at the Seattle skyline. The area has restaurants, delis and sidewalk cafes for folks who want a little something to eat with their daily latte fix.

Space Needle at Seattle Center

Seattle’s number one landmark, the Space Needle, is located near downtown area at the Seattle Center. Unless visitors are eating at the Space Needle’s restaurant, a ride to the top of the Space Needle can be costly. However, gazing up at it from the ground doesn’t cost anything. The Seattle Center has many things to do, ranging from sporting events to ballet to big name entertainment acts. Spend some time just wandering around the site of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Wineries in Seattle

The Puget Sound area is home to 35 wineries, of which 20 are located in the Seattle suburb of Woodinville. Woodinville’s oldest winery (and the state’s) is Chateau Ste. Michelle, an award-winning winery centered around a French chateau. Guided tours which last 35 minutes are free, but there is a charge for tasting the wines. Tours are given from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The winery is located at 14111 NE. 145th St.

Art Museums

Most Seattle museums, such as the Seattle Art Museum, are free to the public the first Thursday of every month. Many museums also offer free admission to seniors on the first Friday of every month and to families on the first Saturday. These museums include the Frye, the Wing Luke Asian Museum and the Experience Music Project.

Free Transportation

There is such thing as a free lunch, or in Seattle’s case, a free ride. Seattle’s Metro Transit offers free rides from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily in the downtown area. Boundaries of the free ride area are from Battery to Jackson streets and from east Sixth Avenue to the waterfront.

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