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Free Seattle: Pike Place Market

26 Aug


It’s THE tourist thing to do in Seattle. Cruise ships passengers march up its harbor steps, and even locals can’t resist the cheap flowers and fresh produce. It’s also a fantastic free place to go exploring with kids.


  • Free
  • All-day browsing
  • Great people watching
  • Covered, for those rainy Seattle days


What to do:

  • Watch the exuberant fish throwing at Pike Place Fish (near the pig). Tell them you want to take a picture, or better yet a video, and they’ll oblige, though snarkily of course. That’s part of the fun.
  • Ask to see a magic trick at the Market Magic Shop.
  • Enjoy the tunes of street performers.
  • Taste test some yummy Chukar Cherries. They’re always happy to offer a sample.
  • Watch how they make cheese at Beecher’s.
  • See the first Starbucks. There’s really not much to it, but it’s something people like to do.
  • Pet the brass pig for good luck.


Know Before You Go:

  • Avoid driving around here. Take a bus or cab. If you must drive, beware the one-way streets and aimlessly wandering pedestrians.
  • Accompany your kids to the market bathrooms. Sometimes they’re a bit sketchy.
  • If you go in the summer or on a weekend, it’s going to be crowded—as in shoulder-to-shoulder crowded. Be patient or pick a less busy day. If you need to bring a stroller, this is especially important to note.
  • If you’re from out of town, don’t buy fish to ship home (they will offer to). I can tell you, as a local who’s brought fish there and brought it straight home, 9 times out of 10, it wasn’t exactly fresh. I can’t imagine what you’d end up with after shipping it.
  • Lowell’s is a nice little restaurant with a good view, but I say, skip the crowds (inherent to Lowell’s central location) and head to the Pike Street Pub on the second floor, kitty-corner to the Pike Place sign. It has a fantastic view of the market, plenty of seating, reasonable prices, and decent food, too.


For more free Seattle fun, try one of these adventures:

Have your own tips for free things to do in and around Seattle … or your city? Please share!

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Free Seattle: Ballard Splash Park

15 Aug

BallardSplashLet’s face it. Seattle has a very limited number of hot, summer days. Take advantage of them while you can with a trip to one of the city’s many splash parks. My favorite, location-wise, is the Ballard Splash Park. Here’s why …

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Free Seattle: Arboretum

8 Aug

Spring Arboretum Szaba Angela


  • Free
  • Acres upon acres of gorgeous wandering
  • Something new to see every time
  • Feels far removed from the city

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Free Seattle: Golden Gardens

1 Aug

Golden Gardens SunsetOn a sunny evening in Seattle, you really can’t beat Golden Gardens.


  • Free
  • Amazing sunset views of ocean, boats, and mountains
  • Lots of free parking
  • Good wind for kite flying
  • Picturesque picture taking

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Free Seattle: Green Lake

22 Jul

Greenlake Seattle SunsetSure, I’m partial to Green Lake because it’s my neighborhood. But from the hordes of park-goers I see here every weekend, I can safely say it’s one of Seattle’s most popular destinations for both families and active, outdoorsy types.


  • Free
  • Flat, smooth path (bike, skateboard, roller skate, and handicap friendly)
  • Several restroom facilities
  • Lots of benches and picnic tables

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Free Seattle: Gasworks Park

11 Jul

Gasworks Park Seattle

Continuing with my “Free Seattle” series, this week we head to Gasworks Park: land of stark contrasts, kite flying, frolic-worthy hills, and 270-degree views.


  • Free
  • Lots of wind for kite flying
  • Great view of Lake Union and downtown
  • Some of the best picture-taking in the city

What to Do:

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27 Jun

Souvenir ShoppingNow that vacation season is in full swing, what kind of souvenirs do you buy on a trip? Do you wander the trinket shops, aimlessly looking for something that strikes your fancy (grumbling husband in tow)?

What if souvenirs could be part of the adventure of your vacation, like a quest for a specific piece of treasure?

Wouldn’t that make the object that much more special when you see it in your home? Because that’s the point of souvenirs, right? To see them in your home and bring you back a memory of a certain time and place. Do you really want that memory to be your agitated husband in a chintzy trinket shop?

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