You can save a lot of money if you know where to go and how to entertain yourself in Seattle.

Between exploring lively markets and heading out on outdoor excursions, the Emerald City has a variety of activities that will leave you with a souvenir in your pocket.

There are many things to do in Seattle.

Fish monger tosses a fish at a stall at Pike Place Market
Fishmonger stalls at Pike Place always have the fresh catch (literally) of the day © 400tmax / Getty Images

1. Explore Pike Place Market

One of the top sights in Seattle is the Pike Place Market, but only if you can afford it.

The variety of stalls, from fishmongers and florists to food stands, demonstrates the Port of Seattle's importance and why it became such a valuable jewel in the Pacific Northwest's crown.

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2. Enjoy Fremont's Public Sculptures

You don't have to pay to see some of the best art in the city.

Each of the 10 or so pieces is completely unique, and you will often find them dressed up for special events. They show a glimpse into the golden era of counterculture bliss.

If you're in the area, you should stop by the Fremont troll. There is a cement figure snacking on a Volkswagen Beetle.

3. Tour the Frye Art Museum

There is a small museum on First Hill. More than 1000 paintings, mostly 19th- and early-20th century European and American pieces, were collected by the Fryes.

The majority of the Frye Museum's permanent collection is in a small gallery. The temporary shows at the Frye are usually more modern.

A wall of abstract art prints and sculptures
Olympic Sculpture Park is a larger-than-life outdoor exhibit a mile north of the Seattle Art Museum © Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images

4. Stroll through Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park is home to over a dozen large artworks and is open to the public every day from dawn until dusk.

This is a great place to visit if you like art and culture.

5. Wander through Ballard Locks

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are used to move ships between the lakes Union and Washington. Thousands of boats move through the locks each year.

Sea lions are present in the Sammamish River because of a fish ladder that allows salmon to reach the river.

People standing on rocks and looking at the sea
The forest and beaches of Discovery Park are well-maintained by the city of Seattle © Michael Hanson / Getty Images

6. Go for a hike at Discovery Park

Discovery Park is located close to the Magnolia neighborhood and provides a variety of terrains for those who want a bit of outdoor time.

You can explore the West Point Lighthouse as far west as you can from the city limits. The city preserves all of them and they are free.

There is a permanent collection of Native American artwork at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.

7. Join a neighborhood art walk

During the summer months, Seattle's neighborhoods open their gallery doors to the artistic minded.

Capitol Hill hosts an event on the second Thursday of every month, while Belltown hosts on the second Friday of every month.

Many local businesses offer daily specials that are perfect for a cheap night out.

8. Head out on a pay-what-you-feel walking tour

European-style informative walks have been offered by Seattle Free Walking Tours. These two-hour walks give you a chance to learn more about the corners of the city like Pioneer Square and the waterfront.

People who have called Seattle home include the native Duwamish, as well as the city's biggest celebrities.

Three people sit on a bench looking out at the Seattle Skyline
The Space Needle isn't the only place where you can admire Seattle's skyline © peeterv / iStock

9. Drink in the locals’ view of the skyline

If you want to see the Seattle skyline without spending a lot of money, there are many cheaper ways to do it.

Families and dogs can enjoy the view over Lake Union from Gas Works Park.

There is a great observation deck in Volunteer Park. The deck was built in 1907 and has wonderful views of the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier.

10. Stop by an open mic night at Hugo House

On the first and third Monday of every month, the mics at Hugo House are open to any and all writers in the city through an event called "Works in Progress." Listeners are welcome, though we've heard that the stories are not family friendly.

11. Work up a sweat at Green Lake and Myrtle Edwards Park

With the great outdoors on their doorstep, Seattleites love their exercise and many of them are free.

Green Lake Park is a great place to get back in shape. Runners should head for the park that is near the bay.

12. Celebrate the cultural side of the city at the Seattle Center

Festl is one of the many events hosted by the Seattle Center.

Go to the Irish Festival in March, the Polish Festival in July, and the Croatia Fest in October for free.

13. Watch the sunset or light your own fire

One of the few public parks that allows open fires is Golden Gardens Park.

One of the best places to watch the sunset in Seattle is at the park. The only thing you can do is decide on where to go.

14. Hit the beach for some saltwater fun

Salt and freshwater shoreline make many of Seattle's parks double as beaches. Seattle's beaches have a lot of free and inexpensive activities to choose from.

Side view of a giant glass spherical greenhouse in downtown Seattle
The Amazon Spheres are a botanical oasis in downtown Seattle © AnSyvanych / Getty Images

15. Marvel at the botanical Spheres

The Denny Triangle's newest construction is different from the Amazon Tower I that went up in 2015.

The Spheres is low to the ground and has a sci-fi movie aesthetic. The spheres are made of metal and glass.

There is an exhibit on the building's architecture and ethos in the understory. You can book tours on the weekend on the website.

16. Visit the historic Alki Point Lighthouse

One of Seattle's most popular beaches is Alki Point Lighthouse, which was built in 1913. The lighthouse is maintained by the US Coast Guard during the summer months.

17. Attend a Ladies Musical Club performance

The Ladies Musical Club is interested in classical music in Seattle.

This female-only group selects and produces a variety of classical music styles, staging shows in small community venues. The club's performance calendar can be found on their website, as well as being streamed on LMC's YouTube channel.

18. Admire art at Roq La Rue

The work on view skates along the edge of urban pop culture, securing the gallery's reputation.

Roq La Rue has been featured in Juxtapoz magazine many times since it opened in 1998.

Couple canoeing on lake, Seattle, Washington, USA
The tranquil Washington Park Arboretum rests on the shore of Lake Washington ©  Thomas Northcut / Getty Images

19. Smell the azaleas at the Washington Park Arboretum

There is a wide variety of gardens, a wetlands nature trail and 200 acres of mature forest at this park.

The Washington Park Arboretum contains more than 5000 plant species. There is a profusion of pink and orange-flowered azaleas and rhododendrons in the springtime.

20. Relax at Waterfall Garden Park

One of the first small parks in Seattle was the waterfall garden park. The park has a waterfall and is a great place to take a break during a busy day of sightseeing.

21. Wander the rows at the Seattle Rose Garden

5000 plant species, including heirloom roses and a test garden for All-America Rose Selections, can be found at the Seattle Rose Garden.

22. Dive into history at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

The museum is run by the US National Park Service and is dedicated to the 1897 Klondike gold rush.

In Seattle, it's free, and entry would cost US$20 elsewhere. The Cadillac Hotel is where the museum is located. After the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, it was saved from certain death.

The best part of the museum is its story telling. Five local characters were stampeders in the 1890s.

You are invited to follow their fortunes and experiences in the rest of the museum. These stories are brought to life with sound effects.

The article was published in June of 2019.