Seattle’s arts and culture scene is hard at work; inflation hits harder. As prices rise, it’s harder and harder to put money aside for your amusement fund, but so are duds. Fortunately, Seattle offers plenty of affordable arts, culture, and entertainment opportunities to keep you and your wallet happy.
We’ve compiled a list of free activities, low-cost tickets, and discount organizations to help you maximize your dollars this summer.
Museums and visual arts
Visual arts enthusiasts have no shortage of options in this area.
If you missed the chance to take a look at their work during the Seattle Art Fair, many art galleries are open to the public for free during their regular hours.
If museums are your thing, the Frye Art Museum, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and Olympic Sculpture Park all offer free daily admission. On the first Thursday of every month, several museums offer free admission, including the Seattle Art Museum, National Nordic Museum, Museum of Flight, Burke Museum, and Museum of History & Industry. Seattle Asian Art Museum Free Day is the last Friday of every month.
If you have a library card, you may also have the chance to visit some Seattle-area museums for free. With a King County Library System Museum Pass, library card holders can book two free visits to eligible museums per month. Restrictions state that passes must be for different museums and on different days. Additionally, the Bellevue Arts Museum limits passes to one per household every 90 days (KidsQuest Museum has the same limitation). All other museums, including the Museum of Pop Culture, Museum of Aviation, and Museum of History and Industry, allow one pass per cardholder every 90 days.
Likewise, the Seattle Public Library Museum Pass allows library card holders to book a free visit to a Seattle attraction every 30 days. Each pass includes at least two adult tickets, and you can book passes up to 30 days in advance. Availability is limited and new passes are available at noon each day. The Seattle Art Museum, MoPOP, Henry Art Gallery, Wing Luke Museum and National Nordic Museum all participate in this program.
If you are a Bank of America cardholder, the company offers a Museums about us program that gives cardholders free admission to museums during the first full weekend of each month. This program covers the Seattle Art Museum, Bellevue Arts Museum, Wing Luke Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane.
Not to be confused with Museums on Us, the Museums for All Program from the Institute of Museum and Library Services offers people receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) free or discounted admission to museums nationwide by presenting your SNAP EBT card. Participating art museums include Bellevue Arts Museum, Henry Art Gallery, MoPOP, National Nordic Museum, SAM, and Wing Luke Museum.
Music and dance
Looking for a date idea? Dance until dusk offers free dance classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer: Tuesdays at Quai 62 until August 30; Thursdays at Freeway Park until August 25.
If you prefer music, discover a series of free summer concerts. summer sounds at Auburn’s Les Gove Park has free concerts through August 25. Also at Les Gove Park is Summer camp for childrena series of children’s programs every Wednesday until August 17.
Those who need a bit of an arm twist to trade in their sweatpants for pre-pandemic cabin life might appreciate the free concerts in downtown Seattle and Bellevue, often at noon. The Summer Sounds of Downtown Seattle The series features live music at various downtown locations through September 9, including the Lords of Funk jammy Polyrhythmics (noon August 16, Westlake Park) and a happy hour with Tacoma roots rocker Stephanie Anne Johnson (5 p.m. Aug. 23, Westlake Park).
Eastside lunch breaks can soak up the free midday sounds via Bellevue Beatswith highlights such as Brazilian jazz pianist Jovino Santos Neto performing with his trio (11:30am-1:30pm August 17, Bellevue Connection) and singer-songwriter Tomo Nakayama (12pm-1pm August 25, Bellevue Square Fountain Short ).
One of many cool DIY festivals to pop up in the post-lockdown era, BAZZOOKAFEST + THE BAZZOOKA BALL is a real-world extension of musician/filmmaker Danny Denial’s sci-fi web series “BAZZOOKA” – a “by us, for us” project that brought together an all-star cast of artists of color and LGBTQ artists + music, cinema and chatting up communities. The free event in Jefferson Park (August 19-20, 4-11 p.m.) features live music and drag performances from ubiquitous singer-songwriter Shaina Shepherd, of synth-pop duo Bijoux , indie-pop star SuperCoze and more.
One of the coolest musical and gastronomic events (or is it the other way around?), CHO! returns to Marymoor Park’s Willowmoor Farm for the first time since the pandemic. As part of King County’s Local Food Initiative, the August 20 event promotes local, sustainable (and affordable) food. Alternative country heroes Drive-By Truckers headline the sound menu otherwise filled with local talent, including electrifying bluesman Brett Benton, Maya Marie, Sundae + Mr. Goessl, singer-songwriter Tekla Waterfield with her guitarist husband Jeff Fielder, and for the little ones, rock genre favorites The Not-Its!.
If you need a family movie night, you’re in luck. American car museum in Tacoma has a free Disney drive-in movie showing Aug. 19. Port of Everett has free movie screenings at the marina Friday through August 19.
Other free filming locations include: Marysville Jennings Memorial Park until August 13; Downtown Seattle Mural Amphitheater until August 27; Bellevue Downtown Park every Tuesday until August 23; Bellevue’s Crossroads Park every Tuesday until August 25; Skyway Outdoor Cinema and Seattle Freeway Park every Friday in August.
Many places – including museums, cinemas and others – offer discounts for seniors, children, students and the military, and SAT and Henry Art Gallery propose a “suggested admission” formula. Check the websites of the sites for detailed information.
Theaters and performing arts
In an effort to reduce monetary barriers, many theaters across the city have implemented discounted ticket programs or pay-as-you-go programs that allow those who cannot pay full price to attend the theater. at discounted price. Availability and location of these tickets are limited and some organizations require you to call or purchase the tickets in person. You can find this option on Seattle Representative, LAW and village theater. Pacific Northwest Ballet (which opens “Carmina Burana” at the end of September) also offers it for each Thursday performance.
Some smaller theaters are offering discounted tickets this fall for audiences who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend. Products stuffed with pork offers $10 accessibility tickets, Theater 22 the community ticket price is also $10 and ArtsWest has an inclusion rate of $15.
Seattle-area theaters offer a variety of discounts for students, seniors, military, and arts industry professionals. ACT is also extending discounts to people 25 and under. And if you got the knees for it, Seattle Opera and LAW both offer discounted standing room-only tickets on the day of the performance for their sold-out performances.
If you’re ready to give it a shot, you might want to try your luck at getting discounted tickets to the “hamilton(at the Paramount Theater in Seattle) thanks to its lottery. Or you can try to get discounted peak tickets for a number of other Seattle-area arts organizations: Seattle Opera is offering $35 community rush tickets while Seattle Representative offers peak tickets at half price. Half-price peak tickets are also available for the ballet, but they limit availability to students, seniors, school employees, government and military officials, and those employed in the arts and culture sectors.
Purchasing economy tickets
Purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster and AXS – brokers affiliated with the concert industry’s two major promoters – can easily mark up a $30 ticket by 50%. For shows that are not sold out, buying tickets at the venue box office can eliminate or reduce the middleman’s share.
Although current hours and gas prices may make it prohibitively expensive, head to the Paramount Theater box office (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays) for all Seattle Theater Group shows whenever possible. The show box the box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while Showbox SoDo’s hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday (remember that both venues also sell tickets to Marymoor Park). On Capitol Hill, the Runaway sells tickets to Neumos and Barboza shows (just ask the bartender).
For an affordable outdoor big screen experience, Blue Fox Drive-in on Whidbey Island is open 7 days a week, with tickets from $0 to $7. Port Townsend’s wheel motor movie is open Wednesday through Sunday and tickets cost between $0 and $10. Mondays and Tuesdays, Crest Cinema in Shoreline has tickets for $6.
By creating for free Star of gold account, you can access discounted tickets to theater, music, comedy shows, sports games and more. The website’s search function allows you to filter by both location and type of activity.
Similar to GoldStar, a freeware TodayTix account gives you access to discounted tickets to theater productions in various cities, including Seattle.
Register for free TeenTix The pass allows ages 13-19 access to arts and cultural opportunities for $5 per ticket. Teens can use their pass at more than 70 organizations in the Seattle metro area. The entry form, along with a schedule of eligible events, is available at teentix.org.