How to Spend a Budget-Friendly Weekend in Seattle


Seattle is a jewel in America’s Pacific Northwest. Although the city has a reputation for being an expensive place to live, it can be an affordable travel destination. There are loads of free attractions to enjoy in Seattle and, if you play your cards right, you can find affordable lodging, transportation, and dining, as well.

Visit Free Attractions

There are loads of free places to visit in Seattle — more than enough to keep you entertained for a weekend. The Pike Place Market is a city favorite, and it’s free to browse. Enjoy the free samples and the atmosphere, but tip the street performers a bit if you can. Seattle’s free museums include the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Site, the Seattle Art Museum, the Frye Art Museum, the Coast Guard Museum, and the Museum of Flight.

Enjoy the Parks

Seattle is a city that loves its green spaces, and there are plenty of parks to enjoy around town. The Olympic Sculpture Park, Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Washington Parks Arboretum, and Japanese Gardens are all favorites among residents and visitors alike.

Get a CityPASS

If you want to visit Seattle’s most iconic attractions, the best deal is to buy a CityPASS. The pass costs $79 for adults or $59 for kids, which is a 50 percent discount from paying for each attraction separately. Your CityPASS gets you admission to the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, the Argosy Cruise Harbor Tour, and a choice of visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass or the Pacific Science Center. You also get to make a second choice between the Museum of Pop Culture or the Woodland Park Zoo.

Dining on a Dime

While the city boasts plenty of elegant restaurants with fine dining and gorgeous views, you won’t starve if you’re on a budget. Seafood is plentiful and affordable here; look for it at Burien Fish House or try one of the many eateries in the Pike Place Market. Ethnic restaurants tend to be some of the biggest bargains in the city, with a particular emphasis on Asian cuisines. Xi’an Noodles in the University area serves delicious Chinese noodles, or try Bok a Bok in White Center for Korean fried chicken and biscuits.

Where to Stay

Hotels in the city center can be pricey, but there are bargains available if you’re willing to sacrifice location. SeaTac hotels are convenient to the airport and not terribly far from the city’s attractions. Belltown is another affordable neighborhood, and it’s close to nightlife for travelers who like to party into the night.

Getting Around

Seattle is one of the few American cities that’s fairly easy to navigate without a car. The light rail will get you into the city from the airport, and from there you can take buses, streetcars, or the monorail to all the major attractions.

A weekend in Seattle can be a fun adventure that doesn’t break the bank. The best part of the city is the scenery, and you can look at the mountains, ocean, lakes, and city skyline all you want for free.