The Seattle area is filled with many free attractions for locals and visitors. Whether visiting the University of Washington campus for the cherry blossoms or the beach, life bursts forth from the dormant trees and flowers through-out the area. There are many opportunities for all ages to experience the area for free, experience the local culture, and meet new people.

The Seattle Center has many benches for visitors to take a rest during their visit. Photo by Karen Ulvestad.

Seattle Center
305 Harrison Ave.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 684-7200 

The Seattle Center was built for the 1962 World Fair, and many of the original buildings are still standing. The historic buildings include the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, the Center House, the Coliseum (Key Arena), and the Opera House. Recently, the city has been updating the area with the addition of the EMP Museum, and Chihuly Garden and Glass. The International Fountain is still in the center of the Seattle Center, and operates through-out the year. There is both street and parking lots to park in while visiting. It is easy to reach the Seattle Center via bus or the Monorail from downtown.

Kubota Garden
9817 55th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98178
(206) 725-5060

Kubota Garden is located in Rainier Beach area of Seattle on the south end. The garden began in 1927 with the purchase of 5 acres and grew to 28 acres. Fujitaro Kubota, an immigrant from Japan, built the garden to share the Japanese culture with his new country. He used native plants to create his Japanese garden, and allowed limited public access. Currently, the garden is listed as a Historical Landmark of the City of Seattle. It became a park in 1987. Admission is free, and the garden has a large parking lot.

The Washington Park Arboretum is beautiful during every season. Photos by Karen Ulvestad.

Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Drive E.
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 543-8800

Washington Park Arboretum is located across the ship canal bridge from the University of Washington on Lake Washington. This 230 acres of gardens are home to several different collections of plants. The spring brings out the diverse blossoms of rhododendrons and azaleas. Each season offers visitors a different view of the foliage or flowers in the various gardens. The trails run through and give access to the gardens and forest areas. The Japanese garden at the south end of the Arboretum is a free area. There is plenty of parking available.

Related: Essentials: Seattle, From Classics To New Attractions

Woodland Park Rose Garden
750 N. 50th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 548-2590

The Woodland Park Rose Garden is on the south end of the zoo off of N. 50th St., and it’s free to the public. The garden is filled with hundreds of roses, a gazebo, benches, pathways, and a fountain with water lilies. The garden is one of 24 gardens nation wide that is a certified American Rose Test Garden. Visitors will be treated with viewing roses before they become available for purchase by the public. The best times to visit the garden are late spring through the summer. The garden is maintained by the Woodland Park Zoo society. The garden is next to a large parking lot, and is easily accessible via bus.

Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 654-3100

Olympic Sculpture Park is on the north end of the Seattle waterfront. The park is a part of the Seattle Museum. The park offers world-class sculptures against the backdrop of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. These outdoor sculptures are surrounded by open space, allowing room to walk, view the artwork, and enjoy the breath taking views. During summer months, Taste is open on weekends for food. Parking is available in lots or on the street.

Related: Best Day Trips For Under $100 In The Seattle Area

Karen Ulvestad is a mother and professional writer/photographer, who lives in the greater Seattle area. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in English Composition. Her background is in fitness, travel, photography and writing. She continually researches locations to visit, and/or entertainment opportunities for family outings and/or photo shoots. Her work can be found at