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Free Things To Do in Seattle

If you have extra time, Discovery Park is worthwhile.

#2

#2 in Seattle

Local Pick: Must-see ? Free
Since 1907, this bustling market near the downtown waterfront has been the go-to place for local produce. Today, you can find almost everything, from local artwork to vinyl records. Plus the flower market is a particular must-see, according to reviewers. Though Pike Place Market is one of the most tourist-heavy attractions in Seattle (plan to run into crowds, especially during the weekend) that's no reason to scratch it off your to-do list. Recent visitors said the abundance of vendors and lively atmosphere make it an experience you shouldn't pass up. 
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Shopping Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Pike Place Market
Since 1907, this bustling market near the downtown waterfront has been the go-to place for local produce. Today, you can find almost everything, from local artwork to vinyl records. Plus the flower market is a particular must-see, according to reviewers. Though Pike Place Market is one of the most tourist-heavy attractions in Seattle (plan to run into crowds, especially during the weekend) that's no reason to scratch it off your to-do list. Recent visitors said the abundance of vendors and lively atmosphere make it an experience you shouldn't pass up. 
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#3

#3 in Seattle

Local Pick: Must-see ? Free
If you like history, Pioneer Square should be at the top of your to-do list. This neighborhood was one of the first settlements in the Northwest U.S. (hence the name), and it has maintained much of its Old West identity. Today, you'll find the cobblestone area peppered with art galleries, restaurants and shops, not to mention an ornamental pergola, which provides shelter to those waiting to hop on the cable car. According to recent visitors, the area is worth a stroll but the neighborhood has seen better days. Many commented that while the architecture is beautiful, there is a large homeless population in the neighborhood. 
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Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Pioneer Square
If you like history, Pioneer Square should be at the top of your to-do list. This neighborhood was one of the first settlements in the Northwest U.S. (hence the name), and it has maintained much of its Old West identity. Today, you'll find the cobblestone area peppered with art galleries, restaurants and shops, not to mention an ornamental pergola, which provides shelter to those waiting to hop on the cable car. According to recent visitors, the area is worth a stroll but the neighborhood has seen better days. Many commented that while the architecture is beautiful, there is a large homeless population in the neighborhood. 
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#6

#6 in Seattle

Local Pick: Recommended ? Free
If you're looking to get outdoors without getting out of the city, this is the place. Sprawling across more than 500 acres in northern Seattle, Discovery Park is the city's largest green space. You'll find hiking trails, meadows, beaches and sand dunes abound. One must-see is the West Point Lighthouse, which can be reached by following the North Beach Trail, while the South Beach Trail leads you to a spectacular view of Mount Rainier and the city skyline. Trail maps are available at the visitors center near the park's main entrance.
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Hiking Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Discovery Park
If you're looking to get outdoors without getting out of the city, this is the place. Sprawling across more than 500 acres in northern Seattle, Discovery Park is the city's largest green space. You'll find hiking trails, meadows, beaches and sand dunes abound. One must-see is the West Point Lighthouse, which can be reached by following the North Beach Trail, while the South Beach Trail leads you to a spectacular view of Mount Rainier and the city skyline. Trail maps are available at the visitors center near the park's main entrance.
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#8

#8 in Seattle

Local Pick: If Time Allows ? Free
These locks – operated by the Army Corps of Engineers – are popular among visitors and locals in Seattle. The locks allow boats to pass between Puget Sound and the Lake Washington ship canal, offering a live demonstration of Seattle's maritime lifestyle. After you've watched a couple barges pass by, head to the south side of the locks where fish ladders help salmon migrate during the summer months; if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a sea lion looking for a quick bite to eat. The fish can be seen up close from special viewing windows. The Chittenden Locks are also home to the Carl English Botanical Gardens, which feature a variety of unique plants and beautiful views.
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Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard Locks)
These locks – operated by the Army Corps of Engineers – are popular among visitors and locals in Seattle. The locks allow boats to pass between Puget Sound and the Lake Washington ship canal, offering a live demonstration of Seattle's maritime lifestyle. After you've watched a couple barges pass by, head to the south side of the locks where fish ladders help salmon migrate during the summer months; if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a sea lion looking for a quick bite to eat. The fish can be seen up close from special viewing windows. The Chittenden Locks are also home to the Carl English Botanical Gardens, which feature a variety of unique plants and beautiful views.
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#10

#10 in Seattle

Local Pick: If Time Allows ? Free
There's no better way to get a healthy dose of culture than to enjoy some fine art, especially when the art is outdoors and free to enjoy. In other words, you should plan on visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 9-acre section of the Seattle Art Museum that's filled with works by such sculptors as Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg and Roxy Paine. Once you've had your fill of art, turn your attention to the view, which stretches over Elliott Bay to the Olympic Mountains.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Olympic Sculpture Park
There's no better way to get a healthy dose of culture than to enjoy some fine art, especially when the art is outdoors and free to enjoy. In other words, you should plan on visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 9-acre section of the Seattle Art Museum that's filled with works by such sculptors as Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg and Roxy Paine. Once you've had your fill of art, turn your attention to the view, which stretches over Elliott Bay to the Olympic Mountains.
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#11
Mount Si Free

#11 in Seattle

Local Pick: If Time Allows ? Free
If you don't have time to make the drive to Mount Rainier (about 80 miles southeast of downtown Seattle), Mount Si offers a popular alternative. Sitting about 30 miles east of the city center, Mount Si offers several opportunities to strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails. According to most, Mount Si is also a good place to get warmed up before tackling some of the more challenging trails found in nearby Mount Rainier National Park.
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Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Mount Si
If you don't have time to make the drive to Mount Rainier (about 80 miles southeast of downtown Seattle), Mount Si offers a popular alternative. Sitting about 30 miles east of the city center, Mount Si offers several opportunities to strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails. According to most, Mount Si is also a good place to get warmed up before tackling some of the more challenging trails found in nearby Mount Rainier National Park.
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