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Cheap Things to Do in Seattle

Free Art

The Olympic Sculpture Park has installations from sculptors like Alexander Calder set against the backdrop of the sparkling waters of the Sound.

Pioneer Square has the largest concentration of art galleries in the city, all of which are free. Elsewhere in the city, Belltown and Capitol Hill also have free galleries.

The Frye Art Museum is always free.

Beloved sculptures like the Fremont Troll, the statue of Lenin, and Waiting for the Interurban are free to visit, too.

Free Music

Unless it's a major ticketed venue, cover charges at small music venues tend to be cheap ($5-$8) or free.

Throughout the year, City Hall hosts free lunchtime concerts, mostly jazz and world music (www.seattle.gov/arts/community/seattle_presents.asp).

Local indie music station KEXP and Seattle Center host the Concerts at the Mural series at the Mural Amphitheatre lawn in late July and August (www.kexp.org/events).

All shows at the four-day (Memorial Day weekend) Northwest Folklife Festival (www.nwfolklife.org) are free, but donations are appreciated.

Free Words

Only residents can check out materials, but the gorgeous main branch of the Rem Koolhaas– and Joshua Ramus–designed Seattle Public Library is open to everyone—check e-mail, take a tour, listen to a CD from the music library, or catch up on reading in one of the many lounges and study areas. Many of their evening lectures are also free.

Seattle's favorite independent bookstore, Elliott Bay Book Company (www.elliottbaybook.com), often has free readings by well-known authors. Third Place Books (www.ravenna.thirdplacebooks.com) and Open Books (www.openpoetrybooks.com) are also beloved local bookstores that have author readings.

Town Hall, the city's premier venue for lectures, sometimes has free series—and tickets to most lectures, even for heavy hitters, are only $5 (www.townhallseattle.org).

Free Theater

Free (and cheap) theater can be found in Seattle year-round, but the best time to score that live theater fix is October, during Arts Crush (www.artscrush.org). For the entire month, the city teems with live theater (along with music, literature, film, and dance) events, many of which are free. Go behind the scenes at a major theater company, catch a reading, or sit for a full-length play. If you're visiting in July or August, you can enjoy a free Shakespeare in the Park production from Wooden O Theater (www.seattleshakespeare.org) or Green Stage (www.greenstage.org). Head to Volunteer Park for free children's theater from local beloved theaters, Theater Schmeater (www.schmeater.org), and Open Circle Theater (www.octheater.com).

Free Museums and Attractions

Always Free

The Center for Wooden Boats (and free boat rides on Sundays)

Coast Guard Museum on Pier 36

Frye Art Museum

Hiram M. Chittenden "Ballard" Locks

Klondike Gold Rush Museum

Kubota Garden

Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection

Pike Place Market

Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park

Uwajimaya

Volunteer Park Conservatory

Woodland Park Zoo's Rose Garden

Free First Thursday

Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park

Burke Museum

Experience Music Project (5 pm-8 pm)

Henry Art Gallery

Museum of Flight (5 pm-9 pm)

Museum of History and Industry

Science Fiction Hall of Fame (5 pm-8 pm)

Seattle Art Museum

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

Free First Friday

Bellevue Arts Museum

Free Saturdays

Asian Art Museum (1st Sat. of month; families only)

Paramount Theater tour (1st Sat. of month; 10 am)

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (3rd Sat. of month)

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