Enjoy some free fun with a free museum day in Seattle! We love these free family adventures. Since we’re local, I assembled this master list of ALL the free museums in Seattle!
This post is a long one! We started with all the free museum days in Seattle because there are so many. If you’re willing to drive a little, be sure to check out the rest of the free museum days in Washington.
Of course, we’ve found even more ways to enjoy free museums in Seattle! If you don’t see the one you’re looking for, then check our other posts about free and discounted admission in Washington! If you have an EBT card, ProviderOne card or library card, you can get special discounts. You may also be able to get free admission to state parks!
Can’t wait for a free museum day in Seattle? These museums are always free!
One of the hardest parts about going to free museums in Seattle is waiting for that one precious day per week (or per month) when you can actually go! Of course, my family usually ends up busy, sick or otherwise unavailable on those special days anyways. That’s why I love that there are so many always free museums in Seattle.
Center for Wooden Boats
Visit the center for free! The museum exhibits reveal the history of the region’s watercraft with working exhibits, examples and experience. The Boathouse Gallery shows rotating exhibits. If you want to rent a boat, then you will have to pay an extra charge.
Coast Guard Museum
See thousands of items, including uniforms, ships wheels, lighthouse lenses, a piece of the HMS Bounty, the bell from the steam tug Roosevelt and so much more!. Visitors are encouraged to call (206) 217-6993 before their visit so they can be cleared through the gate.
Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center
Thousands of years before Seattle was a city, there were indigenous people here called the Duwamish Tribe. Learn about their way of life here, at the Duwamish Longhouse Museum.
Frye Art Museum
The collection includes 232 paintings known as the Frye Founding Collection, as well as other art that has been acquired since its opening in 1952. A schedule of rotating exhibitions and educational programming can be found here.
Hiram M Chittenden Locks
The Locks, built by the US Army Corp of Engineers in 1917, connect Lake Washington, Lake Union and Salmon Bay to the Puget Sound. They maintain the water level of the lakes at 20-22 feet above sea level and prevent the mixing of saltwater with freshwater. The visitors center provides fascinating information about this project.
The locks are in use 24/7. The grounds are open from 7am to 9pm daily. The fish ladder viewing room is open from 7am to 8:45pm.
Klondike Gold Rush National History Park
Relive the exciting days of the gold rush through exhibits, park movies and more! Movies are free and shown by request. This building, which belongs to the National Parks Service, offers no outdoor components and is entirely indoors. It’s one of the best free museums in Seattle for those rainy days!
Explore the fascinating history of the log house museum and its surrounding area. Although there is no admission charge, there is a suggested donation of $3 per adult or $1 per child.
Olympic Sculpture Park
Browse 9 acres of outdoor sculptures and scenic views. It’s a one-of-a-kind outdoor museum featuring pieces like the Typewriter Eraser, Scale X that is often seen from the street below.
Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum
Learn about the history of policing in Seattle. Exhibits and information date back to the 1880s! An interactive kids zone allows children to try on uniforms, press buttons on consoles and more.
Washington Park Arboretum
Explore 230 acres of rare plants at the Arboretum! It’s not exactly a museum but it’s so beautiful we had to include it in this list of free museums in Seattle. Sorry (not sorry)!
On weekdays, check out these free museums in Seattle!
These museums offer free access on weekdays, which are Monday through Friday. Some are limited to certain hours so be sure to read carefully and call the museum before you go!
Seattle Children’s Museum
One hour isn’t a lot of time to explore all 22,000 square feet of the Seattle Children’s Museum, but this is a great deal for families who can’t afford regular admission. Want more time? Check out the museum’s low-income access programs.
Waterfall Garden Park
Enjoy the serenity of the Waterfall Garden Park, a hidden oasis in the city.
These are Monday’s free museums in Seattle!
Benaroya Hall Tours & Recitals
Tour the magnificent Benaroya Hall on select dates. Short tours begin at 12pm, full tours begin at 1pm. The remaining 2016 dates are: May 16, June 27 and August 1.
Enjoy the beautiful sound of the Seattle Symphony’s 26-ft tall, 4,490-pipe concert organ during a free 30 minute recital performed by resident organist Joseph Adam. The recitals begin at 12:30pm. The remaining 2016 dates are June 27th and August 1. The recital can be incorporated into the hall tour.
These are Wednesday’s free museums!
Last Resort Fire Department Museum
This museum is located inside Seattle Fire Department Headquarters. It features vintage rigs and equipment, information about the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 and the Frye Packing Plant Fire of 1943.
This museum is also open free on Thursdays between June and August!
The first Thursday of each month is the official Free Museum Day in Seattle.
On the first Thursday of each month, these museums open their doors for free! This deal is exclusive to the first Thursday only, so don’t miss your once-a-month access to these free museums in Seattle.
Art Walk in Pioneer Square
In 1981, Pioneer Square debuted the United States’ first ever art walk. It is still going strong today! In addition, parking is free at the Frye Garage, Butler Garage and Pioneer Square Garage for this event. This occurs between 5pm and 10pm on the first Thursday only. For a list of participating galleries and venues, please click here.
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Since 1885, the Burke Museum showcases over 16 million objects to many different audiences. Collections include paleontology, geology, botany, genetic resources and more. They open their doors free between 10 am and 8pm on the first Thursday only!
Henry Art Gallery
The museum, which is located on the University of Washington campus, is always free to students. They provide free admission to everyone on the first Thursday only between 11am and 9pm!
Living Computers: Museum + Labs
There’s so much to see and do at the Living Computers: Museum + Labs! All the computers are restored and interactive. Guests can play vintage computer games, use a Teletype and more. Kids can play with Snap Circuits and other computer-related gadgets in the BitZone. They offer free admission between 5pm and 8pm on the first Thursday only and they also offer a great ACCESS Program for visitors with EBT cards.
Museum of Flight
Learn about aviation and space history at this exciting museum! It’s one of the largest and most thorough of its kind, with millions of rare photographs, tens of thousands of artifacts, a huge library and over 150 aircraft and space vehicles. You can visit free between 5pm and 9pm on the first Thursday only. You can also click here to learn about their FREE memberships for kids age 5-18!
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
Discover Seattle’s rich history and explore its potential for the future at MOHAI. Permanent exhibits include Maritime Seattle, the Bezos Center for Innovation and True Northwest. The Kid-Struction Zone is a great place for kids to build and explore! You can visit free between 10 am and 8 pm on the first Thursday. You can also check out their awesome EBT discount!
Nordic Heritage Museum
Learn more about Nordic Heritage, including its history, myths, sagas, and the current Nordic World through collections and exhibits. The Dream of America and Promise of the Northwest exhibits explore the story of immigration and the allure of our area. A special gallery is dedicated to each of the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Get free admission between 10 am and 4 pm on the first Thursday of each month!
Northwest African American Museum
This museum shares the story of people of African descent who journeyed to our region, established a vibrant community and more. Arts, music, crafts, literature, history and more are shared here. NAAM presents the story of those brought here by slavery, as well as those who have immigrated from Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and other countries. You can visit free between 11 am and 7 pm on the first Thursday of each month!
Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center
Tour the Tugboat Arthur Foss and Lightship No. 83 “Swiftsure” heritage vessels, which are floating museums with public programs. Onboard, guests can learn about the workings of a tugboat and her crew. Free access is granted between 12pm and 3pm on the first Thursday of each month.
Seattle Art Museum
SAM’s collections and installations are free on the first Thursday. Access to special exhibits is half-price. Open 10 am to 9 pm on the first Thursday of each month!
Asian Art Museum
This world-renowned collection of Asian Art displays visual arts from across many of Asia’s cultures and time-periods. There are also special exhibits for contemporary Asian artists. They provide free admission between 10 am and 9 pm on the first Thursday of each month.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
The Wing provides guided tours and ongoing exhibitions featuring the real-life stories of the Asian Pacific American community. Nestled in the Chinatown-International District neighborhood, the museum encourages visitors to explore fascinating historical spaces (including a real 1910 imports shop and an authentic Chinese American family association) through 45-minute long guided tours. Visit free 10 am to 8 pm on the first Thursday!
The second Thursday of each month is a free museum day in Seattle, too!
Asian Art Museum
This world-renowned collection of Asian Art includes pieces from Asia’s various cultures and time-periods. There are also special exhibits for contemporary Asian artists. You can visit free between 5 pm and 9 pm on the second Thursday of the month, too!
Capital Hill Art Walk
Capital Hill Art Walk encourages local businesses and venues to open their doors to the public for art displays on the second Thursday of each month after 5pm. For a list of venues that are participating in the upcoming month, please check out this website.
Seniors enjoy a special free museum day in Seattle on the first Friday of the month!
Seattle Art Museum
If you are at least 62 years old, then you can get free admission to Seattle Art Museum on the first Friday of the month! This deal is valid for seniors only during business hours which run from 10 am til 9 pm!
Asian Art Museum
This world-renowned collection of Asian Art displays visual arts Asia’s culture and time periods, including contemporary Asian artists. The first Friday discount is valid for seniors only and lasts all business day.
There are free museums in Seattle on Saturdays, too!
Asian Art Museum
This deal is for families only! On Saturdays between 11am and 2pm, kids can create their own art! Each Free First Saturday has a theme with special workshops, performances and more. The museum event is designed for children ages 3-12 and their parents/guardians.
Meet in front of the main entrance of the theater for a 90 minute tour led by a well-versed volunteer. These free tours provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the historic theater. All tours start at 10 am!
The tours include the Paramount Theater (first Saturday of the month), Moore Theater (second Saturday) and Neptune Theater (third Saturday).
Sunday is a free museum day, too!
Henry Art Gallery
The museum, which is located on the University of Washington campus, is always free to students. The public can visit free on Sundays between 11 am and 4 pm!