Free activities in Washington

Jun 1, 2012 at 11:09 a.m. ET

Leave your wallet at home and don't bother stopping at the ATM on the way to these family-friendly activities... because they're all free! Washington is bursting with ways to have fun with your family without also breaking the bank, and we're excited to share some of them with you here.

International Fountain at the Seattle Center

It's a Seattle activity that is free as free can be and best of all, it's freeing too! The International Fountain at the Seattle Center is a beloved landmark in the city and nothing is more fun, especially on a hot day, than running in the gigantic concrete basin of the fountain while trying to miss being sprayed. The fountain puts on different water shows throughout the day, some lasting up to 12-minutes long and shooting water 120-feet into the air. Don't forget some towels to dry off afterward!

Location: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109

Phone: 206-684-7200



Alki Beach

Don't be fooled... although on a sunshiny summer day, you may very well think that you're in California, not Washington State, Alki Beach, located in West Seattle, is as close as you're going to come in the great Northwest! And here's the best news yet — a trip to Alki Beach won't cost you a dime — even parking is free! There is a long boardwalk that stretches along the beach that is perfect for rollerblading, pushing a stroller or simply going on a walk. Or head down onto the beach to splash in the waves and do some digging in the sand. Bring your own lunches and drinks to make this outing even easier on your wallet!

Location: 1702 Alki Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Phone: Seattle Parks and Recreation at 206-684-4075



Hirim M. Chittenden Locks

Also known as the Ballard Locks to Seattle locals, not only is this a family activity that is free, but it's also one that is pretty cool! Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, which runs right along the waterfront on the west side of the city, the Locks, as they're simply called, is the transition area between Elliott Bay and Lake Union, where both boats and fish head from salt water to fresh water. To do this, they raise and lower the water level in the locks, allowing boats, some of which are quite large, to pass through. Be sure to go under the Locks as well, where you can see fish swimming up and down the Locks, depending on the time of year.

Location: 3015 54th St. NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Phone: 206-684-CITY



Pike Place Market

Don't let the name fool you — you don't need to spend any money to enjoy some time with your family at Pike Place Market! One of the most popular tourist destinations in Seattle, Pike Place Market or the Market, as it's known, is also a favorite for Seattle families, many of whom come down on a weekly basis. To enjoy Pike Place for free, stroll the market and do some "window" shopping, check out the fish throwers, get samples of the freshest veggies and fruits from the vendors and sniff every single gorgeous bouquet of market flowers. Bring your own lunches and eat them on the grassy area that's located on the north side of the market.

Location: First Avenue and Pike Street in downtown Seattle

Phone: 206-682-7453



Olympic Sculpture Park

If your family is interested in visiting the Seattle Art Museum but not up for the cost of admission, try visiting their outdoor location instead — the Olympic Sculpture Park. Located in downtown Seattle, where Belltown and the Seattle waterfront meet, the Sculpture Park is a collection of dozens of pieces that are fun for families to explore and interpret for themselves. It's quite entertaining to hear what your five-year old thinks the different sculptures actually look like!

Location: 2901 Western Ave., Seattle, WA 98121

Phone: 206- 654-3100



More Washington attractions

Get centered at Seattle Center
CityGuide: Winter activities in Seattle, WA
5 Family-friendly Seattle day trips