Updated for Summer 2013
Here’s a rundown of Seattle’s free museums. I’ve included my opinion on the ages that will get the most out of the experience.
Every Friday Free Seattle Museum:
Soundbridge at Benaroya Hall. 200 University St., Seattle; 206-336-6600. Pay-what-you-can every Friday from 10-4. Suggested donation $5-15/family. Best for children under age 6.
First Thursday Free Seattle Museums:
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Free. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., University of Washington, NE 45th Street and 17th Avenue NE; 206-543-5590. Best for kids age 3 and up.
Henry Art Gallery. “Pay as you wish” (or free) 11 a.m.-9 p.m. First Thursday, University of Washington, NE 45th Street and 17th Avenue NE. Best for kids age 6 and up.
KiDiMu. Free 10-4,301 Ravine Lane NE, Bainbridge Island. 206-855-4650. Best for the 6 and under set.
Museum of Flight. Free 5-9 p.m., 9404 E. Marginal Way S.; 206-764-5720. Best for kids age 3 and up.
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). Free 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 860 Terry Avenue N ; 206-324-1126. Best for kids age 3 and up.
Nordic Heritage Museum. Free 10 a.m. -4 p.m., 3014 NW 67th Street, Seattle; 206-789-5707. Best for kids age 6 and up, but the museum often offers preschool-targeted storytimes on first Tuesdays.
Northwest African American Museum. Free 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., 2300 S. Massachusetts St.; 206-518-6000. Best for kids age 6 and up. Also free on the second Thursday of the month.
Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Free 10 a.m.-9 p.m. First Thursday, 100 University St.; 206-654-3100. Best for kids age 5 and up.
Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM). Free 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Volunteer Park, 1400 E. Prospect St., Seattle; 206-654-3100. Best for kids age 6 and up. Also free on the second Thursday from 5-9 p.m.
Wing Luke Asian Museum. Free 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 719 S. King Street; 206-623-5124. Best for kids age 8 and up, except during”Family Day” on third Saturday.
First Friday Free Tacoma & Bellevue Museums:
Children’s Museum of Tacoma. Free admission from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., 936 Broadway Ave., Tacoma, 253-627-6031. Best for kids age 6 and under. Museum is typically “pay as you will.”
First Saturday Free Seattle Museum:
Seattle Asian Art Museum. Free admission from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. on “Family Day,” with arts activities and movies.
Third Thursday Free Tacoma and Bellevue Museums:
KidsQuest Children’s Museum. Free admission from 5-8 p.m., 4091 Factoria Square Mall SE, Bellevue, 425-637-8100. Best for kids 6 and under.
Tacoma Art Museum. Free 10 a.m. — 8 p.m., 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253- 272-4258. Best for kids age 6 and up.
Museum of Glass. Free 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1801 Dock St., Tacoma. 1-866-4-MUSEUM. Best for kids age 7 and up.
Washington State History Museum. Free 2 p.m.-8 p.m. 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, Toll-free 1-888-BE THERE (1-888-238-4373). Best for kids age 3 and up.
Third Friday Free Everett Museum:
Imagine Children’s Museum. Free admission from 5-9 p.m., 1502 Wall St., Everett. 425-258-1006. Best for babies and up.
Third Saturday Free Museum in Seattle
Wing Luke Asian Museum. “Family Day,” with arts activities included, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Free Seattle Museums — Free all the time:
Center for Wooden Boats. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m during summer, 1010 Valley Street, Seattle, 206-382-2628. Best for kids age 5 and up.
Frye Art Museum. Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m., 704 Terry Avenue Seattle, 206-622-9250. Best for kids age 5 and up.
Olympic Sculpture Park. 30 minutes prior to sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset; 2901 Western Avenue, Seattle, 206-654-3100. Best for kids age 2 and up.
Seattle Children’s Museum. “Pay as you wish” last hour of the day (4-5 p.m.). 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, 206-441-1768. Best for ages 6 and under. NOTE: This museum has opposed employee attempts to discuss anti-racist educational resources and Black Lives Matter.