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Free Museum Days in Seattle and Tacoma

How to enjoy area museums on the cheap

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Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum offers free days

Copyright Jason Anfinsen via Flickr

The Seattle-Tacoma area is filled to the brim with museums, but unlike the renowned museums in Washington D.C., most of Seattle’s museums have an admission fee. However, this doesn’t mean the only way to visit is to shell out admission, which can get steep if you want to bring the kids along!

Many area museums have free admission on certain days each month. These free museum days happen on Seattle’s First Thursday, Tacoma’s Third Thursday, and sometimes for special holiday events. Many area museums are also Blue Star Museums—a nation-wide program offering free admission for military families to museums, art galleries, and science centers.

Yet another way to get into some local museums for free is to look to the county library systems. King County Library allows patrons to print free passes from its website. Passes are available for Bellevue Arts Museum, KidsQuest Children’s Museum, and Washington State History Museum. Pierce County Library also has free passes, but rather than printing them out, patrons can check them out from the libraries. Passes cannot be renewed or reserved. PCL has free passes to Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum.

Most museums offer free or discounted admission for young children accompanied by an adult. The list below includes museums that offer free admission for all.

Free Museum Days in Seattle

Bellevue Arts Museum
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: Use a King County Library pass
Location: 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: For First Thursdays, the museum is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and admission is free.
Location: On University of Washington campus, on the corner of 17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street.

Center for Wooden Boats
Blue Star Museum: No
Admission is always free.
Location: 1010 Valley Street, Seattle

Frye Art Museum
Blue Star Museum: Yes
Admission is always free.
Location: 704 Terry Avenue, Seattle

Klondike Gold Rush Museum
Blue Star Museum: No
Admission is always free.
Location: 319 2nd Avenue South, Seattle

Museum of Flight
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: First Thursdays, the museum offers free admission from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Children under 4 are always free.
Location: 9404 East Marginal Way South, Seattle

Museum of History and Industry
Blue Star Museum: No
How to visit for free: First Thursdays, this museum has free admission from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Children 4 and under are always free. Active military and their families are free with their military ID on Memorial Day.
Location: 2700 24th Avenue East, Seattle

Northwest African American Museum
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: Free admission on both the first and second Thursday of each month. Children under 5 always free.
Location: 2300 South Massachusetts Street, Seattle

Seattle Art Museum
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: First Thursdays the museum is free for everyone from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The first Friday of each month, admission is free to seniors 62 and older. The second Friday of each month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., admission is free for teens ages 13 to 19.
Location: 1300 First Avenue, Seattle

Seattle Asian Art Museum
Blue Star Museum: No
How to visit for free: SAAM is open to the public for free on First Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The second Thursday of each month, SAAM participates in the Capitol Hill Art Wall and is free from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The first Friday of each month is free for seniors 62+. The first Saturday is free for families.
Location: 1400 East Prospect Street, Seattle

Free Museum Days in Tacoma

Museum of Glass
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: On Tacoma’s Third Thursdays, MOG is free from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Always free to children 5 and under. Pierce County Library has a pass for two adults and unlimited kids under 18.
Location: 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma

Tacoma Art Museum
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: On Third Thursdays, TAM is open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for free. Children 5 and under are always free. Pierce County Library has a pass good for four free admissions.
Location: 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

Children’s Museum of Tacoma
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: Children’s Museum of Tacoma is a pay-as-you-will museum, meaning you truly can’t afford to pay, you and your children can still come in and enjoy the museum!
Location: 1501 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

Washington State History Museum
Blue Star Museum: Yes
How to visit for free: For Third Thursday, WSHM offers free admission from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Children under 5 are free. Pierce County Library’s pass is free for two adults and unlimited kids under 18.

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