Here is this week’s list of family-friendly free or frugal events for around the Northwest, as well as some events going on around the country. Don’t forget to check out Goldstar for Discount Tickets on many local activities and events, if you are looking for a specific event and want to save some money!
Be sure to check out Thrifty NW Moms Summer Fun Page for park reviews and other frugal summer fun ideas, as well as our roundup of Summer Reading Programs in the Pacific NW and our around the Pacific NW too! We’ve got a big list of summer festivals and fair in the Northwest as well.
We have just published our Fall Consignment Sale round up here. Be sure to stop by and check that big list of sales out too!
If you see a fun, frugal event that’s not listed, feel free to leave a comment so we can add that event to our list.
PUGET SOUND AREA::
Friday August 31st:
*Evergreen State Fair – Monroe; through – 9/3; See website for times; Traditional fair with all of the fixings includeing rodeo, carnival, vendors, concerts, entertainment and more. All admissions discounted Labor Day. $8 to $10 parking. Find a full schedule of fair specials here.
*Olympia Harbor Days – Olympia; 8/31 – 9/2; Times vary, check website for detail; Free event includes entertainment, food, art, history, tall ships and vintage, working and retired tugboats (many open to tour), Dragon Boat rides, tugboat races and more.
*Northwest Sand Festival – Federal Way; through 9/3; See website for schedules. See master sand sculpters create awe-inspiring displays as they compete for prizes, plus kids can build their own masterpieces and get tips from the experts. Food, craft vendors, music and other fun activities round out the event. $7, $5 seniors and ages 5 to 17, free ages 4 and younger.
*Tall Ship Tours – Kirkland; 8/31; 10am to 1pm; The Lady Washington (the official ship of the state of Washington) will be available for self-guided tours. No tickets necessary; visitors will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis. Volunteers in period costumes will be available to answer questions and tell stories. Free, but $3 per person suggested donation.
*Tiffany Skate Inn, Free Military Weekend -Puyallup; 8/31-9/2; FREE skating Labor Day weekend for ALL Military and their family! This is available for all Public Skating Sessions this weekend. Must show valid Military ID. Skate rental extra: $1 regular, all other upgrades regular price.
*Summer Bash - Tacoma; 8/31; 5pm; Free. Games, food, activities and entertainment, followed by a family-friendly outdoor movie. Vote for your movie preference online. Movie at dusk, bring blankets or chairs.
*Menchie’s Grand Opening - Gig Harbor; through 8/31; Menchies just opened its newest location in the area and is welcoming the Gig Harbor community with a seven-day grand opening celebration beginning this Saturday (8/25) through next Friday (8/31), with free, family fun activities and giveaways, including free tastes!
*Seattle Centers ‘The Next 50′ celebration - Seattle; through 10/21; Join The Next Fifty for a full schedule of activities launching the six-month celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Most of the events are FREE.
Summer events will include: FREE Movies, FREE Concerts, and FREE Programming at the International Fountain
*Jetty Island Days - Everett; through 9/3; Jetty Islands Open Day is today. Enjoy Sandblast celebration, pirates hunt, crafts and more. Ferry rides to Jetty Island are free, but donations of $2 per adult and $1 per child help offset this cost and are appreciated. Find the calendar for the all of the Jetty Island Days activities here.
*Funtastic Fridays – Mercer Island; 8/31; 1pm; Join the Fun Mobile crew for wacky, zany fun at nine special Friday events this summer for our new program, “Funtastic Fridays! There will be crafts, games and more. This weeks theme is – Vikings and Dragons.
On the first Friday of the month Children’s stories are brought to life with movement and play in the Frye Art Museum galleries by Frye educators or librarians from The Seattle Public Library. Visit the galleries after story time. Ages 3 to 5 with adult. Both museum entrance and story time are free
*Free Entrance to Seattle Symphony’s “Soundbridge”- Seattle, Beneroya Hall; 8/31; 12:00pm to 4:00pm; Soundbridge is a music discovery center and is free each Friday after 12 pm; Ages 2-5, 30 minute interactive storytelling with song & rhythm, dance & musical instruments.
Saturday September 1st:
*Bumbershoot - Seattle; 9/1-9/3; This is one of the largest festivals, and includes comedy, dance, art, poetry, theater, film, visual arts and music on many stages, vendors and more. There is a Youngershoot area with entertainment and activities for kids (find kids schedule here). This event is not cheap – but it is a Seattle classic and kids 10 and younger are free. Tickets for adults start at $45 for a one day pass (can get multiple day passes too).
*Bremerton Blackberry Festival - Bremerton; 9/1-9/3; Times vary, see website for schedule; Free entrance to this event. Enjoy vendors, food, tours of the USS Turner Joy, fun run, chalk art, Fly-In at Bremerton National Airport, bike race and more.
*Free barbecue and entertainment at The Old Cannery – Sumner; 9/1 – 9/3; Not only do we have our biggest tent sale of the year with all the trimmings but also Michael Velling the “Sand Doc” will be here all three days creating one of his master pieces of Sand Art. , Free hot dogs, and pop from 12:00-3:00 while supplies last (all beef hot dogs and pop). You can also shop their Labor Day parking lot tent sale.
*Camlann Village Weekend - Carnation; 9/1 – 9/23; 12pm to 5pm; Camlann Village event is peopled with portrayals of medieval villagers and every-day village activities. $5 suggested donation, free ages 4 and younger.
*Kids Event at Redmond Saturday Market – Redmond; 9/1; 9am to 3pm; Shop for fresh, local produce, plus Kids are invited to sell their art and crafts at the market, and enjoy music and stories by Mr. Darby from 10 a.m. to noon.
*Free Family Days At Seattle Asian Art Museum - Seattle; 9/1; 11:00am to 2:00pm; Admission to the Seattle Asian Art Museum is free on the first Saturday of each month for families. Create your own puppets inspired by the birds and other animals you’ll discover in the galleries.
*Get OUT Summer with Sam – Seattle (Sculpture Park); Various times and dates throughout the summer; Stay active in the park this summer. Drop by and participate in a weekly line-up of events, including a brand-new Thursday farmers market, performances, social dancing, yoga and drawing in the park on Saturdays and more.
*Beach Explorations – Throughout the Puget Sound; see website for specific locations and times. Join beach naturalists and explore the beach at low tide. Free.
*Bellevue Art Museums Get Crafty Saturday – Bellevue; 9/1; 1:00pm to 3:00pm; Free craft time for kids each Saturday. $2 material fee or free with admission.
*Pond Boat Sailing – Seattle; Saturdays and Sundays through November; 11am to 2pm; Join The Center for Wooden Boats for pond boat sailing in Lake Union Park’s Model Boat Pond. Ages 5 and older. $5 suggested donation for boat rental, free first Saturdays.
* Science & Technology Center (MaST) – Saturdays 10am – 2pm; kids can explore sea life with touch tanks & more.
Sunday September 2nd:
*Roots Annual Picnic & Family Day At NAAM - Seattle; 9/2; 10:00am to 7:oopm; Annual outdoor picnic includes a bouncy castle, face painting and hands-on activities. Entrance free, food is available for purchase or you can bring your own picnic.
Wednesday September 5th:
*Free Casper Babypants Concert – Seattle; See website for schedule; Hear a concert by popular kids’ entertainer Caspar Babypants, featuring music on guitar and piano.
Thursday September 6th:
(Always make sure to call the museum ahead of time to confirm that they are still participating in these discount days/events/activities)
*Free Admission To Seattle Art Museum- Seattle; 9/6; 10:00am to 9:00pm; First Thursday of the month SAM offers free admission to the museum.
*Free Admission To Seattle Asian Art Museum- Seattle; 9/6 ; 10:00am to 9:00pm; First Thursday of the month SAM offers free admission to the museum.
*Free Admission To The Burke Museum – Seattle; 9/6 ; 10:00am to 8:00pm; First Thursday of the month The Burke offers free admission to the museum.
*Free Admission To The Museum Of History & Industry - Seattle; 9/6 ; 10:00am to 8:00pm; First Thursday of the month MOHAI offers free admission to the museum.
* Free Admission To Wing Luke Museum – Seattle; 9/6 ; 10:00am to 8:00pm; First Thursday of the month Wing Luke offers free admission to the museum.
*Free Admission To Kids Discovery Museum – Bainbridge Island; 9/6 ; 10:00am to 4:00pm; First Thursday of the month Kids Discovery Museum offers free admission.
*Free Admission To The Museum Of Flight - Seattle; 9/6 ; 5:00pm to 9:00pm; First Thursday of the month Museum of Flight offers free admission.
*Free Admission To Henry Art Gallery – Seattle; 9/6 ; 11:00am to 9:00pm; First Thursday of the month Henry Art Gallery offers free admission.
*Free Admission To The Northwest African American Museum - Seattle; 9/6 ; 11:00am to 7:00pm; First Thursday of the month NAAM offers free admission to the museum.
*FREE Nordic Heritage Museum - Seattle; 9/6 ; 10:00am to 4:00pm; Nordic Heritage Museum is FREE first Thursdays.
*Half Priced Admission Imagine Childrens Museum – Everett; 9/6 ; Thursday 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. is half priced ( $3.88)
Sounds Fun Mom always has a great list of events local to the South Sound area of WA as well, if you are looking for more ideas!
Here’s our list of weekly events for the Portland area.
Friday August 31st:
*Pier Pool - Through 8/31; 1:30pm to 3:30pm; Admission is free every Friday!
*Free Movies In The park Summer Series - Portland; See website for specific times. Come enjoy free movies at various Portland area parks all summer. Pre-movie entertainment begins at 6:30 pm. Movie begins at dark. This weeks movie is Willy Wonka.
*Free Playground Programs & Free lunch – Portland area playgrounds. Enjoy free playground programs and free lunch for kids 0 -18 all summer. See website for locations and times.
*Family Movie Night at Café Sip-n-Play - Portland; 8/31; 5:00pm; Free Movie Night. Grab a bite to eat, relax, and unwind while you enjoy a movie with the little atmosphere.
*Music From Mr. Hoo from The Alphabeticians – Portland; 8/31; 11:00am to 12:00pm; Mr. Hoo will be singing songs with and for kids. He’ll play his guitar and sing some original songs, some Alphabeticians songs, some classic kid songs and Hoo knows what else? $3 suggested donation pp.
Saturday September 1st:
*Portland’s 7th Annual Pirate Festival – Portland (St. Helens’s Historic Waterfront); 9/1 -9/2; 10:00am start time. Kid-friendly entertainment includes puppets, swordplay, scavenger hunts, cannon shows, balloons, and facepainting. Tickets are $5-$12 for a one-day pass.
*Pumpkin Patch Annual Harvest Festival - Portland; 9/1-9/3; 10am to 6pm; Free event t0 celebrate the grand opening of the Corn Maize. Enjoy animal, agiant slide, food, a giant hay pyramid and more.
*Peach Celebration and Country BBQ - Hood River; 10am to 5pm; Celebrate the holiday with a country BBQ complete with smoked ribs, pulled pork sandwiches or chicken, pear coleslaw and apple cider baked beans. Or go straight to dessert and enjoy fresh-baked peach pies, cobblers, crisps, or a frosty peach milkshake. Free admission.
*Art In The Pearl – Portland; 9/1-9/3; Times vary see website for schedule. Community festival that fills the Northwest Portland Park blocks with art, theater, music, and hands-on activities for people of all ages.
*Free Movies In The park Summer Series - Portland; See website for specific times. Come enjoy free movies at various Portland area parks all summer. Pre-movie entertainment begins at 6:30 pm. Movie begins at dark.
*Family Movie Night at Café Sip-n-Play - Portland; 9/1; 5:00pm; Free Movie Night. Grab a bite to eat, relax, and unwind while you enjoy a movie with the little atmosphere. This weekend: .
* Free Family Swim At Marshall Community Center - Vancouver; 9/1; 4:45pm to 6:30pm; Bauman Chiropractic is sponsoring free family swims at Marshall Pool Saturday evenings.
* Kids Saturday Morning Skate Session At Oaks Park – Portland ; 9/1; 10:30am to 12:00pm; For $5.50 children 10 and under can skate (skates included). Parents free with paid child admission.
*Free Guided Nature Walk – Portland – 9/1; 10:00am to 11:30am; Enjoy free guided walks with park ranger.
Sunday September 2nd:
*$2 Days at OMSI – Portland; 9/2; 9:30am to 7:00pm; Explore the museum for $2 on the first Sunday of each month.
Monday September 4th:
*Washington County Museum Free Admission – Portland; 9/4; 10:00am to 4:30pm; Admission is free to this museum every Monday.
*Mondays On The Mall – Portland – Downtown Central Transit Mall; 9/4; Various Times; Free events all day including Wii play, caricatures, the original photo booth and entertainment.
For more Portland happenings, check out the PDX Kids Calendar, a comprehensive events-based website for families in the Portland area.
*Free Craft Activities at Lakeshore Learning Stores– Sat. 9/2; 11am to 3pm; Kids can come to this free craft time each week for a new craft (plus print a $5 off $25 coupon).
*Home Depot Kids Workshop – 9/2; 9:00am to 12:00pm; Kids can participate in free building projects the first Sat. of the month.
*Lego Stores Mini Models Build – Tues. 9/4; 5:00pm; Build a mini owl, one free for kids 6-14 while supplies last.
*Barnes and Noble Free Storytime - 9/2; Times and events vary by location. Check your location for specific story’s available this weekend.