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!
This weekend, you can get FREE admission to National Parks on Saturday September 29th as well as FREE admission to a participating Smithsonian Museum.
Be sure to check out Thrifty NW Moms Summer Fun Page for park reviews and other frugal summer fun ideas, as well as our big list of fall festivals and pumpkin farms in the Northwest!
Make sure to check out our Fall Consignment Sale round up here, as there are some great sales happening this fall, especially this weekend.
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 September 28th:
*Old Mill Days - Port Gamble; 9/28 – 9/30; Times vary, check website for detail. Family activities include a carnival, car show, lumberjack and chainsaw competitions, entertainment and more. Free for all Friday 3pm to 5pm! Cost is $8 Adults, $5 youth, ages 5 and under are free.
*Shack- Toberfest – Everett; 9/28 – 9/30; See website for schedule; Art and harvest themed festival benefiting the Schack Art Center. Events include pumpkin carving demonstrations, live glass pumpkin blowing all weekend and “Make Your Own” glass pumpkin classes in the hot shop (fee, pre-register).
*Lake Stevens Octoberfest - Lake Stevens; 9/28 – 9/30; Kids’ games, kids’ pumpkin carving contest (Sept. 29), fun run (Sept. 29), food, craft vendors, live music, carnival, and beer and root beer garden. Free, with fee for some activities.
*Bite of Broadway – Seattle; 9/28 – 9/30; Food and craft vendors, carnival games and rides (fee), live music including Caspar Babypants (10:30 a.m. Sept. 29), car show (Sept. 29), kids’ activities and more.
*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.
*Free Entrance to Seattle Symphony’s “Soundbridge”- Seattle, Beneroya Hall; 9/28; 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 29th:
*Skagit Valley Giant Pumpkin Festival – Mt. Vernon; 9/29. See website for schedule. Giant pumpkins, free pony rides, free face painting and carnival games….it is sure to be a great day for the family! See also my mention of the nearby Burlington Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Pitch on the same day.
*Applefest – Olympia; 9/29 – 9/30; 9:00am to 5:00pm; Free event with Bluegrass music, Goat Walk, animal train, games, petting farm, pony rides, apple bobbing, apple slingshot, cider and food and more. Parking is $3.
*Duvall Heritage Festival – Duvall; 9/29; 10am – 4pm; Be a pioneer for a day! Hands-on family fun includes dancing to folk music, churning butter, shucking corn, making rope, sawing a log, making bird masks, storytelling, tours, antique displays and more.
*Donkey Creek Chum Festival - Gig Harbor; 9/29; 10am to 5pm; Celebrate the annual return of salmon to Donkey Creek. Information booths, “chum burgers,” kayak races, hands-on salmon art (bring a T-shirt or purchase on site), kids’ games and projects.
*Outlaw Days - Auburn; 9/29; Relive the days of the old West outlaws with a new interactive theater experience by Keri Healey. “Gentleman Desperado” consists of a series of six short (5 to 10 minute) scenes and songs detailing the true story of notorious outlaw Harry Tracy, from his prison break to his run in with the Olson family and ultimately to his demise. $5, or $3 for seniors and 12 and under.
*Firwood Alpaca Days - Fife; 9/29 – 9/30; 11am to 5pm; meet our alpacas up close and personal! They eat grain from your hand and you can enjoy treats while shopping our Alpaca Farm Store for that unique gift made from alpaca fiber. Thanks Sounds Fun Mom!
*Nisqually Watershed Festival - Tacoma; 9/29; 10am to 4pm; The Watershed Festival is an annual celebration featuring art, discovery music and family fun. This year’s festival will include a free lecture series, walking tours, musical entertainment and great coffee and food options. Thanks Sounds Fun Mom!
*Italian Festival – Seattle (Seattle Center) – 9/29 – 9/20; see website for schedule; Celebrity chef demonstrations, food, music and dance, bocce tournament, grape stomp, children’s activities and puppet show by Carter Family Marionettes. Free.
*Free Harvest Celebration – Magnuson Park; 9/29; 11:30am to 2:30pm; Come to Magnuson Park for a fruit-tasting maze, garden games and more. FREE.
*Vintage Plane Day – Everett; 9/29; 12:00pm to 1:00pm; Watch historic aircraft from the Flying Heritage Collection take to the sky for a maintenance flight. Bring lawn chairs
*Salmon SEEson – Issaquah; Every Saturday, September 8 to November 10. See salmon return to Issaquah Creek, where you can view spawning from the bridge or through viewing windows. Trained docents from Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) will be available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
*Bellevue Art Museums Get Crafty Saturday – Bellevue; 9/29; 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.
Thursday October 4th:
(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; 10/4; 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; 10/4 ; 10:00am to 9:00pm; First Thursday of the month SAM offers free admission to the museum.
*Free Admission To The Burke Museum – Seattle; 10/4 ; 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; 10/4 ; 10:00am to 8:00pm; First Thursday of the month MOHAI offers free admission to the museum.
* Free Admission To Wing Luke Museum – Seattle; 10/4 ; 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; 10/4 ; 10:00am to 4:00pm; First Thursday of the month Kids Discovery Museum offers free admission.
*Free Admission To The Museum Of Flight - Seattle; 10/4 ; 5:00pm to 9:00pm; First Thursday of the month Museum of Flight offers free admission.
*Free Admission To Henry Art Gallery – Seattle; 10/4 ; 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; 10/4 ; 11:00am to 7:00pm; First Thursday of the month NAAM offers free admission to the museum.
*FREE Nordic Heritage Museum - Seattle; 10/4 ; 10:00am to 4:00pm; Nordic Heritage Museum is FREE first Thursdays.
*Half Priced Admission Imagine Childrens Museum – Everett; 10/4 ; 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 September 28th:
* Kruger’s Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze - Portland; 9/28- 10/31; Check website for schedules; Bring the family out to enjoy acres of pumpkins, hay rides, a family corn maze, an animal barn, a hay pyramid, caramel apples, corn stalks, gourds, Indian corn, fresh autumn produce, and family activities. Some activities have fees.
*Family Movie Night at Café Sip-n-Play - Portland; 9/28; 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; 9/28; 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 29th:
*Farmalicious Fun Fridge - Portland; 9/29; 1pm to 3pm; Free event. Darigold is bringing a huge 16 foot fridge to Pioneer Courthouse Square along with several other wacky and unique fridges. Enjoy food, live music, and free giveaways. Food donations appreciated.
*Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Fest - Portland; 9/29 – 10/31; Come enjoy fall activities including: a hay pirate ship, tube slides, hay tent, paintball gallery, archery, calf roping, giant spider web, hay wagon and the famed Iverson Potato Cannon, cow train through the corn maze, and more. FREE to all ages for the Gift Shop, pumpkin patch, farm market and more. There is a fee for other activities (Free under 5, 5-12yrs is $6 and 7 and up is $7).
* Montinore Crush Party - Forest Grove; 9/29; 12pm to 4pm; Participate in a grape stomp competition, listen to bluegrass, enjoy a vineyard tour via hay ride, drink freshly pressed grape juice, face painting, wine tasting (for mom and dad), and more.
*Dragonfest at Laurelhurst Park – Portland; 9/29; 10am to 2pm; Free. music, games, activities, crafts, BYOpicnic, bake sale dessert table, costume contest, jousting, and more fun.
*Family Movie Night at Café Sip-n-Play - Portland; 9/29; 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; 9/29; 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 ; 9/29; 10:30am to 12:00pm; For $6 children 10 and under can skate (skates included). Parents free with paid child admission.
*Free Guided Nature Walk – Portland – 9/29; 10:00am to 11:30am; Enjoy free guided walks with park ranger.
Monday September 31st:
*Washington County Museum Free Admission – Portland; 9/31; 10:00am to 4:30pm; Admission is free to this museum every Monday.
*Mondays On The Mall – Portland – Downtown Central Transit Mall; 9/31; 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. 9/29; 11am to 3pm; Kids can come to this free craft time each week for a new craft (plus print a $5 off $25 coupon).
*Smithsonian Free Museum Day – Saturday 9/29; Get free admission to Museums across the United States from the Smithsonian Magazine. You can request your free ticket for you and one guest here.
*National Parks Free Entrance Day – Saturday 9/29; Get free admission to all National Parks on this day, including parks that usually charge admission fees. You can find a list of National Parks to visit here.
*Barnes and Noble Free Storytime - 9/29; Times and events vary by location. Check your location for specific story’s available this weekend.