January is nearly here, Seattle, and that means a new year. Now that being said, it’s prime time to have all sorts of new experiences without breaking the bank. Here are 12 of the best free & cheap things to do in Seattle this January.

Polar Bear Plunge

Looking to partake in a classic PNW tradition? Start the new year with a cold plunge! The Seattle Polar Bear Plunge takes place at Matthews Beach Park at 12 PM. It’s free and lifeguards will be in attendance.

When: January 1st
Where: 5100 NE 93rd St
Cost: Free

Free Public Tours of Washington Park Arboretum

The Arboretum is one of Seattle’s best spots for getting outdoors. While you can walk it by yourself at any time, you can also enjoy free tours on the first Thursday of each month from 11:30 AM-1 PM.

When: First Thursday of every month
Where: 2300 Arboretum Drive E
Cost: Free

Go ice skating

There are several places to go ice skating in and around Seattle this winter. Prices vary by rink and skate time. You can also choose between renting skates or bringing your own. Of course, we’ve created a list of some of the best spots to check out.

Capitol Hill Art Walk

A digital map allows you to pick and choose where you stop on the Capitol Hill Art Walk. Stop by small galleries, local businesses, and more on this monthly art walk.

When: Second Thursday of every month
Where: Capitol Hill
Cost: Free

Free State Park Day

Kick off the new year with the great outdoors! The first day of the month just so happens to be a Free State Park Day. Get some snow time in or head to a park you’ve always wanted to see.

When: January 1st
Where: State Parks
Cost: Free

Seattle Chamber Music Society 2024 Winter Festival

The annual Winter Festival takes place at the Nordstrom Recital Hall in Benaroya Hall. There are both in person and virtual tickets with a free recital before each performance.

When: January 26th-28th
Where: 200 University St
Cost: Free-$30

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2023 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour

Here’s your chance to experience Sundance in Seattle! The short films tour is coming with 7 films in 90 minutes. It’s taking place in person and there are showtimes available for over a week.

When: January 3rd-January 14th
Where: 1515 12th Ave
Cost: $14

Check out a sno-park

Have you ever wished that you could visit a park strictly for snow activities? You actually can in Washington. Our state has 126 sno-parks for you to enjoy through both motorized and non-motorized sports.

Silent Reading Party: In-Person

The beloved Silent Reading Party is back in person if you’d like to have the experience of reading amongst strangers inside the beautiful Hotel Sorrento. Keep in mind there is a $20 food and drink minimum on top of your ticket price.

When: First Wednesday of each month
Where: 900 Madison St
Cost: $8-$40

Visit a museum for free

You may or may not know but Seattle actually has 5 museums that you can always visit for free. We’ve listed them out and given you some details so you can take yourself on the perfect adventure. What’s more, many local museums offer free entrance on the first Thursday of the month.

Free National Park Day

January is full of opportunities to get outdoors. You can also enjoy free entrance at Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier. While the parks may be busy on this day, don’t miss a chance to get outdoors for free.

When: January 15th
Where: National Parks
Cost: Free

Fremont Sunday Market

The Fremont Market is truly a classic Seattle shopping experience and it happens year-round, rain or shine. It’s a great place to find antiques, vintage clothing, and much more. It’s definitely one of the best free things to do in Seattle each weekend.

When: Every Sunday
Where: Evanston Ave N & 34th St

Enjoy the new year and have fun with all of these free and cheap things to do in Seattle!