There’s no shortage of year-round activities for seniors and families in the Emerald City
There’s a lot to love about the City of Seattle. Whether you’re visiting for the weekend or call the “Emerald City” home, you’ll find an amazing array of year-round activities for seniors in Seattle. From glassblowing studios to scenic hiking trails, and from thrift stores to food markets, Seattle has a lot to offer.
This region is spoiled for choice when it comes to outdoor recreation, arts and culture, food, sporting events, and cultural experiences. Let’s jump right in and explore activities for seniors in Seattle, including free and low-cost options.
Activities for seniors in Seattle
First stop, get a Gold Card
Next stop, Seattle Public Library
Seattle has one of the largest library networks in the country, with 27 branches. Their free programs are appropriate for all ages, but some are especially helpful for seniors and older adults. For example, if you’re retired and want to learn how to use new technology, there’s a class for you. The best part is that all programs and services are free. The only thing you need is a Seattle Public Library card.
Be sure to check out these programs.
- Technology for Beginners: Take a class or get a one-on-one help session. You can learn the basics of using computers and the internet, how to use email, and more.
- Seattle Writes: This workshop is for anyone who has a passion for putting pen to paper. Attend a class to learn how to become a better writer.
- Next Chapter: Designed for people ages 50 and up, this program explores how to age well and plan for retirement.
Explore fun destinations around town
There’s something for everyone in Seattle, including museums, art galleries, parks, sporting events and more. Below, we’ll highlight a selection of activities for seniors in Seattle that are enjoyable year-round, even in the rain.
Experience The Spheres
Built by Amazon, the Spheres are home to more than 40,000 plants from the cloud forest regions of more than 30 countries. Housed in three massive glass domes, this collection of flora will impress anyone with a green thumb.
Admission is free every first and third Saturday of the month from 10 am to 6 pm, with a reservation. You can reserve a time here.
Stroll through Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass is a sight not to be missed. Located at Seattle Center in the Queen Anne neighborhood, and nestled just beneath the Space Needle, the museum celebrates the work of Northwest artist Dale Chihuly.
Chihuly Garden and Glass features eight galleries, the centerpiece glasshouse, and an outdoor garden, where Chihuly’s works are beautifully showcased in a real garden. Admission for ages 65 and up is $27 per person when you begin your visit before 11 am.
Shop ‘til you drop at Pike Place Market
Parking at the market is limited, so take advantage of public transportation. Admission is free and the market is open seven days a week.
Reach for the stars at the Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight, located south of downtown near Boeing Field, is home to an inspiring collection of aircrafts, spacecrafts, artifacts, galleries, exhibits, and history. During a visit, you can walk through more than 100 years of aviation, aerospace, and military history. See the Apollo 17 Lunar Module Ascent Stage Mock-up, stand under the Lockheed M-21 Blackbird, or step inside Concorde.
Take a break during your tour and step outside to watch planes take off and land at Boeing Field, aka King County International Airport. It averages 180,000 takeoffs and landings each year, and you can see them all close-up.
Admission is free on the first Thursday of every month from 5 pm to 9 pm. Regular admission for seniors ages 65 and up is $21. If you’re an AAA member, admission is $20. (There are lots of ways to save money at the museum; be sure to ask about all discounts.)
Get inspired by majestic views at Discovery Park
Seeing the views from Discovery Park are a must for both visitors to Seattle and those lucky enough to call the city home.
This 534-acre park is the largest city park in Seattle. Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers gorgeous views of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site also includes two miles of protected tidal beaches plus open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, and active sand dunes.
During your visit, drop by the Environmental Learning Center to explore the rich history of the site, then plan a walk on the nearby paths and trails. You can even walk down to the beach and dip your toes in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.
Admission and parking are both free. You can also host a special event at Discovery Park, including weddings and reunions.
See the inner workings of the Ballard Locks
The Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, aka the Ballard Locks, connect the fresh waters of Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Salmon Bay, to the tidal waters of Puget Sound. This engineering marvel allows ships to pass through a complex maze of locks, moving from ocean to lake. For example, many vessels from the Alaskan fishing fleet moor in Seattle for repairs and maintenance during the off-season. In fact, nearly 50,000 boats “lock through” each year.
Completed in 1916, the Locks also include a “fish ladder” that allows three species of salmon to migrate to spawning grounds. You can see the salmon through glass windows as they make their way up the ladder, then watch them jump out at the end. Depending on the season, it can look like fish are being fired from a water cannon.
Admission is free and street parking is available. Peak fish viewing season is mid-June to September.
Seattle is a sports fan’s paradise
Whether you want to catch a regular game or experience a new sporting event, you will be spoiled for choice in Seattle. With more than a dozen professional sports teams, fans are never disappointed.
While tickets can be pricey, there are some lower cost ways to catch a professional sports game. Before you buy tickets, be sure to ask about senior discounts.
Get your game on!
Here are just a few of the most popular spectator sport activities for seniors in Seattle.
- Seattle Thunderbirds: Part of the Western Hockey League, the Seattle Thunderbirds are a major junior hockey team. All games are at the ShoWare Center, located south of Seattle in the suburb of Kent. Tickets for many games are $10. You can expect high-caliber, competitive hockey, and a fun and friendly atmosphere.
- Tacoma Rainiers: Part of the Pacific Coast League, the Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. This minor league baseball team plays games about an hour south in Tacoma. Tickets start around $10. Be sure to ask about specials, including the option to add a hotdog and drink to your ticket for a couple of dollars.
- Seattle Seawolves: The latest addition to Seattle’s professional sports lineup is the Seattle Seawolves. A professional rugby union team, they kicked off their inaugural season in 2018. The Seawolves play all games in the suburb of Tukwila, which is near Sea-Tac Airport. Tickets start from around $30, but be sure to ask about discounts and special days. As a new team, they introduce new ways to save each season.
- University of Washington: From badminton to rowing, and from volleyball to softball, you’re guaranteed to find something to cheer about when the University of Washington Huskies take to the field, court, water or course. Tickets for many events are $5 for seniors ages 65 and up.
Shop thrift, consignment, and vintage shops
Seattle is known for its amazing thrift shops, which blanket the city from north to south. In fact, thrifting is among one of the most popular activities for seniors in Seattle. Fashionistas can easily spend a couple of days browsing Seattle Goodwill stores, as well as Lifelong Thrift and Assistance League stores, which are also nonprofits.
Think thrifting is only about fashion? Think again. These Seattle thrift stores feature a range of merchandise.
- BikeWorks: A nonprofit, BikeWorks keeps thousands of bikes out of the landfill and gets them back on the street. They have a full-service repair shop that sells quality used bikes.
- Mercer Island Thrift Shop: Located minutes from Seattle off the I-90 floating bridge, you can find bargains galore at Mercer Island Thrift Shop. Depending on the season, you might find a new pair of skis, a designer sweater, or a vintage pair of sunglasses. The nonprofit shop raises close to $750,000 for the community each year.
- Seattle Children’s Bargain Boutiques: Support the work of Seattle Children’s Hospital at one of its local bargain boutiques. They feature antiques as well as brand and designer name fashions.
Home-based activities for seniors in Seattle
There are days when you want to stay cozy at home, especially with Seattle’s weather patterns. Here are three of our favorite ways to pass those long, rainy days.
Scrapbooking: Not only is scrapbooking fun and interactive, it’s also a great way to make meaningful gifts and mementos. One of the best places to find low-cost materials is at thrift stores. You can also look for supplies in local Buy Nothing groups.
Genealogy: Track down a long-lost cousin or learn more about your ancestors by building a family tree. You’ll find resources at Seattle Public Library, where you can explore family history with free online genealogy tools or make an appointment with a genealogy librarian for free help.
Gentle exercise: Simply getting a few minutes of exercise each day can help us all feel better. And, a great way to begin is by doing gentle stretches at home. You’ll find dozens of free videos to guide you through gentle stretches on YouTube. If you have any health concerns, it’s always a good idea to ask your health care provider before starting a new program.
Work with seniors in Seattle
If working with seniors, older adults, and families in Seattle sounds good to you, consider becoming a Papa Pal.
Papa Pals are part-time companion caregivers who set their own flexible schedules and work a couple of hours a week or more. They focus on companionship and doing things together with Papa members.
Start your application to become a Papa Pal here.