There are dozens and dozens of museums (we lost count at 130…) in the Seattle-Tacoma metro region. You could visit two every week and not hit the same one twice. Of course, 100 museum admission tickets could also take quite a bite out of your entertainment budget. So, we’ve got more than a few suggestions to reduce that cost. Listed below are the ways to enjoy free or discount museum admission throughout the year to museums in Seattle and around the Puget Sound region.
Library museum pass program
For each library system in the Puget Sound region, the list of museums participating in the museum pass program will vary. Below we list how to find out what’s available to you. We update this information about once a year, so be sure to visit the library website to verify requirements and availability.
Things to know about library museum passes:
- Available museum passes vary from library to library.
- You may qualify for a library card at more than one library system—get a library card for every eligible system to expand your free museum ticket options.
- Free passes are limited—expect to request them ahead of time and be flexible about the days and times you want to go
Seattle Public Library museum pass
If you have a library card for Seattle Public libraries, King County libraries, or Pierce County libraries, you can get free entrance to participating museums through the Seattle Public Library museum pass program. You qualify for a Seattle Public Library Card if you live, work, own property, or go to school in Seattle, Bothell, or most of King County.
You qualify for Seattle’s Free Museum Pass if you have a Seattle Public Library card, as well as a library card issued by other Puget Sound library systems, including- Everett Public Library, Kitsap Regional Library, Pierce County Library System, Puyallup Public Library, Sno-Isle Regional Library System, and Timberland Regional Library (south Sound).
Many popular museums participate in the Seattle Public Library free museum pass program, including: The Burke Museum, Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, MoPOP, Museum of Flight, Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), Nordic Heritage Museum, Northwest African American Museum, Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Seattle Aquarium, Wing Luke Museum, and more.
For details or to reserve a pass online, visit the SPL Museum Pass page.
King County Libraries museum pass
KCLS library cards are available to anyone who lives or owns property in King County except for Seattle, Yarrow Point, and Hunts Point, or another area with which KCLS has a Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement, including Seattle and other counties and library systems throughout the Puget Sound region and around Washington State.
KCLS museum passes are available for: Bellevue Arts Museum and KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, and several museums in Seattle, including SAM, MoPOP, Museum of Flight, Northwest African American Museum, and Seattle Aquarium.
For details or to reserve a pass online, visit the KCLS Museum Pass page.
Pierce County, Tacoma, and Puyallup Libraries museum pass
Pierce County Library (PCL) cardholders can get a free museum pass using a valid PCL library card at your local library.
As part of a cooperative project among Pierce County Library, Tacoma Public Library, Puyallup Public Library and local museums, Pierce County Library customers have the opportunity to use special passes for free admission to the partnering museums.
Pierce County museum passes are available for Foss Waterway Seaport, Harbor History Museum, Lakewold Gardens, Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum..
For details, visit the PCL museum pass page.
Free Museum Admission
There are several other ways you can enjoy free museum admission to almost any museum in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area, including free days, membership, and volunteering.
Free museum days
Here are free museum days for some of the most popular museums in Seattle:
- Free First Thursday | Burke Museum at UW Seattle
- Free First Thursday | Henry Art Gallery in Seattle
- Free First Thursday | The Museum of Flight in Seattle
- Free First Thursday | MOHAI in Seattle
- Free First Thursday | Nordic Museum in Seattle
- Free First Thursday | Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
Here are free museum days for some of the most popular museums in Tacoma:
- Free Third Thursday | Museum of Glass in Tacoma
- Free Third Thursday | Washington State History Museum in Tacoma
When you join a museum and pay an annual fee, one of the benefits is often free admission to regular exhibits for an entire year. Membership usually comes with other benefits, such as discounts on special exhibitions and purchases in the museum store. Visit a museum’s website to find out about museum membership levels and benefits. (Psst, it makes a great family gift!)
When you volunteer at a museum, you may receive free admission and other benefits. Of course, as a volunteer, you will experience a behind-the-scenes look at operations and exhibitions, which is priceless! Visit a museum’s website to find out about their volunteer opportunities.
Discount museum admission programs
Bank of America free monthly museum admission
Bank of America’s “Museums on Us” program offers their customers the opportunity to visit popular cultural institutions in the United States free of charge. On the first full weekend of every month, you can receive a free ticket for Saturday or Sunday to more than 200 museums and cultural institutions nationwide using your Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, or U.S. Trust credit and debit card. Each card admits one person with photo ID.
To qualify, simply present your active Bank of America®, Merrill® and Bank of America Private Bank® credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain one free general admission to any participating institution. Fine print: Cardholders only; guests are not eligible for free admission. Excludes special exhibitions, ticketed shows, and fundraising events.
More info: Bank of America’s “Museums on Us”
Quest EBT Cardholder museum admission discount
Many area museums and attractions participate in programs, such as Community Access and Museums for All, that provide discount admission to EBT cardholders. Admission is typically reduced over regular prices, often to $1-$5 per person. Note also that you must pay any fees in cash. Discounts may be available on family memberships as well.
Participation can change, so your best bet is to visit the museum website or call when you want to visit and confirm the EBT discount and policies before you head out. For example, some museums offer EBT discount admission on certain days of the week. Don’t forget that many museums also offer free admission one day each month that is open to everyone.
TeenTix Day of Show ticket program
Teens can sign up for a FREE TeenTix Pass to get into movies, music, theatre, dance, visual art, and more for just $5. Sound too good to be true? We know. But it’s true! Really. Just ask the thousands of teenagers who use TeenTix every month. Your pass is good until your 20th birthday. Don’t sorry if you lose your TeenTixpass, it’s easy to get a new one. Here’s how to get your pass:
- First, sign up for the TeenTix pass. ANY teenager (13-19 years old) can sign up for a free TeenTix pass.
- Second, use the TeenTix Calendar to find available events and head over there with your pass.
- Third, buy a $5 day-of-show ticket. TeenTix passes are not barcoded or tracked, so participating box offices need to ask for proof of age eligibility from anyone presenting a TeenTix Pass. Your middle school or high school ID will do it, as will a state-issued ID or driver’s license. If you are a homeschooler and do not have a school ID, go here.
Sometimes shows sell out and there are no TeenTix tickets available. So, you might want to call ahead and ask about TeenTix availability before you head out. Phone numbers for participating box offices are always listed on the TeenTix event calendar.
- Just say, “Hi! I am a TeenTix member and I’d like to come to the show tonight. Do you think there will be a ticket for me?” The people who work in TeenTix participating box offices are really nice and happy to help out! They will either say “Sure, come on down!” or “No, probably not.” And then you’ll know!
U.S. military free summer museum admission
Blue Star Museums offers free admission during summer to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve. The program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America.
The Blue Star Museums program begins on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day (1st Monday) in September. Participating museums include many popular museums in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, and other cities in the Puget Sound region, as well as across the state of Washington.
Find a participating Blue Star Museum near you on the Blue Star Museum Map | National Endowment for the Arts.
Smithsonian Museum Day free tickets
Museum Day is an annual celebration of boundless curiosity hosted by Smithsonian magazine. Get free admission to participating museums and cultural institutions around the country and across Washington State, including many in Seattle and the Puget Sound region. Your Museum Day Live! ticket provides free admission for two people. So definitely plan to go with a friend or family member. Note: parking and special events and exhibits are not included.
Smithsonian Magazine has announced Museum Day 2023 is cancelled: History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places Smithsonian Magazine
More museum discount tickets and coupons
CityPass Seattle discount ticket package
With a CityPass Seattle ticket package, you get into five of the most popular museums and other attractions for one low price, including the Space Needle and Seattle Aquarium, plus your choice of three more attractions.
Seattle Museum Month
Every February during Seattle Museum Month, you can get half-price admission to participating museums when staying at participating hotels. It makes a great staycation, mid-winter break, or romantic Valentine’s Day gift for you and your loved one. For a list of participating hotels and museums, visit the Seattle Museum Month.
Group Ticket Purchase Discounts
Groups can often get a discounted rate when purchasing tickets together in one transaction. Visit the museum website or call to inquire about group rates.
But wait, there’s more!
- Find more tours & attractions in the Puget Sound region.
- Visit the best Seattle-Tacoma museum for less.
- Our ultimate guide to Seattle-Tacoma museums.
- And here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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