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:
- free passes may be limited, expect to request them ahead of time and be flexible about the days and times you want to go
- you may qualify for a library card at more than one library system, get a library card for every eligible system to expand your options
- 2021 update- Not all museums are participating at this time.
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 library museum pass
King County Library (KCLS) allows cardholders to print free passes from its website. Available museums and passes are found here.
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 Library 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 Days
Here are other ways you can enjoy free museum admission to almost any museum in Seattle or around the Puget Sound region.
Free museum days
Many popular museums offer free admission to everyone one day each month.
Visit the following museums free on the first Thursday of every month. Check their website for details such as ticket requirements, hours, parking, and other information.
- Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the U.W.
- Museum of History & Industry at South Lake Union
- Seattle Art Museum downtown (excludes special exhibits)
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 the website or call to inquire 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 the website or call to inquire about museum 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.
For more information, visit: https://about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/what-guides-us/arts-and-culture/partners.htm
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. Discounts may be available on family memberships as well.
Participation can change, so your best be is to visit the museum website or call the museum 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. Note also that you must still pay any fees in cash.
Don’t forget that many museums also offer free admission one day of 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. It’s true! Really. Just ask the thousands of teenagers who use TeenTix every month. Here’s how to get it:
- First, sign up for the 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.
Things to know about the TeenTix Pass
ANY teenager (13-19 years old) can sign up for a free TeenTix pass, which lets you buy $5 day-of-show tickets at dozens of partner organizations in Seattle and Tacoma. Your pass is good until your 20th birthday.
If you lose your pass, it’s easy to get a new one.
Sometimes shows sell out and there are no TeenTix tickets available. So you might want to call ahead and ask about TeenTix ticket 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.
This popular, annual event means that some museum reaches capacity. In this case, a museum has the right to limit the number of guests until space becomes available. So be patient if you’ve chosen a popular museum and arrive at crunch time. Meanwhile, you can participate on social media: @MuseumDay #BoundlessCuriosity #MuseumDayLive
2022 Museum Day participants in Washington State
You may download only one ticket per email address. So choose your museum carefully. Then request a ticket. It will be sent to your email address. Some museums require a printed ticket, others will allow you to show your ticket via a smartphone or tablet. Not sure? Check your email ticket. Find a participating Washington State Museum.
(Listed by city)
- Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA
- Edmonds Historical Museum, Edmonds, WA
- Kittitas County Historical Museum, Ellensburg, WA
- Pacific Bonsai Museum, Federal Way, WA
- Polson Museum, Hoquiam, WA
- Skagit County Historical Museum, La Conner, WA
- Historic Fort Steilacoom, Lakewood, WA
- Karshner Museum, Puyallup, WA
- Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA
- Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), Seattle, WA
- Museum of Popular Culture (MoPOP), Seattle, WA
- Foss Waterway Seaport, Tacoma, WA
- Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA
- Clark County Historical Museum, Vancouver, WA
- Larson Gallery, Yakima, WA
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.
Postponed for 2021
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.
Love our cheap ideas? Get our FREE email newsletters. Choose from daily, weekly, and monthly lists. Click here to subscribe.
Post expires on Wednesday August 18th, 2021