Here’s our suggestions for free and cheap things to do for Mother’s Day. Mostly, they’re ideas for spending time with your mom, doing something she likes to do. Whether your mom is an indoor or outdoor gal, we found a little something for everyone.
Free Mother’s Day events
- Free Mother’s Day celebration in Bothell
- Celebrate Mother’s Day at the annual Pike Place Market Flower Festival
- Free Peony and Bamboo Festival at the Chinese Garden in south Seattle
- Free Mother’s Day garden social in Bellevue
- Family friendly Irrigation Festival in Sequim (about 70 miles northwest of Seattle via Edmonds ferry). Festival admission is free, other activities as noted: carnival ($22-$27), walking tour ($5 donation), golf tournament ($1-$25), competitions (FREE-$25), car show ($15 entry), operetta ($10-$18), and parade.
Suggested In-city strolls for Mother’s Day
- Stroll the Seattle waterfront with free waterfront parking on Mother’s Day in Seattle
- Free apps and online maps for walking tours of Seattle
Guided garden walks
- Saturday, May 12, 1 – 2:30pm. Free public tour: Family Weekend Walk – Flower Power. Free, no preregistration necessary. Meet at Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112.
- Sunday, May 13, 1 – 2:30pm. Free public tour: Free Weekend Walk. Meet at Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112.
Listed roughly going north to south throughout the Puget Sound region.
- $10 Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens on Whidbey Island. Visitors can stroll 10 acres of display gardens and walk along 4 miles of nature trails using the downloadable map from their website. On May 13th there will be an afternoon of music at the Gazebo against a backdrop of Puget Sound. Coffee and Whidbey Pies will be available and you are welcome to bring along a picnic. Admission is $10.
- Free Kruckeberg Garden and Nursery in Shoreline. Four-acre garden with a unique blend of Pacific Northwest native plants and unusual exotics set in a naturalistic wooded setting. Free self-guided garden tours are available to help you spot garden highlights. Download a garden tour brochure or pick one up at the garden kiosk.
- Free Washington Park Arboretum in central Seattle. 230 acres of gardens, natural areas and wetlands.
- Ballard Locks is open to ship traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide a transportation route for thousands of commercial vessels and pleasure craft. Free Guided Tours are offered May – September, seven days a week at 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm, plus 11:00 am on Saturday and Sunday. Free Self-guided tours are available by picking up a brochure at the visitor center, open May-September daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A special feature of this park is the fish ladder viewing gallery, where you can watch salmon migrate mid-June through September. The fish ladder and grounds around the Locks, the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens, are open everyday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., including all holidays.
- $8 Japanese Garden. Garden admission: Adults 18-64: $8; City of Seattle residents with ID: $6; Youths 6–17, Senior Adults 65+, College students with ID, & Disabled: $4. Children 0-5: FREE. Daily guided tour at 12:30 p.m. No RSVP necessary; free with garden admission. Appropriate for ages 8+.
- $4 to visit the tropical Seattle Volunteer Park Conservatory on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.
- Free Bellevue Botanical Garden. 53-acres of cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. Free garden tours every Saturday and Sunday begins at the Gathering Place at 12pm, immediately south of the main entry breezeway. Reservations are not required; donations are encouraged.
- Free Kubota Garden in south Seattle. Twenty acres of streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings and plants. Free admission and parking. download a self-guided tour map before you go.
- Free South Seattle College Arboretum in West Seattle. The 5-acre site is located at the north end of the college campus sits on a bluff over looking downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay and the West Duwamish Greenbelt. A free, self-guided walking tour is available using the map on the South Seattle College Arboretum website. The Seattle Chinese Garden borders the Arboretum.
- Free Seattle Chinese Garden in West Seattle. The garden offers commanding views of downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay and the Cascade Mountains. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
- $8 Rhododendron Species Foundation & Botanical Garden in Federal Way displays over 700 of the more than 1,000 species found throughout the world. General Admission $8.00. Seniors (65+) & Students $5.00. Children under 12 years, military, RSBG members, and Weyerhaeuser employees are free. Free Self-Guided Tours are available using the tour sheet available on their website or at the Garden Gift Shop.
- Free Morse Wildlife Preserve in Graham southeast of Tacoma is a 238-acre preserve, a mosaic of conifer forest, wetlands, oak savanna, and prairie and an ideal home for many bird species. Other mammals, such as deer, coyote, bobcat, rabbits, and a variety of rodents live at the preserve or make foraging visits. NOTE: Dogs are not allowed at the Preserve, so please leave pets at home when you come to visit. Carpooling is encouraged. The Preserve is open by permission only and on second Sunday afternoons April through October. Download the Trail Guide on their website before you go.
- Make it a family outing and try orienteering
- Free resources to identify native plants in King County parks and Washington State
- Where to watch wildlife in Washington State (and it’s all free)
- King County Trailhead service for hikers to Cascade Mountain foothills
- Explore the UW Arboretum with a $7 family adventure pack for K-6
Other outdoor fun
- Free Boat Rides at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle
- Free bike maps for Seattle, King County, and Washington State
- Free group bicycle rides around Washington state with Cascade Bicycle Club
- Mothers ride Snoqualmie Valley Railroad free with a paying child of any age
- Save on tee times at Washington golf courses through Golfnow.com
Art & Music events
- Free glass blowing demo in West Seattle
- Free tour of Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle Waterfront
- Free Artists Studio Tour in Kirkland
- Free Art Studio Tour on Camano Island (about 60 miles north of Seattle)
- Free bonsai museum tour in Federal Way
- No cover Mothers Day Marshall Family Band Album Release Show in south Seattle
- Free Taize prayer service in north Seattle
- Free Compline evening prayer chant service in Seattle
Dining out for Mother’s Day
- Weekend Brunch at Skylark in West Seattle
- No cover live music and Italian dinner at Vito’s in Seattle
- Where to dine for Mother’s Day in Seattle restaurants