May 23, 2022 - Things to Do

12 Seattle date ideas under $30

Sign for Pike Place Market in front of the Puget Sound

Wander Pike Place Market. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images.

Dating can be expensive, but you don't have to spend a ton of money to have a good time.

  • Whether you're on a first date or have been together for years, here are some date ideas under $30.

1. Explore the Pike Place Market

Wind your way through the maze of stalls and shops in and around Seattle's venerable market and take in the nearby gum wall in Post Alley.

Best for: Adventurous eaters.

Cost: Free.

Details: Grab a snack or brew in one of the dozens of street food offerings and cheap eats.

  • Some of our favorites are Uli’s Famous Sausages ($8 for a bratwurst); a sweet or savory piroshky from Piroshky Piroshky (around $8), popusas from Los Gavos ($4 each), BBQ pork humbows ($8) from Mee Sum Pastry, and mini donuts from Daily Dozen Donuts ($4 a dozen, $3 ½ dozen).
Shoppers browse inside Pike Place Market
Browse the market. Photo: Caitlin Ochs/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

2. Ride the Monorail to the Space Needle

The mile-long ride on the iconic 1962 Monorail, leaving from downtown’s Westlake Center leaves every 10 minutes, drops you off next to the Space Needle in the heart of Seattle Center.

Best for: Those who love playing tourist in your own city.

Cost: $3 per person.

Details: Admission to the Needle's observation decks ain't cheap ($35 per person), but its ground-floor gift shop is open to the public.

  • Great views of the Needle are available for free throughout Seattle Center's public spaces, and there's plenty of coffee and cheap eats in its Armory Food and Events Hall.
Monorail in front of the Space Needle
Monorail action. Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images.

3. Take a hike in Discovery Park

Head to Magnolia and explore 534-acre Discovery Park and its 11.8 miles of hiking trails, including the popular Discovery Loop Trail.

Best for: Outdoorsy couples.

Cost: Free.

Details: The park boasts towering evergreens and sweeping views of Puget Sound. It's also home to the West Point Lighthouse and the Day Break Star Cultural Center, which hosts various Native American cultural events and festivities.

Towering trees in Discovery Park
Scenic route in Discovery Park. Photo: Elena Di Vincenzo/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images.

4. Appreciate art and eat tacos

The Frye Art Museum on Seattle's First Hill offers free admission to its galleries, and once you’re finished viewing the artwork, take a short walk to Carmelo's Tacos, where tacos are under $4 and burritos and quesadillas are under $12.

Best for: Art lovers and foodies alike.

Cost: Free, plus the cost of tacos.

5. Get lost in books and people-watching on Capitol Hill

The Elliott Bay Book Company boasts multiple levels of cedar shelves containing more than 150,000 titles and a unique atmosphere in the heart of Seattle's eclectic Capitol Hill neighborhood.

  • It also hosts a variety of free events, including book readings from visiting authors.

Best for: Bookworms.

Cost: Free.

Details: Next door, the Oddfellows Cafe and Bar offers coffee by day and cocktails and wine by night drink, plus some well-priced small plates.

  • Around the corner, Molly Moon's offers its homemade ice creams, with public benches and people-watching nearby at Cal Anderson Park.

6. Catch the Mariners game

Take in a Big League ballgame at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Best for: Sports aficionados.

Cost: Tickets start at $10+ per person. Get them here.

Details: There's a slate of special theme nights and give-aways for the 2022 season — including Star Wars Fireworks Night, Juneteenth Celebration Night and Mariners Pride Hat Night, among others.

A Seattle Mariners player makes a catch in front of a crowd of fans
Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners makes a catch. Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images.

7. Karaoke at Rock Box

Book a private Japanese-style karaoke room for the evening at Rock Box on Capitol Hill.

Best for: Aspiring Grammy winners.

Cost: Rooms run $8 per person per hour ($5 during happy hour). Book a room.

8. Picnic in Jefferson Park

Sprawling Jefferson Park offers ample seclusion and respite from the urban masses and has covered seating areas in case of rain. Bring a DIY cheese board.

Best for: Those who romanticize everything.

Cost: Free.

Details: Nearby are Victrola Coffee and Oak, a good spot with $5 sliders and small plates, and you can share a pizza (most are under $20) at Bar Del Corso.

9. Kayak in Lake Union

Book a kayak at the Agua Verde Café and Paddle Club on Portage Bay. Pick your own adventure — paddle past houseboats, visit Gas Works Park or visit the turtles in the Washington Park Arboretum and get a great view of Seattle's skyline. 

Best for: Adventurous couples.

Cost: Double kayaks run $30 per hour. Learn how to rent one.

Details: The café offers a walk-up window with orders to-go, and picnic tables for dining near the dock.

Kayaks and canoes float on Lake Union
Float on Lake Union. Photo: Genna Martin/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images.

10. Take a water taxi to West Seattle

For a small fee, you can take the King County Water Taxi across Elliott Bay, from the downtown Seattle waterfront (Pier 50 terminal) to West Seattle. Then stroll or bike to Alki Beach.

Best for: Couples finding their sea legs.

Cost: Taxi rides run $5.75 per person, or $5 with an ORCA card.

Details: Near the taxi dock, Marination Mai Kai offers tasty pork and Spam sliders, fish tacos and beer. 

Water taxi floating in Seattle
King County Water Taxi. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images.

11. Explore Alki Beach

Once on the other side of Elliott Bay, enjoy a hike or wander the paved trail to nearby Alki Beach. It's Seattle's version of SoCal where people-watching, snack bars, restaurants, bars and sweeping views of the downtown Seattle skyline abound.

Best for: Nature lovers.

Cost: Free.

Details: Check out bikes and other pedal crafts from Fun Wheel Rentals, with hourly rates ranging from $13-$39 per hour.

Yes, and: Catch the free tour of the U.S. Coast Guard's fully functioning and automated aid-to-navigation Alki Point Lighthouse.

  • The site at 3201 Alki Ave. S.W. offers direct views of Discovery Park’s West Point Light Station as well as sweeping views of the Cascades and Mount Rainier. 
People relax near a tent on Alki Beach
Relax at Alki Beach. hoto: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

12. Tour Theo Chocolate Factory

Sample chocolate and see how the goods are made. Fair warning: It's a bit warm inside, and you'll have to wear a hairnet.

Best for: Couples who want to check out Seattle's own "Willy Wonka" experience.

Cost: $12 per person. Book your visit.

Details: The factory is located at 3400 Phinney Ave. N.

Storefront in brick that says "Theo"
Play Willy Wonka. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios.

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