Friday, September 12, 2014

Seattle on a Budget

You might think that a city that recently passed a law raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would be expensive, and in the case of Seattle generally you would be right. The new wage rate doesn't come into effect right away, but it is bound to add upward pressure to prices in an already fairly costly destination.

Still, there are ways to visit this beautifully-situated city that retains a gritty feel of the Old West without breaking the bank. There are many cheap alternatives to more expensive tourist experiences--for instance, you can take a harbour tour with West Seattle Water Taxi for $4.75 instead of the price of $23.75 with regular tour companies. Check out for discounted theatre and concert tickets.

Seattle is known for its Happy Hour offerings. Even the elegant Four Seasons is affordable if you wait for the cheese and antipasto buffet offered in the bar starting at 9 p.m., since it costs just $8 then. There is also a free walking tour of downtown, provided by where you pay what you want but must reserve at least an hour in advance.

The renowned Seattle Art Museum is one of many in the U.S. where you can pay what you want, but the suggested donation is $19.50. This museum has a great collection of Russian art, with particular emphasis on the early Soviet period.

It is easy to reach Seattle from Portland by train or is the cheapest option, with fares as low as $10 one way. From Victoria B.C. you can enjoy a scenic cruise to Seattle for as little as $128 return in summer with I have taken this latter trip, and really enjoyed it.

The biggest cost in Seattle is lodging. You can resort to a hostel, or use sites like or to bid for travel. Also, there are a few budget inns such as the College Inn near Seattle Unviersity or the Sixth Avenue Inn downtown.

For some more ideas on saving money in Seattle, consult for Seth Kugel's take on the city. 


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