Going to school in Washington is an honor. Not only do we have the most beautiful scenery surrounding us, but we have some awesome historic fixtures too. But those of us who have the privilege to attend such institutions know that it often comes at a price— a very expensive one.

With tuition, room and board, overpriced restaurants, and transportation, finances are so short that when you check your bank account, you just want to curl in a corner and cry.

My goal for you struggling college students is to check out these fun YET affordable activities in the beautiful Tacoma/Seattle area for this next quarter. Who said you couldn’t hustle on a budget?

1. Spend a Saturday at Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market in August  David Poling 

Seattle’s fan-favorite market is the perfectly affordable way to spend a Saturday. With only $7 all-day parking, you can act as a tourist, take cute aesthetic pics with your friends, and soak in that Seattle-culture. The food is reasonably priced, but you definitely get a bang for your buck, because it’s DELICIOUS.

Other than that, enjoy free sightseeing of a historic location with a fantastic view of the Sound, watching vendors flip and play with huge fish, and see the beauty of the tables full of blooming flowers and local artwork. Bonus: If you walk a short distance, you can journey underneath Pike Place, and see the legendary Gum Wall in Post Alley. It may sound gross, but it’s honestly really cool!

2. Visit Tacoma’s own History Museum

 Visit Tacoma’s Washington State History Museum for free; that’s right: FOR FREE. With verification of your University ID, you are able to educate yourself on Washington state’s history all the way back from the Native American tribes to more current history of the production of toys, located in their History lab.

This museum is located around the Tacoma Art Museum, and the Museum of Glass, which also gives great college discounts. With the Tacoma Dome parking garage only a link ride away (did I mention it was free?), enjoy a museum date with a loved one or some friends.

3. Hit up a Rainiers Game

 Regardless if you’re a fan of baseball (or sports in general), it is worth it to hit up a Rainiers game at least ONCE a year. With tickets as low as $7, you can enjoy the newly renovated Cheney Stadium, where you can enjoy events such as Thirsty Thursday ($2 beers!!!!), and Friday Night Fireworks.  So come on, bring those peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and enjoy a night in the ballpark!

Rainiers

4. College Night With the Mariners

 Speaking of sports, Seattle is such a sports savvy city; we have A LOT of fun and affordable options within that realm. For $13, you can head to Safeco field and enjoy actually really great seats that have a wondrous view of the Space Needle, and watch the Mariners play some ball! The food is not affordable, however, they did put new food venues into the park that are DELICIOUS.

5. Explore the Taste of Tacoma/Bite of Seattle

 These events only happen in June and July, but the Taste of Tacoma and the Bite of Seattle are a definite go-to. The most exciting part? FREE ADMISSION! You get in for free to stroll through Point Defiance Park for the Taste of Tacoma in June, and Seattle Center for the Bite of Seattle in July. The perks are the wonderful live music, the exotic foods, and supporting local businesses. Unfortunately it only happens one weekend a year, but it also makes it more worth the wait!

6. Bar Crawling through Tacoma’s 6th Ave

 If you are over 21 years of age, bar crawling through 6th Ave is the place for you. 6th Avenue holds affordable, and hilariously fun bars such as Jazz bones and Dirty Oscars. Enjoy local live music, with tickets ranging from free to $15 at most. The people are friendly, and you’ll leave feeling good. So enjoy some bar food, have a couple drinks, and enjoy Tacoma’s Avenue of fun! Drink responsibly.

7. Stroll along Alki Beach

 When the weather gets a little nicer, Alki Beach will give you a perfect adventure. Whether you want to get a workout in or have a picnic, you are able to do so with a beautifully scenic view of the Seattle Skyline. Summer break is on its way, so keep Alki in the back of your mind!

Check out our winter stroll along Alki beach below!

8. A Ride on Seattle’s Great Wheel

The Great Wheel – Benjamin Avila

For only $14, ride on Seattle’s Great Wheel, and overlook the view of Seattle. Located on the boardwalk, you are able to cruise around, look at shops, go to restaurants, and get that much-needed break from being cooped up in the house, studying.  This “Historic Pier” will give you an affordable chance to take a date on a nice, spring night up on it’s Ferris wheel!

9. Downtown Tacoma’s Broadway Farmers Market

 On Thursday’s, head to Downtown Tacoma’s Broadway Farmers Market, located next to the Theater district. With free admission, like any farmers market, you are able to enjoy live music from local upcoming artists, food samples from restaurants and food trucks from around Tacoma, and a nice spot for a picnic with the family. You get great deals on fresh produce and flowers, and you can meet some truly worthwhile people. Although it is seasonal, spring has approached us, and it is now starting to kick back up!

10. Take a Hike at Discovery Park

 As the months get warmer, hiking becomes one of Washington’s most popular outdoors activities, and with a view like ours, who could resist? Near the Magnolia neighborhood in Seattle, you can enjoy a free hike outside of the city, with choices from walking on the rocky beach, to green forested trails. In Washington, we are so blessed for such a beautiful home; we are able to explore such beauty.

The struggles of college life shouldn’t let you down from having fun. Washington has much more affordable entertainment, that these 10 are just a few of many that won’t make you break the bank. So, what are you waiting for?  Go adventure!

Written by: Ella Lucente