An (in)complete list of cost effective activities around the Sound

Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer


For students who like adventure but hate unnecessary spending, never fear–there are plenty of things to do around Olympia and the broader Seattle area that won’t break the bank. Within the Evergreen State, there are numerous activities for outdoor lovers, history buffs, and art aficionados.

The Olympia Farmers Market is a neat locality that has many interesting things to spend the day doing—notable for their treats, handmade crafts, and live, local music. The open hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until October. During November and December, they are open Saturday and Sunday, and January through March they are just open Saturdays. It is completely free to visit, with merchandise and food for additional purchase. It is situated next to Percival Landing park and the downtown Olympia shops and eateries, perfectly located to walk along the boardwalk as well as explore the historic downtown area.

For students who love museums or need something to do on a rainy day, there are numerous places to stop by for a great time without spending more money out of an already small college student budget. The Renton History Museum offers free admission every first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. The Museum of Flight (Seattle) and the Seattle Art Museum offer free admission every first Thursday of the month. The Tacoma Art Museum and the Washington State History Museum (Tacoma) offer free admission every third Thursday of the month and are both within walking distance of the Tacoma Museum of Glass which also offers free admission every third Thursday of the month and is free to college students on Sundays with student ID. The Bellevue Arts Museum offers free admission on every first Friday of the month.Students can also visit the Washington State Capitol in Olympia for free. It is open to the public 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m.-3:00p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Citizens are encouraged to consider taking a tour of the Governor’s Mansion while in the area. Tours of the Governor’s Mansion are by appointment only, contact information and other details can be found on the website at The beautiful gardens adjacent to the building offer a wonderful view of the Puget Sound while also being a 10-minute walk to the waterfront and downtown.

The Olympic Flight Museum is also a fun experience for those with a few hours to spare or for aviation lovers. Admission is just $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for children ages 7-12, six and under are free. They are open 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

Just around the corner from Saint Martin’s is a hidden gem, the Laser Fun Zone. Not only do they have a 4,200 sq. ft. play arena, but they also have a full arcade to play in. It is all fun and games at Laser Fun Zone—with prices being fairly reasonable at $7.50 for one game, $13.50 for two, and $18.95 for three. They also have special offers for  five or ten game player cards for frequent players. Be sure to check out their website at for hours of operation and more information.

Skyline Drive-In Theatre in Shelton is also a great option for a night on the town. Gates open at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 8:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. General admission is $8.00 per person. Their list of showtimes and special events can be found on their website This is a perfect activity for the end of summer, as the theater closes for the late fall and winter months.

Another option for a movie night is the $5.00 movie tickets that are available at the TUB. They are a cheap way to see the latest movie at the theater down the road and make a great date or a night out with friends. They are available every day during TUB hours and are restocked every Monday and Thursday.

For the more outdoorsy student, the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge may be the perfect place to spend time. Visitors are recommended to bring walking shoes because it is a long trek to the end of the boardwalk. However, the walk is worth the time, as visitors are guaranteed to see some forms of wildlife. The park is open dawn to dusk and is free to the public.

Tumwater Falls is also a great hiking experience. With 15 acres of trails open to the public, the park provides a perfect place to take a break from studying. This easy hike provides guests with an easy trail to meander under bridges and around numerous waterfalls—both relaxing and also a little bit of a work out. The park is free to the public and is open every day 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Another way to get outdoors and have some fun on the weekends is to take advantage of the discounted price, free transportation, and overall fun experience of Saints Outdoor Adventure Recreation (SOAR) here on campus. SOAR trips began on Sept. 8 and are just $15.00. The upcoming events for the fall semester include a paintball trip (Sept. 15), a hike through the Ape Caves (Oct. 13) and at Porter Falls (Oct. 27), and go cart racing (Dec. 1). For students of every interest, the local area and surrounding cities provides fun, inexpensive activities to do year-round.


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