In Seattle many of the students at SPU have a hard time finding fun activities to do that won’t break the bank. Seattle has exponential opportunities to try something new, but it might cost you a pretty penny. Here are some ideas for students (or people on a budget) for Friday nights.
1) Board games at a local game store (Free + bus fare and snacks) This activity can be totally free! For SPU students Blue Highway is a walk up the 3rd Ave. hill to upper Queen Anne. If the weather isn’t ideal, the 13 also goes up the hill and stops just two blocks away from this fun game store on the corner of Boston Ave. and Queen Anne. The staff is really helpful at teaching you a new game if you need help, and sometimes they even have fun events in their store. It’s also a great place to try before you buy, and then invest in a favorite game once you have a little extra cash. Their Friday hours are 10 am to 11 pm. Playing board games is a great way to connect with people and exercise your brain. This location isn’t the only one though; there’s another game store in Ballard as well.
2) Visit a park and play Frisbee (Free if you own a Frisbee)
Seattle has so many gorgeous parks, and I’m certain other cities and towns have parks with spacious lawns for Frisbee. Getting out and running around a bit can be really fun, no matter how uncoordinated you may be. For Seattlites and other pacific northwesters it can get dark pretty early in the evening, so checking out options for a glow in the dark disc is a must, finding an affordable one isn’t too difficult, just stay away from specialty ones, or the lit ones that require batteries. A few of my suggestions for parks are Discovery park in Magnolia or Bhy Kracke park in Upper Queen Anne. I caution the klutzy though, because Bhy Kracke is on a steep hill and you could easily lose your disc down the hill. Both parks close at 11:30 pm (sunshine and shoes are optional).
3) Take a Factory Tour ($10) So I know some people don’t like (or are even allergic) to chocolate, but Theo’s is a true gem of Seattle. In the evenings the smell of cocoa can permeate a block or two away from the factory. A tour is $10 a person, so it’s at the top end of my price range, but I’ve heard it’s worth it. The last tour of the day starts at 4 pm so you need to schedule ahead of time. Tours are an hour long and exhibit the process of making Theo’s chocolate bars. Make a fun trip out of it by enjoying your samples and then walking down by the Ship Canal, up to the Troll under the bridge, or over to the beautiful Gasworks Park Pavilion. I’ve also heard rumors of Jones’ Soda having factory tours here in Seattle, but I wasn’t able to confirm those. Any opportunity to learn how something is made (and get samples) is one that I would take!
4) Grab your other suit to go Swimming ($5.25 + locker 25₵) I haven’t been to the Queen Anne Swimming pool, but on Fridays you could swim for an hour (7-8 pm- public swim time) and help support the community pool. Swimming is a great way to get a bit of exercise, and making use of community pools helps to ensure their stability for future generations. Give it a shot and see what you think!
5) Picture Scavenger Hunt (Free with a camera or smart phone) I always enjoyed picture scavenger hunts as a teenager, and Seattle is a wonderful place to collect memories through pictures. I also think picture scavenger hunts are a great way to get exercise and get to know a neighborhood. Some ideas I have are for Fremont, but there are plenty of generic ones to be found online you could try for other neighborhoods. In Fremont look for:
●The family who will always be waiting ●The clown they named the street after
●The communist leader who needs to wash his hands ●The skyline from Gasworks Park
●Two picture frames to create lovely portraits ●A whale ●A Skate Park
●A mother and child dinosaur family ●A spaceship
This is just a few ideas, but the best part about picture scavenger hunts is that you can go and make memories however you like!
6) Arcade games and Ice Cream (Depends on # of games, but discount available) Full Tilt Arcade in Ballard is another great way to have some fun, and according to yelp reviews it has addicting ice cream. It’s listed as less than $10 on Yelp and comments include ravings about how affordable it is. SPU students (and faculty) also have another incentive to go, 50% off a single scoop ice cream! So if you like pinball, sweet treats, and some extra cash in your pocket, this is the place to go. It’s open from noon to midnight every day. *Vegan options available* (They have multiple locations, but only the Ballard location offers a discount)
7) Catch a Movie ($4 plus snacks and transportation) For people who love that smell of buttery popcorn and the sticky feeling on the bottom of your shoes this is a great activity. If you have transportation to get to Shoreline or are willing to take a bus, then you can get a great deal on a new flick. The Student Services Representative for SPU has gotten a discount at Crest Cinema in Shoreline for $4 tickets. Use this discount for a fun evening with friends! Taking the bus is also a great way to cut down on CO2 emissions and will take just over an hour from SPU, during which you can debate with friends which movie to see.
8) Have a Cup of Tea and Play Cards (3.50 and transportation) I love a good cup of tea and a quiet place. Miro Tea in Ballard has a wide variety of loose leaf teas to choose from and less than 4 bucks a cup. I also remember splitting a pot for pretty cheap as well, but that information isn’t on their website. They have games in the back, so you could play a laid back round of cards or checkers while enjoying some warmth from the teapot heated with a tea light candle. A walk or bike ride over the Ballard Bridge and down to Ballard Avenue is a bit lengthy, but it’s worth it to enjoy this little café. *Very Gluten Free Friendly* If Ballard isn’t your style, there is also a tea shop at the top of Queen Anne that has some delicious treats and games.
9) Take a Bike ($8/day/bike, free if you own a bike) If you recall a post from back in December about the new bike share program, than this will come as no surprise. If you don’t know about the bike share program you can check it out, or you can ride your own bike if you have one. The bike share stations closest to campus are near South Lake Union at Lake Union Park, and are a great way to explore the beautiful park and surrounding area. Riding the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop or up to the east side of the lake is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful boats on the lake. If you have your own bike I’d suggest riding the Ship Canal Trail, or the Burke Gilman. If riding in the evening though, make sure you have light clothing, bike lights, reflectors, and always wear a helmet. Biking with friends can be fun and help you explore the city from a different perspective.
10) Check out the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park (Free + transportation) Getting down to the waterfront may be a bit of a challenge, but checking out a new neighborhood is always fun. The Sculpture Park close to downtown has lots of interesting pieces to look at and also has a wonderful view of the city. You could also walk around the piers and enjoy the breeze as the weather gets warmer. There is also a portion of the park that is inside a greenhouse that exhibits the ecosystems of a nurse log and someone from the park can explain some of the intricacies. A walk around the park won’t take too long, but exploring the neighborhood can take as long as you’d like.
I hope you can give some of these ideas a try and have a great time!