Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Frugal Fun -- Affordable Seattle Dating

Earlier this year, Seattle was ranked the seventh most expensive city in America. Worldwide, it outranks cities like Shanghai, Milan, Madrid and Dubai for cost of living, making it the 44th most expensive city in the world...

Stew and I don't really consider ourselves to be extravagant people, and we usually have more fun at a parking lot tailgate drinking from red blue Solo cups than we would at a fancy schmancy, trendy, expensive restaurant. We prefer to entertain ourselves without wasting our hard earned dollars, so I was flattered when my darling cousin Brooke reached out to me recently for some ideas about having frugal fun in the city.

Brooke and her boyfriend, Benjamin, wanted to celebrate their anniversary without breaking the bank, so I sent them on a day full of my most favorite affordable Seattle adventures.

Let's head out with them for a day of cheap entertainment in Seattle!

// Breakfast //

They started things off with this delicious breakfast. Brooke found the recipe on Pinterest, and since she already had the eggs and bacon in her fridge, only spent a total of about $3 to make it.


 // Kubota Garden //
This 20 acre Japanese garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle was started by Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese emigrant, in 1927. Today it is maintained as a public park and it's a great place to spend a morning wandering around. The garden is open to the public every day during daylight hours all year round. Major features include the Kubota Terrace, the Bamboo Grove, the Necklace of Ponds, the Mountainside, and the Tom Kubota Stroll Garden.
It's FREE and easy to find!
Benjamin called himself "Big Buddha Juddha."
Brooke and Benjamin took turns standing up inside the bell (which, by the way, doesn't ring unless you smack it loudly when someone's head is inside it -- have fun with that!)
Brooke loved exploring around all the crazy-looking trees!
// Ballard Locks //
One of Seattle's most popular tourist attractions, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks is a complex of locks that sits at the west end of Salmon Bay, part of Seattle's Lake Washington Ship Canal. Completed in 1917, the locks maintain the water levels of Lake Washington and Lake Union, prevent Puget Sound sea water from mixing with the fresh lake water, and move boats from the water level of the lakes to the water level of Puget Sound, and vice versa -- this is the fun part!

Through a system of swinging walkways, visitors can watch the action up close. The grounds also feature a fish ladder, visitors center with interpretive exhibits, gift shop, and botanical garden. Visiting hours for the locks and surrounding garden are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. year round.

Admission is FREE!

It was Benjamin's first time at the Ballard Locks, and he and Brooke were both very excited to watch big boats be lifted up by water that seemed to come from nowhere!

They enjoyed the beautiful scenery and fish ladders. The sculptures dedicated to the fish ladders were especially pretty.
// Red Mill Burgers //

Rated best burgers in Seattle for ten years in a row, Red Mill Burgers has "one of the 20 hamburgers you must eat before you die," according to Oprah Winfrey and GQ Magazine.

The original Red Mill was located in Capitol Hill, and opened in 1937 as a diner and ice creamery with table and counter service. The second location in Interbay opened in 1998, and immediately received honorable mention in the best burger category in the Seattle Weekly's annual Best of Seattle issue. It has subsequently won the best burger award every year since, along with numerous other accolades.

After hitting the locks, Brooke and Benjamin headed over to Red Mill for some giant burgers and delicious shakes.

They only spent about $20 on their entire delicious meal.

// Second Ascent //

Before calling it a day, Brooke and Benjamin decided to stop at Second Ascent, a shop in Ballard that carries new and used name brand outdoor gear like The North Face and Arc'teryx.

Unfortunately, in their excitement to find a free parking spot, they missed the sign that said "back-in, angle parking only."


Luckily, they didn't receive a parking ticket, because that would have put them way over budget for the day!
Congratulations on your anniversary,
Brooke & Benjamin!
And I hope this post is a reminder to everyone that in the Emerald City you really don't have to look too far, or dig too deep into your wallet, for fun and affordable activities that are sure to bring back those first date butterflies.
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  1. Sounds like a GREAT day to me!!! It's so true that dates don't have to break the bank - even in expensive cities!

  2. I love this post!!! Thomas and I did Seattle for our 2 year anniversary and it was so fun!

  3. this was a super fun post! I always forget about the Ballard Locks, I bet Ryder and Harps would have next Spring?

  4. I love this Sarah!! Thank you so much for your help, I knew I could count on you to provide some amazing frugal fun ideas :) Love you cousin!

  5. This is so fun! I have actually been thinking about planning a weekend in Seattle in December with my cousin and I might just have to ask you for a few more fun spot to hit up while we are there!


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