Arts and theatre have a well-earned reputation for being too expensive for “regular” people; many can be upwards of $30 a visit — either to a museum or a performance — which is far too much for your average broke college student. Just because the sticker price of these tickets is so high, though, doesn’t mean you have to pay that much!
After several years spent in the arts, both performing and behind ticketing windows, I’m here to tell you that the arts are less expensive than ever, no matter what your financial constraints are. We at the Collegian have compiled a list (which is in no way comprehensive) of cheap or even free arts opportunities for Seattleites.
- TeenTix: If you or anyone you know is between the ages of 13 and 19, a TeenTix pass is a must. This free key fob will get you into theatres, museums, and so much more around town for just $5; all you have to do is show your pass and a valid ID proving your age There are even special deals for most events and venues that, on certain days, allow a person with a pass to get an additional ticket for just $5 more. Learn more and sign up for a pass at https://www.teentix.org/.
- Seattle Public Libraries’ Museum Pass: If you don’t have a library card you should get one, and not just for the books (but honestly also get it for the books. Books are great!). Your library card and PIN can also get you free access to museums around town: just visit the SPL’s website and reserve a pass. Participating organizations include the Burke Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and even Woodland Park Zoo. Visit https://www.spl.org/programs-and-services/arts-and-culture/museum-pass to learn more and to reserve passes. Library cards can be applied for online or in person at a library branch; https://www.spl.org/using-the-library/get-started/get-started-with-a-library-card can help you with information on that front.
- Rush Tickets: If you don’t qualify for a TeenTix pass, then several theatres around town offer rush tickets: tickets sold on the night of a performance at a discount. Different theatres have different pricing and policies for their rush tickets, so check out their websites to find the specifics. Organizations with rush ticket programs include the Seattle Opera, Book-It Theatre, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, and many more.
- Seattle Shakespeare Company has a rush tickets program called the Groundlings Membership, which is slightly different from traditional rush tickets. After paying $5 for a Groundlings button, you can show up to any performance an hour before it starts and purchase up to 2 tickets at $10 a piece as long as you bring and show your button to the box office staff. Visit https://www.seattleshakespeare.org/season-and-tickets/ways-to-save/ for information.
- Pay-What-You-Will Performances: Many theatres also offer specific shows at which audience members are free to pay whatever they can afford. Theatres include Seattle Shakespeare Company, Taproot Theatre Company, ACT, Annex Theatre, and the Seattle Repertory Theatre.
- Find Free Arts: There are also many organizations around Seattle that aren’t just discounted but free! The Frye Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park, for example, both have a donation-based entry that will let you in no
matter what you can or can’t pay. Seattle paper The Stranger’s events site, https://www.thestranger.com/events/, lists hundreds of local events and marks which ones are free: check it out!
- Third-Party Ticket Sellers: Many organizations also offer discounted tickets through third-party sellers TodayTix and Goldstar to select performances. While generally a few bucks more expensive than deals like rush tickets, buying via one of these sites makes sure you’re going to get tickets to the show you want in advance — it’s never fun to show up to a performance for rush tickets and find that they’re all sold out! Their respective websites, https://www.todaytix.com/x/seattle and https://www.goldstar.com/ respectively, have more information on participating organizations.
- Student ID: Almost every organization offers some sort of student discount. As long as you have your Central ID, you can get in for often almost half-off the standard price at places like the Seattle Art Museum, Wing Luke Museum, Seattle Arts and Lectures events (such as the poetry series coming to Seattle Central this fall/winter!) and most theatres.
Remember, it never hurts to ask at a ticketing window if an organization has some form of discount available for you; box office employees are more than happy to make sure everyone has the opportunity to experience the arts. Now get out there and go see something beautiful!