Eating Out

There are a lot of great restaurants in Seattle, but trying all of them can be very expensive. As a rule, eating out for lunch at a restaurant instead of dinner will get you the same quality and flavors at a lower price. Lunch menus tend to be slightly smaller and some specials may not be available, but going out to lunch instead of dinner is an easy way to save some cash.

If you miss lunch, you'll be thankful that Seattle is also a very happy hour friendly city. Many restaurants have a happy hour menu between 4pm and 6pm that offer sizable discounts on food and drink. Some restaurants may start these as early as 2pm and go as late as 7pm. Normal happy hours run between 4pm and 6pm. Check the website of the restaurant you are interested for details, or browse through an incomplete (but sizable) list of happy hours provided by the Seattle Weekly. Some places may offer only drink or food specials, or may offer both. 

If you are traveling with kids, very few restaurants offer a kids dine free or cheap option but these places are rare, generic, and usually found in the suburbs. Kid menus can be found, especially in the more casual restaurants, and these are decent deals for the people in your party with smaller apetites. 

Free Discounts and Coupon Mobile Applications 

Recently there have been a lot of mobile phone application coming out that offer free coupons for businesses in Seattle. Some of these include other cities nationally, and may even work in your hometown! This section lists applications that are free to use and do not require any purchasees. That means things like "Groupon", where you pay half up front and have to redeem it for something later, are not included here. Mobile applications for traditional coupon books (like Entertainment Book) are also not listed if they do not come with useful, money saving free coupons available without purchase. 

Disclaimer: These applications have a lot of coupons or discounts. Some of the businesses are great and others are not. The reason coupons and discounts exist is to steer you towards that business, good or bad. Be sure to do your research before hand and make sure that you're picking something you like.

LevelUp

Visit their website here for details 

LevelUp is a form of payment, but when you use it at a business for the first time merchants generally give you $2-$4 for free. If you use an optional promo code (for example, W5HLNQ), you also get an extra $5 on top of that. The app has been gaining steam over the past 6 months with more places accepting it. Tends to favor casual restaurants and coffee shops.

A sampling of the best participating businesses (01/2014): Pike Place Chowder (Pacific Place Location Only), Ada's Technical Books, Anchored Ship Coffee Bar, Cupcake Royale, Dumpling Tzar, 

 

 

Entertainment Book

Visit their website

The coupon book that started it offers a variety of coupons to popular spots throughout the greater Seattle and Western Washington region. The idea is simple: You buy a book full of coupons, use them throughout the calendar year and save money—the book can even pay for itself after your first purchase. If you are living in Seattle and like to dine out, you can easily get your money's worth while attending many casual and upscale dining establishments.

If you are a visitor, it can work in your favor if you want to save money while discovering the Emerald City. Save up to 50% with Entertainment on select hotels located right in the heart of downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square and along Puget Sound.

Like to golf? Buy one round and get another free at scenic golf courses scattered throughout the isthmus. Maybe you want to get out on the water and discover Elliot Bay? The book can help you save up to $45.00 on Aki Kayak Tours. No matter where you are in the city, you’ll find great deals that can help you save while you explore.

If you’re out and about in the city and want to find something to do or somewhere to eat, don’t worry about leaving your book at home because you get digital access to coupons through the Entertainment mobile app. 

 

 

 

Chinook Book

Visit their website here for details 

Like the entertainment book, but for local and sustainable businesses. Access to the coupons requires a $10 purchase, which can pay for itself quickly if you plan on using them. Check the link above for a current listing (2014) of coupons. Coupons of interest include: Buy one admission get one free to Bloedel Reserve, Museum of Flight (this alone pays for the coupon book), Pacific Science Center, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Children's Museum, and Theo Chocolate, plus dining deals like $10 off $30 at Steelhead Diner and $15 off $50 at Fresh Bistro.

 01/2014 Update:  No more free coupons. 

 

Scoutmob

01/2014: Effectively dead in Seattle

 

 Pirq

Visit their website here for details 

Pirq offers coupons between 20 and 50% off a couple of restaurants and cafes around Seattle. Limited selection now. The trick is that the biggest discounts are offered during the slower business hours or the next day, but usually there are at least 20% off coupons good anytime.

01/2014 Update:  The app has lost steam and does not offer the same selection that it once did.  

 

 

Again, these are all free and don't require anything from you (except for chinook book). You just click in the application, show the screen, and save money.

Download links are available either on your device, via the websites above, or have been collect here: …blogspot.com/2012/06/four-free-apps-

 

Traditional Coupons and Deal Websites

HowAboutWe

Visit their website

A very interesting new website (01/2014) that features deals specifically geared towards couples. The concept is based around the idea of providing interesting and relatively inexpensive date night options.... but there is nothing to say you couldn't just use it for you and your buddy to go out if you don't fall in the couple category. >>It IS a subscription site ($18 per month recurring, cancel at any point), but the introduction offer is tempting enough to look past the subscription price: $50 off one of their packages, which are already reasonable deals.<< For example, at writing, dinner for two at radiator whiskey with two whiskey flights (plus a full pour), a meat dish, and reserved seats is $45 total. With the intro, that would be free. Just be sure to cancel after you get your money's worth!

 

Chinook Book 

Visit their website 

The Chinook Book is a local alternative to the Entertainment Book. While the Entertainment book has many coupons for big name retailers and a collection of restaurants that are hit or miss, the Chinook Book focuses on local businesses and has some truly stunning values (for the 2012-13 year, at least). The book is a great fit for tourists with coupons such as: Buy one, get one admission to the Museum of Flight, Pacific Science Center, and the Theo Chocolate Tour; $2 off admission to Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, and $3 off of admission to the EMP; $5 off $25 at Dot's Delicatessen, $10 off $30 at emmer&rye, Buy 1, Get 1 Express Lunch at the Georgian, $20 off %75 at Golden Beetle, $25 off $75 at Local 360 Café and Bar, Buy 1, Get 1 Scoop at Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, $25 off 2 dinner entrees at SkyCity at the Needle (Space Needle Restaurant).  

 

Seattle CityPass

Visit their website 

A combination ticket for six of the most popular tourist attractions. It is the ultimate tourist ticket and with it you gain access to the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, the Argosy Harbor Cruise, the Pacific Science Center, the EMP Museum, and your choice of either the Museum of Flight or Woodland Park Zoo. If you do all of those sights, you end up saving about $50 per adult and $35 per child.

 

Groupon/LivingSocial/Amazon Local

Visit LivingSocial's Website 

Both Groupon and Living Social share the core business model that you make your purchase ahead of time and then get a discount. Businesses are betting on you not using your coupons ("Breakage") in order to make this profitiable for them. The deals and coupons change frequently, but it is worth checking out and doing research into what is being offered. Some of the coupons are a good deal overall.

 

Restaurants.com

Visit their website

Restaurants.com also offers up similar buy-first discounts, but comes with greater restrictions when compared with Groupon or LivingSocial. Each restaurant has either a minimum amount you must spend to use the coupon or a mandatory 18% tip on the pre-discount bill. Other places apply the discount to food only or exclude happy hour and their busiest times. To use these coupons successfully, you have to read all the fine print and research the restaurants before hand. Some, like Moshi Moshi Sushi and That's Amore Italian Cafe are decent places to eat, but there are other restaurants like China First that are downright bad. In general, these coupons tend to benefit locals looking for a decent meal out, as opposed to a visitor looking for a fantastic dining experience (Although, sometimes one of those fantastic dining experiences do pop up).