Blake Walsh

16 Free Things to Do in Kent, WA

  • Published 2022/12/30

As one of the largest cities in Washington, Kent offers a plethora of interesting attractions.

This city is also famous for its culturally diverse atmosphere and lush greenery.

Named after John W. Kent, a five-year Ambassador from Great Britain starting in 1855, this city also has a striking past that would make any history buff excited to explore its corners.

It once went by the name Titusville and was a great source of hop crops during the 1800s.

This led to the city’s name change, which was a tribute to Kent County in England, whose hop crops were what made the place succeed economically.

By then, Kent—which was in King County—led the aerospace and technology industry, becoming a major business hub and recreational metropolis.

Among its museums, parks, galleries, and outdoor centers, there are many you can enjoy for free!

Below are the free things to do in Kent, Washington.

Go Birdwatching at Green River Natural Resources Area

Welcome sign of Green River Natural Resources Area

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kent’s lush greenery is best seen at Green River Natural Resources Area.

This free nature preservation site and wildlife sanctuary stands at 304 acres in the heart of the city.

Beyond recreational purposes, it also serves as a flood management and water treatment center.

Within the property, climb up the viewing towers to get a full view of the site, as well as a closer look at migratory birds.

Observation tower at Green River Natural Resources Area

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Green River Natural Resources Area also has gravel trails running up to 1.4 miles, ideal for those who prefer a longer time to reflect with nature.

If you’re lucky, you might get to join various public programs, including stargazing.

Head to Fourth Avenue to access Green River Natural Resources Area.

View from Green River Natural Resources Area's observation tower

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

View the Galleries and Exhibits at Centennial Center Gallery

Ready for an explosion of art and inspiration while in Kent?

Hop over to West Gowe Street to reach Centennial Center Gallery, a project solidified by the City of Kent Arts Commission.

With art exhibits open to the public throughout the year, it seeks to encourage public engagement and offer diverse art options for everyone.

Browse through solo and group-centered art pieces in both permanent and seasonal exhibitions.

Centennial Center Gallery’s admission is free, too, so stop by if you have time!

Marvel at Art in the Streets at Kent Third Thursday Art Walk

Take your art inspiration to the streets by joining Kent Third Thursday Art Walk.

This event includes public art on display, live music, and special art programs for kids.

See different art forms by both regular and new artists.

Start your Kent Third Thursday Art Walk 2023 at Rusty Raven Studio and continue the exploration downtown.

This monthly Kent event is free for both visitors and locals.

Drive down 1st Avenue to admire the various artwork.

Explore the Forest and Creek at Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park

Situated on Reiten Road, Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park provides a stunning landscape vista.

Installed in 1982, this public park serves as both a detention dam and an outdoor Modernist art treasure.

From double-ring ponds and sloping pathways to wooden bridges and technological sculptures, this park—also considered Kent’s first landmark—is an attractive fusion of infrastructure and natural beauty.

Hike around nearly two miles of trails across artworks by designer Herbert Bayer.

Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park and its 102.5 acres are open from sunrise to sunset.

Meet Farm Animals at Mary Olson Farm

The main house at Mary Olson Farm

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you come by Kent during the summer season, Mary Olson Farm has a pleasant surprise for you.

This farm hosts open hours, allowing you and the whole family to enjoy farm life.

Known as a restored subsistence farm now, it was once a logging mill in 1879.

Throughout the generations, the farm’s ownership passed to various hands and saw changes in operations.

From a hops plantation to poultry raising, Mary Olson Farm did everything it could to stay up to date with the changing industry.

After its final set of renovations in 2011, it opened to the public as a historical landmark, providing tours of the 1902 farmhouse and other amenities like the orchard and chicken coop.

Mary Olson Farm, with its animals and historic establishments, is on Green River Road.

Go on a Bike Ride along the Urban Interurban Trail

Kent’s collection of bike trails is one of the reasons why this city stands out among others in Washington.

The Urban Interurban Trail, with more than six miles within Kent alone, only solidifies this fact.

At an elevation gain of 291 feet, this public trail was once the pathway of the Puget Sound Electric Railway.

Now, it’s an urban walk that most bike riders and hikers trudge on for recreation or commuting.

Pass by property developments and picturesque sceneries and relax amid nature.

Along the way, you may even get to spot the tops of Mount Rainier.

You can find Urban Interurban Trail on 74th Avenue.

Admire the Meadows and Wetlands at Soos Creek Trail

The seven-mile pathway of Soos Creek Trail is one of Kent’s hidden natural gems.

Included in the King County Trail System within the city, it spans 12 miles on a roundtrip.

Because of its slightly smaller length than other trails that connect Kent to other cities, it’s the ideal spot for some unplanned walks and strolls.

You might spot a few bikers and equestrians along the journey.

Soos Creek Trail is a convenient trail that’s accessible via various intersections, which include 192nd Street and 124th Avenue.

Enjoy the River Breeze on the Trails at Clark Lake Park

Clark Lake Park—as its name implies—overlooks Clark Lake and has heavy tree grove views.

Free to everyone, this 130-acre park features loop trails for your ultimate nature hiking adventure.

Its trails also include a boardwalk with a clear view of the small lake, which spans at least 1.5 miles.

You may also bring your leashed dog out for a scenic walk.

Wildlife and public art viewing is a common activity at Clark Lake Park on Southeast 240th Street, too!

Enjoy Stunning Views of the Green River while Hiking at Green River Trail

Daytime view of Green River Trail

Beach Creatives /

Want to spend time on a nature-focused excursion within Kent?

Green River Trail may be the ideal attraction for you.

Turning around industrial lands and dense foliage of over 19 miles, this trail is open to equestrians, bikers, and hikers.

The pathway connects south Seattle to Kent, with refreshing banks of the Green River.

Boulders along Green River Trail

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are also benches along the way for quick breathers, birdwatching, and sightseeing.

If you love nature and want to discover its beauty at your own pace, don’t forget to add Green River Trail to your itinerary.

Its trailhead in Kent is on Hawley Road.

Green River Trail lined with flora

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See a Variety of Wildlife at Lake Fenwick Park

Spot rare wildlife at Lake Fenwick Park!

Located on Lake Fenwick Road, this public park spans over 140 acres and offers various fishing and wildlife opportunities.

Some tourists also swim in the lake or hike around the forests.

If fishing or swimming is out of the question, staying at the boat ramps and cooling down by the lakefront is also an ideal alternative.

Walk down the boardwalk with the water surrounding you for some self-reflection.

Lake Fenwick Park’s grassy area is good for picnics, too!

Celebrate Independence at the Fourth of July Splash

One of the most awaited festivals in the city of Kent is the Fourth of July Splash.

This annual event brings the whole community together for some outdoor fun at Lake Meridian.

It features live entertainment, games, and food to make your celebration more memorable.

Bring the family together for the festivities and fanfare; you don’t have to worry because admission is free!

This event takes place on Southeast 272nd Street.

Join the Festivities at the Parade during Kent Cornucopia Days

Kent Cornucopia Days is an annual street fair and event that’s recognized all over the country.

As it’s free to the public, you have lots to look forward to when it comes to entertainment without messing up your budget.

Happening every July, it comes with a downtown parade, a dragon boat race, and marathon runs.

Kent Cornucopia Days is also the oldest and, by far, the largest fair all over South King County, so be sure not to miss it!

The festival takes place on 2nd Avenue and West Harrison Street, with most booths lining the downtown area and the aquatic contests within Lake Meridian.

Take Photos of the Japanese Garden at Kaibara Park

Welcome sign of Kaibara Park

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At 0.78 acres, Kaibara Park is a small but equally mesmerizing park and garden as the rest of Kent’s large recreation sites.

With its koi pond, it’s also a fresh take from the usual Japanese garden layout.

Treat yourself to a serene walk on the trails leading to the pond and covered by colorful canopies of trees.

Expect rock sculptures to greet you along the way, too.

Kaibara Park is easily an Instagrammable spot on West Meeker Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Learn about History and Heritage at White River Valley Museum

Exterior of the White River Valley Museum

© Steven Pavlov /

Only a 13-minute drive from Kent, White River Valley Museum is the pride of the community of Auburn.

Established in the 1950s, this historical site resulted from the love of a group of townspeople for history.

This public museum’s exhibits range from art and tree collections to Black history retellings.

Firearms exhibit in the White River Valley Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Look through ancient photographs, artifacts, and other memorabilia on display that depict the valley’s culture.

White River Valley comprises most of the cities of Kent, Auburn, the Pacific, and Algona.

Get your share of rich heritage discovery at White River Valley Museum on H Street Southeast.

Schedule your visit on the first Thursday and third Sunday for free admission.

Miniature muckleshoot winter house in the White River Valley Museum

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Relax amid Nature at W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory

Exterior of W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Within Tacoma, W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory is an enthralling nature destination.

Opened in 1908, this conservatory was a gift from the President of the Park Commissions Board at that time, William W. Seymour.

This conservatory’s use of the Victorian-style layout makes it stand out all over the county.

Go through permanent displays of plants and blossoms, both native and common ones.

Colorful flora at W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory

Angela Dukich /

There are also rare shrubbery species, as well as endangered ones.

You can find this attraction on South G Street.

From Kent, you only need to travel approximately 24 minutes to reach W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory.

Bright flower at W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory

Angela Dukich /

Discover Flower Varieties at Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

Scenic view of Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

refrina /

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, only an 18-minute drive from Kent, is a preservation site housing SeaTac’s most prized gardens.

Situated along 24th Avenue, it’s a free garden that’s home to a wide variety of annuals and perennials.

It’s a tourist-preferred spot for picnics, walks, and photography.

Trail at Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

refrina /

Surrounded by beds of flowers, the garden is an outdoor spot for nature and art lovers.

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden is your best bet for that deep dive into floriography and gardening.

Final Thoughts

Kent’s undeniable appeal as both a commercial and suburban city draws many tourists.

Providing an avenue that supports culture, history, and art, the city has converted many travelers into permanent residents.

If Kent is one city you’ve been eyeing to travel to for the longest time, this is your sign to book your tickets and pack your bags!

Don’t forget to try these free things to do in Kent, Washington, for a more budget-friendly trip!

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