10 Experiential Gifts For Five Kinds of Friends

/ /
Even the person who has everything they need can always use a new experience. That's why experiential gifts are such a great idea during the holidays. They're much more personal than a gift card, and they aren't just stuff that the receiver may not need or want.

An individual’s interests are even more important to consider when giving experiential gifts. Sports tickets, concert tickets, and spa packages are popular options, but we’re thinking a little more outside the gift box.

Here are ten recommendations: five categories, each with two price points. We hope this gets you inspired to find perfect gifts for friends and family that love Culture, Thrills, Nature, Fitness, and Food.

For the friend who craves Culture

SIFF Enthusiast Membership: $55 and up

Seattle International Film Festival is months away, but SIFF cinemas show great films from around the world year-round. An Enthusiast level SIFF membership gives discounts on festival and SIFF cinema tickets, plus invites to special free screenings. It’s perfect for cinephiles (and students and seniors get discounted passes, too).

A post shared by SIFF (@siffnews) on


Individual Seattle Art Museum Membership: $79 and up

The Seattle Art Museum is just one of several museums that we enjoy here in Seattle. You could also give a membership to The Museum of Flight, The Frye, The Wing Luke Museum, MOHAI or The Burke. It all depends on the recipient. An individual membership at SAM grants free admission for a year, including tickets to special exhibitions. Tickets to special events like ReMix are discounted, AND you get discounts at 30 stores, restaurants, and services, including:

Even the base-level membership offers these perks and more, but you can get fancier (and family) versions, too. Bonus: Memberships are tax-deductible. Read more.

A post shared by SAM (@seattleartmuseum) on

For the friend who seeks Thrills

iFly Indoor Skydiving Session: $77

For those who want the experience of a freefall but are acrophobic, indoor skydiving is the way to go. A gift certificate to a session at iFly in Tukwila includes a training session and two 1-minute flights in the tunnel. (Of course, if they are ready for the real thing and you don’t mind splurging, you could get them a tandem jump with views of Mt St Helens and the Cascades for $200 with the current $15 discount on Adrenaline.com).

A post shared by India Gants (@indiagants) on


Deluxe Seattle Helicopter Tour: $228 ($208 before December 18)

GET IN ZA CHOPPAH!

For a gift that offers a unique view of our beautiful city and its outskirts (including the glorious Snoqualmie Falls), consider a Helicopter Tour. (A two-person tour is $382, in case you want to go with and see Mt Rainier in mid-air.)

For the friend who values Nature

Bloedel Reserve Membership: $60

Bloedel Reserve is a jewel of park construction that has been inspiring visitors for decades, including artists and poets. (Theodore Roethke actually drowned in a pond, the site of which is now a rock garden. Oops.) A membership at Bloedel Reserve grants unlimited admission, discount admission for guests and to special events, reciprocal benefits through the American Horticultural Society and more. (Naturally, it also supports the upkeep of this local treasure.)


National Geographic Live Sunday Matinee Series Tickets: Around $150-200

National Geographic Live at Benaroya Hall brings renowned filmmakers and photographers to Seattle to share their wondrous view of our world. There are five shows in 2018, including views from outer space with Astronaut Terry Virts in January. Give a gift package of the series and save on the value of seats (especially for seniors and members). Prices vary based on seating (and are cheaper for students and seniors). See the site for details.

For the friend who fancies Fitness

Gift Certificate for Seattle Bouldering Project: $75

Did you know the Seattle Bouldering Project in Atlantic is the largest bouldering gym in the world? For the active friend, it is also an amazing value. Your gift card can be for less or more, but a $75 card covers a month’s membership ($68) with a little extra for renting goodies. That membership includes:

  • Unlimited access to Yoga classes
  • Unlimited access to fitness classes and facilities
  • Discounts on rental and retail items
  • Parties and events
  • Two free passes per month for friends who are first-time guests


Canopy Climbing Introduction at Deception Pass State Park: $149

For the spry friend who is ready to climb to the next level (literally), an Introduction to Canopy Climbing is a unique way to work the upper body and blow the mind. They’ll learn how to ascend some of the tallest trees in the world (+200 feet high into the canopy) at Deception Pass State Park. This could easily have been in our “Thrills” section, but it’s a lot more active than sitting in a chopper.

Because it’s also apt for another category, Nature lovers, it’s worth mentioning that Adventure Terra offers other adventures. That includes advanced climbing classes and overnight beginner backpacking lessons. Check out the options on their site.

For the friend who savors Food

Pike Place Market Culinary Tour: $44

Pike Place Market‘s international, touristy crowds can be off-putting if you want a quiet outing. But when you are on a culinary tour of the market, the rush of people just adds to the fun energy! Give a friend a Signature Food Tour by Savor Seattle, and they will enjoy tastings at over a dozen eateries, including Etta’s, Chukar Cherries and Pike Place Chowder.

A post shared by Savor Seattle: (@savorseattle) on


Dinner For Two At Cafe Nordo’s Culinarium: $170

Cafe Nordo in Pioneer Square is one of Seattle’s most innovative and oddball dinner theatre experiences. The plots are twisted. The actors double as your servers (often staying in character the whole time). The live music is excellent and clever. And the prix-fixe is delicious and themed for the story. For example, at the current show, The View from Santa’s Lap, a dark comedy and murder mystery, you get:

Four courses of locally sourced, organic holiday cheer designed by Chef Erin Brindley, including the return of the Rosemary Antipasto Wreath and Baby Jesus Bread Loaf. Your meal is inspired by nostalgic department store window displays sure to warm the heart as well as the belly. Seasonal libations will be available for purchase.

The two ticket package covers the meal, the show, and the cost of a couple cocktails apiece. (And yes, Virginia, there are Gluten-Free and Veggie menu options.)

A post shared by Laura H (@iwantthesea) on


Got other great ideas for experiential gifts around town? Share them with us on social media!