What to do now in Seattle

Discover Seattle's Spooky Side

Explore Seattle's subterranean history with the Underground Paranormal Experience.

Choose your own adventure this Halloween: Do you prefer screaming "Don't go in there!" at gruesome horror movies or feeling the hairs at the back of your neck stand up upon hearing a subtly spooky ghost story? Or do you like to pass on the scary stuff altogether in favor of good old-fashioned fun like trick-or-treating? Brave grown-ups only or family-friendly—however you like to celebrate the season, Seattle has an event for you. Check out a few of our favorites:

Ghastly Ghost Stories

With these long, chilly nights, there's no better season to curl up with your favorite scary novel or to queue up the horror blockbusters on Netflix. But if there's one thing we should all know from that genre it's don't go it alone. Join fellow thrill-seekers to listen to spooky stories at local bars as part of Seattle Public Library's annual Booktoberfest, which features events such as "Ghastly Tales and Cocktails" at Lottie's Lounge (10/24) and The Conservatory (10/26), and "Ales from the Crypt" nights at Floating Bridge Brewing (10/28) and Tippe & Drague (10/29). Rumored to be one of the most haunted places in Seattle, Hotel Sorrento will celebrate its reputation this month with "Sorrento Curiosities," a series of spirited events that include Tarot Tuesdays weekly card readings and two talks by noted paranormal researcher Neil McNeil (10/11 and 10/25). Both events take place in the century-old hotel's intimate Fireside Room, where you can also order a hot toddy and ask the bartender to tell you a tale about strange happenings. Break the tension with laughs at the Thursday night "Campfire" shows by Unexpected Productions, at the theater located behind the Gum Wall at Pike Place Market. The company's improv troupe will use true stories from the audience as the basis for their skits, which promise to be both scary and hilarious. Love scary movies? You won't want to miss the new "Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film" at MoPOP. Recommended for ages 13 and up, visitors will learn about some of the genre's greats while experiencing first-hand the chilling sensations of cinematic terror in a series of galleries, such as a vampire's lair. You can also catch a screening of "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3" on the big screen in MoPOP's SkyChurch (10/26) as part of the Campout Cinema series—don't forget to bring a blanket to sit on. 

Terrifying Tours

A hidden world of abandoned storefronts and sidewalks lies beneath the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, buried when the area was regraded and rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1889. Hear about paranormal activity as you're guided through the subterranean passageways said to be haunted by the souls who perished there on one of the Underground Paranormal Experience tours running at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays this month. Back above ground, Spooked in Seattle's nightly walking tours takes brave souls through Pioneer Square for more stories about the ghosts who are said to haunt the city's oldest neighborhood.  

Nothing to Fear

Halloween doesn't have to be horrifying; there are lots of family-friendly goings-on that offer thrills without the chills. Don your costumes and head to the "Museum of Fright" event at the Museum of Flight (10/29) for G-rated aviation-themed ghost stories, a mad-science lab, spooky craft sessions, and the chance to fly witches on broomsticks through a giant pumpkin. The Halloween fun at Seattle Aquarium (10/28-29) will include underwater pumpkin carving and mad scientist demonstrations, face-painting, games and more.  Capitol Hill's annual "Hilloween" event (10/28) features old-school Halloween fun including a kid's carnival, costume parade and trick-or-treating.

Our guide to the city's unique Halloween happenings, including haunted places, terrifying tours and ghastly ghost stories.

How to Explore Seattle's Waterfront

The Seattle Great Wheel
(Courtesy Seattle Great Wheel) The Seattle Great Wheel

When the Denny party, pioneers from the Midwest, arrived in 1851 to settle this area, they first built their cabins at Alki Point. The location proved less than ideal for establishing a waterfront to support the settlement though, so they moved it to the more sheltered harbor of Elliott Bay.

Over the years, Seattle's position on Puget Sound was key to its role in the shipping and logging industries as well as the gold rush, and the waterfront was a rough-and-tumble collection of boarding houses, taverns and gambling halls. Much has changed since then, but the waterfront is still a prime destination for those visiting Seattle.

Clipper Vacations tour boat

Choose Your Own Adventure 

These days, the entertainment options on and around the docks are family-friendly but just as exciting.

Get an idea of the awesome yet challenging landscapes that greeted those early explorers at Wings Over Washington. Part theater, part ride, this unique experience pairs cutting-edge technology like virtual reality, laser projection and drone photography with seats that change direction and pitch synchronized to the film. Once you're buckled in, you'll feel as if you're flying high above Washington's mountains, rainforest, cliffs and more.

From virtual views to the real thing—the Seattle Great Wheel. The 175-foot wheel's glass-walled gondolas allow passengers 360-degree views during the slow, smooth ride. After dark, the wheel itself becomes a sight to see, thanks to its almost 500,000 LED lights. For holidays and special events, such as Seattle Seahawks games, the lights are programmed with colorful, pulsating displays.

The waterfront also offers a launching point for discovering the Puget Sound area as many early explorers did: by water. Argosy Cruises offers daily cruises of the harbor year-round. For a glimpse into the lives of the area's original inhabitants, opt for the Tillicum Village cruise. The half-day excursion takes passengers to Blake Island State Park to tour a longhouse, stroll beach and forest trails, dine on clams and alder-roasted salmon and enjoy Native American dance and music performances.

For longer excursions, Clipper Vacations offers daily departures to Victoria, British Columbia, where historic buildings, formal gardens and high tea services are all part of the city's colonial charm.

If sea life intrigues you, set aside some time to visit Seattle Aquarium at Pier 59. Its permanent exhibits highlight the underwater wildlife of Puget Sound and the Northwest, including octopi, sixgill sharks, and salmon. Be prepared to fall in love with the sea otters and their playful antics.

Seattle waterfront skyline

Try Today's Catch

Long before the Seattle Aquarium was built, another, smaller aquarium attracted visitors to the historic waterfront. It was opened in 1938 by Seattle icon Ivar Haglund, who charged curious customers a nickel to view his collection of sea life. He soon added a fish 'n' chips stand to his attraction, which proved a great success. He later opened a standalone restaurant called Ivar's Acres of Clams—it's still at Pier 54 delighting visitors with fresh catches and great views more than 70 years later.

You'll never be short of dining options on the waterfront. If it's shellfish you're after, check out a few of our other favorites: Elliott's Oyster House, a Pier 56 favorite since 1975; or The Crab Pot on Pier 57, where "sea feasts" of steamed crab, baked clams and more are served family-style on butcher-paper covered tables. Expect to get messy!

While Seattle is known for its seafood, that isn't the only option on the waterfront. Pier 55 boasts a location of a nationwide burger restaurant you might not have realized originated in Seattle: Red Robin. The chain got its start near the University of Washington in the 1940s as Sam's Tavern, but was soon rechristened Sam's Red Robin after its founder's favorite song. Of course, you'll find the usual menu of gourmet burgers and bottomless fries at the waterfront location—but the bay views are one-of-a-kind.

Kidd Valley, a local favorite that's been serving up burgers and hand-blended shakes since 1975, opened a location on neighboring Pier 54 last month.

Find The Perfect Souvenir

Seattle owes much of its success to its position as a gateway to the Klondike gold rush, when expedition outfitters and other businesses sprung up to cater to the needs of the 30,000-40,000 prospectors who passed through the city on their way to Alaska to find fortune starting in 1897.

Some of those businesses still exist today, including Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Part shop, part museum, the venue houses a collection of oddities like shrunken heads, mummies and taxidermied mythical creatures, along with Northwestern souvenirs that range from the quirky—Sasquatch action figures—to the classic—Native American art prints.

For more traditional reminders of your visit, head to Simply Seattle for T-shirts, "rain globes" and gift baskets of locally produced artisan foods, or to Pike Street Press, where you'll find letterpress postcards, prints and more designed by Seattle artists.

Seattle's historic waterfront has served as a prime entertainment spot for the city's explorers since pioneer days.

Late-Summer Fun in Seattle

Clockwise: Courtesy Charles Smith Wines Jet City, Washington State Fair, Christopher Nelson/Bumbershoot

With no end of fun things to do, Seattle is the place to spend late summertime soaking up the sun, music and festivities.

End of Summer Bash!: Riesling Revolution
They don’t call Charles Smith the “rock star winemaker” for nothing—Smith was a band manager before he changed his career course and became of the Northwest’s most successful vintners. No surprise then that he’s bringing together two of his greatest passions—wine and rock music—for this blowout event at his Georgetown winery, Charles Smith Wines Jet City. The bash kicks off at 4:30 pm with tastings of Rieslings from 18 (mostly regional) wineries, including his own K Vintners jet City Riesling, which is only available from the Georgetown venue. The fun continues into the night with more wine, Georgetown Brewing Co. beers, food trucks, burlesque shows, and live music from alt-country rockers Calexico and headliners Seattle-based indie-folk band The Head and the Heart, who will perform a special acoustic set. This is one party you won’t want to miss, so get your tickets in advance.

This three-day festival of music, comedy, art, film and all-around good times has been Seattle's most eagerly awaited late-summer event for 45 years. Headlining acts including Weezer, Solange, Lorde, Spoon, Flo Rida will share the Seattle Center stages with dozens more national and local musicians covering the gamut from folk to rap in addition to stand-up stars such as Judah Friedlander, Margaret Cho and Jermaine Fowler. Other entertainment includes a short-film festival, pinball arcade, laser show and modern dance performances. 

Washington State Fair
More than a million fun-seekers of all ages will pour through the gates of the Puyallup fairgrounds—35 miles south of Seattle—over the course of this 24-day extravaganza. Expect all the usual sights and sounds of a good old-fashioned fair: farm animal shows, rodeos, midway rides, live music and, of course, food-on-a-stick. Save some energy to rock out in the evening too—the grandstand concert series lineup features country greats Melissa Etheridge, Hank Williams, Jr., Jason Aldean and other top performers like The Beach Boys and Washington state's own Modest Mouse. 

The season is coming to an end, but not without a few last hurrahs.

Handmade Holidays From Seattle

Erickson Longboards cutting board
(©Denise Kendall) Erickson Longboards cutting board

Looking for a perfect gift to bring home? Here, 10 things that will bring smiles to the faces of your loved ones during the holiday season... 

SLIDESHOW: Handmade Holidays From Seattle

Share a bit of Seattle with your loved ones this season with our picks from the Emerald City.

A Family Holiday in Seattle: 10 Necessary Stops

Winter train village at Seattle Center's Winterfest
(©Jonathan P. Beck) Winter train village at Seattle Center's Winterfest

Celebrations abound in Seattle and beyond during these busy holiday months. From incredible light displays to indoor snow showers, the magic of the season is everywhere.

A Winter Wonderland

Snowflake Lane, the annual celebration at The Bellevue Collection, is celebrating its 10th season this year. From Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, see falling snow, watch the Toy Soldier Drummers and see other musical dance performances. Meet a magical cast of characters, including Snow Princesses and Jingle Elves, who hand out blinking snowflake pins and, over the course of the month, more than 1 million pieces of candy. The 20-minute show begins at 7 pm and is free.

Wintefest Ice Rink at Seattle Center


Seattle Center buzzes with holiday activity Nov. 28-Dec. 31. You'll find concerts, a winter train and village, ice-sculpture carving and the Winterfest Ice Rink. It wraps up on Dec. 31 with fireworks from the Space Needle.

Let It Snow

Downtown, Pacific Place pulls off the impossible: Nightly, Nov. 28-Dec. 31, it snows in the atrium. Visit Santa or watch performances at noon and again at 5 pm daily.

Garden d'Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden

Light the Night

The region shines during the holidays with twinkling light displays. The Garden d'Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden uses more than 500,000 lights to create a winter wonderland. Lights are on view from 4:30 to 9:30 pm daily, Nov. 29-Jan. 3. Insider's tip: Buy your tickets online to avoid the ticket line. In Seattle, the Woodland Park Zoo creates its own light displays with WildLights from 5:30 to 8:30 pm Nov. 28-Jan. 5. Santa's reindeer also make an appearance. Buy tickets online or at the entrance.

Gingerbread Village

Gingerbread Village

The 22nd annual gingerbread village at the Sheraton Seattle features spectacularly sweet buildings created by the Sheraton’s culinary team and top local architecture firms. This year’s theme, “Jingle All the Way,” brings visitors through scenes of classic holiday songs. The event is free, but donations to the Northwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation are accepted. 

Teddy Bear Suite

This annual tradition fills one of the Fairmont Olympic’s largest suites with cuddly, cute teddy bears. Professionally decorated by an interior designer, it’s the perfect spot for a few family photos. Donations are accepted and benefit uncompensated care at Children’s Hospital. The suite is open Nov. 23 to Dec. 24.

Westlake Tree

On Nov. 28, Westlake Center lights its enormous tree. Come watch as both the tree and Macy’s Holiday Star make the evening glow. In addition to the annual tree, there is a carousel, making this a good stop for photographs.

Macy's Santa Claus


Head to the sixth floor of the downtown Macy’s to give your wish list to Santa. He’ll be meeting and greeting from his post Nov. 28 through Dec. 24—it’s his first stop after greeting parade-watchers at the Seattle Macy’s Holiday Parade on Nov. 28. Santaland hours vary, so call ahead or check the website.

Reindeer Festival

This annual tradition at the Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, 14 miles east of Seattle, has a variety of activities for the whole family. Meet Santa, feed his reindeer and sit in his sleigh—even hear a story read by one of Santa’s elves. Open from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm daily, Dec. 1-23. For a schedule of events and directions, visit the website. 

Photo ops, Santa visits and giant Christmas trees infuse the Emerald City with the holiday spirit.

7 Spots to Watch the Big Game in Seattle

Where to watch the big football games in Seattle
(©Sarah Flotard) Don't miss out on the big football game—watch it at one of these popular spots.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a weekend warrior, it’s hard to deny the power and draw of a big football game. When in Seattle, there are plenty of great places where you can check out the biggest of games, the Super Bowl. A trip to the Emerald City provides lots of opportunities for unique experiences, but if you’re looking for a familiar setting with food, beer and pigskin on a big screen, superb options abound.

Quality Athletics

Legendary chef Josh Henderson, of Skillet fame, opened up this Pioneer Square sports bar and restaurant, complete with great seating and a private event space for your own celebration. 


“Your friendly neighborhood pub” can get you in front of a screen at two locations, Queen Anne and Belltown, both welcoming kids with special menus just for them. 

The Ram

The University Village Ram hosts a live radio show every Monday and their Northgate location features the same award-winning hand-crafted beers that they’ve brewed for more than 40 years. 

The Lodge

The newest location downtown is in the Executive Hotel Pacific, or you can catch all the action at the stadium location—any closer and you’d be on the field! 

Muckleshoot Casino

Muckleshoot Casino

Come for the game, stay for the gaming! Muckleshoot Casino's Club Galaxy hosts a number of great prizes and promotions for every game. Stop in for your chance to win VIP opportunities, gifts and lots more. Don’t miss their food and beer specials while you’re here. 

FX McRory’s

This classic steak, chop and oyster house is situated in Pioneer Square and keeps later hours on event days. Stop in and you’re likely to meet the owner, Mick McHugh, himself: He loves to greet customers and pour cocktails. 

Ballard Loft

Ballard Loft

This casual neighborhood eatery hosts great events, including a Party Bus, and lots of great happy hour options. You can even play shuffleboard or participate in trivia between plays. 


There's no reason to miss your favorite team—or the biggest football game of the year—while on vacation.

3 Resorts Where You Can Hit the Slopes Near Seattle

The Summit at Snoqualmie
(©Jeff Caven) The Summit at Snoqualmie

The snow has started to fall in the mountains, and soon it'll be time to hit the slopes. Seattle loves to ski and snowboard, and with the Cascade Mountains less than an hour away, there are multiple options for skiing without traveling far. Here, three of the closest to the city.

Crystal Mountain Resort

Crystal Mountain Resort

The largest ski resort in Washington, Crystal Mountain has 2,600 acres and more than 50 named runs. There's something for everyone here, from groomed beginner trails to challenging backcountry for the adventurous. You'll also find a large variety of spots to refuel, including the Summit House at the top of the Mount Rainier Gondola, sitting at 6,872 feet. For a more casual meal, check out the resorts taco truck or the Cascade Grill, a cafeteria-style establishment. Located about two hours from Seattle, the resort has an average annual snowfall of 486 inches, and just installed two brand-new chair lifts during the off-season. Visit the website for current conditions and ticket information. 

The Summit at Snoqualmie

The Summit at Snoqualmie

Only 45 minutes from Seattle, there are four downhill skiing areas to conquer plus cross-country skiing trails and a tubing area. The Summit at Snoqualmie offers a shuttle between the different areas Tu-Su, making it easy to explore multiple areas. At Summit West, find good runs for learning to ski and snowboard, including lessons with qualified instructors. Summit East has some of the best tree skiing at the resort, with everything from mellow runs to steep black diamonds. Summit Central has a little bit of everything, from beginner runs to black diamond runs. Alpental has some of the most challenging, breathtaking terrain in the country. The Nordic skiing area has more than 50 kilometers of groomed trails, perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The tubing area, across from Summit Central, is the easiest way to enjoy the resort if you're not a skiier. Visit the website to learn about the runs, current conditions and pass information. 

Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass

Located on two national forests, Stevens Pass is about two hours from Seattle. There are 37 major runs and an average 460-inches of snow each year. With cool air drifting in from the eastern slope of the range, the snow here stays relatively dry. Wednesday-Sunday, Stevens Pass has night skiing, with limited lifts in operation. In addition to downhill, there is also a Nordic Center, accessible via shuttle from the alpine area. The resort also has a wide range of lessons available for kids as young as 3 through adults. Hungry? There are five dining options at the resort. Check the website for current conditions and ticket information. 

You don't have to travel far for skiing, snowboarding and more

Spoil Mom: Ideas for Mother's Day in Seattle

Bella Fiore Organic Med Spa
(Courtesy Bella Fiore Organic Med Spa) Pamper mom while in Seattle

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10. Whether you’re in town on the holiday or not, here are some spots to pamper the most important lady in your life.

Let’s Do Brunch

A staple of Seattle, there is fantastic brunch food across the city. Head to Ba Bar on Capitol Hill Wed.-Sun. for a mixture of breakfast staples and Vietnamese dishes, or go for French Creole fare on Sat. and Sun. from Roux in Fremont. At Pike Place Market, Maximilien has French classics with Northwest ingredients during “le” brunch on Sun. Or, for the crème de la crème of brunches, Salty’s on Alki has a massive buffet with seafood, made to order eggs, Belgian waffles and much more on Sat. and Sun.

 Chihuly Garden and Glass

See the Sights

Spring in Seattle means some days of beautiful weather. Take advantage of it at the Olympic Sculpture Park, along Puget Sound. With walking paths, places to sit and plenty of artwork, it’s a great spot to spend some time out of doors. At Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass has Dale Chihuly’s permanent collection. With blown glass sculptures inside and out, there are ample opportunities for family photos. Get a gorgeous overview of the city at Sky View Observatory, on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center. It’s the highest observation deck on the West Coast.

Relax at a Spa Day

Pamper mom with a massage at Gene Juarez. Customize a massage with the addition of hot stones, thermal marine mud or more. Packages are also available. Or, if mom prefers a facial, check out Bella Fiore Med Spa, where they use organic products during a number of different facial options, from a relaxing naturopathic facial to something specifically designed for your skin type. The aestheticians can also recommend the best products for mom's gorgeous face.

Indulge at Dinner

Take mom out for a dinnertime treat and fancy cocktail or glass of wine at Loulay Kitchen and Bar, Chef Thierry Rautureau’s downtown restaurant. The French-inspired menu includes things like a daily oyster selection, scallop tartar, butter-poached cod and roasted chicken. Or dine above it all at SkyCity, the Space Needle’s rotating restaurant. With the best Pacific Northwest ingredients, find items like beef carpaccio, razor clam and corn chowder, foraged mushroom risotto and wild king salmon. And dinner reservations include a trip to the Observation Deck.

The Phantom of the Opera

Take in a Show

Make a full day of the celebration with a show in the evening—the Triple Door has a variety of music in an intimate setting, including food and drinks from next-door Wild Ginger. If mom likes jazz, check out Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, with an eclectic lineup of musicians from around the world. Or, if theater is more her style, “The Phantom of the Opera” is playing at the Paramount Theatre through Mother’s Day and “Jasper in Deadland” is at The 5th Avenue Theatre through May 24.

Have an Urban Adventure

Want to be outside while here? There are a number of great urban trails to explore. The Burke-Gilman Trail is a 27-mile trail that runs from Ballard through north Seattle all the way to the Eastside. Or, circle Lake Union on the six-mile Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop that takes you past the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle’s houseboat community along the east side of the lake and Gas Works Park. If a shorter jaunt is in order, Green Lake’s inner, paved pathway is 2.8 miles, and you can stop and grab a coffee along the way.

Ideas for every mom when spending the holiday in the Emerald City

16 Summertime Music Festivals and Outdoor Concerts in Seattle

Bumbershoot Festival at Seattle Center
(©Christopher Nelson) Bumbershoot Festival at Seattle Center

Starting Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (with a few dates beyond), Seattle comes alive. Our warm temperatures and sunny days mean locals want to be outside as much as possible. Restaurant patios are stuffed; trails and beaches are swarming with families; and, people across the city gather for concerts outside. Here, a massive list of some spots to relax to music while getting some vitamin D. Just make sure to bring your sunblock! 

Sasquatch Festival

Sasquatch Music Festival

Memorial Day weekend ushers in both the unofficial start of summer and the start of festival season. Sasquatch, at The Gorge in Quincy, Wash., is a massive, four-day party, with five stages of music.

Located 150 miles from Seattle, The Gorge is an amazing outdoor venue overlooking the Columbia River. The site is all-festival-seating, so pack a blanket or low-slung chairs. The weather at The Gorge, meanwhile, can be unpredictable—best bets include layers, rain gear and plenty of sunblock. Because of the distance from Seattle, most attendees stay overnight. Camping is available on-site; otherwise your best bet is to book a hotel room in either Ellensburg, Wash., or Moses Lake, Wash. Make sure to book in advance! Camping often sells out, and many hotels also fill to capacity Memorial Day weekend.

The 2015 lineup includes Modest Mouse, Sleater-Kinney, Of Monsters and Men, The Decemberists, St. Vincent, Ryan Adams, Robert Plant, Kendrick Lemar, Lana Del Rey, Spoon, The New Pornographers, Gogol Bordello, Father John Misty, The Maldives, Black Whales, Cataldo and many more.

Happening May 22-25.

Northwest Folklife at Seattle Center

Northwest Folklife

Closer to the city—at Seattle Center, in fact—Northwest Folklife spans Memorial Day weekend with live music, dancing, family-friendly activities and more. The free festival features more than 5,000 performers from more than 65 different cultural communities.

Events take place across Seattle Center, including at the Center Theatre, the Exhibition Hall, Fisher Pavilion, SIFF Film Center, the Vera Project and multiple outdoor stages. Grab a schedule (or peruse it online) to map out your day—but allow some time to just wander. With a festival this large, you never know what you’ll come across.

Head to the Discovery Zone with the littles, where you’ll find a space for children to experiment with instruments, including an electric guitar and snare drum; build a toy boat; make a mosaic tile with recycled art glass; learn how to break dance or try Brazilian dancing; and listen to a variety of family-friendly performers, including the Hot Cider String Band, Canote Brothers and Mikey Gervais.

The 2015 lineup includes Oly Mountain Boys, Lonesome Shack, YVES, Bleachbear, Ryegrass, Buckshot, Spencer Carlson, Melville, OK Sweetheart, Pourquoi Pas (Why Not!), COHO, Ravenna Woods and plenty more.

Happening May 22-25.

Summer Concerts at the Locks

Ballard’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are busy with more than just boat traffic during Seattle’s summer. Saturdays and Sundays, a lineup of various musical acts play free concerts. Take a seat on the lush lawn near the locks and relax with show tunes, jazz, big band music, chamber orchestras and more. Most concerts begin at 2 pm.

Highlights for 2015 include the Cascadia Contemporary Big Band on June 7, the Elliott Bay Pipe Band June 21, Puget Sound Symphony Chamber Players July 11, The Tempos Aug. 2 and Microsoft Jumpin Jive Orchestra Aug. 23.

Happening May 31-Sept. 7.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Summer Concerts

Since 1984, Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Wash., has been hosting some of the best artists in jazz, rock, blues and contemporary music. The amphitheater includes reserved seating and general-admission, festival-style tickets. Wine is available (of course!), as are food vendors. These concerts often sell out, so buy your tickets early!

This year, highlights include Smash Mouth, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Tonic June 19; Chicago June 20; Sheryl Crow July 8; Michael Franti & Spearhead Aug. 22; Chris Isaak Aug. 23 and Pink Martini Sept. 4 and Sept. 5.

Happening June 13-Sept. 12.

Marymoor Park Concerts

Redmond’s Marymoor Park is home to a beautiful natural amphitheater that comes alive each summer with numerous concerts. Each show offers both reserved seats and general admission (lawn seating). There are also food vendors on site, including some of the area’s favorite food trucks.

If you opt for general admission, bring a blanket or beach chair (the back must be less than 28-inches high). Empty non-glass water bottles are allowed in, as are small coolers. If it is raining, umbrellas are allowed, as these events happen rain or shine. Parking at Marymoor is $5, cash only, for the concert.

The lineup this year includes David Gray and Amos Lee, Willie Nelson and Family with Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Decemberists, Third Eye Blind and Dashboard Confessional, Barenaked Ladies, Alabama Shakes, Wlico, Peter Frampton, Cheap Trick and more.

Happening June 14-Sept. 19.

Seattle Peace Concerts

These free concerts are on Sundays, beginning at noon. The all-volunteer group asks for food-bank donations, and a donation bucket is passed around during performances. Happening at parks around town, each concert includes multiple acts. Started in the early ’80s, these concerts are non-political and non-religious in nature, going by the slogan “Peace Through Music.”

2015 concerts include Movin’ Mountains, Emerald Fire, Whiskers & Honey, Linda Lee and the Wildcats, and Branden Daniel and the Chics at Gas Works Park June 28; Two Sided Trio, Cosmo’s Dream, Plush and Second Hand Newz at Volunteer Park July 26; Ricky Gene Powell & Celebration Arts Foundation, Legendary Tiny Giants, Acoustic Laboratory and Woodland at the Lower Woodland Park Shelter 1 on Aug. 9 and more.

Happening June 14-Sept. 20.

Solstice Music Festival

Fremont Solstice Fair

This massive neighborhood celebration is always held the weekend nearest the summer solstice. Spanning three days, find music, great food, an arts and crafts fair, and a parade right in the heart of the Fremont neighborhood.

On Saturday, the parade traditionally begins with the naked-but-painted Solstice Cyclists, where more than 1,500 cyclists take over the parade route in creative costumes made mostly from body paint. They are followed by parade floats, marching bands and street performers. The parade ends at Gas Works Park, where you can watch street music from Honk! Fest West, munch on bites from food trucks and watch four stages of performances.

The Solstice Music Festival is a ticketed event, with lineups both Friday and Saturday evenings. This year, see performances from Deltron 3030, Ra Scion, Ayo Dot & the Uppercuts, Fox and the Law, Ayron Jones and the Way, and The Presidents of the United States of America.

Happening June 19-21.


Woodland Park Zoo’s North Meadow comes alive each summer with an eclectic lineup of concerts. The outdoor events don’t require zoo admission, but do require tickets.

Bring a blanket and a picnic, and relax on the lawn while listening to some of the country’s top musical acts. The events are family-friendly, with the zoo’s historic carousel available for rides during the event, as well as space for kids to dance around. The best part? A paid ticket gets one child under 12 in for free. (Make sure to add child tickets to your online order.)

Be aware that no outside alcohol is allowed in, and no chairs more than 24 inches high can be used, nor can umbrellas (unless there's downpour). Tickets are general admission, so come early to pick the best spot.

The ZooTunes concerts are a fundraiser for the zoo and support animal care, zoo maintenance and upkeep, and education programs as well as conservation programs to preserve endangered species in the state and around the world.

The 2015 lineup includes The Doobie Brothers, The B-52s, Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge and Blondie, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Sweet Harmony Soul (Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin and Amy Helm), Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Ziggy Marley, Trampled By Turtles and The Devil Makes Three, and Kenny Loggins.

Happening June 19-Aug. 19.

Paradiso Festival

Head to The Gorge Amphitheatre for the Paradiso Festival, a two-day extravaganza of music, theatrical performers, amusement park rides, acrobats, art installations and more. Camping at The Gorge is available.

This year, the lineup includes Armin Van Buuren, Kinfe Party, Martin Garrix, Dash Berlin, Alesso and Skrillex.

Happening June 26-27.

Sounds of Summer Concert Series at University Village

Sounds of Summer Concert Series

At University Village this summer, find shopping, dining and, on Wednesdays, free concerts! These family-friendly affairs begin at 6:30 pm and feature both local favorites and well-known artists. There will also be gourmet bites, a beer garden and activities for children in the kids play area.

This year’s lineup includes The Maldives, Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme, The Nowhere Men, Hit Explosion, The Paperboys, The Dust 45s, and a family night with Recess Monkey and Caspar Babypants.

Happening July 8-Aug. 19.

Out to Lunch Concert Series

Out to Lunch Concert Series

While exploring the city during your time in Seattle, enjoy free outdoor music this summer: July through the beginning of September, a variety of artists will be playing around town many Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The 2015 series kicks off Thursday, July 9, with the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra playing at City Hall Plaza, 600 Fourth Ave. Other highlights include The Maldives July 10 at Westlake Park, 401 Pine St.; Tubaluba July 17 at Occidental Square, Occidental Ave. S and S. Main St.; The Dusty 45s Aug. 14 at Harbor Steps, 1221 First Ave. and Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme at Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave. N.

All concerts start at noon. Bring a picnic lunch and a blanket, and enjoy Seattle’s beautiful summer weather and some great music. The full lineup will be posted on the downtown Seattle website in a few weeks.

Happening July 9-Sept. 4.

West Seattle Summer Fest

Seattle’s West Seattle neighborhood has one of the best summer celebrations around. In addition to kids activities, food and shopping, there’s a great lineup of music each year—and the three-day festival is free!

This year’s highlights include La Luz, Navvi, Black Whales, Kithkin, The Cave Singers and Memphis Radio Kings. Music begins in the afternoon and goes until 9:30 pm Friday and Saturday evenings, 4 pm on Sunday.

Happening July 10-12.

Timber! Outdoor Music Festival

Head to the woods of Carnation, Wash., for this music fest and outdoor adventure. The three-day festival includes plenty of music, nature hikes, kayaking, children’s activities, a 5k run/walk, mountain biking, stand-up paddleboarding, geocaching, bubble football, stargazing and more. Come for just a day or camp overnight and attend all three days of the festival.

This year the lineup includes David Bazan, La Luz, Beat Connection, Shaprece, Alela Diane, Tacocat, The Dead Milkmen, Lonesome Shack, Naked Giants, Tom Eddy, Gibraltar and more, plus special children’s concerts from Recess Monkey and Eli Rosenblatt.

Happening July 16-18.

Capitol Hill Block Party

Capitol Hill Block Party

Party on the Hill at this annual event, happening in July. Featuring some of the best indie music in the country, the three-day festival has multiple stages taking over six city blocks in Capitol Hill. This festival often sells out, so buy your tickets early. Two stages are outdoors, and there are three indoor venues. The festival also encompasses dozens of restaurants and bars.

The 2015 lineup includes TV on the Radio, The Kills, Built to Spill, Toro Y Moi, Shabazz Palaces, Chastity Belt and more to be announced. The schedule is released in June, and single-day tickets are available, as well as three-day passes.

Happening July 24-26.

Summer Meltdown

Darrington, Wash., is home to this four-day festival, “where the music meets the mountain.” Held at the Whitehorse Mountain Amphitheater, about 90 minutes northeast of Seattle, the festival takes place in beautiful surroundings. Camping is available, and be aware that the weather in Darrington can be unpredictable, ranging from highs of 100 degrees during the day to much colder at night—bring layers and be prepared for possible rain.

This is a family-friendly event, with a kids area that includes special activities for the smallest festival goers, including outdoor games, snow cones, fairy home building, scavenger hunts, derby cars and more.

The 2015 lineup includes STS9, Iration, Tycho, Galactic, Greensky Bluegrass, Minnesota, Yppah, Flowmotion, Cedar Teeth, Polecat, Tubaluba, Heels to the Hardwood and many more.

Happening Aug. 6-9.

Bumbershoot Festival


Close out the summer over Labor Day Weekend with Bumbershoot, Seattle’s beloved summer music and arts festival. It takes over the Seattle Center grounds with music, art, comedy, film and much more. There are multiple stages as well as indoor venues—plan on outlining your day, but don’t set it in stone! With a huge mix of local, national and international acts, there are always new bands to discover.

This very family-friendly festival includes Youngershoot: musical acts, activities, art and adventures appropriate for children 10 and younger. There is also a Youngershoot Kids Zone, curated by the Seattle Children’s Museum, that is only accessible to children 10 and younger and their guardians.

Among this year’s stellar lineup is Babes in Toyland, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Cake, The Airborne Toxic Event, Lindsey Stirling, Faith No More, Neko Case, Social Distortion, The Cave Singers, Hey Marseilles, Brandon Glowers, Hozier, Devotchka, Ellie Goulding, Minus the Bear and more.

Happening Sept. 5-7.

The Emerald City loves music outdoors: Here’s your definitive guide to this season's lineup.