Culture Fix

Things to Do in Seattle

Seattle Beer Week cracks open and Paul Giamatti becomes a podcast guy.

By Taylor McKenzie Gerlach May 16, 2024

Life goals: live every week like it's Seattle Beer Week.

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 Food and Drink / Visual Arts / Live Music 
Performance / Film / Special Events / Readings and Lectures / On Sale Now

Seattleites are spoiled for choice when it comes to spending our leisure time. Just take a look at the sheer variety of options: We have an exceptional array of museums, independent bookstores, restaurants, bars (and bar trivia), record stores, nightlife options, local shops, and a rich music landscape.

And the actual landscape? Outdoor recreation opportunities abound, especially if you subscribe to the “no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” mindset (if you don’t, are you really from Seattle?). From abundant hikesswimming holes, state parks, and campgrounds just beyond city limits to a voluminous urban trail system, there’s something for the outdoorsperson of every skill and stoke level. Those with little ones (human or furred) can rejoice at a bevy of great playgrounds, spray parks, and zoos

But if you just want a guide already, we've got plenty for food, outdoors, shopping, and entertainment. Plus, a shortlist of what to do in Washington this month. Or find below the best things to do in Seattle, updated weekly. 

Food and Drink

Seattle Beer Week

may 17-24, various | various, free

If there's one thing Seattle's nosh scene does right, it's craft beer. The 15-year-old week-long celebration kicks off at Old Stove Brewing, where the official fest beer (Whereas West Coast IPA) is unveiled to the fanfare of live music and old-school superhero costumes. The rest of the week hold gems like a Christmas in May party, yoga at Aslan, and a wing sauce competition.

Bacon, Eggs, and Kegs includes games—maybe play them before you feast.

Bacon, Eggs, and Kegs

june 1–2, 11am–3pm | lumen field, $45–55

Breakfast people rejoice: Lumen Field is your playground. Tickets unlock drinks—including a 30-foot-long DIY Bloody Mary bar—brunch bites, and live music. A giant inflatable skillet affords silly photos and bacon cosplay while on-theme games like egg toss and bacon bingo can turn anyone into a brunch-lover. 

Spill the Tea

through june 30, various | pennyroyal, menu

Belltown's European-style Pennyroyal speakeasy unveils the season's finest in honor of Bridgerton's season three release. Taking a page from Lady Whistledown's notebook, tea-infused cocktails with monikers like The Duke and I and Diamond of the Season are served alongside a gossip card with spicy conversation starters.

Visual Arts

Sky Hopinka: Subterranean Ceremonies 

through may 26, 11am–5pm | frye art museum, free

Washington-born artist Sky Hopinka explores the ways language shapes our perception of place, alternating between English and Indigenous dialects in four films and a selection of photographs. The Frye exhibition elicits contemplation on personal and political notions of Indigenous homeland.


through june 2, various | photographic center northwest, free

Collage meets film in the Central District gallery: ticket stubs, cigarette wrappers, and torn book pages are just some of the everyday ephemera melded with the photography of six PNW artists in Photographic Center Northwest's current exhibition. 

The Travel Cats by Mari Ichimasu

through june 30, 10am–7pm | seattle japanese garden, $10

Among the koi ponds, rhododendrons, and tranquil bridges of the Capitol Hill gardens, felines travel alongside visitors. Watercolored paintings bring a dozen of Seattle-based Japanese artist Mari Ichimasu's two-dimensional cats—decked out in cute travel outfits, touristy cameras, and trusty backpacks—to the gardenscape. 

Live Music

LCD Soundsystem

may 16–19, 8pm | the paramount theatre, $150–199

The New York indie outfit booked their farewell show in 2011; the four-night run at the Paramount is just a bonus. And with electric, disco-like live shows, it's a blessing.

Girl in Red

may 20–21, 8pm | paramount theatre, resale

The Oslo-based alternative pop artist opened for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, and she's a musical powerhouse in her own right. Expect intimate songwriting and a powerful stage presence from the queer icon. If this needed to get any gayer, The Beaches will open in a special appearance on the Paramount stage. 

Samara Joy

may 25, 8pm | taper auditorium, $20–90

Three-time Grammy winner Samara Joy might be young, but she brings back old school jazz. Her 2022 album Linger Awhile cemented her under the Verve Records label alongside legendary female jazz voices who came before her: Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald. 



May 17, 8pm | the great hall, $25–125

Award-winning actor Paul Giamatti and philosophy professor Stephen Asma host a live taping of their one-year-old podcast Chinwag. Things get esoteric and philosophical quickly; their uninhibited chats could cover anything from the interdimensionality of Bigfoot to the simulation we all so clearly live in. 

Pacific Northwest Ballet explores a doll's life.



Lauded as one of ballet's greatest comedies, the whimsy of a doll maker's workshop and misplaced love has enthralled audiences since its 1870 debut. In the Pacific Northwest Ballet rendition there are spells, life-like toys, potions, and true love—everything a borderline fairytale needs.

You haven't seen this Sherlock yet.

Sherlock Holmes and the Precarious Position

through june 15, various | jewell Mainstage Theatre, $25–62

Drawing on the classic literary character, the Taproot Theatre production weaves a tale of deception, suspense, and deadly mystique inside Greenwood's jewel box of a theater.



may 17–22, 4 and 9:30pm | Central cinema, $12

An artistic anime dreamscape, 90-minute Paprika blends science fiction with the tale of a heist. Protagonist Dr. Atsuko Chiba creates a device that allows therapists to view the dreams of their patients. When it's stolen, the doctor puts detective skills to work.

Seattle International Film Festival

through may 19, various | various, $17.50–1,619.99

Seattle, you know the drill. This is the annual event no self-respecting cinephile would miss. Obviously there are the films—all 159 of them—but the folks at SIFF have more up their sleeves: a Hacks screening and conversation with Jean Smart, glitzy opening night soiree at Paramount Theatre, and brunch with June Squibb. 

Grand Illusion 20th Anniversary Series

may 21–30, various | grand illusion cinema, $11

The cozy University District theater is celebrating two decades as a volunteer-run nonprofit cinema, but they're not narcissistic enough to think they're the only ones worth commemorating. Some of their favorite films—1978 zombie flick Dawn of the Dead and 25-year-old Magnolia—screen this month in honor of another trip around the sun.


17th of May

may 17, 10am–8pm | national nordic museum, free

It's easy to believe that the Norwegian Constitution Day festivities in Seattle are the world's largest outside of Oslo and Bergen when the day holds a parade, Fjord horse petting zoo, live Nordic music, a food hall, and an in-house genealogist to find out if you're really Nordic.

Sunset Market and Listening Sessions

may 18, 5–10pm | The Shop by Porter, $10

Hyper creative The Shop By Porter transforms into a house party, marketplace hybrid. Overlooking the Puget Sound, DJs lend hi-fi deep listening, Joshua Dahlquist hand-pokes tattoos, and three vendors hawk vibey wares.

Northwest Folklife, as always, can't sit still.

Northwest Folklife Festival

may 24–27, various | seattle center, free

The annual celebration centers local creativity like no other: vocational artisans demo their skills, open-invite contra dances take over the Fisher Pavilion, fashion shows parade styles new and old, and a rotating cast of musicians keep the heartbeat of the festival alive for four straight days. 


Jed Perl talks all things Alexander Calder at SAM.

SAM Talks: Jed Perl

may 17, 6:30–8pm | seattle art museum, $10

The SAM world has revolved around Alexander Calder's mobiles ever since they unveiled over 45 of his works in November. Art critic, author, and Calder biographer Jed Perl brings context and a career retrospective to the conversation, kicking off the SAM's weekend-long Calder Symposium.

Project Aurora Panel Discussion

may 23, 7pm | national nordic museum, free

Missed the aurora borealis show last weekend? Ballard artist Ginny Ruffner employed microprocessors and 34,560 individual LED bulbs to mimic the natural phenomenon inside the National Nordic Museum. She'll chat with co-creators technologist Ed Fries and scholar Wanda Gregory about the making of the 20-foot by 10-foot installation.

Kathleen Hanna

may 24, 7pm | third place books ravenna, $73-164

The feminist icon and frontwoman of punk band Bikini Kill has found her next act as an author. She presents her new release, Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk in conversation with author and co-founder of the reproductive rights campaign #ShoutYourAbortion Lindy West. 

On sale now

NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest

june 9, 7pm | nectar lounge, $18

The Tiny Desk concerts of YouTube lore bring their nationwide tour to Nectar. Artists for the June show include the yet-to-be-announced winner of NPR's annual contest and select local outfits who have appeared on past Tiny Desk episodes—perhaps Among Authors or Sleater-Kinney. 

Tasting Notes

july 19, 7:30pm | benaroya hall, $20–525

Music is an art form; food is an art form. What happens when best-in-class musicians partner with renowned chefs? It turns into a chamber music party helmed by James Beard Award-Winner Kenji Lopez-Alt and violinist James Ehnes—complete with nosh and entertainment. 

The Chainsmokers: The Party Never Ends

august 10, TBA | Myrtle edwards park, public onsale may 17

The Grammy-award-winning duo brings English DJ Jonas Blue and producer Daniel Allan to Lower Queen Anne's waterfront Myrtle Edwards Park. Last year's iteration of the live music project broke venue attendance records thanks to deep cuts and chart-topping Chainsmokers hits, engaging visuals, and cutting-edge production collabs. 

Cigarettes After Sex

september 28, 8pm | climate pledge arena, $44–444

Slow burn pop songs with love right smack dab in the middle? Enter indie trio Cigarettes After Sex, touring in support of their yet-to-be-released third studio album, X


november 24, 7pm | climate pledge arena, $110–1,226

"Dream On" singer Steven Tyler—who is 76 years old—will be back on stage following a fractured larynx to finish out the rock band's farewell tour this fall. Forever dynamic performers, the five piece makes even the largest stadiums feel like a raucous club; pre-injury tour reviews promise the band peaces out with loads of rock style. 

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