Everyone knows how perfect Seattle summers are: the days are long, the nights are warm and the city crackles with a happy, sun-drenched energy. As soon as June rolls around, locals hit the streets ready to make the most of each postcard-perfect summer.
From outdoor movies to fairs, there are a whole lot of ways to fill your days and nights. So here, in handy listicle form, is your go-to guide to the best events Seattle has to offer. You're welcome.
Festivals & Fairs
If there's one thing Seattleites are good at, it's being quirky. That quirkiness, combined with really great food and drink, sets the stage for some seriously fun and different festivals. Read on for our favorite summer celebrations.
6/19-6/21 Fremont Solstice Festival
This infamous festival celebrates the Summer Solstice with beer, crafts, tunes and everyone's favorite: nudity. In typical Fremont style, 1,500+ brave cyclists strip down and ride through the streets decked out in body paint as part of the annual Solstice Parade. Come watch the "nude but not lewd" cyclists, grab a brew from the beer garden or stroll through the craft market in search of the perfect hemp poncho (or whatever it is people wear in Fremont when they're not cycling in the nude). Admission is free. For schedule and vendors visit fremontfair.org.
6/19-6/21 Washington Brewers Festival (Redmond)
If the Fremont fair isn't your style (or if you just really like beer), this festival has your back. Celebrate Fathers' Day weekend with a brewski or two at the 10th annual Washington Brewers Festival at Redmond's Marymoor Park. You and Dad can listen to live local music while sampling more than 400 tasty beers from 105 Washington breweries. Wine and hard cider tastings will also be available, as well as a rootbeer garden for those under 21. Friday is 21+ only. Ticket prices vary. To buy tickets and see a complete list of breweries visit washingtonbeer.com.
6/27-6/28 Seattle Pridefest
Seattle PrideFest is a whole new level of festival. Not only is it the largest pride event in the nation, but Evening Magazine named PrideFest the Best Local Event two years in a row. This year, Seattle's favorite event kicks off June 27 in Capitol Hill at Cal Anderson Park and 11th Ave. The festivities continue the next day at Seattle Center with music, food and the pièce de résistance: the Pride Parade. Expect rainbows, glitter by the gallon-full and more smiles than you can count. This year's parade theme is "A Lifetime of Pride," celebrating all who serve and take pride in our community. Free admission. To learn more visit seattlepridefest.org.
7/11-7/12 Ballard SeafoodFest
If there's one thing Ballard knows, it's seafood. The neighborhood's Nordic fishing roots shine in this annual celebration of absolutely everything seafood. Twenty five vendors will be serving all your favorites: fish tacos, fried prawns, crab legs, clam chowder, fish n' chips....need we go on? As always, the traditional salmon barbecue will take place with delicious consequences. Admission is free. For a complete list of vendors, music, and attractions visit seafoodfest.org.
7/31-8/2 Seafair Weekend
Seafair, Seattle's summer-long nautical celebration, culminates this weekend with boats, planes, and tons of family fun. Face painting and food abound at Genesee Park on Lake Washington alongside hydroplane races, wakeboarding competitions and loads of live music. As always, the highlight of the weekend is the U.S. Navy Blue Angels; the jets will be on deck every afternoon with their dazzling (and heartstopping) aerial displays. Single-day tickets range from $10-$30 and can be purchased at seafair.com. Friday is free admission.
Hint: The best place to watch the festivities is from the lake itself; if you don't own a boat, you've got a couple months to find yourself a friend who does!
Expect the sky above Myrtle Edwards to be a little hazy this August weekend. This festival celebrates hemp in all forms for three gloriously smoky days. Attendees can look forward to shopping from more than 200 vendors, rallies, live music and lots of munchies. Or if you're so inclined, you can simply lounge at Myrtle Edwards beach and enjoy life, man. The festival opens around 11 a.m. (but we hear things really heat up around 4:20 p.m.). Free admission. For more info visit hempfest.org.
Northwest evenings were practically made for outdoor movies. The warm night air is perfect for curling up on a blanket and watching a movie under the stars. Just make sure to bring bug spray before heading to any of these after-dusk features.
7/8-8/26 First Tech Movies at Marymoor Park (Redmond)
Redmond's Marymoor Park shows movies at dusk every week in July and August. The selection is always top-notch; past years have included everything from Ferris Bueller's Day Off to Indiana Jones. This year, titles include Top Gun, Tangled and Guardians of the Galaxy. Gates open at 7 p.m. and movies begin at dusk; come early to enjoy tasty food trucks and fun movie trivia. Low chairs and blankets encouraged. Dogs welcome. Tickets are $5 on site; parking is $1. Days of showings vary. For full schedule visit www.epiceap.com/movies-at-marymoor.
7/9-8/27 PEMCO Movies at Magnuson Park
Looking for something to do Thursday nights in July and August? Look no further because PEMCO and Seattle Children's are hosting weekly movie screenings at Magnuson Park starting July 9. The series opens with '80s classic Back to the Future and ends with The Princess Bride, showing everything from Zoolander to Up in between. Food trucks, live acts, raffles and movie trivia will be a part of every showing. Event entry starts at 7 p.m. for the first six events and 6:30 p.m. for the last two. Entry is $5 on site and free for children under five. For lineup and info visit epiceap.com/seattle-outdoor-movies.
7/11-8/22 Outdoor Movie Nights at Carillon Point (Kirkland)
Come for dinner and stay for a show at Carillon Point this summer. The annual Outdoor Movie Nights series starts July 11 with a big-screen showing of Maleficent at the Carillon Point plaza. Subsequent films include Big Hero 6 and Jurassic Park. The plaza opens for seating an hour prior to dusk. Admission is technically free, but a $5 donation to Hopelink is suggested. All profits from Outdoor Movie Nights go to Hopelink. For schedule and information visit carillon-point.com.
7/31 Clips Beer & Film Tour
This ingenious event combines two of everyone's favorite things: movies and booze. Head to Gas Works Park Friday, July 31, for a screening of fan-created short films accompanied by an assortment of New Belgium Brewing's best craft beers. Admission is free, but beer and raffle tickets will cost you. Good news though-- 100 percent of beer and raffle proceeds go to Seattle charity The World is Fun! The event starts at 5 p.m.; films start at dusk. For additional information about the Clips tour or to volunteer visit theworldisfun.org/events.
8/14 and 8/21 Movies at the Marina
Ballard's Shilshole Bay Beach Club has two nautical-themed movie showings in August. First up is family favorite Finding Nemo on the 14th followed by Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl on the 21st. Admission is 100 percent free and includes popcorn (!!!). If you can't find parking no worries; you can always drive your boat over and moor it at the Shilshole marina (with a reservation, of course). Just make sure to bring an extra jacket or two--that Puget Sound air sure gets chilly at night. Movies start at dusk. For more info about Movies at the Marina visit portseattle.org.
It looks like August is the month for some really cool music festivals--think big artists in nature-y, small-town settings. Grab your camping gear and get ready to jam all month (and all summer) long.
7/6-8/1 Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival
You'll have to swap your flip-flops for dress shoes to attend this particular festival. This July, the Seattle Chamber Music Society brings classical music to the masses with the 12-concert Summer Festival. World-renowned musicians will perform the works of the greats (think Debussy, Mendelssohn, etc.) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Benaroya's Nordstrom Recital Hall. You can attend two performances every evening: a free recital at 7 p.m. and a ticketed concert at 8 p.m. The festival also features a fun family concert and the always-popular Chamber Music in the Park. Prices vary. For schedule, information and tickets visit seattlechambermusic.org.
7/9-10/4 Out to Lunch Concert Series
Starting in July, the downtown area will turn into an all-out concert during lunch hour. Every week from noon-1:30 local bands like The Maldives, The Dusty 45s and Polyrhythmics will perform at one of nine locations for FREE. This is Out to Lunch's 37th year of bringing gratis (awesome) music to the people. Be sure to watch the trailer and visit downtownseattle.com/summer to find out when and where your favorite bands are playing.
7/24-7/26 Capitol Hill Block Party
CHBP is exactly what it sounds like: one giant party. Artists big and small come to rock out all weekend in July, taking over six city blocks in the process. Local artists are a staple of the block party; up-and-coming Seattle bands always share the bill with artists like The Flaming Lips and A$AP Rocky. This year, look for names like TV on the Radio, The Kills and Chastisty Belt (formed in Walla Walla!) when the party arrives. Shenanigans encouraged. Regular three-day passes are $125. VIP passes (which include complimentary drinks & festival swag) are available for $250 for those 21 and up. Visit capitolhillblockparty.com for full lineup, tickets and venue information.
8/6-8/10 Doe Bay Fest (Orcas Island)
If you've never been to Orcas Island, you now have the perfect reason to go. The wonderfully lush, isolated island will host the 8th annual Doe Bay Fest, a five-day indie etc. festival featuring artists like Champagne Champagne, Ballroom Thieves and The Local Strangers. Attendees will stay at the Doe Bay Resort, a 38-acre waterfront resort with accomodations ranging from cabins to campsites. Tickets go fast-- be sure to get some before they sell out! In the meantime, check out Seattle favorite The Head & The Heart performing at Doe Bay in 2010. Ticket packages for this one-of-a-kind festival start at $135. To purchase, visit doebayfest.com.
8/6-8/9 Summer Meltdown Fest (Darrington)
Fans of electronica, reggae and electronic-reggae will love Summer Meltdown. The annual four-day music fest is located in scenic Darrington, Wash., on the outskirts of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. These mountains offer more than just good acoustics, however. In addition to killer artists like Sol and Nahko and Medicine for the People, Summer Meltdown features a plethora of outdoor activities; rock climbing, river rafting and horseback riding are all part of the Meltdown experience. GA tickets are $165 for those 16+ and $55 for youth ages 9-15. Good news for kiddos: if you're 8 or under you get in for free! Various camping options avilable. Visit summermeltdownfest.com for tickets and information.
8/14-8/15 Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Festival (Walla Walla)
What do Mumford & Sons, Jenny Lewis, The Flaming Lips and Foo Fighters all have in common? They're all playing at the Stopover Festival in Walla Walla this August. Yes, you read that right: Walla Walla, the Sweet Onion capital of the Northwest, will become a Mecca for big-name bands when Gentlemen of the Road comes to town. Expect a good time. Tickets run at $199 with camping included. All ages welcome. To buy tickets or learn more about the Stopover philosophy visit gentlemenoftheroad.com.