Photo: Mark Kitaoka for Teatro Zinzanni

Top Arts & Culture Things to Do

Overall, Seattle’s arts scene mirrors its inhabitants. For every traditionalist, there’s a non-traditionalist; for every serious piece of art, there’s something to make you laugh. What inspires us? Some say it’s the coffee culture. Others say it’s the weather. It could just be that Seattle is the cultural center of the Northwest, and its citizens are happy to celebrate. Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that things are fun and a little quirky, too.

5th Avenue Theatre Interior Photo: 5th Avenue Theatre

Treat Yourself to Theater

Seattle earns its standing ovations with world-class theater that will leave you wanting more!

Seattle’s lively theatre scene is second to none. Catch a bold new premiere or an inventive interpretation of the classics at Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT or Book-It. Be dazzled by a blockbuster Broadway show at the historic Paramount or 5th Avenue Theatre. If cirque and magic is more your style, don’t miss the unique Teatro ZinZanni experience. Housed in a stunning antique cabaret tent, it has delighted audiences with a fine blend of comedy, cirque and cuisine since 1998.

Ballet Dancers Photo: ©Angela Sterling.

Enjoy All Sorts of Dance

A number of recognized dance companies are putting both feet forward in Seattle. Some are producing exquisite renditions of classic pieces, while others are projecting a more modern artistic vision.

Pacific Northwest Ballet is widely recognized as one of the country’s premiere regional dance companies. Founded in 1972, it is now delighting audiences under the artistic leadership of Peter Boal, a well-regarded former dancer with a distinguished 22 year career with the New York City Ballet. The sheer brilliance of the choreographers and dancers will captivate you. If you want to put on your own dancing shoes, don’t miss the Century Ballroom. With its elegantly draped balconies and glossy wood floors, it sets the mood to swing or salsa, and for those of us with two left feet, lessons are usually offered before the dance. You can usually find top international and national companies performing at The Paramount Theatre, On the Boards or the UW World Series at Meany Hall, or catch our up-and-coming artists at Cornish College of the Arts.

Photo: Greg Dunlap

Take in Some Live Music

With so many venues that cater to every taste, Seattle is a true mecca for live music. Here’s a small sampling of our most epic places to see your favorite bands:

  • Neumos – Pronounced “new moe’s,” this club on Capitol Hill has an always-relevant and carefully curated music calendar, outstanding light production, and a state-of-the-art sound system. The showroom features three full service bars, a second floor mezzanine, and a balcony that over looks the stage. Neumos hosts a variety of national and local musicians who play genres across the spectrum.
  • The Triple Door – Combining world-class entertainment with the award-winning food of Wild Ginger, the Triple Door’s mainstage theater features touring national acts, while the Musicquarium lounge is one of Seattle’s best destinations for happy hour and local music.
  • The Crocodile – Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of “The Best Clubs in America,” there may be no other spot in the Pacific Northwest with such storied and beloved past, and no other rock and roll venue that has earned its right to occupy the hearts of so many. Countless incredible bands played within their walls, so come check out who’s up next.
  • The Showbox – With two locations (across from Pike Place Market and in SoDo), the Showbox has Seattle covered. Opened in 1939, this beautiful art-deco gem has been delivering the goods from the Jazz age, through the Grunge Era to the current wave of Seattle exports. From Prince to The Roots to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Showbox has the shows you want.
  • Benaroya Hall – Home of the internationally acclaimed Seattle Symphony, the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall is one of the world’s finest concert halls. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot, the Symphony is heard from September through July, dazzling more than a half-million people each year.
  • Tractor Tavern – With more than 20 years of diesel music, drinks and dancing, Ballard’s Tractor Tavern delivers the best selection of live local and national alt-country, rockabilly, old-time, folk, blues, and bluegrass bands in town. And square dancing once a month.
  • Vera Project – Seattle’s “premier” all-ages venue, the Vera Project is a mostly volunteer-run, cathedral-ceilinged hall next to the Seattle Center, which plays host to local hotshots as well as nationally touring acts.
  • The Royal Room – Located in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, The Royal Room hosts live music seven nights a week. The restaurant and bar has a comfortable neighborhood feel that welcome patrons of all ages and tastes.
  • Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley – Family owned & operated since 1979, the all-ages Jazz Alley is a legendary live music & dinner club hosting world-renowned jazz and fusion acts from across the globe.
Frye Museum Entry Pete Eckert, Frye Entry

Check Out An Art Museum

Seattle’s excellent art museums allow you to access exhibits of every kind. Check out any of the below museums for an expansive experience:

  • Seattle Art Museum – Just one block from Pike Place Market, light-filled galleries invite you to wander through global art collections, temporary installations, and special exhibitions from around the world. Visitors from out of town especially enjoy the remarkable Native American galleries featuring Northwest Coast art.
  • Frye Art Museum – Located on First Hill, the always-free Frye Art Museum opened as the legacy of Charles and Emma Frye, prominent early-twentieth century Seattle business leaders and art collectors. With its marvelous Founding Collection and constantly changing featured exhibits, the Frye is a revelation and often the most exciting contemporary art museum in Seattle.
  • Olympic Sculpture Park – Experience a variety of sculpture in an outdoor setting while enjoying the incredible views and beauty of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. Admission is free.
  • Henry Art Gallery – A museum of contemporary art and ideas and known for taking risks and for allowing space for uncertain outcome, the Henry presents provocative exhibitions by a multi-national roster of emerging and mid-career artists.

Upcoming Arts & Culture Events

Brit Floyd

7/11/2019

Brit Floyd has truly become a phenomenon, widely regarded as the world’s greatest live tribute to Pink Floyd. …

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Darrington Bluegrass Festival

7/19/2019 through 7/21/2019

Darrington Bluegrass Festival is One of the biggest and premiere bluegrass festivals in the Northwest!

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Ask Me Another

6/20/2019

STG Presents & KUOW Welcomes Ask Me Another – From NPR and WNYC. Welcome to a night of …

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Vietnam Divided: War Above Southeast Asia

Ongoing

The newest permanent installation in the Museum’s T.A. Wilson Great Gallery focuses specifically on the air war above …

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38th Annual Student Performance

6/27/2019 through 6/29/2019

Over the course of four performances, dancers age four to eighteen will be featured in short works choreographed …

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Simon Hanselmann: Bad Gateway

Now through 8/11/2019

The first museum exhibition for the creator of the New York Times bestselling Megg, Mogg & Owl graphic …

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Tony Sorgenfrei

Now through 7/2/2019

Join Visiting Artists Tony Sorgenfrei at the Hot Shop.

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Nordic Journeys

Ongoing

This exhibition encompasses five distinct galleries and will feature not only beloved and important artifacts from our own …

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Lydia Pense & Cold Blood

7/9/2019 through 7/10/2019

Lydia Pense and Cold Blood are celebrating 50 years since debuting their East Bay grease at the Filmore. …

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