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 it’s 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 Theatres. 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

NT Live: Antony and Cleopatra

1/6/2019 through 1/8/2019

Director Simon Godwin returns to National Theatre Live screens with this hotly-anticipated production, following broadcasts of Twelfth Night, …

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Final Free Week at the Burke

12/26/2018 through 12/29/2018

Celebrate the final days of the current Burke Museum before we close our doors on December 30, 2018 …

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Foraging the Hive: Sara Young and Tyler Budge

Now through 3/3/2019

The artists say, “Defining our purpose, or role, through interdisciplinary investigations concerning creation and production is the basis …

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Tristan Gianola Quartet

12/11/2018

Gianola stands on his own as a classically trained composer and conductor raised on rock n’ roll, with …

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Improv Happy Hour

12/28/2018 through 12/29/2018

You are in for one-hour of spontaneous laughs and a lot of fun! This show is a wildly …

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Deck the Hall Ball 2018

12/11/2018

107.7 The End’s annual Christmas bash is back! Headliners this year include Death Cab For Cutie, Bastille and …

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Nathan Breedlove

12/26/2018

Nathan Breedlove is a twice Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter and composer. He is a former member of the Lionel …

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Always Naked

12/19/2018

Seattle based band. Always Naked is a bit punk, a bit bluesy, a bit rock and a tad …

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Z-Sides: Poetry Tastemakers

12/9/2018

In Z-sides, Jekeva Phillips (Editor-in-Chief of Word Lit Zine) sits down with Seattle’s writers, poets, tastemakers, and troublemakers. …

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