Seattleites will hold a festival at the drop of a rain hat, and summers here seem to revolve around the city's myriad celebrations. To find out what special events will be taking place while you're in town, check the "NW Ticket" arts-and-entertainment section of the Friday Seattle Times, or pick up a copy of Seattle Weekly. Remember, festivals here take place rain or shine. For more specific dates than those listed here, take a look at the calendar of events on Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau website (www.visitseattle.org), which is updated as dates become available.
In addition to the festivals listed here, a series of more than a dozen cultural community festivals is held every year at Seattle Center. Called Festál, this series celebrates Seattle's cultural diversity. In the past, they've held Vietnamese, African, Japanese, Filipino, Brazilian, and Tibetan festivals. For information, contact Seattle Center (tel. 206/684-7200; www.seattlecenter.com).
For an exhaustive list of events beyond those listed here, check http://events.frommers.com, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world.
Chinatown/International District Lunar New Year Celebration (tel. 206/382-1197; www.cidbia.org). Celebrations are held at Hing Hay Park (423 Maynard Ave S.), celebrating the Chineses New Year with dragon kites, music, and dance. February 5, 2019
Northwest Flower & Garden Show (tel. 206/231-0140 or 206/620-0938; www.gardenshow.com), Seattle. Gardening buffs head to this extensive and well-curated show at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. See website for details on dates.
Moisture Festival (tel. 206/297-1405; www.moisturefestival.com), various venues. This month-long festival is a sort of modern vaudeville celebration of classic comedy/varietè performances and burlesque. Mid-March to early April.
Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival (tel. 206/684-7200 or 206/723-2003; www.seattlecenter.com), Seattle Center. Traditional Japanese spring festival. Early to mid-April.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (tel. 360/428-5959; www.tulipfestival.org); Held in and around La Conner, an hour north of Seattle, this event shows off the enormous fields of tulips and daffodils blanketing the valley with a kaleidoscope of color, accompanied by festivities. See website for info on exact dates.
Opening Day of Boating Season (tel. 206/325-1000; www.seattleyachtclub.org), Lake Union and Lake Washington. A parade of boats and much fanfare take place as Seattle boaters bring out everything from kayaks to yachts. First Saturday in May.
Seattle Maritime Festival (tel. 206/787-3163; www.portseattle.org). Tugboat races are the highlight of this annual Port of Seattle event. Festivities are centered on the Bell Street Pier (Pier 66) on the Seattle waterfront. Early May.
UDistrict StreetFair (tel. 206/547-4417; www.udistrictstreetfair.org), University District. This is the first big street fair of the season in Seattle and includes lots of crafts booths, food vendors, and live music. Mid-May.
Seattle International Film Festival (tel. 206/324-9996; www.siff.net), at theaters around town. New foreign and independent films are screened over several weeks during this highly regarded film festival. Late May to mid-June.
Northwest Folklife Festival (tel. 206/684-7300; www.nwfolklife.org), Seattle Center. This is one of the largest folklife festivals in the country, with dozens of national and regional folk musicians performing on numerous stages. In addition, you'll find crafts vendors from all over the Northwest, lots of good food, and dancing. Memorial Day weekend.
Edmonds Art Festival (tel. 425/771-6412; www.edmondsartsfestival.com), Edmonds. This is the first big art festival of the year in the Puget Sound area, and many of the region's top artists and craftspeople attend. Third weekend in June.
Fremont Fair (tel. 206/632-1500; www.fremontfair.com). A celebration of the summer solstice with a wacky parade, naked bicyclists, food, arts and crafts, and entertainment in one of Seattle's favorite neighborhoods. Third weekend in June.
Seattle Pride (tel. 206/322-9561; www.seattlepride.org), Capitol Hill. With several days of revelry leading up to and including the last weekend in June, this is the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parade and festival in the Northwest. Last week in June.
Fireworks at Lake Union (tel. 206/281-7788; www.seafair.com/events/), Gas Works Park. Seattle's main Fourth of July fireworks display. July 4th.
Seafair (tel. 206/728-0123; www.seafair.com). This is the biggest Seattle event of the year, with an abundance of festivities -- parades, hydroplane boat races, an air show with the Navy's Blue Angels, the Torchlight Parade, ethnic festivals, sporting events, and tours of naval ships. Events take place all over Seattle. Early July to early August.
Chinatown International District Dragon Fest (tel. 206/382-1197; www.cidbia.org). Music, dancing, arts, and food of Seattle's Asian district. Second weekend in July.
Viking Days (tel. 206/789-5707; www.nordicmuseum.org) Seattle's Ballard neighborhood was founded by Scandinavians, and that heritage is still celebrated every summer at the Nordic Heritage Museum. Lots of Scandinavian crafts and foods. Mid-July.
Bite of Seattle (tel. 425/295-3262; www.biteofseattle.com), Seattle Center. Sample bites from local restaurants or taste some wines. Mid-July.
Sequim Lavender Festival (tel. 360/681-3035; www.lavenderfestival.com). The town of Sequim, on the north side of the Olympic Peninsula, is a 30-minute ferry ride and an hour's drive from Seattle. Every summer the purple haze of lavender farms adds splashes of color to the landscape. This festival features farm visits and vendors selling lavender-themed art, crafts, cosmetics, and foods. Third weekend in July.
Bellevue Arts Museum ArtsFair (tel. 425/519-0770; www.bellevuearts.org), Bellevue Square, Bellevue. This is the largest arts-and-fine-crafts fair in the Northwest. Last weekend in July.
Camlann Medieval Village Summer Village Festivals (tel. 425/788-8624; www.camlann.org), Carnation. Come all ye lords and ladies and enjoy knightly combat, demonstrations of long bows, wandering minstrels, and medieval banquets. Weekends late July to late August.
Chief Seattle Days (tel. 360/598-3311; www.suquamish.nsn.us), Suquamish tribal headquarters. A celebration of Northwest Native American culture across Puget Sound from Seattle. Third weekend in August.
Bumbershoot (tel. 206/281-7788; www.bumbershoot.org). Seattle's second-most-popular festival derives its peculiar name from a British term for an umbrella -- an obvious reference to the rainy weather. Rock music and other events pack Seattle's youthful set into Seattle Center and other venues. You'll find plenty of arts and crafts on display, too. Labor Day weekend.
Fremont Oktoberfest (tel. 206/633-0422; www.fremontoktoberfest.com). With beer gardens, a "Miss Buxom" contest, a chainsaw pumpkin-carving competition, and a 5K "Brew Ha-Ha" walk/run, this fun festival puts Fremont's funky spin on the German tradition. Late September.
Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival (tel. 206/382-2628; www.cwb.org), Center for Wooden Boats. Wooden boats, both old and new, from all over the Northwest are displayed. Demonstrations, food, and entertainment. End of September.
Issaquah Salmon Days Festival (tel. 425/392-0661; www.salmondays.org). This festival in Issaquah, 15 miles east of Seattle, celebrates the annual return of salmon that spawn within the city limits. First full weekend in October.
Earshot Jazz Festival ([tel 206/547-6763; www.earshot.org). With three weeks of jazz concerts at venues around the city, this is Seattle's premier jazz festival. Mid-October to early November.
Seattle Marathon (tel. 206/729-3660; www.seattlemarathon.org), around the city. With all the hills, you have to be crazy to run a marathon in Seattle, but plenty of people do it every year. Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Argosy Cruises Christmas Ships Festival (tel. 888/623-1445 or 206/622-8687; www.argosycruises.com), various locations. Boats decked out with imaginative Christmas lights parade past various waterfront locations. Argosy Cruises offers tours. Throughout December.
New Year's at the Needle (tel. 800/937-9582 or 206/905-2100; www.spaceneedle.com), Seattle. The Space Needle ushers in the new year with a big fireworks show when midnight strikes. December 31.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.