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3 Must-Attend Festivals in Seattle

Home > Seattle > Family | Festivals | Fun Things To Do | Lists
by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published October 27th 2015
Feel the Beat of Emerald City
Music, art, dance, food, theatre or boats… no matter what your interests and hobbies are, Seattle has a festival for you! If you plan on visiting the Emerald City any time soon, here are some benchmarks throughout the year you might want to consider:


Probably the best know Seattle festival, Bumbershoot is a much anticipated annual event attracting music fans and art buffs each Labor Day Weekend for 45 years. A touchstone for Seattle's cultural scene, Bumbershoot features an interesting lineup that includes rock music concerts, comedy shows, art exhibitions, interactive workshops, laser light games and many other events.

Bumbershoot posters
Bumbershoot posters: 1972, 1988, 2013 -

This festival's history goes hand in hand with the city's past. Its very first edition took place back in 1971 under the name "Mayor's Arts Festival" and was funded by the municipality. Its aim was to revive the local's spirit and take their minds off the economic crisis triggered by Boeing's near collapse. The event was a huge success, attracting a number of 125,000 people.

Nowadays, Bumbershoot continues to draw a lot of attention from locals and tourist, being the largest music festival in the city, but it no longer holds the record for attendance, which goes to Seattle Arts Festival. As many popular rock bands have a stop at Bumbershoot, this festival is a much anticipated even for the local rock music fans and a benchmark within Seattle's concerts schedule.

Seattle International Film Festival

Spanning on a period of 25 days, SIFF is the longest running festival in Seattle and a must-attend for all movie buffs. The Moore Egyptian Theater is the place where SIFF was born back in 1976, but 30 years later, in 2006, the Mayor of Seattle announced that this hugely popular Seattle festival will have its own home at Seattle Center.

Attracting over 150,000 attendees, SIFF is famous for its eclectic lineup of over 450 pieces, including independent movies, documentaries, and short films. SIFF is also the place where many blockbusters have their World or American premieres.

If you plan to attend Seattle International Film Festival, you can pick the movies to see by category or schedule, but also according to your mood as SIFF organizers offer a convenient mood labeling system. Another interesting feature is the "Secret Festival". Those attending the four secret movies have no idea what they are about to watch, and they must sign a legal document forbidding them to reveal anything about what they saw.


A summer festival everyone likes, Seafair includes a wide range of activities, from the scenic and musical Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Marathon to the Seafair Pirates Landing animating Alki Beach and Torchlight Night promising another magical summer night every year.
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