Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: May 10–12, 2024

Flower Festival, Seattle Art Book Fair, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
May 10, 2024
A lineup of local buskers will provide tunes as you seek out the perfect bouquet at Pike Place Market's 16th Annual Flower Festival. (Pike Place Market via Facebook)
The weather's heating up this weekend, and we've got a hot and fresh batch of events to bask in, from the 16th Annual Flower Festival to the Seattle Art Book Fair and from Fantasy A & DJ Halfcan Celebrate 20 Years of Georgetown Records to the Edmonds Spring Fest. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week and our Mother's Day guide.

Jump to: Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Multi-Day



Spring Showers, May Flowers Maker's Market at Layers Green Lake Past Event List
Procrastinated and finding yourself in need of a Mother's Day gift? It's not too late! Head to this maker's market and peruse handmade wares ranging from candles to jewelry to cakes. As you shop, sip beverages like white sangria, strawberry lemonade, and spicy micheladas and snack on Oregon Bay shrimp cakes, mortadella, burrata, smashed fingerling potatoes, and other savory delights. JB
(Layers, Green Lake, free)


KEXP & Den Tapes Present: RUB, Midnight High, Chinese American Bear, and DJ Marco Collins - A Tractor 30th Anniversary Show Past Event List
Despite having formed just two years ago, the Seattle-based six-piece RUB has quickly made a splash in the local music scene—and for a good reason! Their music is fun, accessible, and thought-provoking with glossy synths, danceable R&B beats, and poignant lyrics. This Friday, join the band for a celebration honoring the release of their self-titled debut album and Tractor Tavern's 30th anniversary. The festivities will get started with opening sets from indie pop band Midnight High, experimental rock duo Chinese American Bear, and legendary local DJ Marco Collins. AV
(Tractor Tavern, Ballard, $12)



Bandit Theater Presents: First Date Past Event List
I'm fortunate enough to have never been on a blind date, which means I’m more than a little curious to watch two strangers go through the whole rigamarole on a theater stage. Enter First Date, Bandit Theater's newest solution to loneliness; they'll set up two folks looking for love and the audience will watch them succeed or crash and burn. Then, a team of improvisers will devise comedy based on how the date went. Hey, they do say laughter makes you sexier. LC
(Fremont Abbey Arts Center, Fremont, $15)

Bandit Theater Presents: Mad Science Past Event List
This edition of the recurring improv show Mad Science could crack up the sturdiest Bunsen burner. First, you'll learn a few factoids from a selection of STEM smarties; then, a wacky cast of improv comics will twist the duo's scientific research into surprisingly scholarly giggles. No lab coat required. LC
(Fremont Abbey Arts Center, Fremont, $15)


Spirit of Africa Past Event List
Take a dancing or drumming class, enjoy over a dozen cultural performances, and nosh on traditional foods at Seattle Center Festál's Spirit of Africa, which was founded and produced by a local Senegalese griot musician. The festival showcases the talents of African musicians, dancers, and artists in the region and from around the country; this year, it will include a colorful fashion show and a marketplace. Kids can take part in African map-drawing, njenga games, and a storytelling sesh. LC
(Seattle Center, Uptown, free)


The Beast Past Event List
For a film that begins in 1910 during the Great Flood of Paris, The Beast feels achingly alive with the anxiety of existing in 2024. Based in part on Henry James’s 1903 novella, The Beast in the Jungle, about a man who believes his whole life is steered toward an impending catastrophe, the latest and tenth film by Bertrand Bonello finds that same “deep-seated feeling that something terrible will occur” in the heart of a woman named Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux), and bends eternity around it. Across three lifetimes, Seydoux plays a lovelorn woman who waits for doom. Whatever that doom is, it doesn’t matter; it might as well be the apocalypse. If that seems like the stuff of a great, sappy cinematic romance, it is, but the work of Bonello tends to refuse simple categories. The French multi-hyphenate (director-writer-composer) makes destabilizing films, ever-shifting emulsions of form and genre. Read the Mercury's whole review. PORTLAND MERCURY CONTRIBUTOR DOM SINACOLA
(Grand Illusion, University District, $8-$11)


Laina's Ice Cream Social Remind List
Happy ice cream season to all who celebrate! The small-batch, family-owned neighborhood ice cream shop Laina's Ice Cream is run out of the Stonehouse Cafe and offers unique flavors such as sweet corn, ube, and lilikoi. Throughout the spring and summer, they'll make the most of the warm weather with ice cream socials, featuring limited-time flavors and discounts on pints and single servings. It's right by Rainier Beach, so secure your scoops and then enjoy them while gazing out over the waterfront. JB
(The Stonehouse Cafe, Rainier Beach)

Spring Family Fair Past Event List
The "Seattle Bubbleman" will share his floaty, glimmering, ephemeral creations at this all-ages, family-friendly event, which will also offer face painting, arts and crafts, balloon art, cotton candy, and pizza by the slice. Parents can enjoy cold beers while their offspring run amok. JB
(Ounces, North Delridge, free)


Washington State Toy Show Past Event List
When I think about things moms get jazzed about for Mother's Day, I'll be honest: A big-ass toy show is not the first, second, or third event that comes to mind. But the gargantuan Washington State Toy Show, which falls on Mother's Day weekend this year, is billed as "the mother of all toy shows," so it sounds like they're leaning into the holiday this year. The expo flaunts hundreds of vendors hawking vintage and modern action figures, LEGOs, video games, comic books, and other collectibles. If your mom is a nerd, she'll love it! If not, she'll probably smile politely. Buy her lunch afterward. LC
(Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup, $10-$15)


Fantasy A & DJ Halfcan Celebrate 20 Years of Georgetown Records Past Event List
In my opinion, Georgetown Records is the coziest record store in Seattle. Maybe it’s their location in a historic brick building, or maybe it’s the quiet street that feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. They also have a thoughtfully curated selection of used LPs and singles, with a special interest in punk, garage, and world music. I once got an amazing deal on a first pressing of the Feminine Complex’s Livin’ Lovean object I will forever cherish. Plus, they share a storefront with the local alt-comic publisher Fantagraphics, which is great if you love beautifully bound classic comic collections and contemporary graphic novels. The treasured music hub will celebrate its 20th anniversary with live in-store performances from local rapper Fantasy A and DJ Halfcan. AV
(Georgetown Records, Georgetown, free)

Sonic Reducer 20th Anniversary Past Event List
For the past 20 years, the punk radio show Sonic Reducer has sent the finest local, national, and international punk and hardcore tunes through KEXP's airwaves. Join the show’s longtime DJs Jenn, West, and Brian as they celebrate the milestone with live performances from cheeky punk trio Wimps, melodic rockers Dead Bars, and garage-tinged punks Lysol. If you can't join the party IRL, tune in during Sonic Reducer's regular timeslot (9 pm to midnight). AV
(KEXP, Uptown, $15)


Eurovision 2024 Viewing Event Past Event List
If you've never indulged in the opulent spectacle that is the international song competition Eurovision, you're sorely missing out. Now in its 68th year, acts from across the globe will compete in the pop music Olympics, complete with wildly catchy tunes, extravagant (and sometimes political) productions, and blindingly sparkly outfits. The contest has helped launch the careers of huge stars like ABBA, Céline Dion, and Måneskin. This weekend, Seattle's Swedish Cultural Center will host a finale viewing party featuring Icelandic singer (and former Eurovision contestant) Haffi Haff, VJ Andy Jensen, and some thematic bites, beer, spirits, and wine. Don't forget to dress to impress for the Euro-glam costume contest. AV
(The Swedish Club, Westlake, $5)


Edmonds Spring Fest Past Event List
If you're looking for a way to escape the tourists (and locals) flocking to the Seattle waterfront this weekend, I suggest popping up north for this annual spring fest within walking distance of Edmonds’ scenic waterfront. Hosted by Urban Craft Uprising, the Edmonds Spring Fest will offer goods from local vendors and last-minute Mother's Day gifts ranging from ceramics to hot sauce. Keep your energy up with bites and drinks from food trucks and local chefs, I'm already looking forward to pan dulce from Cafecito. SL
(Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds, free)

Lake City Record Show Past Event List
Refresh (or finally get started on) your record collection at Lake City's 34th annual vinyl market. Browse from a wide range of formats, genres, eras, and price points while elbow-to-elbow with fellow music nerds. Last year, I got great deals on an eclectic mix of Taylor Swift and John Fahey LPs. Plus, admission is free…you have nothing to lose (except for the money you'll spend on all of your amazing finds). AV
(Shoreline Elks Hall, Ridgecrest, free)

West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day Past Event List
Good news: the weather this weekend should be gorgeous and therefore the perfect time to explore over 500 garage sales across West Seattle. Two dozen of these are donating all proceeds to causes like local high school sports and finding a cure for breast cancer. On my list: a “record swap and spin” at Kenyon Hall, picking up some new seedlings at the Solstice Park P-Patch, and seeing if I can make the trek from Lincoln Park to Alki Beach on foot while amassing trinkets and goodies along the way. Check out the map for specific info on what each sale has to offer. SL
(Various locations, West Seattle, free)



Simple Town Past Event List
New York-based comedy team Simple Town is anything but simple—members Will Niedmann, Sam Lanier, Ian Faria, Caroline Yost, and Felipe Di Poi have created short films for Comedy Central, Adult Swim's Smalls, Cracked, and the New York TV Festival. Their sketch comedy style is distinctly weird, and if you're into Joe Pera, John Early, Jo Firestone, or any of the other sophomore-class alt comics making waves lately, Simple Town should give you something to laugh about. LC
(Here-After at the Crocodile, Belltown, $15)



Mother's Day Weekend at the Rhody Garden Past Event List
Y'all, DID YOU KNOW that the rhododendron is our state flower?? If you’re new to Washington State, well, ya better learn it. (It is also West Virginia’s state flower, but ours is the PACIFIC rhododendron and WV’s is just regular.) Anyway, Federal Way has a whole garden full of these suckers and it’s peak bloom time right now, so you and Mama are invited to look at them, explore the garden’s 13 different botanical features, have a bring-your-own-food picnic on the patio, and snap a photo at its rhododendron-themed selfie station. Don’t touch the rhodies, though. They’re kinda sticky. STRANGER CONTRIBUTOR MEGAN VAN HUYGEN
(Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, Federal Way, $0-$10, Saturday-Sunday)


BonsaiFEST! Past Event List
Have you ever looked at a tree and been like, "This is great and all, but what if it were smaller?" If so, bonsai are your best bet. Pacific Bonsai Museum’s annual BonsaiFEST! will bring together bonsai fans and the bonsai-curious for a day of celebration of the artsy trees again this year. The event boasts live bonsai care demonstrations, docent-led tours of the bonsai collection, a nature-lover's merch shop, and an audio tour option. Bring your mom, who almost certainly enjoys cool, small things and avant-garde botanicals. LC
(Pacific Bonsai Museum, Federal Way, $12 suggested donation, Saturday-Sunday)

16th Annual Flower Festival Past Event List
A Mother's Day weekend tradition for 16 years running, the Flower Festival fills Pike Place with delightful blooms from over 30 local flower farms. Don't forget the allergy meds if you're pollen-intolerant; we promise the sights and smells of tulips, daffodils, irises, peonies, and more will be worth it. Pick up a bouquet or two for mom, mother figures in your life, and yourself! Even better, bring your loved ones to pick them out with you and explore one of Seattle's best tourist destinations (that even us locals love). SL
(Pike Place Market, Saturday-Sunday)

Seattle Art Book Fair Past Event List
Prepare your tote bags, people: The Seattle Art Book Fair, an annual roundup of experimental publishers, DIY designers, and independent creatives who consider books to be Art with a capital A, will return this month. The festival celebrates all things art book-related, with a variety of talks, activities, and (natch) artists slinging chapbooks and zines. Far-flung creatives and local presses will be present. Don't forget, you live in a UNESCO City of Literature. Act like it!! LC
(Washington Hall, Squire Park, free, Saturday-Sunday)


The Old Oak Remind List
This screening of The Old Oak will be presented in partnership with Red May, a "month-long spree of red arts, red theory, and red politics based in share in discussion and plot ways toward a world beyond capitalism."Likely the final film of Ken Loach's oeuvre, The Old Oak stays true to his observational social realist style with forthright anger and a hint of idealism. The film follows the happenings at a pub in a declining mining town, where owner TJ Ballantyne must reckon with the impact of newly arriving Syrian refugees. When TJ becomes friends with a Syrian photographer, the pair search for ways to relate to both communities. Proceeds from the May 15 screening will be donated to Long Haul Mutual Aid, which offers 120 meals to "unsheltered folks in Georgetown and SoDo, along with other essential supplies such as water, harm reduction, clothes, hygiene products, batteries, etc." LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, $12.50, Friday-Sunday)

Seattle International Film Festival 2024 Remind List
SIFF will return for its 50th year with the best in international and independent cinema à la mode from across the globe, and you know the drill—the city's most well-recognized hybrid festival, which boasts hundreds of films from 84 countries and regions this year, will present screenings virtually and at SIFF venues citywide. Some standouts from this year's lineup include the June Squibb-fronted Thelma, the buzzy A24 drama Sing Sing, Ilana Glazer’s Babes, Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow, and Harmony Korine’s infrared vaporwave nightmare Aggro Dr1ft.Stranger staffers watched and reviewed dozens of the festival's films here, if you want some help deciding what should make it on your to-watch list. LC
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)


A Year with Frog and Toad Past Event List
Frog and Toad have been experiencing a bit of a resurgence lately, perhaps due to the duo's thoughtful, life-on-slow-mode nature, which seems more and more appealing every day. If you haven't seen an image of Frog riding a bicycle with a caption like "Stop normalizing the grind and start normalizing this," well, you're less online than the rest of us. This production of A Year with Frog & Toad translates Arnold Lobel's characters for the stage—expect plenty of swimming, kites, and gardening set to a jazzy score. I'm not crying, you're crying! LC
(Stop Gap Theatre, Lake Hills, $5-$15, Friday-Sunday)


Bike Everywhere Month 2024 Remind List
As someone who lived in SF and was told if I rode a bike in the city I "would get hit by a car at least once, that's just how it is," I feel comfortable saying that Seattle has an impressive biking infrastructure. The Cascade Bicycle Club and League of American Bicyclists encourages you to put that to the test as you ride your faithful two-wheeler across the city, ideally foregoing all other forms of transportation for the entire month. Meet up with fellow cycling enthusiasts for Bike Everywhere Day on May 17 and Mighty-O's Tour de Donut on May 25. That last one is technically unaffiliated, but we think it captures the spirit of the month perfectly (with the added bonus of tasty vegan treats). SL
(Various locations, Friday-Sunday)


DREAM TEMPLE (for Octavia) Remind List
Artists Mia Imani and Mayola Tikaka call upon the extraordinary visions of Octavia Butler for this installation, which features a low-lit resting space, an altar, and imagery of Black rest. Head to King Street Station to contemplate Butler's visionary worlds, which counteract intergenerational trauma and stress often experienced by Black people with a "portal of healing and imagining." By the way, Butler prophesized an eerily accurate, destabilized world in 2024, so Imani and Tikaka's rest space has arrived just in time. Throughout the exhibition, visitors can engage with rest rituals, hear interviews, and watch performances by the artists. LC
(King Street Station, SoDo, free, Friday–Saturday)

Intertwined Realities: Sunny Moxin Chen, jade wong, Nanxi Jin, Rulin Ma, Jia Jia Remind List
SOIL's latest group show distills the "very essence of human existence" in an immersive collection of works that think about the "changing body, experiences of loss, and the deep-seated longing propelling us forward." That's no small feat, but I think the artists exhibiting are up to the task: Intertwined Realities features multisensory works by Moscow-born Chinese immigrant Sunny Moxin Chen, cooking-inspired filmmaker jade wong, Chinese ceramicist Nanxi Jin, abstract painter Rulin Ma, and multimedia maker Jia Jia, who encourage gallery visitors to "deeply process and internalize their experiences, fostering personal growth." Think you're up for it? LC
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Sunday)

Manifestations by June Sekiguchi Remind List
June Sekiguchi's scroll-cut woodworking method makes her pattern-based sculptures and large-scale installations a very loopy experience. Addressing "cultural identity, cross-cultural exchange, and personal narratives through an interplay of surface pattern and structural form," Sekiguchi's latest show emphasizes her metaphorical approach and honors her source materials. (I'm stoked for her big, glowy hanging bug, Silkpunk Grasshopper Leg Transport.) LC
(King Street Station, SoDo, free, Friday–Saturday)

Maria Phillips: at what point... Remind List
Artist-educator Maria Phillips investigates collective responsibility, environmental consciousness, and depollution in her multimedia works, which stress the importance of "deceleration and the rejection of frenetic consumerism and production." Agreed, Maria! In at what point..., Phillips salvages reclaimed material and found objects to document time, change, and the cyclical nature underlying all things. She calls these transformed objects "pick-up portraits," prompting questions about climate disruption, reliance on plastics, and the insidious norms underlying production and consumption. LC
(Gallery 4Culture, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Sunday)

Sky Hopinka: Subterranean Ceremonies Remind List
Sky Hopinka, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño people, and 2022 MacArthur Foundation grant awardee, blends English and "Indigenous dialects such as Chinuk Wawa, a revived Chinookan creole of the Pacific Northwest" in his ground-quaking works, which often layer elements of poetry, prose, and image to think carefully about language as a strong cultural force. I was honored to write about Hopinka's work back in 2019, so this solo exhibition—the artist's first in the Pacific Northwest—feels especially exciting. Subterranean Ceremonies includes four recent films and new photographs that "focus on personal and political notions of Indigenous homeland," inspired by transitory landscapes and Hopinka's own wanderings. LC
(Frye Art Museum, First Hill, free, Friday–Sunday)

旅する猫たちの原画展: The Travel Cats By Mari Ichimasu Remind List
The Seattle Japanese Garden is already a tranquil sanctuary and a solid place to refill your creative cup, but do you know what would make it even better? Original watercolor paintings of cats wearing backpacks. Japan-born, Seattle-based artist Mari Ichimasu will present her signature series, Fur Coats and Backpacks; The Travel Cats, during the garden's lushest season. Visitors can participate in a "commemorative original stamp rally" and are welcome to bring their sketchbooks to draw inspiration from the on-the-go kitties. LC
(Seattle Japanese Garden, Madison Park, $0-$10, Friday–Sunday)

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