Weekend Guide

The Best In-Person Things to Do in Seattle This Weekend: Alden Mason Paintings, the Tilth Alliance Edible Plant Sale, and More

May 14-16, 2021 Edition
May 14, 2021
A retrospective of paintings by the late Northwest artist Alden Mason opens at the Bellevue Arts Museum this Friday. (Courtesy Bellevue Arts Museum)

With Governor Inslee's announcement that Washington will fully reopen by June 30, things are looking up for Seattle—but whether you're fully vaccinated or you're waiting for your second shot, our roundup of weekend activities still keeps social distancing in mind. See our picks below, from the celebrity-packed Drive 'n Drag at Westfield Southcenter to a live rehearsal with the Black Tones at the Henry Art Gallery, from a Whim W'him performance on Vashon to Seattle Beer Week, and from the Tilth Alliance Edible Plant Sale to places to get herbaceous cocktails for Chartreuse Day (like Roquette). For even more options, read our guides to the best online events this week, the best movies to watch this week, drive-in movies this season, and our complete guide to in-person things to do in Seattle.

Jump to: Holidays | Food & Drink | Sports & Outdoors | Visual Art & Performance


Get in the Norwegian spirit for Syytende Mai. Monday, May 17 is Norwegian Independence Day (aka Syttende Mai), which marks the signing of the Norwegian Constitution at Eidsvoll in 1814. Seattle usually likes to celebrate with a big parade in Ballard, but this year businesses are opting for a mix of virtual and small-capacity events instead. In addition to heading to Bergen Place to admire its mural of Noway's King Harald and Queen Sonja, reserve tickets to the National Nordic Museum on Monday to shop museum-store specials and take photos in front of their Model T, which will be decked out in Norwegian bunting. Monday also brings Nordic treats like Pølse med Lompe (a Norwegian hot dog) and a dessert and coffee walk/drive-through to the Leif Erikson parking lot, as well as a socially distanced procession from Scandinavian Specialities to Skål Beer Hall, where you'll find traditional live music, "flowing aquavit snaps," Norwegian-inspired beers, featured cocktails, and raffle prizes until 10 pm. If you don't want to wait until Monday to celebrate, the adorable Scandinavian bakery Byen Bakeri is baking up a special Norwegian version of traditional Swedish princess cake, as well as kransekage (chewy flourless almond cookies) and cute Viking cookies. Plus, the newly opened Saint Bread is selling the Norwegian treat skolleboller, sweet custard-filled buns dusted in spiced sugar and topped with raspberry jam.


Pick up some barbecue for Barbecue Day. Seattle became a hot topic of discussion on Twitter this week after a Tripadvisor map declaring it one of the top ten cities for barbecue in the US was met with more than a little skepticism. Coincidentally, this controversy arrived just in time for National Barbecue Day on Sunday. Even if you, like many others, conclude that the data is skewed, you can still enjoy the selection of smoked meats that the city does offer. The local spot Lil Red's Takeout and Catering recently earned a spot on a list of the top 20 Black-owned barbecue spots in the nation, compiled by James Beard Award-winning author and barbecue expert Adrian Miller in his new book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue. (Considering that Miller sampled barbecue at over 200 restaurants across the country to research his book, this is no faint praise.) Other joints worth checking out include Wood Shop BBQ, Jack's BBQ, Emma's BBQ, and Bitterroot BBQ.

Celebrate National Salad Month. May is National Salad Month, an ideal time to channel your inner woman laughing alone with salad. Dive into a hearty bowl of crisp, leafy greens at Homegrown, Plum Chopped, Evergreens, Bounty Kitchen, HeartBeet, or Cafe Flora. The Capitol Hill pizza spot Dino's Tomato Pie also offers a surprisingly satisfying pizzeria-style salad, with lettuce, red cabbage, and parmesan. You could also try your hand at recreating the famed Canlis salad at home.

Get some cocktails for Chartreuse Day. Sunday, May 16 is Chartreuse Day, a holiday celebrating the pleasantly herbal French liqueur that's been made by Carthusian Monks since 1927. Despite famously lending its name to the pale green color, it also comes in a light yellow. Chartreuse is also a key ingredient in the delicious Last Word cocktail, a Prohibition-era recipe that was repopularized by Seattle bartender Murray Stenson of the Zig Zag Café in 2004 and became an instant craft cocktail classic. While Zig Zag is sadly still temporarily closed, you can still honor Stenson in spirit by making your own Last Word with chartreuse, gin, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice. Some other bars around town are also serving Charteuse-based cocktails: Erik Hakkinen's romantic French-inspired bar Roquette has four cocktails featuring the liqueur, Mr. Darcy's has the "Bijou" (gin, green Chartreuse, and Carpano Antica), and L'Oursin's pop-up Old Scratch has the "Vendeuse," a "lightly aromatic, herbal vodka martini" with vodka, apricot eau-de-vie, and yellow Chartreuse.

Other notable weekend events:

Seattle Beer Week 2021
Seattle’s craft beer scene is always alive and bubbling with activity, but during Beer Week, that geeky enthusiasm gets kicked into high gear, with a stacked lineup of beer dinners, festivals, socials, pub crawls, and releases galore. This year, the festivities will get adapted into a 2021-friendly format. Instead of in-person events, expect collaboration beers on draft and in cans from Burke-Gilman Brewing Company, Future Primitive BrewingHellbent Brewing CompanyHoly Mountain Brewing, and Stoup Brewing, and possibly some virtual programming and other safe alternatives. 
Various locations (Friday-Sunday)


Sit in vaccinated-only sections at a Mariners game. ICYMI, baseball fans who are two weeks out from their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna (or their first shot of Johnson & Johnson) can snag $10 or $20 tickets in sections designed for parties of six or fewer (private suites are available for larger groups) at Mariners home games through June 2. These sections don't require social distancing, but they do require masks when not actively eating or drinking. Vaxxed fans are also eligible for other rewards through May 19, including exclusive access to the T-Mobile Pen and Trident Deck, a limited-edition t-shirt, and a 20-percent discount on concessions and Mariners Team Store merch. The Sounders will follow suit starting next Sunday!

Go moon bathing on National Astronomy Day. There's nothing major happening in outer space this weekend (if there is, our invitation got lost in the mail), but Saturday brings a national call to go star-gazing anyway. Take your picnic blanket to low light-pollution areas like West Seattle's Alki Beach and Constellation Park (natch), Gas Works Park, Fremont Peak Park, or Paramount Park (where the Seattle Astronomical Society likes to host parties).

Other notable weekend events:

39th Annual Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes
Help fund diabetes research through JDRF by running in Nordstrom's annual Beat the Bridge 5 or 8K in your neighborhood and submitting your results online.
Wherever you are (Sunday)

Tilth Alliance's Edible Plant Sale
Tilth Alliance is moving its annual edible plant sale online to serve your quarantined spring gardening needs. You'll be able to browse selections and order them for pickup at Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands.
Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (Friday)


Alden Mason: Fly Your Own Thing
The late Everett-born artist Alden Mason never got to see his work in a museum, but the prolific painter's work "helped pave the way from the aesthetics of the Northwest School to midcentury modernist art in the Pacific Northwest," according to the Bellevue Arts Museum. This retrospective will coincide with the first comprehensive monograph on the artist, which will be published by the University of Washington (where he earned his MFA).
Bellevue Arts Museum (Friday-Sunday; opening Friday)

The Black Tones Rehearsal
Those who visit the Henry will be treated to a live rehearsal-style performance from lock rock duo the Black Tones, who are current residents of LA artist Gary Simmons's current exhibition The Engine Room. If you miss it, the performance will be broadcast on the Henry's YouTube page on May 29. 
Henry Art Gallery, University District (Sunday)

Drive-In w/ Henry Art Gallery
On the Boards will once again invite people with cars to turn off their engines, stay in their vehicles, and enjoy a series of films on the big screen, this time dedicated to Henry Art Gallery artists who use moving image as a means of exploring "colonial mentalities and tactics," from surveillance to late capitalism.
On the Boards, Queen Anne (Saturday)

Drive 'n Drag
Join Asia O'Hara, Vanessa "Vanjie" Mateo, Kim Chi, Naomi Smalls, and the soon-to-be-announced season 13 finalists of RuPaul's Drag Race as they "rid the world of 2020" at a drive-in drag extravaganza. 
Westfield Southcenter, Tukwila (Friday-Sunday)

James Allister Sprang: Aquifer of the Hum + Aquifer of the Ducts
Philadelphia-based multidisciplinary artist James Allister Sprang will present his 10-minute "sound meditation" alongside screenings of Aquifer of the Ducts, a 40-minute soundscape of layered tape recordings and modulated synths, accompanied by dance. Both works "draw from naturally occurring underground stores of fresh water," according to On the Boards, and both encourage audience members to practice their deep listening skills. 
On the Boards, Queen Anne (Saturday-Sunday)

Piano O'Clock at Chophouse Row
Local piano virtuosos like Tim Kennedy, Evan Flory-Barnes, Chris DiStefano, and Darrius Willrich will liven up the Chophouse Row courtyard every Thursday-Saturday.
Chophouse Row, Capitol Hill (Friday-Saturday)

Whim W'Him IRL
Seattle contemporary dance company Whim W'Him will give its first live performance since The Before, which will include world premieres by FLOCK, Joseph Hernandez, and Karl Watson, as well as the return of Ihsan Rustem’s "Of Then and Now" and a company favorite, the duet triptych "Monster."
Vashon Center for the Arts (Saturday)