Unless you were planning to sunbathe on a hot slab of concrete this weekend, the proverbial April showers in the forecast shouldn't disrupt your socially distanced plans. See our suggestions for COVID-safe in-person activities below, from bookstores to shop from on Indie Bookstore Day to a Spring Nordic Market at Skål Beer Hall, and from places to get provisions for Picnic Day (like DeLaurenti Food & Wine and Miri's at Golden Gardens) to Baby Animals and Blooms at Maris Farms. For even more options, read our guides to the best online events this week, the best movies to watch this week, and our complete guide to in-person things to do in Seattle.
Visit Everyday Music while you can. In case you missed it, COVID setbacks and a lack of rent relief have forced the Capitol Hill outpost of the beloved Northwest record store chain Everyday Music to close up shop on May 16 after nine years in the neighborhood. To prevent a mad rush next month, head there over the weekend (they're open for in-person shopping daily from 11 am-6 pm) to float through the airy aisles and pick up some new vinyl or CDs from its collection of over 10,000 titles. (Or to try your luck at selling your gently used analog albums). But don't feel too sad—the store may be reincarnated as Almost Everyday Music in Lower Queen Anne, reports CHS. You can donate to the cause here if you wish. Meanwhile, see our directory of other record stores in town, like Easy Street, Light in the Attic, and Jive Time.
Support your local booksellers on Indie Bookstore Day, the nationally recognized holiday that encourages readers to support their local small-but-mighty booksellers (read: not Amazon). In Seattle, this year's event, which starts this Saturday, rounds out to a grand total of 10 days (April 24-May 3), giving you even more time to 1) check coveted tomes of your reading list, 2) support small businesses, and 3) win a Seattle Indie Bookstore Day 2021 tote when you shop from 10 of 22 participating locations. We've rounded those up here (like Open Books, Third Place Books, and the recently expanded Arundel Books), along with their latest offerings available during the city's current phase of reopening. Be sure to print out a passport (or pick one up in person from a participating store) and submit it by mail (addressed to Open Books, 2414 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103) or digitally by May 15.
Plan ahead for Mother's Day by preordering care packages from local businesses (and by fervently highlighting Sunday, May 9 in your planner). If your mom has recently discovered the world of DIY TikTok, send her this three-part gift from the Works (available for local pickup and delivery), which comes with your choice of a craft (like a bath bomb kit, a gourmet garden kit, or a mochi kit), something cozy (like lavender body butter from Estrella or a candle from June Candle Co.), and a tin of chocolates. If that last bit piques your interest, you might also check out the You're My Hero Mother's Day package from Seattle Chocolates (order by Wed May 5 for Washington ground shipping, Tues May 4 for Oregon and California, or Fri April 30 for the East Coast and the Midwest), which hangs its hat on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and comes with a postcard in addition to limited-edition truffles. If your mom lives close by and likes being serenaded, consider a Tacoma Opera-Gram, which will send the choir to her doorstep for a personal mini-concert of arias over Mother's Day weekend if you order by noon on Wednesday, May 5.
Other notable weekend events:
The Great Junk Hunt
Scavenge for vintage and repurposed goods of all kinds at this traveling market.
Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup (Friday-Sunday)
Pop Up Market at Kelley Farm
Make a quick-ish trip south to Bonney Lake to shop for flowers and handmade goods from local vendors.
The Kelley Farms, Bonney Lake (Saturday)
Spring Native Plant Sale
Over 100 species of native shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers—plus a small selection of trees—await you at this annual plant sale benefiting the Washington Native Plant Society's Central Puget Sound Chapter
21 Acres, Woodinville (Friday-Sunday)
Spring Nordic Market at Skål Beer Hall
Peruse wares from Nordic and Viking-themed vendors from Seattle and beyond, and take in some traditional live Nordic music. Finish it off with a shot of aquavit and to-go sausages from Skål's walk-up window.
Skål Beer Hall, Ballard (Sunday)
FOOD & DRINK
Celebrate Picnic Day. Pack up your wicker basket and find a spot to unfurl your red checkered gingham blanket: It's picnic season! Today, April 23, is Picnic Day, which is the perfect excuse to head outdoors for a socially distanced meal al fresco. Fried chicken is a picnic classic, and you can't do better than the combos at certified Oprah favorite Ezell's Chicken—don't forget the mac and cheese and sweet potato pie. We also like Salumi for unbeatable sandwiches. Or head to the Black women-owned neighborhood bistro Joyce's Market and Cafe for all the makings of a prime spread with charcuterie, cheese, and fruit. For more ideas, many places featured in our roundup from this past summer still apply, like the Pike Place Italian grocer DeLaurenti Food & Wine and Miri's at Golden Gardens.
Watch Top Chef and try some dishes from the show. Many Seattleites have been tuning to Top Chef each week to cheer on Seattle "cheftestant" Shota Nakajima as he competes in the Bravo reality competition series Top Chef. (Spoilers ahead if you're behind!) Shota is doing Seattle proud: He landed in the group that produced the best-judged dishes in the elimination challenge for the first three episodes and even won the elimination challenge in the second episode. If you'd like to channel your inner chef and learn to whip up some of the dishes you see onscreen at home, Shota has been offering cooking tutorials for the meals he makes on the show on YouTube, including soy-braised duck breast, lobster sunomono, and pan-African cod and cabbage. Want to try a taste of Shota's cooking for yourself? His Capitol Hill restaurant Taku, which previously specialized in kushiyaki, is returning on May 5, with a new focus on karaage-style fried chicken. If you can't wait until then, he and fellow Top Chef: Portland competitor Byron Gomez are teaming up to offer a takeout window pop-up at Taku today, and he'll be teaming up with Gomez and contestant Sara Hauman, a Portland-based chef, to offer a private pop-up dinner for charity this weekend. Check out our interview with Shota for our Tell Us Something Good column, where he shared some of his favorite recommendations for everything from local restaurants and cafes to foraging spots.
Celebrate ramps season. It's the time of year where chefs freak out over ramps. The rare wild onion species is prized by culinary obsessives everywhere for their garlicky, oniony flavor, and their season is very limited, so if you want to try them, you should grab them while you still can. Il Nido in West Seattle is currently offering a spring pizza special with wild ramps, spring onions, green garlic, asparagus, and lemon zest, while Tavolàta has a lamb loin with fregula, roasted tomatoes, ramp butter, and fiddlehead ferns. You can also head to local foraging company Foraged and Found in Georgetown to grab some and whip up a dish with them yourself (try Smitten Kitchen's ramp pizza).
Eat sustainably and try food specials for Earth Day. Earth Day was on Thursday, but if you'd like to extend the festivities through the weekend, there are still some specials to enjoy. Try Cupcake Royale's compost cupcake (chocolate cake mixed with white and dark chocolate, coconut, oats and crumbled vanilla cake, topped with chocolate frosting rolled in a crumble of oats, dark chocolate, coffee grounds, and potato chips), or head to Elliott's Oyster House for Sauvignon Blanc from Proud Pour, a vegan and sustainable wine producer that supports environmental restoration. For sustainable eats, check out Local 360, Terra Plata, Cafe Flora, Kati Vegan Thai, or Bamboo Sushi.
Other notable weekend events:
The Dinner Detective Interactive Mystery Show
Enjoy a meal, but know that a killer is in the room, and they may just be hidden at your table. Dinner theatre gets an extra interactive boost at this murder mystery event with a prize package for best detective. This 25%-capacity event will feature touchless clues that you can access via your phone. Don't forget a mask.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Downtown (Saturday)
Admire 3-D art for International Sculpture Day. Started seven years ago by the International Sculpture Center, the holiday (this Saturday) encourages you to admire sculptural art in your area and to tag #isd on Instagram to contribute to a feed of sculptures from around the world. If you're not yet comfortable visiting a museum, a great place to go for outdoor installations is the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is home to monumental permanent pieces like Alexander Calder's colorful and abstract "The Eagle" and Jaume Plensa's Greek mythology-alluding "Echo," along with temporary installations. Other classics worth visiting: Paul Sorrey's "Salmon Waves" at the Ballard Locks, which consists of seven wave-like stainless steel sculptures with light-emitting diodes that create the illusion of juvenile salmon in motion; Richard Beyer's "Waiting for the Interurban" on Fremont's North 34th Street (we wish we could tell the people depicted in this sculpture that their trolley has been discontinued); Isamu Noguchi iconic "Black Sun" in Volunteer Park; and Lead Pencil Studios' "Transforest" in Belltown. We'd also be remiss not to mention the Fremont Troll, which can be found rocking an emo side-sweep in the shady caverns beneath the George Washington Memorial Bridge.
Other notable weekend events:
Anastacia-Reneé: (Don’t be Absurd) Alice in Parts
This multidisciplinary online exhibition sees Alice Metropolis, a character that appears frequently in former Seattle Civic Poet Anastacia-Reneé’s writing and video work, creating a spiritual sanctuary dedicated to the Lorde (read: Black feminist icon Audre Lorde) as a means of finding strength in an unjust world.
Frye Art Museum, First Hill (Friday-Sunday; closing Sunday)
A group ode to canned sardines welcomes this food-themed gallery back from hibernation.
FoodArt Collection, Capitol Hill (Sunday; closing Sunday)
Cleared for Takeoff: Shaina Shepherd
Following what billed itself as "Seattle's first socially distanced concert" with the Black Tones' Eva Walker last month, the Museum of Flight is back with another night of outdoor live music, this time featuring Shaina Shepherd—the frontwoman of grungy soul outfit BEARAXE—with support from Beverly Crusher.
Museum of Flight, Tukwila (Friday)
Drie Chapek: Churning
"If there are gods, I think they may be hiding inside Drie Chapek's paintings," The Stranger's Chase Burns once wrote. This new collection of oil works and dreamy collages hold up that standard.
Greg Kucera Gallery, Pioneer Square (Friday-Saturday)
Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Hank Willis Thomas and Portland-based artist and storyteller Intisar Abioto have collaborated on a temporary public art installation in the Central District, which features nine banners along 23rd Avenue on Jackson Street, Union Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Central District (Friday-Sunday)
Memorial Crane Project: Commemorating the Victims of COVID-19
Thousands of origami paper cranes have been donated from all around the world, with each honoring a victim of COVID-19. The cranes and names of those who have passed will be featured on the exhibition's "Wall of Remembrance" along with a QR code which will direct viewers to audio recordings of commemorations for those who have passed.
A/NT Gallery, Belltown (Friday-Saturday; closing Saturday)
Shoreline Short Short Film Festival
This annual fest that shows short films between three and 10 minutes long by Washington State filmmakers will return to your life, drive-in style. Note: the event is sold out, but you can still get on a waitlist.
Shorewood High School, Shoreline (Saturday)
Tee off at the UW Golf Range. Despite being the favorite recreational activity of a horrible former president who changed our relationship to Cheetos, golf is a cool sport—especially when you're just playing for fun. The UW Golf Range welcomes pros and amateurs alike to tee off in small groups who reserve hour-long time slots online. They even have covered ones, ideal for rainy weekends like the one we have in store. Heads up: club rentals are currently on hold, so you have to bring your own clubs.
Take a day trip to Port Townsend. Per The Stranger's Charles Mudede: "After spending a whole pandemic year in the city, I finally took a trip to the small seaport town that the 17th-century British naval officer, and the subject of Jonathan Raban's masterpiece, Passage to Juneau, Captain George Vancouver, named Port Townsend. The place is, of course, famous for its Victorian homes, historic district, and stunning views of the bay it shares its name with. My trip there, however, was focused on a reservation I made at a restaurant opened in 2017 by former NYC/Seattle chefs Deborah Taylor and Scott Ross and is called Finistère, which basically means "the end of the world." The good things I heard about this restaurant from the local architect Jerry Garcia proved to be true. But one thing really stood out among the plates I ordered (fried oysters, meatballs, grilled broccolini), the duck breast, which was served on top of spinach and potato puree. Each bite I took of this work of art (crispy skin, soft meat, succulent spinach) made the trip (the hour on the ferry, the ugliness of Bremerton, the hour on the road, the night in hotel with the thin walls) really worth it. I expect to be back in Finistère before the end of spring." Read more weekend ideas from The Stranger's editorial staff here.
Other notable weekend events:
Baby Animals and Blooms Days
Knock out a bundle of springtime activities in one weekend by visiting Maris Farms for its tulip field, its close-up animal encounters with fluffy farm babies, and its farmers market and beer garden.
Maris Farms, Buckley (Saturday-Sunday)
Celebrate Trails Day
Started by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 2013, this national holiday encourages people to enjoy their local trail systems. To get started, check out our favorite trails in Washington, or check out their interactive map.
Your nearest trail (Saturday)
COVID-19 Vaccination Pop-Up in the Central District
The Center for Multicultural Health, the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization, and Dunia Clinic will offer Black community members the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at this pop-up. Those who get the vaccine will be automatically scheduled for their second dose on May 16.
Emerald City SDA Church, Central District (Sunday)
Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival
Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of shorebirds that stop to rest and feed along the Washington Coast and in the Grays Harbor estuary during their migration northward.
Grays Harbor (Saturday-Sunday)
National Park Week
National Parks in Washington and Oregon and around the country will host activities you can do from your couch—along with some themed in-person events—for a whole week.
Various locations and online (Friday-Sunday)
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
After skipping their 2020 festival due to COVID, you can once again make the trip to Skagit Valley to see rows and rows of rainbow-gradient tulips for the entire month of April.
Skagit Valley (Friday-Sunday)
Swamp Lantern Festival
We truly love the energy of swamp lanterns (also called skunk cabbage), a gorgeous wetland flower that smells like hot garbage but whose annual return gives way to a host of other wild Pacific Northwest blooms. Reserve a slot to walk this half-mile route at the Northwest Stream Center—which winds through duck ponds and cedar groves, past a salmon stream, and through four varieties of wetlands—while they're all in season.
Northwest Stream Center, Everett (Friday-Saturday)