There's quite an eventful weekend ahead as far as national holidays are concerned, giving you an excuse to order takeout and books for the newly declared Arab American Heritage Month, go whale watching for Wildlife Week, stare at paintings for Slow Art Day, try new brews for Beer Day, and visit a dog-friendly patio for Pet Day. See those and more of our picks for COVID-compliant weekend activities and events below, like a Drive-Thru Spring Fair and places to get Euro-style happy hour (or "aperitivo hour" if you're at Il Nido). 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.
Order takeout and books for Arab American Heritage Month, which was officially declared by the State Department on April 1! If you're looking for a way to honor the new designation, we suggest supporting some local Arab-owned restaurants, such as Mamnoon, Cedars of Lebanon, Damoori Kitchen, Cafe Munir, Tanoor, or Yalla. If you opt for takeout, bolster your tuck-in with a new book by an Arab American author, like Zaina Arafat's debut novel You Exist Too Much, which follows a queer Palestinian American through vignettes that toggle between the US and the Middle East; Olivia Abtahi's Perfectly Parvin, about a 14-year-old Iranian American girl seeking out a date to homecoming (approved by comedian Mitra Jourhari); or Laila Chatti's locally published collection Deluge, which explores themes of "shame, illness, grief, and gender, transmuting religious narratives through the lens of a young Arab American woman suffering a taboo female affliction." They're all available for purchase or pre-order from Elliott Bay and Third Place Books. Plus, if you're tuning into the Seattle International Film Festival this weekend, be sure to snag a ticket to Bassam Tariq's Mogul Mowgli, which stars Riz Ahmed (the first Muslim actor to be nominated for Best Actor) as a rapper forced to move back home to his traditional-minded Pakistani family after developing an autoimmune disorder.
Celebrate National Beer Day. National Beer Day was on Wednesday, but there's no reason you can't celebrate belatedly by checking out some new beer releases from the city's abundance of local breweries. This week, the perennial craft beer geek favorite Reuben's Brews released (You Should) Smile More, a West Coast IPA brewed by the women of the Ballard Brewed Coalition in support of the Pink Boots Society (a nonprofit that aims to uplift women working in the brewing industry). Plus, the Portland-based brewery Great Notion has unveiled Double Blueberry Shake, a "tart ale brimming with plump blueberries and fragrant vanilla," and Fremont Brewing has introduced Party Like, a Mexican-style coffee stout made with Lighthouse Roasters coffee, ancho chilis, and cinnamon to celebrate the anniversary of Portland-based beer shop John's Marketplace.
Decelerate your museum visit—as much as your timed ticket allows—for Slow Art Day, the nationally recognized brainchild of Brooklynite Phil Terry, who came up with the idea after spending 10 hours staring at Pieter Bruegel’s "The Harvesters." Adopting the gist of other slow-living movements (slow food, slow reading, slow cities, etc.), the holiday (this Saturday) encourages you to eschew your 21st-century humanoid habit of mass media consumption and instead devote your attention to a couple of artworks for at least 10 minutes apiece. "Approach it as if you were a visitor from another planet with no prior knowledge of the configuration or content of earthly art," suggests Harvard art history professor Jennifer Roberts. You can certainly stay home and look at art online (check out Jasmyne Keimig's How To Look column for ideas), but for IRL viewings, we suggest zeroing in on pieces from Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle at the Seattle Art Museum, Plural Possibilities & The Female Body at the Henry Art Gallery, or Drie Chapek: Churning at Greg Kucera Gallery—just be mindful of your visit's time limit. Or, simply go outside and stare at a beautiful rock for a long, long time.
Prove your devotion to your pets with special treats and outings on National Pet Day. Surely the dogs, cats, lizards, and beta fish of Seattle appreciate the quality time with their owners afforded by quarantine, but National Pet Day (this Sunday) is an opportunity to give non-human companions even more love and attention. Shower them with gifts from the Seattle Kraken team store, whose Sunday pop-up will offer 15% off purchases of $100 or more, as well as Kraken merch for dogs, $55 portraits with Say Woof Studios, and treats for pups and humans from the Seattle Barkery truck. For a little spa day, tow your pooch to a luxe grooming and bathing session at Downtown Dog Lounge or House of Ruff, then stop by Emerald City Pet Supplies for some new toys and freeze-dried treats before heading for a long walk in Magnuson Park, Volunteer Park, or your other favorite pet-friendly trail. (Here are some ideas for you.) For the best of both worlds, grab a cocktail on the dog-friendly patios at Reckless Noodles, Super Six, or Fiddler's Inn. Love pets but don't have one? Book a visit with the chill kitty cats at Neko Cat Cafe, or look into the adoption and foster programs at Seattle Humane and Emerald City Pet Rescue.
Go whale watching for National Wildlife Week. Nearly 60 Southern resident orcas were spotted around the Salish Sea over Easter weekend alone, which is fantastic news for the endangered species and for you, a local nature enthusiast looking to celebrate National Wildlife Week. Ideally, you could take a last-minute trip to the San Juan Islands, whose Friday Harbor is a primo spot for orca sightings. But for something closer to home, try your luck on the shore of West Seattle's Alki Beach—just don't forget binoculars—or another option listed on this handy map from Orca Network. Otherwise, you could scout for pretty birds (the whales...of the sky?) at one of Washington's ecoregions and birding sights or your local park, book a visit to the Woodland Park Zoo or the Seattle Aquarium, drive out to Nisqually State Park or Bloedel Reserve, or cruise through the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in your car.
Read and submit verses for Poetry Month. April lost its title as the cruelest month when the Academy of American Poets got together in 1996 to dedicate it to the wordsmiths among us. Poetry is the perfect medium to turn to in these lonely and unstable times (and any other time!), so check out our guide to upcoming virtual poetry events (like a Natalie Diaz reading and the Cadence Video Poetry Festival) and local journals and subscription services to check out (like bimonthly parcels from Elliott Bay and Open Books).
FOOD & DRINK
Try a seafood tower. If spring and the impending arrival of vaccinations has you in an especially celebratory mood, give in to decadence and order a seafood tower. The lively, modern French bistro L'Oursin is currently taking private patio reservations for its "plateau royale" seafood tower, inspired by the tiered seafood feasts frequently found in Brittany and Normandy and in the brasseries of Paris. Their rendition involves three full tiers of the finest ice-cold Pacific Northwest shellfish, plus some boissons (drinks) à la carte, including Muscadet, kir bretagnes, Calvados and tonic, and more. Meanwhile, Renee Erickson's Mediterranean-inspired waterfront restaurant Westward is currently offering seafood towers with fresh Washington oysters, verjus mignonette, a hot sauce flight, golden whitefish caviar, Baja blue shrimp, scallop ceviche, raw geoduck, and Dungeness crab salad. The Loop Lounge at the Space Needle also reopens Friday, with reservations starting at $200 (which gets you a table reservation for two hours, food—including an impressive seafood tower—drinks, and parking).
Get some great Mexican food on Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is becoming a destination for some prime Mexican food. The fan-favorite counter-serve taqueria Carmelo's Tacos, which Christopher Frizzelle once dubbed "Capitol Hill's best new taco stand," opened its second location on Cherry Street on Monday and is serving birria tacos and churros with ice cream (!) as some of its opening specials, and the new Mexican taco truck Antojitos Jalisco officially opens its accompanying fruit stand this weekend, serving snacks like mangonadas and esquites. In other recent news, Patio Cielo recently opened high above Mezcaleria Oaxaca for all your rooftop margarita-drinking needs, and you can now find Little Neon Taco as a pop-up at La Dive. Plus, don't forget about standbys D'La Santa and Tacos Chukis.
Go for happy hour, European-style. Ready for a snack and a cocktail after a long day of Zoom meetings? Try borrowing the European tradition of the aperitif. Once the most coveted and unattainable restaurant reservation in town, West Seattle's Italian fine-dining restaurant Il Nido has reopened in a more casual, relaxed format with pizza and pasta, no reservations required, and they've unveiled a new "aperitivo hour" inspired by the Italian pre-dinner custom, with drinks and antipasti to prime your appetite. And Renee Erickson's restaurant the Whale Wins has a "casse-croûte" (snack) menu from 3-5 pm, with bites like house-made pickled vegetables, marinated picholine olives, Matiz sardines on toast, zucchini bread, and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Alternatively, check out Artusi on Capitol Hill for cocktails and Italian appetizers, available for both dine-in and takeout.
Elevate your supper for Seattle Restaurant Week Month. Frugal gourmands everywhere rejoice over Seattle Restaurant Week, which happens twice a year and lets diners tuck into prix-fixe menus at restaurants hoping to lure new customers with singularly slashed prices. In the wake of COVID-19's devastating impact on the restaurant industry, this year's proceedings are going to be a bit different: Businesses will not have to pay a fee to participate, food trucks and pop-ups can join in on the fun, and restaurants can sign up whenever they'd like during April. Though three-course prix-fixe meals will still be available, the participating restaurants (over 200 this year!) will also have more flexibility over what specials and deals they'd like to highlight, and takeout and delivery will be emphasized more than before. Plus, with a new "Buy One, Give One" option, diners can now choose to donate $10 to the King County nonprofit Good Food Kitchens, which provides local funds to help restaurants and community kitchens (like Musang and That Brown Girl Cooks) prepare meals for those in need. This year's lineup of participating restaurants include acclaimed spots like Salare, Kamonegi, Mamnoon, Haymaker, and more. See our top picks here.
Check out our favorite patios. As Seattle thaws and enters spring, and as restaurants continue to offer socially distanced outdoor seating, there's never been a better time to dine al fresco. We've rounded up 25 patios in Seattle where you can soak up the sun, from the tropical vibes at Marination Ma Kai to rooftop margaritas and tacos at Patio Cielo.
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.
Pass on your used books to a local shop. If you've already sorted through your winter clothes in a fit of spring cleaning, transfer that Marie Kondo energy to your book collection to make room for other, better (for you) books. Plop those gently used tomes in your tote of choice and exchange them for pocket money (if your bookseller sees fit) at Mercer Street Books, Twice Sold Tales, Magus Books, Third Place Books, Pegasus Book Exchange, or Ophelia's Books. If you're left with stragglers, donate them to Goodwill instead.
Other notable weekend events:
Drive-Thru Spring Fair
Instead of weaving through crowds of foot traffic, head down to Puyallup in your safe, stranger-free car for a drive-through version of the Washington State Spring Fair. At various capacity-controlled points, you'll be able to step out to visit vendor booths, witness racing pigs and Dock Dogs, go on rides, and admire floral floats at the stationary Daffodil Parade.
Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup (Friday-Sunday)
Duwamish Spring Fling Popup Native Art Market 2021
Mask up and shop for art from native Salish artists.
Duwamish Longhouse, West Seattle (Saturday-Sunday)
Freighthouse Marketplace Spring Open Market!
Pick up some handmade goods from local vendors at this open-air market, and bring nonperishable food to donate to Tacoma's Rainier Room shelter.
Freighthouse Station, Tacoma (Friday-Sunday)
Loppis (Swedish Flea Market)
One person's spring-cleaning trash is another person's treasure, so head down to the Swedish Center to see what others have given up.
Swedish Cultural Center, South Lake Union (Saturday-Sunday)
Plant & Garden Share
The second Saturday of each month brings a plant share hosted by the Beacon Hill Garden Club, where green thumbs can share or trade bedding plants and veggie starts.
The Station, Beacon Hill (Saturday)
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.
Various locations, 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-Sunday)
OTHER PICKS & HAPPENINGS
Explore Seattle's pedestrian bridges, if for no other reason than to take in a fresh view of the city's spring-y landscape while getting from point A to point B. Our favorite is the Fremont Bridge, partly because its bright blue and orange accents make it look like a toy for Swedish babies, but mostly because it yields a romantic view of the canal, especially at sunset. Start on the Queen Anne side and stroll along the lefthand walkway until you get to a windy stairway that leads you to the foot and bike paths along the water below (and Fremont's bevy of eateries, like Hannyatou and Lucky's Pho). If you love the grid effect of the Central Library's blueish glass domes, check out the double helix-inspired Amgen Helix Pedestrian Bridge—which links Elliott Bay Park and the Amgen Research and Development Center to the lower Kinnear Park and Queen Anne—for a sci-fi main character moment that warrants a trip to Champagne Diner. There's also the Museum of Flight's T. Evans Wycoff Memorial Bridge, a lattice- and glass-enclosed walkway meant to mimic an airplane’s contrail.
Pre-register for a COVID vaccine. While the shot(s) won't be available to all King County residents until next week, anyone over 16 can sign up now to get notified of appointments at one of the four city-affiliated vaccination clinics, which should hopefully prevent the vaccine locator from crashing come April 15.
Other notable weekend events:
Clueless at the Drive-In
The '90s teen classic will screen at the Bellevue drive-in.
Vasa Park Resort, Bellevue (Saturday)
ECSC Soul Nite - Social Disdancing
Join Emerald City Soul Club DJs for a night of deep cuts, which you can groove to at your socially distanced table.
Lo-Fi, South Lake Union (Saturday)
Seattle International Film Festival Drive-In Movies
In addition to its extensive virtual programming, the Seattle International Film Festival will screen a couple of films from its Indigenous Showcase at the Skyline Drive-In: Fruits of Labor, which follows a Chicanx teenager's navigation of family life, farm life, and her dreams for the future, and The Song of the Butterflies, about a Uitoto Nation member who returns home to the forests to gain artistic inspiration from his elders' stories.
Skyline Drive-In Theatre, Shelton (Friday-Saturday)