Tulips and asparagus aren't the only treasures returning to Seattle this month—we've also got a fresh lineup of online and in-person events making their annual returns with pandemic-era safety precautions in mind. We know you like to plan ahead, so bust out your April planners and scroll through the options below, from SPLIFF to the Seattle International Film Festival, from Seattle Restaurant Week to BECU's Drive-In Movies at Marymoor Park, and from the Seattle Opera's Flight to the Washington State Drive-Thru Spring Fair. For even more options, check out our complete streaming events calendar, our guide to in-person things to do, or our guide to ways to celebrate National Poetry Month.
Events are online unless otherwise noted.
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 (April 24-May 9)
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, which includes Pierce County's annual Daffodil Parade. At various capacity-controlled points, you'll be able to step out to visit vendor booths, witness racing pigs and Dock Dogs, and go on rides.
Washington State Fair Events Center, Puyallup (April 7-18)
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 (April 1-30)
BECU Drive-in Movies at Marymoor Park
For the last 17 years or so, Marymoor Park has been one of Seattle's hottest destinations for outdoor movie viewing. While you won't be able to set up on the grass this year, BECU will keep the tradition going by turning to a drive-in model for the second year, screening classic flicks like Back to the Future, The Goonies, and Ferris Beuller's Day Off on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights in April. Food trucks will be onsite, too.
Marymoor Park, Redmond (April 20-May 20)
Video poetry has been around since the late 1970s, but it's been enjoying a slight revival in a world where three-minute videos on the internet serve as our primary mode of media consumption.
HUMP! Greatest Hits - Volume 3
The HUMP! team is bringing back some fan-favorite amateur porn shorts from 2015-2018 in the third volume of streamable compilations.
(April 30-May 29)
47th Seattle International Film Festival 2021
You may not get to bump elbows with visiting filmmakers or shmooze face-to-face with your fellow film aficionados, but the Seattle International Film Festival will indeed go on this year, boasting a virtual program of over 90 features and over 100 short films from around the world. Check out our roundup of top picks here.
Seattle Black Film Festival
"I have yet to attend a Langston Hughes African American Film Festival [ed. note: the name has changed this year] that doesn't have an important black-directed or black-themed film that’s somehow been missed by the wider film community or is unavailable in any format—web, disk, cable, theater," wrote The Stranger's Charles Mudede a few years ago. This year's festival is in a web format, but the sentiment holds.
Seattle International Film Festival Drive-In Movies
In addition to its extensive aforementioned 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 Theater, Shelton (Fri April 9)
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.
Shorewood High School, Shoreline (Sat April 24)
2021 SPLIFF Film Festival
As everyone's favorite day to smoke weed draws near, it's time for another installment of short cannabis-themed films made for and by stoners just like you! You'll have a grand old time watching the screenings themselves, but you'll be even more delighted by this year's live(streamed) viewing parties hosted by various dynamic weed-loving duos, from The Stranger's Chase Burns and Jasmyne Keimig to Seattle drag stars Cookie Couture and Betty Wetter to comedians Alyssa Yeoman and Erin Ingle.
FOOD & DRINK
Capitol Hill Farmers Market Homecoming
Join the Capitol Hill Farmers Market as it celebrates settling into its new nearby permanent home in a plaza across from Capitol Hill Station, in addition to Barbara Bailey Way (Denny Way) between Broadway and 10th Ave E. The new larger space will allow the market to host more vendors.
Broadway Ave E and E Pine St, Capitol Hill (Sun April 18)
Seattle Restaurant Week 2021
Frugal gourmands everywhere rejoice over Seattle Restaurant Week, which happens twice a year and lets diners tuck into prix-fixe menus at more than 165 different 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 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 includes acclaimed spots like Salare, Kamonegi, Mamnoon, Haymaker, and more.
Various locations (April 1-30)
Spring Pop-Up Market
Stock up on spring produce as over sixty local farmers market vendors sling some pre-season goods.
Everett Farmers Market (Sun April 11)
MUSIC & PERFORMANCE
The Effluent Engine
Jéhan Òsanyín adapts and directs N.K. Jemisin's steampunk spy caper for the Book-It digital stage.
(April 15-June 30)
To celebrate the fun aspects of this digital world we live in, Velocity will adopt a video game theme for their 25h anniversary party, which will be composed of a video cabaret, an art auction, cyber tarot readings, a plant sale, food and drink offerings for takeout, and a "race to donate."
(Fri April 23)
Le Faux Show & Throwback Brunch
If your favorite Drag Race challenge is "Snatch Game," this drag, burlesque, and boylesque celebrity-impersonation extravaganza that promises a "Las Vegas-style" dinner and a show will surely suit your fancy.
Julia's on Broadway, Capitol Hill (Sun April 4)
Moisture Festival is devoted to the variety of performers Seattle has fostered over the years, from circus acts to comedians, burlesque dancers to musicians, and jugglers to tap dancers. Instead of gathering in person, you can enjoy the majority of this year's performances on YouTube.
Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran
Winner of the 2019 Scotsman Fringe First Award, Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran is a darkly funny play about entitlement, consumption, digital technology, and the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart. Here it is in digital form, commissioned by On the Boards.
SassyBlack: Digital Disco
Cosmic electronic soul artist SassyBlack will bring your spirits way up with a special disco livestream on 4/20 with special guest Illana Glazer (!) of Broad City, in collaboration with Heylo & Hashtag Cannabis.
(Tues April 20)
Seattle Opera: Flight
Set in an airport terminal unfettered with the anxieties of the COVID era, Jonathan Dove's opera—performed and filmed live at the Museum of Flight—is told through the perspective of an omniscient air-traffic controller, whose character and stories are inspired by Mehran Karimi Nasseri’s 18-year forced residency at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport.
SRJO: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong
For this seasonal program, New Orleans jazz great Louis Armstrong will get the revival treatment courtesy of the big-band-style Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, bolstered by vocals from Seattle's Jacqueline Tabor.
(Fri April 2)
READINGS & TALKS
Author Voices: Brit Bennett
Brit Bennett, whose historical fiction novel The Vanishing Half tells the story of twin girls growing up in the segregated South, will join the King Country Library for an online conversation with Dr. Marcia Tate Arunga.
(Thurs April 22)
As part of their 2021 literary series inspired by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, acclaimed writers Rebecca Makkai (whose novel The Great Believers was a National Book Award finalist), Oglala Lakota poet Layli Long Soldier (whose collection Whereas explores the US government's legal oppression of Native peoples), and Lucy Tan (whose debut novel What We Were Promised follows a family who immigrated to America from Shanghai and back to China again) will take on what Shakespeare called "the undiscovered country," aka death and dying.
(Fri April 2)
An evening of conversation with the acclaimed author of National Book Award-winner Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, discussing his latest publication, How to Be an Antiracist, hosted by Seattle Arts and Lectures.
(Wed April 7)
The premise of Indie Bookstore Day is as simple and enticing as it gets: whatever state you're in, seek out your local independent booksellers and shop from their online or IRL shelves so that Amazon never becomes our only option for procuring new reading material. This year, you'll receive a free Seattle Indie Bookstore Day tote bag when you make a purchase at 10 of 21 participating Seattle bookstores (in-person or online) during the weeklong event.
(April 24-May 3)
Jeff VanderMeer with Chuck Wendig
Writer Kristen Roupenian (of "Cat Person" fame) calls Jeff VanderMeer's new book Hummingbird Salamander "an existential mindfuck cleverly disguised as a thriller." In it, security consultant Jane Smith receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control. If you're intrigued, hear the author in conversation with Chuck Wendig.
(Sat April 24)
Jess Zimmerman with Ijeoma Oluo
Jess Zimmerman will sit down with Ijeoma Oluo to talk about her feminist takes on female monsters, as outlined in her new book Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology.
(Fri April 16)
Word Works | Joy Harjo: Our Songs Came Through
With nine poetry collections, a memoir, and several plays and children's books under her belt (not to mention four albums—she's also an accomplished saxophonist), Literary Arts poet laureate Joy Harjo (a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation) will read some recently published poems featured in American Sunrise, as well as excerpts from her aforementioned 2012 memoir, Crazy Brave.(Fri April 23)
Melissa Febos: In Praise of the Confessional
In this Word Works lecture, memoirist Melissa Febos—author of Whip Smart and the essay collection Abandon Me—will discuss the therapeutic power of writing about intimate or traumatic experiences and how aesthetics play into that process.
(Fri April 9)
Natalie Diaz is the author of the award-winning collection of poetry When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press). (She's also a very accomplished basketball player, but that's for another time.) Her other work involves doing cool things like partnering with Hugo House and the Poetry Foundation to create Poetry Across the Nations, "a community outreach program facilitated by Native women" who host readings and workshops to build "intercultural and intertribal" networks. RICH SMITH [Ed. note]: This conversation is pre-taped.
(Fri April 30)
Reading 'Hamlet' with Lesley Hazleton
Over the course of five weeks, read Shakespeare's Hamlet out loud one act at a time with your fellow theater lovers and the award-winning author, biographer, and journalist Lesley Hazleton.
(April 8-May 6)
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Drawing from her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Botanist and Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Robin Wall Kimmerer will dive into what we can learn from plants and animals.
(Wed April 21)
Rónán Hession and Nancy Pearl discuss Leonard and Hungry Paul
Known these days as Seattle Reads, the now-nationwide "one book, one city" program that encourages people to read the same book from their local library was started by SPL back in 1998. This year, they're partnering with another UNESCO City of Literature (Dublin!) for the event, centering Irish writer Rónán Hession's book Leonard and Hungry Paul. Join the author and Seattle's most famous librarian, Nancy Pearl, for an online talk in celebration.
(Thurs April 22)
Return to that collective wave of nostalgia that hit early-on in quarantine (or maybe it's still hitting for you?) by unearthing your old journals, unsent letters, and any other writing that makes you cringe with embarrassment and delight for this online installment of Salon of Shame.
(Tues April 20)
Shankar Vedantam with Ross Reynolds: The Power & Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain
Think of this Town Hall talk between Shankar Vedantam and KUOW’s Ross Reynolds as a bonus episode of Vedantam's hit podcast Hidden Brain, which explores the unconscious mind and its impact on our actions and society. They'll be focusing on the pros and cons of self-deception, referencing Vedantam's book, Useful Delusions: The Power & Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain.
(Thurs April 13)
Sonora Jha with Ijeoma Oluo
Whether or not you're raising a kid, former Hugo House prose writer-in-residence Sonora Jha's How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family is full of valuable insights and snippets of hope for the future. She'll celebrate the book's launch alongside Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race and Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America).
(Wed April 7)
À Table by Rebekah Peppler
Food writer Rebekah Peppler, who shares snaps of her enviable lifestyle as an expat in Paris on Instagram and previously penned an ode to the French apéro hour with her debut book Apéritif, will chat about her new cookbook À Table, a fresh and relaxed take on modern, multicultural French cooking with recipes like croque madame, green shakshuka, and niçoise salad for a crowd.
(Tues April 27)
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 (through April 25)
Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence
Through large-scale works in cut paper and glass, Stranger Genius Award winner Barbara Earl Thomas's latest exhibition explores "plagues of our day," from persistent racist violence to the climate crisis to the actual plague that is COVID-19, by drawing from history, literature, folklore, and biblical stories with plays on light and shadow.
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (ongoing)
The second installment of the Frye's Boren Banner Series shows small paintings arranged into large-scale pieces that reference amusement parks, community festivals, ceremonies, and religious spaces ("sites of overstimulation, observance, and illusion," explain public materials) by abstract painter Russna Kaur.
Frye Art Museum, First Hill (April 17-October 17)
Dawn Cerny: Les Choses
Nodding to the 1965 novel by French author Georges Perec, which follows a young Parisian couple dreaming of the good life in their overstuffed apartment, these sculptures by one-time Stranger Genius nominee Dawn Cerny's "embody mindscapes" with "objects convey different psychological and emotional states," according to public materials.
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (April 9-September 26)
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 (April 22-May 29)
Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle
Last featured at the Seattle Art Museum in The Migration Series (1940-41), works by the great 20th-century Black narrative artist Jacob Lawrence will return in another central exhibition highlighting 30 12-by-16-inch panels that "interpret and express the democratic debates that defined early America and still resonate today."
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (through May 23)
Yellow No. 5
Tariqa Waters' multi-disciplinary exhibition is a collaboration with regional artists exploring the "grab-and-go nature" of material goods and how they enable our codependent relationship with consumerism.
Bellevue Arts Museum (through April 18)
10th Annual Stand Against Racism with Ijeoma Oluo
Ijeoma Oluo will once again feature at this annual Town Hall discussion on battling institutional racism, presented by the YWCA.
(Fri April 30)
Gala: A Real-Time Virtual Celebration of Town Hall Seattle
Want to feel fancy yet cozy? Educated yet entertained? Look no further than Town Hall's virtual gala, whose main event is a talk between renowned superstring theorist, physicist, and mathematician Brian Greene (Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe) and author and Hidden Brain host Shankar Vedantam. They'll even send sweets and champagne to your home for the full gala experience (if you get VIP tickets), but you're fully expected to stay in your PJs.
(Fri April 9)
Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day
In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Holocaust Center for Humanity will host an online candle lighting followed by Rabbi Tamar Malino from Spokane's Temple Beth Shalom, as well as a visit from survivors Ingrid Steppic and Maud Dahme.
(Thurs April 8)
SPORTS & RECREATION
Sounders 2021 Home Games
Starting with a match against Minnesota United, the Seattle Sounders will return to Lumen Field for the first time in a year, welcoming fans at 25% capacity in compliance with Phase 3 guidelines.
Lumen Field, Sodo (April 16-November 1)