The first full month of Seattle's reopening brings a whole lot of ways to get your sea legs back, whether you're pining for a concert at a historic venue, you're looking to pair your picnic with a screening of a classic movie, or you want to reunite with live theater. We've rounded up the biggest events in those and other categories below to help you plan your whole month, from Shakespeare in the Park to Chastity Belt, and from Movies at Peddler to Tip Toland at the Bellevue Arts Museum. For even more options, check out our complete guides to live music and in-person things to do.
BAM Arts Fair
The Bellevue Arts Museum is turning 75! They'll fête the occasion with a virtual version of their annual fair, where you can admire (and purchase) work by over 100 juried artists. In addition to the virtual programming, families with artsy little ones can swing by the museum to pick up a free craft kit between July 23-25, while supplies last.
Bellevue Arts Museum and online (July 21-Aug 5)
Hot Off the Press Book Fair
Seattle's world-renowned Fantagraphics Books, known for its boundary-pushing cartoons and graphic novels, will host their annual Hot Off the Press book fair, featuring appearances by guest artists like Jim Woodring, Jim Blanchard, Laura Knetzger, and Megan Kelso, plus reps from beloved local indie presses like Cold Cube, Emerald Comics Distro, and Paper Press Punch. Think of it as a mini Short Run!
Fantagraphics, Georgetown (Sat July 10)
GreenStage's Shakespeare in the Park
Laying out a spread of one's favorite snacks and swatting away gnats as players belt familiar verses of iambic pentameter across a park lawn never gets old. GreenStage's free Shakespeare in the Park series returns this year with productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest.
Various locations (July 9-Aug 14)
North Bend Film Festival
The hometown of many Twin Peaks shoots celebrates its fifth year with a new raft of strange, Northwest-themed movies. The event will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual screenings, though many of the biggest features in the festival (such as Todd Stephens's Swan Song, Carlson Young's debut The Blazing World, and Dash Shaw's surreal Cryptozoo) will be in-person.
North Bend Theatre and online (July 15-18)
Saint James Faire
This medieval fair invites you to "leave behind the hectic 21st century" and travel back in time to King Arthur's ancient realm of Somersetshire, where you'll get your fill of knightly combat, puppetry, minstrels, fiddle music, and era-appropriate dishes (such as "fenberry pye" and "roste beef aliper").
Camlann Medieval Village, Carnation (July 24-25)
Seattle Festival of Dance + Improvisation
The Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation, presented by Velocity Dance Center, is a diverse weeklong exploration of the art, with intensive classes, drop-in workshops, talks, jams, and performances, both online and in person.
Various locations and online (July 11-Aug 8)
Vashon Island Strawberry Festival
Despite its name, the Vashon Strawberry Festival brings a lot more than sweet red fruits. The 110-year-old community event is slightly pared down this year, but attendees can expect live sets in a grocery store parking lot from the Cumbieros, Wild Rumours, and other local bands, plus a vehicle parade at Vashon Center for the Arts.
Various locations, Vashon Island (Sat July 17)
Vashon Repertory Theatre Fest
The lineup for Vashon Rep's inaugural theater fest, which will take place at various theaters and stages across the island, looks excellent. It includes Peter Glazer's musical Woody Guthrie’s American Song at Ober Park, Elizabeth Heffron's magical realist Bo-Nita at Vashon Center for the Arts, and classics like Shakespeare's The Tempest at Open Space.
Various locations, Vashon Island (July 22-Aug 1)
This country-music festival will return to the Gorge for a wild weekend of twangin' goodness. Put on your "Shedder gear" (trucker hats?) and get ready for three whole days of down-home studs. This year's headliners include Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Ashley McBride, Blanco Brown, and others.
Gorge Amphitheatre, George (July 30-Aug 1)
West Seattle Sidewalk Sales & Summer Fest
Spend some time shopping along California Ave, playing music trivia at Pegasus Books, and taking part in limited-capacity beer tastings at Elliott Bay Brewing and the Beer Junction.
Various locations, West Seattle (July 9-10)
Now in its 39th year (last year's festival was canceled due to COVID), ZooTunes is a Seattle tradition that brings big-name artists to the bucolic North Meadow of the Woodland Park Zoo. You can thank KEXP for curating this year's lineup, which includes melancholy indie-rockers the Posies (July 18), Seattle's Naked Giants, whose music is "raucous, good-natured fun that's particularly moshable," as The Stranger's Jasmyne Keimig has put it (Aug 8), and the soulful, funky Afrobeat fusion group Polyrhythmics (Aug 25). Seating pods will be available for parties of two, four, six, and 10, and outside food will not be permitted.
Woodland Park Zoo, Phinney (July 18-Aug 25)
Post-hardcore (or "post-horncore," as they like to call it) punk makers Actionesse will share a bill with the South Sound's Mirrorgloss, whose brassy vocals and punchy electronic backing earned them "Best New Band of 2014" from Tacoma Weekly.
Drunky Two Shoes, White Center (Fri July 9)
Blue Öyster Cult
Hooboy, how to explain Blue Öyster Cult if you don’t already know ’em? A thinking person’s heavy-metal band? A thinking person’s stoner-rock? Dedicated devotees of Lovecraft, Stephen King, John Shirley, and Michael Moorcock, the latter two of whom wrote lyrics for ’em? “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” made the charts, made the soundtrack for the original Halloween, and it’s still good for scaring yourself in the basement, especially on really potent da kine. I like their recent (well, 2001) stuff better than most people, but fear not: This is a casino gig, so the hits will be happening. Beware of contact highs. Unless you seek them out. ANDREW HAMLIN
Historic Everett Theater (Sat July 17)
Uber-popular Seattle-based post-pop quartet Chastity Belt is back with new material and a new tour.
Neumos, Capitol Hill (Fri July 23)
Chromeo DJ Set
The self-proclaimed “only successful Jewish-Arab partnership since the dawn of human history” is a neo-disco duo making slinky sounds for most of the new millennium.
Neumos, Capitol Hill (Sat July 24)
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit with Lucinda Williams
Here's hoping Lucinda Williams will indulge the crowd with her classic ballad "Something About What Happens When We Talk" at this tour stop with Grammy-winning poetic alt-country giants Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.
Paramount Theatre, Downtown (Tues July 20)
Seattle son (and Franklin High graduate) Kenny G will return for a performance showcasing his smooth sax jazz that has managed to stay consistently popular since 1986.
Jazz Alley, Belltown (July 15-18)
Marshall Law Band
Bombastically blending the tenets of funk and hip-hop, Marshall Law Band strives to play across all genres, resulting in a kaleidoscopic explosion of taste and color. They'll head up this bill with support from Bananaganz!!! and Reposado.
Neumos, Capitol Hill (Sat July 17)
"It's impossible to hear the Moondoggies' special brand of honky-tonk and not give in to the urge to stomp and drink and wail along," wrote former Stranger contributor Cienna Madrid. "Their simple hooks in songs like 'It's Hard to Love Someone' are irresistible, but it's their plaintive four-part harmonies that truly separate them from their folk brethren and stamp them as a local treasure." Join them for a three-night stint in Ballard.
Tractor Tavern, Ballard (July 8-10)
Sángo, Dave B, Stas THEE Boss
Seattle-based DJ and producer Sángo "pulls from Brazilian funk, hip-hop, rap, and R&B to create sounds that get worked into your brain," writes The Stranger's Jasmyne Keimig. Catch him on stage with fellow Seattleites Dave B and Stas THEE Boss.
Neptune Theatre, University District (Sat July 10)
Warren Dunes, Shaina Shepherd, Black Ends
Reunite with the U-District's favorite historic theater, where intricate indie-pop sibling outfit Warren Dunes will take the stage after warm-ups from Bearaxe frontwoman Shaina Shepherd and local dream-pop outfit Black Ends.
Neptune Theatre, University District (Sat July 31)
Dacha Theatre Summer Park Shows
The local theater company is bringing two of its touring shows to as-yet-unannounced Seattle parks this summer. The first, Star Play (opening July 23), is billed as a "galaxy-sized epic adventure shrunk to be a sweetly witty bedtime story," while the drive-in production Dears In Headlights (opening July 30) picks bits and pieces from Dacha's past productions, like An Awfully Big Adventure and Metamorphoses.
Various locations (July 23-30)
Queer/Bar Summer Series
The Capitol Hill LGBTQ+ bar returns with a summer chock-full of in-person drag performances from Lady Bunny (July 16), Kandy Muse (Aug 6), Crystal Methyd (July 17), and others.
Queer/Bar, Capitol Hill (July 9-Sept 18)
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 shifting to a drive-in model for the second year, screening classic flicks like Mamma Mia and Ferris Bueller's Day Off on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through mid-May. Food trucks will be onsite, too.
Marymoor Park, Redmond (through July 29)
In-Store Meet and Greet Tran Quoc Bao
The world's largest video library will host Tran Quoc Bao, the director of the new Seattle-set kung fu comedy The Paper Tigers, for a DVD signing and meet-and-greet. "In Bao's story, there is a master, and this master is killed by some great force of evil, and the students of the master must avenge the murder. But there is just one catch in The Paper Tigers: the students, three in all, are no longer young. They have to fight with forgotten skills and worn bodies," explains Charles Mudede.
Scarecrow Video, University District (Sat July 10)
Movies at Peddler
Kids, adults, and dogs alike are invited to the Ballard brewery every Thursday night for outdoor screenings of classic movies like The Goonies and 10 Things I Hate About You.
Peddler Brewing, Ballard (July 22-Aug 26)
The Stranger's Summer Showcase
Three of The Stranger's amateur short-film festivals—the sexy trailblazer HUMP!, the stoner-ific SPLIFF, and the gore-tastic SLAY—will be viewable online at this summer showcase, which was formerly scheduled to take place in person.
Online (July 10-Aug 7)
Unstreamable Presents: 'Pink Floyd: The Wall'
The Stranger's Chase Burns and Jasmyne Keimig will take their weekly Unstreamable column—where they review movies viewable only in analog form—to Bellingham's Pickford Film Center, where they'll present an outdoor screening of Pink Floyd: The Wall. There will also be "food, music, and good vibes" before the movie starts.
Pickford Film Center, Bellingham (Fri July 23)
Monet at Étretat
SAM's resident Monet painting, Fishing Boats at Étretat, gets placed within a larger landscape of the French impressionist's work, focusing on pieces created during his times of artistic and financial struggle. The collection also brings a dozen works by Monet's contemporaries.
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (through Oct 17)
Stranger Than Fiction: The Incredible Science of Aerospace Medicine
Presented in a retro sci-fi comic book motif, this exhibition shows how aerospace engineers made it possible for humans to live in space, fly faster than a speeding bullet, and "snooze at a window seat that is inches away from an environment of certain death."
Museum of Flight, Tukwila (July 3-ongoing)
Hyperrealism is already kind of unnerving, especially in sculpted form. Nothing quite gets you into uncanny valley territory like a facsimile of life in perfect stillness. Northwest artist Tip Toland's painted clay figures seem to concentrate our reality to explosive density, whether through their apparent emotional extremity or their air of not-quite-humanity. Four of these sculptures, plus some ceramic paintings, will be displayed at BAM.
Bellevue Arts Museum (July 23-Jan 2)
Will Rawls: Everlasting Stranger
New York-based choreographer and writer Will Rawls explores the relationship between language, dance, and image through stop-motion animation. In this installation, a live, automated camera photographs the frame-by-frame actions of four dancers, slowing their movement into picture-like fragments.
Henry Art Gallery, University District (July 17-Aug 15)
SPORTS & RECREATION
Seafair Torchlight Run 2021
Starting and ending in Myrtle Edwards Park, Seafair's signature 5K will yield some nice views of the waterfront.
Myrtle Edwards Park, Downtown (Sat July 31)
Prove your strength by swimming, cycling, and running in the adults' (13+) or kids' (6+) triathlon. It's not a trifling competition: The adults' course comprises one mile of swimming, 20 miles of biking, and a 10K run—you can also run and bike a duathlon or do the "sprint course," a half-mile in the drink, 12 miles on wheels, and 5K on foot.
Lake Sammamish State Park, Issaquah (Sun July 25)
Zella x Dance Church Live: Seattle
Kate Wallich's wildly popular movement class that offers a "fun and inclusive approach to dancing" will return in person for the first time since the pandemic hit. Head to Seattle Center’s South Fountain Lawn for all-levels sessions throughout the morning at this pop-up, where you can also shop for items from Nordstrom's active brand, Zella, knowing that all proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Girls on the Run.
Seattle Center (Sat July 10)
Kirkland Summerfest: Beach Party
Kirkland's three-day music and arts festival highlights local music talent and also brings a street market, the Sales & Ales beer festival, and the Sip Kirkland Washington Wine & Beer Festival.
Marina Park, Kirkland (July 30-Aug 1)
Tommy Chong Meet and Greet
Tommy Chong (one half of household-name stoner comedy duo Cheech & Chong) will offer his expertise behind the counter as a guest budtender. Stop by to get his autograph and ask him about his favorite strain! Black and Loud Cannabis will bring on a live DJ, too.
Cannabis City, Sodo (Tues July 13)