Socially Distanced Weekend: Our Guide to In-Person Events, Takeout Spots, Halloween Activities, and Other Safe Things To Do in Seattle

Baby Red Pandas at the Zoo, Seattle Restaurant Week, and More Top Picks
October 22, 2020
The Woodland Park Zoo's newest residents, baby red panda twins Zan and Tián, make their official debut this Friday. Reserve a timed ticket online, then blow them kisses and tell them they're beautiful! (Courtesy of the Woodland Park Zoo)

You've already read our picks for the best things to do from home this week (like a City Fruit celebration with Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings and Seattle Made Week), so now we're hitting you with some recommendations for IRL, socially distanced ways to spend your weekend, including in-person events and some more general suggestions that we don't usually get the chance to gush over. See them all below, from a fall tree tour of the Washington Park Arboretum to Seattle Restaurant Week, and from COVID House of Horrors to two new Seattle Art Museum exhibits. Plus, you can always check out our complete in-person and streaming calendars for even more options, our directory of places accepting in-person visits, or our guide to the best movies to watch this weekend

Jump to: Seasonal | Food & Drink | Community | Film | Music & Visual Art

SEASONAL

Go on a fall tree tour at the Washington Park Arboretum. Despite its close proximity to the main drag of Madison Street, the Washington Park Arboretum puts you in the middle of a bonafide forest, where the bright yellows and deep reds and oranges of fall foliage are just starting to show. As you make your way along the Loop Trail, spot the Japanese Maples, Sourwoods, and other varieties of trees taking on autumnal hues using this handy map. Admission is free, but if you’re craving even more serene plant life, you can buy advance tickets to the Seattle Japanese Garden, which is on the other side of the park from the Graham Visitor’s Center. 

Scrounge together a sustainable last-minute Halloween costume. While some vintage stores around town have moved their operations online for now (like Indian Summer and Lucky Vintage), the University District standby Red Light is welcoming mask-wearing patrons for limited-capacity shopping, and the racks in its back room are stacked with gold spandex, ruffled skirts, statement dresses organized by decade, and all manner of accouterments for whatever being you'd like to transform into. If you want to make a day of it, hit up Pioneer Square's Bon Voyage Vintage or the Fremont Vintage Mall, which are also open for in-person visits and are full of kooky and spooky garments and accessories. 

There's still time to visit a pumpkin patch before next weekend's most jack-o-lantern-friendly holiday, and farms around Washington State are abundant with fall produce that you can pick yourself (and many also offer corn mazes, apple cider donuts, and other autumnal delights). We've rounded up the best Seattle-area options here, ranging from straightforward, kid-centric spots like Carpinito Brothers and Carleton Farm to others that offer full-on fall festival experiences with plenty of adult-friendly options, like Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Farm and Craven Farm

Haunted houses get spookier as Halloween gets closer, so now's a perfect time for thrill-seekers to get their chills in the form of online ghost tours, haunted drive-throughs, and other COVID-safe experiences. Read our full roundup of haunted attractions here.

Cheer on the Seahawks at your nearest sports bar as they take on the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. This year may look different for sports fans, but you can root for your favorite teams safely and still have fun with socially distanced game viewings at bars and restaurants and with take-home food and drink specials

Other weekend events worth noting:

COVID House of Horrors
Part haunted house and part art exhibit, this experience sounds kind of like exposure therapy, as it highlights installations by artists like Seattle Design Nerds, Totally Legit, Kerstin Graudins, Paul Nunn, Simon Shaw, Wyly Astley, Vic Deleon, and Angie Hinojos Yusuf with Carlos Jimenez that bring our worst nightmare to life in the context of the current nightmare of 2020.
Art Saves Me, Capitol Hill (Sun)

ER DADA - a costumes-only party
In lieu of their annual ER Crawl, which lets the hospital-horror side of Halloween shine, Vito's spent the first couple weeks of October inviting patrons to show off their costumes in the most COVID-friendly way possible: without their germy bodies inside them. Now, when you stop by for dine-in through Halloween, you can check out the costumes on display and vote on which lucky winner should get the $500 prize.
Vito's, Downtown (Fri-Sun)

Harvest Fest
Your favorite parts of the West Seattle Junction's annual Harvest Fest—the scavenger hunt, the pumpkin walk, the Haunted Hot Cocoa and Cider Trail—will get a socially distanced regrade this year. In addition, they'll have Harvest Fest boxes with treats and musically-themed crafts to enjoy at home, a virtual trivia night with Pegasus Book Exchange, and a spooky School of Rock online concert.
West Seattle Junction (Fri-Sun)

Museum of Glass Pumpkin Patch
Not into carving pumpkins but longing for a decorative gourd to display in your home? The Museum of Glass has a slew of hand-crafted pumpkins created by a variety of local vendors and the Hot Shop Team that'll last forever (unless you break it). While you're there, create your own beaded spiders and paper bat silhouettes with guidance from MOG experts.
Museum of Glass, Tacoma (Fri-Sun)

Pumpkin Carving with Cats!
Make use of one of the Meowtropolitan's generously provided jack o' lanterns-to-be in the company of cats. We can only assume that the cats will be on hand as consultants. 
Meowtropolitan, Wallingford (Fri-Sat)

Plus, plan ahead and check out our guide to the best Halloween events in Seattle.

FOOD & DRINK

Visit Tilth one last time. Oof: Tilth, the iconic Seattle restaurant tucked away in a homey Wallingford craftsman bungalow, is closing permanently next Friday, October 30. James Beard Award-winning chef Maria Hines was poised at the forefront of the farm-to-table scene, and hers was the second restaurant in the country to be certified organic. In 2006, Bethany Jean Clement wrote a rhapsodic rave review of the then-new restaurant for The Stranger, calling it “your new favorite restaurant” and praising its “screamingly wonderful” food and “quintessential flavors, lushness, comfort, delight.” Before it’s gone for good, go pay your respects and try its lovely seasonal dishes like squash risotto and sweet potato turmeric soup one last time. The restaurant is booked up with dine-in reservations through its closing date, but the menu is available for takeout.

Beat the cold snap with fondue and raclette. Gray, drizzly weather got you down? Ribbons of oozy cheese are like a sun lamp in edible form. Dust off that fondue pot you found at a thrift store ages ago and order a Fondue Club kit for two from Eric Rivera’s experimental pop-up restaurant Addo, with cheese sauce and fruits and veggies for dipping. (Less cheesy options with meat or vegetable broth and meat and/or veggies are also available.) Alternatively, head to the Central District’s L’Oursin for a raclette kit, which comes with Ozette potatoes, Morbier cheese to melt over them, and briny cornichon pickles to cut through the fatty richness. It goes without saying that wine, which is available at both restaurants, is a welcome addition to either option.

Celebrate Sagra di Radicchio. Each year, the Sagra di Radicchio, inspired by the Italian tradition of the sagra (a festival usually celebrating local food), devotes a full week of revelry to the refreshingly bitter radicchio, also known as chicory. Of course, this year's festivities will manifest in a slightly different form, but, in the words of the event's organizers, "You can't keep a good chicory down." A whole day of free live and recorded virtual programming is planned on the event's MTV-inspired "Rad TV" YouTube channel, including history, culture, cooking, Cribs-style farm tours, travel, and more. Deadlines have passed for ordering a Radicchio Box package from the event’s farm partners, but fear not: Local restaurants like Petite Soif, Vif, and Off Alley will showcase chicory specials on their menus.

Visit a local restaurant after you vote. If you decide to drop off your ballot at an in-person drop box (after you've read The Stranger's endorsements, of course), why not make an outing of it? The 25 ballot boxes within Seattle city limits happen to be in very close proximity to some of the city's best restaurants, so we've recommended our favorite one near each drop box, so you can make the most of your time out of the house and celebrate doing your civic duty. Remember that drop boxes are open 24/7 until they close at 8 pm on Election Day (November 3), and it's smart to plan ahead to avoid lines. You can also see the rest of King County's ballot drop box locations here.

Work up an appetite for Restaurant Week. This year's spring Seattle Restaurant Week, originally scheduled to start March 29, was one of the first events to be canceled due to COVID-19. For the fall edition, though, it's back and bigger than ever: To give the restaurant industry a much-needed boost, Seattle Restaurant Week is featuring more dining options and is extending the event to last an entire month, starting Sunday. Like usual, restaurants will create a variety of special meal offerings as $20 lunches and/or $35 dinners, but this time, those will take the form of make-at-home meal kits, food and cocktail takeout packages, in-house three-course meals, and more. SRW will also be partnering with Plate of Nations this time around, an event run by the MLK Business Association to highlight southeast Seattle businesses. So far, there are nearly 150 restaurants participating, but if you're overwhelmed by the long list, don't worry: We've rounded up our suggestions.

Other weekend events worth noting:

Beignets & Beermosas!
Pretend you've been whisked away to the Big Easy and bit into some piping hot beignets from Jet City Beignets, along with a beermosa or mimosa. Grab a growler for the Seahawks game later while you're at it.
The Good Society Brewery and Public House, West Seattle (Sun)

BLOODY DELICIOUS: A Dinner in Hallowonderland
Chef Erin Brindley has conjured up a special prix fixe menu of dark and spooky delicacies—including housemade fettuccine with uni butter and black lime caviar allegedly brewed in a witch's cauldron, Silkie Bantam black chicken and roasted pepper coq au vin with fingers fingerling potatoes, and Tres Leches with sherry pomegranate molasses and pomegranate arils that looks like blood splattered on snow—for a limited number of lucky diners on the week of Halloween. For the setting, they're making use of the Alice in Wonderland-inspired sets from their Curiouser and Curiouser show, which was canceled early on in the lockdown. 
Cafe Nordo, Pioneer Square (Fri-Sat)

Bratoberfest at Heyday Market!!
Dig into sandwiches featuring Heyday Market's hearty homemade sausages, including bratwurst with grainy mustard and tangy kraut, spicy Italian sausage with peppers and onions, frankfurter with dijon and/or ketchup, and lamb merguez with harissa aioli and fries. There's also an Alsatian-inspired "choucroute garnie" plate with frankfurter, Toulouse, and bratwurst sausages, slab bacon, sauerkraut, Yukon potatoes, and mustards. Wash it all down with local seasonal beers. Food will be available for takeaway, and picnic tables will be available for outdoor dining if the weather is nice.
Heyday Farm, Bainbridge Island (Sat)

Fall In Love With Renton
Reserve a box full of goodies from Renton business owners for pickup, then join them on Zoom to hear more about their products as you unload your parcel. You have three options: a "Costume Box" with local beer or cider, sushi, sweet potato pie, and more; a "Date Night Box" with wine, local appetizers, cheesecake, and more; and a "Family Night Box" for four with a pizza kit, cupcakes, and fun activities.
Downtown Renton (Fri-Sat)

The Great PhinneyWood Feast
Normally, the Phinney Neighborhood Association hosts a yearly dine-out fundraising event called "Pig Out to Root Out Hunger," where local restaurants donate part of the night's proceeds to the association's Hot Meal Program, which serves nutritious meals to low-income, unhoused, disabled, and elderly community members. This year, with the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the restaurant industry, Gravity Payments will sponsor that contribution, and the focus will be instead on supporting the local restaurants, cafes, and pubs in the neighborhood. Stop in to one of the participating businesses for a dine-in meal or pick up takeout, and make a donation to the Hot Meal Program to help the PNA reach their goal.
Various locations (Fri-Sun)

Hanford Night Market
This community gathering at chef Tarik Abdullah's Feed the People Plaza in Beacon Hill will feature food from eight different vendors, plus music, art, and more. A portion of the night's proceeds will benefit the beloved coffee shop and community hub The Station.
Feed the People Plaza, Beacon Hill (Sun)

Li'l Woody's Fast Food Month
For the month of October, local burger joint Li'l Woody's is cleverly recreating fast food favorites for its weekly specials. This week is the McDonald's dupe Li'l Big Mac, with fry sauce, dill pickles, diced onion, shredded lettuce, American cheese, grass-fed beef, and a center-cut sesame bun.
Various locations (Fri-Sun)

Nightmare on Wall Street
As a spooky-season tradition, Belltown’s award-winning tiki bar Navy Strength temporarily transforms into a “fully immersive haunting experience" each October, with libations inspired by classic and modern horror flicks. This year, they're bringing the spine-chilling immersive experience home to you with weekly cocktail kits for you to take home, make, and enjoy while watching the film they're based on, complete with popcorn, snacks, and your very own keepsake zombie glass. This year's lineup includes drinks inspired by Mandy, It Follows, Sleepaway Camp, and more.
Navy Strength, Belltown (Fri-Sun)

Ramen Ramen
This new ramen pop-up from Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max cofounder Max Heigh will feature ramen with a Hawaiian twist, using ingredients like truffle crab, smoked beef brisket, and salmon.
Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max, Rainier Valley (Fri)

Secret Congee Soft Opening
A warm, comforting bowl of congee (rice porridge) is a soothing balm for the soul on a cold day. Luckily, the new restaurant Secret Congee is opening in Wallingford this week. The menu features toppings like miso roasted kabocha squash, blue crab, and braised pork belly, as well as organic soy milk (served hot or cold). The restaurant also focuses on using organic meat and sustainable seafood.
Secret Congee, Wallingford (Fri-Sun)

Sweet Tooth Pop-Up: Halloween Edition
You'll find plenty of tricks and treats at this curbside pop-up with sweets from over 10 local vendors.
Fremont Sunday Market (Sun)

Witches Tea
Round up your coven (or your quarantine pod) for a witchy tea service at the historic and possibly haunted Hotel Sorrento. Costumes are encouraged, and craft cocktails will be available in addition to the menu of teatime treats.
Hotel Sorrento, First Hill (Fri)

Also check out our complete takeout & delivery directory and guide to dine-in and outdoor dining.

COMMUNITY

Meet baby pandas Zan and Tián, the Woodland Park Zoo's newest residents. Hailing from the bamboo forests of the Chinese Himalayas and Myanmar, these unacceptably adorable bundles of fur are members of an endangered species—fewer than 10,000 red pandas exist today, thanks in part to deforestation, increased agriculture and cattle grazing, and illegal poaching. That makes the baby brothers' introduction to their new home this Friday all the more special. Reserve a timed ticket online, then blow them kisses and tell them they're beautiful! If you're so inclined and have the means, you can also help red panda conservation efforts by supporting the zoo's Wildlife Survival Program or adopting a red panda (digitally!).

FILM

Movie theaters are entering their second week of serving mask-wearing, social distancing-abiding guests with limited-capacity and private screenings, from David Prior's supernatural horror The Empty Man to the classic Halloween kids' movie Hocus Pocus. While other local theaters are hanging back for now, they're continuing to put out great stuff to stream at home, like Tyler Taormina’s Ham on Rye, streaming through Grand Illusion, and the Northwest Film Forum's youth-focused film festival NFFTY. Plus, The Stranger's new horror film fest SLAY is coming to the On the Boards Drive-In, and The Witches comes to HBO Max, starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Butler. See all the options for this weekend and into next week in our latest movie roundup.

Other weekend events worth noting:

'Shore' Screening
Kersti Jan Werdal's art film, shot on 16 mm (because art), pans over Pacific Northwest landscapes to the score of the new Fleet Foxes album, Shore. "The urban and narrative scenes interact with the more surreal landscapes, rather than sit in opposition of one another. My hope is that the film, much like the album does, reflects optimism and strength," writes Werdal. 
Vasa Park Resort, Bellevue (Sat)

SLAY Drive-In
SLAY, the inaugural horror short film festival conjured from the same freak-genius minds that brought you the HUMP! and SPLIFF Film Festivals, will get the drive-in treatment at On the Boards. As if that wasn't exciting enough, each screening will include a costume contest hosted by none other than spooky drag legend Old Witch, so you'd better go all our with fangs, blood-splattered wigs, and feather boas large enough to hide baby bats. SLAY will also be livestreamed on Saturday, and if you miss your chance to get tickets to the drive-in (or you just can't get enough scary movies!), you should absolutely get tickets for the online version! We got so many great submissions for SLAY that we'll be streaming two different volumes online (with a discount if you get tickets to both!). At the drive-in, we'll be screening a combination of our very favorite films from both volumes.
On the Boards, Queen Anne (Sat)

MUSIC & VISUAL ART

City of Tomorrow: Jinny Wright and The Art that Shaped a New Seattle
The late Virginia "Jinny" Wright helped shape the development of the art world as we know it in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. This exhibit traces her influence through contemporary paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs from Wright and her husband's collection, alongside historical ephemera.
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (Fri-Sun; opening Fri)

Lynne Siefert: Ark
Experimental filmmaker Lynne Siefert, winner of the 2019 Betty Bowen Award, explores our current climate crisis with a dystopian style that feels eerily close to reality in two recent films that play on a loop. "By recontextualizing the familiar, or revealing what is hidden in plain sight, she explores the boundary between the real and surreal, seeking to jolt viewers into awareness," reads press materials. 
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown (Fri-Sun; opening Fri)

Record Store Day 2020
Excellently divisive music-nerd holiday Record Store Day acts as an annual reminder of how Seattle is still very much a music-obsessed town. For those of you who aren't saving your pennies for specific releases, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a day of celebration and discounts for vinyl enthusiasts. Depending on whom you ask, it's either a booster shot to music retailers or a headache for smaller labels that have to compete with major labels to get their releases pressed on time. Since pawing through stacks of vinyl in person is still on hold at some shops, this year's three-date event will be a little different from past events—the Record Store Day folks will release an official list on each date, and you can shop for those titles online or in-person, depending on where you go.
Various locations (Sat)

Votes for Women: 100 Years and Counting
This exhibition on the women's suffrage movement focuses both on the national and regional story of the fight for the 19th amendment.
Washington State History Museum, Tacoma (Fri-Sun; opening Fri)