The 52 Best Things to Do in Seattle This Weekend: October 2-4, 2020

Men in Dance, the Bellevue Arts Museum Reopening, and More Top Picks
October 1, 2020
Don't miss the chance to see PNW dancers enliven modern, contemporary, urban, jazz, and ballet pieces at the 13th annual Men in Dance festival, kicking off online this weekend. (Joseph Lambert)

The start of a new month is a good time to change up your routine, even if that just means forsaking your recent Friday-night habit of playing Animal Crossing and crying in the shower for a fun virtual event or a socially distant gathering. We've rounded up some notables below, from the Bellevue Arts Museum Reopening to a recital with Seattle Opera star Frederick Ballentine, and from the Lego festival BrickCon to the weekend-long Drive-In at On the Boards. For even more options, check out our guides to movies to stream this weekend, and our complete streaming events and protests & resistance calendars.


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All events are online unless otherwise noted.

FRIDAY

COMEDY

Michael Jr. Presents: Laugh Your Mask Off
Stay safe and sound at home and join wholesome comic Michael Jr. for a live set online. Tickets allow you to choose your level of interaction with the performer.

FOOD & DRINK

Mid-Autumn Festival
The "culturally inspired" craft brewery will toast to the end of the harvest and the full moon with special beer releases, red envelope giveaways, and mooncakes.
Lucky Envelope Brewing (Ballard) 

MUSEUMS

Bellevue Arts Museum Reopening
The celebrated Eastside museum will reopen its second- and third-floor galleries to the public. They have reduced capacity and visits are timed, but on the plus side, admission is now pay-what-you-can, thanks to the support of Overlake Medical Center and Clinics. They have an all-new lineup of exhibitions, including Steven Holl: Making Architecture (through Oct 11) and America’s Monsters, Superheroes, and Villains (through Jan 17).
Bellevue Arts Museum

MUSIC

Dausgaard Conducts Brahms
Enjoy a rebroadcast of Seattle Symphony Music Director Thomas Dausgaard leading a Brahms extravaganza featuring three selections of some of the composer’s most beloved works, including Hungarian Dance No. 1 and the final movement of Piano Concerto No. 1.

Frederick Ballentine in Recital
Lauded tenor Frederick Ballentine starred as Don José in last year's Seattle Opera production of Carmen, stepping into the role with only two days' notice. He then returned to McCaw Hall as Charlie Parker in Charlie Parker's Yardbird earlier this year, and he was fantastic. Don't miss this free virtual recital. 

Kremwerk Livestream Series: Paris Siris, Sherman C
Get weird at your house with back-to-back sets from local TUF resident Paris Siris and deep house wizard Sherman Crawford, courtesy of Kremwerk.

LORBO Record Release: LIZARD
Bringing "thrashing heaviness into a dark yet ethereal soundscape" and "creating something meditative while at the same time ruinous," local band Lorbo will rock your world at this online release of their new record Lizard, along with their debut music video.

NVCS Presents: The Grizzled Mighty
Dave Segal once wore, “Seattle duo the Grizzled Mighty has one of those self-descriptive names that show a blunt confidence in what they’re doing: robust blues-rock, without an iota of irony. In order not to sound like stodgy revivalists, bands of this ilk need to conceive riffs you want to hear repeatedly and deliver them with a ferocity and inventiveness that suggests the musicians have made a deal with el Diablo.” A portion of donations from tonight’s online performance will benefit the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Rave the Vote
With DJ sets, educational segments, and calls to action broadcasted live on Twitch in four installments, this virtual voter registration drive and dance-music festival features electronic music heavies like A-Trak, Analog Soul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Yaeji, and many others.

Whitney Mongé with the Seattle Symphony
Local alternative soul artist and former busker Whitney Mongé will help the Seattle Symphony kick off their October lineup with a livestreamed concert accompanied by the orchestra. 

READINGS & TALKS

Eddie Cole with Shaun Scott: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom
Dr. Eddie Cole argues that college campuses are hot spots for social justice activism in his new book, The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom. He'll join Town Hall and local historian and former City Council candidate Shaun Scott. 

Kristen Millares Young: Subduction
Rich Smith has called Millares Young a "crack Seattle journalist and novelist," and her new, meticulously researched historical novel sounds like a winner. Hear her read from this story of a Latinx anthropologist reeling from her husband's betrayal as she tries to carry out a fieldwork project on a Makah Indian Reservation in Neah Bay. When she begins an affair with one of her research subjects, Peter, love, trauma, and colonialism collide.

Marilynne Robinson: Jack
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead (along with several other novels and books of revelatory essays) returns to the mythical town of Gilead, Iowa in Jack, her latest novel about an interracial romance between the prodigal son of the town’s Presbyterian minister and a local high school teacher (who’s also the child of a preacher). Join the author, whose sentences “hit with the weight of a proverb,” according to Rich Smith, for an online reading.

VISUAL ART

6X6NW Exhibition
If good things come in small packages, this virtual exhibition of over 700 six-by-six-inch works of art will surely have plenty of gems for art lovers to peruse and/or purchase.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

COMMUNITY

2020 Fall Orchard Work Parties
Join City Fruit's distanced work parties and help care for fruit orchards in public places.
Various locations

FOOD & DRINK

Freshies & Friends 2020
Partake in 12 fresh hop creations from 10 different breweries.
5 Rights Brewing Company (Marysville)

PERFORMANCE

Fall Kick Off 2020: Transition Is a Portal
As Velocity reimagines its future after COVID-19, you're invited to join them for a week of virtual watch parties of past performances and other artist-centered events. Alice Gosti and Fox Whitney have also cooked up a live artist talk lottery that "that centers care and creative thinking (not production)," and creatives can look forward to resource-sharing Zoom hangouts.

READINGS & TALKS

Campfire: Improvised Ghost Stories
Unexpected Productions players will riff on your personal experiences with creepy happenings at these virtual improv shows. 

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

FESTIVALS

CroatiaFest Online
The vast Balkan country of Croatia, which lies on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, is rich with tradition. (Fun fact: It was also the breeding place for the first Dalmatians.) Learn about its past and present at this online festival filled with food demos, art exhibits, traditional costumes and performances, and a virtual marketplace.

FILM

French Cinema Now
This festival of French and Francophone cinema culture that's usually crammed (effectively) into a single week will get over three months of attention at SIFF. Nine of this year's feature films, presented on TV5MONDE, are directed by women, including emerging filmmakers like Manele Labidi, whose Arab Blues follows a woman who, after years of studying abroad in Paris, returns home to Tunis to pursue her dream of opening up her own psychotherapy practice.

Port Townsend Film Festival
The only thing lost in this year's Port Townsend Film Festival is the scenic drive to the Olympic Peninsula; the program, which boasts over 75 films and will stream online, is as noteworthy as ever. In addition to Her Effortless Brilliance, a music-filled documentary celebrating the late Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton, created by her longtime friend Megan Griffiths, features to look out for Baato (through Oct 4), which follows a family's annual 200-mile on-foot migration from their village in the Himalayas of Nepal to sell medicinal plants in the city markets, which one year is intersected by a construction gang building a modern new highway to China. Another highlight is A Home Called Nebraska, a feature doc, which follows refugees who rely on the seemingly conservative midwestern state for safety from the violence of their home countries.

Social Justice Film Festival
This film festival highlights fierce and powerful progressive movements around the world. As social justice provides the only throughline, many of the movies have little in common. But the selection skews toward limber, on-the-ground filmmaking in the midst of protests and conflicts. The ninth edition's theme is "Transform," all about the power of collective and personal transformation. Don't miss Ask for Jane, based on a true story of a group of college women who developed an underground abortion network that helped over 11,000 people get illegal abortions in Chicago between 1969 and 1973.

FOOD & DRINK

Canlis Community College
Seattle's premier fine-dining restaurant has a storied history of throwing unforgettable parties of Gatsby-esque proportions, and now they're channeling their event-planning panache into a new project for the time of COVID-19: Meet Canlis Community College, a six-week-long lineup of fun virtual classes and extracurricular activities. Guests will be able to follow along on a livestream as brothers Mark and Brian Canlis try out all sorts of new things, and there will be "office hours" with appointed experts on topics. On the curriculum: Filipinx food with Musang chef Melissa Miranda, weekly jazzercise with the Pacific Northwest ballet, Japanese drinking food with Kamonegi chef Mutsuko Soma, an introduction to cocktails, bread-baking, homemade dumplings 101, music theory with KEXP, traveling with Rick Steves, at-home haircuts with Rudy's Barbershop, weed brownies with Jody Hall of The Goodship, and way, way more. There's even a cafeteria with retro at-home TV dinners, available for purchase online or for pickup, and if you want to show off your school spirit, there's also a "campus store" with merch. All of it can be yours for the low, low price of $25, with a suggested $4.50 donation to FareStart.

HALLOWEEN

Bainbridge Gardens 27th Annual Pumpkin Walk
Every day until Halloween, this Bainbridge Island garden is open for pumpkin-painting, pumpkin walks, Great Pumpkin sightings, a bounce house, live music, and more family- and social distancing-friendly fall activities. 
Bainbridge Gardens

MUSIC

Dirtybird Couchout
The annual music festival Dirtybird Campout will pitch its tent online this year for a week of live sets from Pillowtalk, Jake the Rapper, Persian Empire, and other festival-circuit DJs. Plus, they'll have comedy, craft activities, contests, and more activities you'd expect at an adult summer camp. 

PERFORMANCE

Drive-In at On the Boards
On the Boards' parking lot will transform into a temporary drive-in theater to fill the arts-performance-shaped hole in your life with a special program of variety acts and reflections on creativity. If you don't have a car, you can also bring your own chairs and park up in the "seated audience area," but make sure to bring a radio or phone with FM capabilities. The Sitting Room will provide Mexican food if you get hungry.
On the Boards (Seattle Center)

Men in Dance
Men dancers at the highest levels of artistry from the Pacific Northwest will enliven modern, contemporary, urban, jazz, and ballet genres for the 13th year in a row. This year's virtual edition features choreography by Daniel Ojeda of Ballet Idaho, Beth Terwilleger (seen at 12 Minutes Max and the Converge Dance Festival), Elise Meiners Schwicht (SALT II Contemporary Company, Converge), Nahshon Marden (Sensible Theatre Company, the Equalux Fundraiser), Joel Hathaway (the Missouri Contemporary Ballet company), and others.

The Race 2020
This online presentation of Sojourn Theatre’s The Race 2020 will be interactive, and aims to inspire voter registration and action and racial equity and justice at the social level. "The show blends performance, call and response, question and answer, and song into a participatory, highly improvised exploration of what America wants in a leader during a time of change," reads press materials.

READINGS & TALKS

Novel Nights
Raise money for Seattle's most beloved writing center, Hugo House, at this virtual book club series featuring special guests with newly published books, including Erik Larson, US congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Jess Walter, Sharyn Skeeter, Neal Bascomb, and Matt Ruff. 

VISUAL ART

October Art Opening
Four new exhibits are gracing the walls of Central District’s Black arts space Wa Na Wari this month. Stop by in person (you’re required to wear a mask and take a temperature check at the door) to see various work by Andrea Coleman, Ilana Harris-Babou, Zahyr Lauren, and Zachary James Watkins.
Wa Na Wari (Central District)

NW Collage Society: Suffrage Celebration Show
This exhibition of 24 digital collages, created by the Northwest Collage Society for the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment, is available to view online until the museum reopens for in-person visits. 
Opening Friday

SATURDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Oktoberfest at Feierabend!
Reserve a two-hour Oktoberfest adventure for your household (or just yourself) at this South Lake Union haven of Wiener schnitzel. They promise bier, brats, and the works.
Feierabend (South Lake Union)

Orval Day 2020
Orval Day was created by Seattle-based specialty beer importer Merchant du Vin in honor of the famed 1000-plus-year-old Orval Trappist Ale brewed within the walls of Notre Dame d'Orval Monastery. For every glass of Orval sold, Merchant du Vin will donate 50 cents to the Safe Water Network, which aims to bring clean and sustainable water to communities like Ghana and India. This year, you're encouraged to pick up a bottle and celebrate at home.
Various locations

MUSIC

Democracy Comes Alive
In partnership with HeadCount, this nationwide virtual music festival will promote voter participation in the November election with sets from Big Sam's Funky Nation, Bruce Hornsby, Slightly Stoopid, Trampled by Turtles, and many others, as well as conversations with folks like the Avett Brothers' Bob Crawford. Check your voter registration to get a link to the event. 

Let The Music Play On
The San Francisco music festival Hardly Strictly Bluegrass presents this one-night broadcast stacked with newly recorded performances (Bonnie Raitt! Emmylou Harris! Steve Earle!), gems from the archive, and musician interviews. Watch for free on Facebook Live, nugs.tv, and other platforms. 

NVCS Presents: Todd and The Toots
Local group Todd and the Toots will bring their blend of reggae and bluegrass into your earholes via Nectar's YouTube channel. 

Sea Monster Lounge Presents: The New Triumph
The New Triumph perform mellow, jaunty jazz/funk hearkening to eclectic world influences. Join them for an online concert. 

READINGS & TALKS

Tracy Kidder: Boston’s Successful and Compassionate Approach to Homelessness
Get a first look at a work-in-progress from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder, whose well-known books on global health include Mountains Beyond Mountains and Strength in What Remains. He looks now at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and its founding physician and president Dr James O’Connell, who the author argues should serve as an example for other cities with large homeless populations (like Seattle). 

SHOPPING

Vinyl Mania Record Show
Treat yourself to some new (to you) records, cassettes, and CDs at the Tacoma shop's socially distant sale. 
Vinyl Mania Records (Tacoma)

SPORTS & RECREATION

Peace Peloton LGBTQummity Ride
Hop on your bicycle and join a 14-mile, LGBTQ-focused ride from Ballard to Capitol Hill supporting economic reform for Black communities, where you'll stop at Black-owned businesses and hear speeches along the way.
Hemispheres Parking Lot (Ballard)

VISUAL ART

Virtual Saturday University
The Seattle Art Museum presents eight online talks exploring Asian art, "from legend and ritual, to trade and cultural exchange, to technical innovation and changing artistic practices." The overarching theme seems to be rich pigments found in the natural world and their significance throughout Asian art history.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

FOOD & DRINK

Osprey Bistro & Tin Dog Brewing Harvest Fest
Socially distanced tents will be filled with seasonal coziness in the form of homemade bratwurst and sauerkraut, plus plenty of Oktoberfest brews from Tin Dog. Spots must be reserved in advance.
Tin Dog Brewing (West Seattle)

FILM

Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals
Second only to Toronto, Seattle plays host to one of the largest South Asian-focused film festivals in the world. Things are a little different this year, and not just for the obvious COVID-related reasons—the online event will bring seven South Asian film festivals across North America together for two weeks of free online screenings and special events. We're definitely cueing up Behind the Bhangra Boys, about the Nova Scotia-residing Maritime Bhangra Group, who, when they're not delivering pizza or filling cars with gas to make a living, create joyous, viral dance videos set against the backdrop of bleak northern landscapes.

GEEK

BrickCon
Legos may be popular among kids, but there's something about building a world made of tiny blocks that transcends age requirements. At this 19th annual festival, which will take place online, you'll get the chance to marvel at models made by master builders from around the world and purchase custom sets and parts from the Brick Bazaar.

HALLOWEEN

Stalker Farms: Drive-Thru Haunted Attractions
Ghouls of Snohomish are back in the habit of lurking in ye olde haunted corn trails. Rather than completing the maze on foot, you'll at least get to cower in the safety of your car as the lot of them jump out at you at this drive-in edition. Be sure to book your spot online first.
Stocker Farms (Snohomish)

Thomas Family Farm Haunts
You'll have to wait until 2021 (hopefully) for zombie paintball and the Nightmare on 9 haunted house, but that doesn't mean you can't still be scared at Thomas Family Farm this year. They've modified their Haunted Hayride and Flashlight Corn Maze for social distancing requirements, and added a brand-new Night Pumpkin Patch experience.
Thomas Family Farm (Snohomish)

SUNDAY

COMMUNITY

Sundae Sermon: A Celebration of Black Folks
Join emcee Kellie Richardson, birders Etta Cosey and Kintea Bryant, Seattle GirlTrek organizers Trina Baker and Mikia Cain, and cellist Gretchen Yanover for an online celebration of Black women. Each installment of this Sunday series honors a different public land, and this time it will be Federation Forest State Park. 

Vote with Pride
Seattle Pride is hosting a month of socially distant weekly events on Capitol Hill to encourage the local LGBTQ+ community to get out and vote in November. You'll have the chance to win prizes during each activity. 
TBD (Capitol Hill)

MUSIC

The Royal Room Presents: The Klein Party
Hark back to "all the Old Countries" with "gypsy dance music, sentimental Italian tunes, novelty Americana, country-and-western favorites, Yiddish theatre music, Ellingtonia, and the occasional opera aria" from local band the Klein Party. 

Thomas Marriott's Trumpet Ship
The winner of seven Golden Ear Awards, Thomas Marriott and his band the Trumpet Ship will treat you to a night of jazz standards. 

READINGS & TALKS

Caty Borum Chattoo with Marcia Smith: How Documentaries Empower People and Inspire Social Change
Pointing to the sad and disturbing documentary Blackfish (which exposed a mass audience to SeaWorld's maltreatment of its captive orcas) as her main example, Caty Borum Chattoo will chat with fellow producer Marcia Smith about the power of social issue-focused documentaries in shifting civic imagination and inspiring action. She'll draw from her new book, Story Movements: How Documentaries Empower People and Inspire Social Change. 

Louise Erdrich & Ann Patchett with Laura Flynn
If you've gone through your most recent book list and need new recommendations, who better to turn to than acclaimed authors Louise Erdrich and Ann Patchett, who both happen to own their own bookstores (Birchbark Books in Minneapolis and Parnassus Books in Nashville, respectively)? The pair will join Elliott Bay virtually to talk about what they've been reading and working on, and how they've been coping with the current moment. Laura Flynn of the Movement Voter Project will join in.