March 20–April 25
This multi-genre festival will boast talks, readings, music, art, and film screenings. Highlights include films from the Port Townsend Film Festival, chamber works by composer Jherek Bischoff, a poetry slam with notable wordsmiths like Karen Finneyfrock and Nikkita Oliver, and a talk on hiphop with Dr. Daudi Abe.
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
This four-day festival features a yoga village, healing huts, nature immersion, live music, outdoor activities, workshops, talks, fire circles, and more for anyone in need of a reboot.
Enumclaw Expo Center, $75–$295
Immerse yourself in four days of pure oenophilia with this behemoth event billing itself as "the nation's largest single-region wine and food" event, which unites over 225 Washington wineries, 65 top restaurants, and a number of acclaimed local and national chefs. Dress yourself in rouges et blancs (and drink accordingly) for the Red and White Party, taste food and wine and view chef demonstrations at the Grand Tasting, and hobnob with famous chefs while eating fancy food and drinking rosé for the New Vintage event. Plus, sign up for special farm visits, seminars, a Pike Place Market tour, and Sunday brunch at Quality Athletics.
Aaina is a weekend-long festival featuring a variety of arts programming celebrating the achievements and exploring the experiences of South Asian women. The signature event is Yoni Ki Baat, an adaptation of The Vagina Monologues starring and directed by South Asian women.
Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University, free–$25
2018 Washington Cask Beer Festival
As Stranger contributor Lester Black has written, “cask ale is the most underappreciated beer style in Seattle,” and its “mellow carbonation, smooth flavor, and not-quite-cold serving temperature perfectly complement never-ending rainy days.” These unfiltered, unpasteurized beers, also referred to as “real ale,” are conditioned in the cask without any additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure, and are poured directly from the cask using gravity or an electric beer engine. This festival, dedicated to showcasing exclusively cask-conditioned beers from over 40 different Washington breweries, is a perfect opportunity to test out this underrated style for yourself.
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, $40
Seattle FAM and the Blow Up will join forces for a music, art, and community party that will blend live performances of music and spoken word, lectures, and conversations with an expert panel of advocates and activists, fashion by local designers, and vendors of every kind.
Beacon Arts, $20/$40
If you've had it with the present, take a trip back to the 1980s to spend some time in an original DeLorean whip, sing your favorite throwbacks in karaoke, dance along to futuristic beep-boop music with R2DJ, play vintage games in an arcade, and win cool prizes.
Living Computers: Museum + Labs, $25–$55
This annual spring art and fine craft show features work from over 100 Northwest artists and artisans, from jewelry and clothing to glassware and chocolates. For the 30th annual edition, Sally Simmons and Linda Thorson are the featured artists.
Magnuson Park Hangar 30, $8
Celebrate French-speaking cultures at this annual festival, featuring presentations, food, and activities from British Columbia to Belgium to Senegal.
Seattle Center, free
March 29–April 1
This science fiction and fantasy convention (with a literary emphasis) features an overwhelming number of events including panels, workshops on writing and filmmaking, the Philip K. Dick awards, gaming, concerts, dances, an art show, a masquerade, a film festival, and, of course, appearances by special guests representing the many aspects of science fiction and fantasy.
DoubleTree Hotel, $70
Grilled Cheese Grand Prix
With over 30 different sandwiches, plus wine, spirits, and ciders, this Grand Prix will host the ultimate battle royale in all things bread and cheese, with each entry more decadent than the last. Which grilled cheese will take home the gold?
Magnuson Park, $35-$75
March 30–April 1
Celebrate the efforts of the Everett Music Initiative with this weekend festival spread over several beloved local venues, with live sets from Shabazz Palaces, Taylar Elizza Beth, the Black Tones, and many more.
Cosplayers will gather again for the Northwest's "oldest and most well-attended" anime convention presented by the Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association. The three-day affair features anime screenings, gaming, cosplay, cultural panels, dances, concerts, art contests, and more.
Washington State Convention & Trade Center, $70/$80
*Georgetown Bites 2018
Savor the plentiful culinary offerings of Seattle's oldest neighborhood with bites from nearly thirty participating local vendors, including cask-aged beer from Machine House Brewery, fancy chocolates from Fran's Chocolate, delicious tacos from El Sirenito, Flying Squirrel Pizza, Ellenos Yogurt, and more.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
For the 35th consecutive year, flower enthusiasts will flock to Skagit Valley to see sprawling fields covered with hundreds of colorful tulips in bloom. The festival is designed as a driving tour, as there's no one spot to enter.
Every year, community members exhibit their culinary creations (with original titles that often contain shameless puns, like Gourd of the Rings and The Life of Pie) inspired by books, which are then judged in a contest. The best part? Festival-goers get to eat the scrumptious displays.
Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, free
This festival dedicated to all things herbivorous will feature vegetarian food samples, chef demonstrations, nutrition information, free health screenings, books and cookbooks, and a kids' section with clowns and games.
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, $9
Pierce County is fertile ground for the fluffy orange flowers, who have had their own festival in the area since 1934. The highlight of the event is its grand parade, where the festival's royal court (made up of 23 "princesses" from Pierce County high schools) sail down the street on Daffodil-covered floats.
Get a taste of Hawaiian culture by eating ono Hawaiian food, watching Hawaiian and Polynesian entertainment, and shopping at Hawaiiana vendors.
Chief Leschi Schools, Puyallup, $5
In honor of International Children's Day, a holiday that originated in Turkey, this festival represents different nationalities and cultures through music, ballet, and folk dances.
Seattle Center Pavilion, free
In appreciation of the 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by Prime Minister Takeo Miki 40 years ago, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture. It's the oldest in the Seattle Center Festál series, featuring live performances, Taiko drumming and artisan demonstrations, food, and more.
Seattle Center, free
Billing itself as "the most talked about culinary tour in the country," Cochon555 is a "nose-to-tail" pork-centric competition built around the intention of creating awareness of heritage breed pigs for buyers and supporting family farmers, featuring 1500 pounds of heritage pig and 5 chefs cooking 5 whole hogs.
Fairmont Olympic Hotel, $130-$200
April 26–May 6
Apple Blossom Festival
This annual festival, which started in 1919, showcases the beautiful blooms of Wenatchee Valley. It includes a carnival, a golf tournament, a food fair, multiple parades, and more.
At this semi-annual community festival, downtown businesses and sidewalks transform their spaces into venues for art, demonstrations, and performances.
For the past 16 years, the Foundation for Sex-Positive Culture has gathered enthusiasts of erotic art in all its forms. See the galleries of visual and interactive art, draw sensually posed models, hear readings, learn about trans and queer erotica, discover porny history, attend contests (for "vamp shoes," e.g.), join the Twirling Tassel Flash Mob with homemade pasties, and party.
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, $10–$350
Seattle World Percussion Society's annual music, drum, and dance festival strives for "community-building through rhythm" by showcasing music traditions from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, India, Brazil, North America, and other countries across the globe.
Seattle Center, free
*Bacon and Beer Classic
Munch on salty, crunchy pork from over 30 local chefs and sip over 100 crisp brews and ciders from regional breweries. Plus, participate in a blind beer taste test, a bacon eating contest, and activities like giant Jenga and pretzel necklace making.
Safeco Field, $59–$115
*Cheese and Meat Festival
This festival showcasing meat and cheese artisans greets you with a charcuterie board and a tasting glass and lets you wander trying bites from vendors like Beecher's Cheese and Twin Sisters Creamery, paired with wine, cider, beer, and spirits.
McCaw Hall, $35–$150+
This Tacoma-wide letterpress and book arts extravaganza offers the chance to meet local printers and check out their wares, make paper, and bind books. A highlight of the weekend is steamroller printing, where local artists carve three-by-three-foot sheets of linoleum and print on giant paper.
Crypticon will fill the DoubleTree with hundreds of gorehounds, bloodsluts, zombbros, and creepazoids. This year will feature Richard Brake of Game of Thrones, Kimmy Robertson and Harry Goaz of Twin Peaks, and more. Dress up and enter the cosplay contest, compete in the writing and horror makeup competitions, browse haunted Cthulhu/zombie/vampire/etc. goods, and party on the 13th floor.
DoubleTree Hotel, $60–$296
Kick off Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month by seeing lion dances, youth drill teams, drumming, martial arts, and work by Asian Pacific Islander artists from around the state.
Seattle Center, free
This Children's Day festival features Japanese dance performances, Yukata dress-up, taiko drumming, martial arts, a tea ceremony, games, food, and more.
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington, free
Seattle Beer Week 10
Dozens of watering holes will celebrate beer with even more zeal than usual during Beer Week.
Breathe some fresh air in a scenic North Cascade valley and enjoy hiking, horseback riding, climbing, watersports, and more—when you're not at a rock or folk concert by the likes of Joshua James, RVIVR, the Lowest Pair, the Pine Hearts, and many other bands.
Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop, 4 pm, $95+
Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco & Music Festival
Heartburn be damned, Sabroso will gather thousands of people in Auburn for a day of craft beer tasting, tacos aplenty, Gringo Bandito hot sauce samples, lucha libre wrestling, and live music by The Offspring, Pennywise, and guests.
White River Amphitheatre
Founded and produced by a local Senegalese griot musician, the Spirit of Africa festival showcases the talents of African musicians, dancers, and artists in the region and from around the country.
Seattle Center, free
After the Ballard parade where Norwegian marching bands and drill teams will galavant down the street on Syttende Mai (Norwegian Constitution Day), head to the new museum to enjoy a Nordic luncheon and extended gallery hours. At night, they'll also have special Nordic cocktails, a fashion show, and a live musical performance from a special guest.
This annual My Little Pony extravaganza for young and old fans alike features a live music concert ("Ponystock"), game rooms, a cosplay contest, karaoke, art for sale, a "fancy-pants dance," and more plastic equine merriment.
DoubleTree Hotel, $75–$250
Experience three days of the Norse seafarers and their ways with an artwork competition, a battle of the bands showcase, a carnival, donut- and lutefisk-eating contests, a street fair, a parade, and more.
Discover 5,000-year-old Chinese cultural traditions, learn Chinese folk dances, and make art.
Seattle Center, free
Shop hundreds of local vendors, eat foods from around the world, and catch live music performances at this 49th annual event.
University District, free
Sasquatch!, the three-day music and party extravaganza that takes place at the Gorge every year, is back for its 17th iteration with a stacked lineup of billboard notables and rising stars across all genres. The current lineup includes Bon Iver, Spoon, Vince Staples, David Byrne, Slowdive, Jlin, and many, many more.
Gorge Amphitheatre, George, $325
Fans of music, comedy, and dance will fill the lovely waterfront town of Port Angeles with melodies and festivities for a whole weekend. Special guests include Con Brio, Curtis Salgado, MarchFourth, Royal Jelly Jive, Naomi Wachira, Pearl Django, and many more.
Vern Burton Memorial Community Center, $25-$75
Every year, local communities bring their unique cultural traditions to this iconic hippie festival. Years past have featured Contra and Cajun dancing, poetry, films, fiddles, sea chanties, spoon playing, and Scandinavian storytelling.
Seattle Center, $10 suggested donation
Hang out on the Edmonds waterfront to see live music shows, graze from food trucks, shop for arts and crafts, and see hydroplane and boat displays.
Edmonds Yacht Club, $4
Upstream is a three-day music festival and summit set to take place in many Pioneer Square venues. It's Paul Allen's attempt to mold a PNW-focused South by Southwest type large-scale festival, with programming involving many local emerging talents, more than 300 music artists, and acclaimed keynote speakers. Curated by longtime hiphop booker and former talent-buyer at the Crocodile Meli Darby, the vast majority of bands are Seattle- and NW-centric. The main stage performers include Miguel, the Flaming Lips, and Valerie June.
Pioneer Square, $60–$140
A series of workshops, exhibits, demonstrations, and performances that highlight Filipino history, art, and culture.
Seattle Center, free
Whether you're a die-hard gamer or a casual player, go nuts by testing out over 400 pinball and arcade games for free. There will also be guest speakers from the industry, seminars on collecting, playing, and fixing games, pinball tournaments with prizes, and more.
Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, $20–$65
While you stroll through display gardens filled with art installations, hear live music performances from a number of local folksy artists (including the Side Project, Robbie Egelstad, and the W Lovers).
American Legion Memorial Park, Everett, free
With a focus on music, dance, and crafts, this festival celebrates Native Americans.
Seattle Center, free
Celebrate the ocean, learn about its threats, and find out how to protect it at this free Tacoma waterfront festival that brings together "arts, sciences, and water play."
Foss Waterway Seaport, Tacoma, free
The US's newest UNESCO city of literature pays tribute to the beloved Bard of Avon in this season of theater, dance, and music. In addition to famous popular pieces (like Kiss Me, Kate, Shakespeare in Love, and an all-women Mac Beth)—there will also be stagings of modern interpretations, such as a burlesque Romeo & Juliet, plus Duke Ellington's jazz opus Such Sweet Thunder Suite, his tribute to old Will.