Memorial Day yields the first official three-day weekend of the spring, and it's prime time for major festivals in the Pacific Northwest. If you're sticking around Seattle, you'll find plenty of entertainment at the Northwest Folklife Festival and the Seattle International Film Festival. But if you're hankering for a road trip, the Juan de Fuca Festival in Port Angeles, the Kitsap Harbor Festival in Bremerton, the Weekend in the Wine Country in Willamette Valley, and other great out-of-town options await. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
Classic Workboat Show
Check out tugboats, fishing boats, and other aquatic vessels. Plus, hang out in a beer garden and hear "sea storytelling."
The goal of Folklife is noble as heck: “We envision strong communities, united by arts and culture… When people share aspects of their culture, opportunities are created to dissolve misunderstandings, break down stereotypes, and increase respect for one another.” What does this translate to? A gigantic Memorial Day weekend hippie fest full of lovely people dancing, performing world music from “yodeling to beatboxing” and everything in between, serving tasty street food, and leading workshops in arts and crafts. If you want the numbers: This year will mark the 47th event, will include more than 5,000 performers, will draw from more than 100 cultural communities, expects up to 250,000 attendees, and asks for a $10 donation per person. It’s a great, if potentially overwhelming, people-watching experience, plus a great way to see local music, including Tomo Nakayama, Naomi Wachira, and Astro King Phoenix.
Seattle International Film Festival 2018
The 44th annual Seattle International Film Festival is the largest film festival in the United States, with more than 400 films (spread over 25 days) watched by around 150,000 people. It's impressively grand and one of the most exciting and widely attended arts events Seattle has to offer. Find our list of the best SIFF movies to watch this weekend here.
Third Annual Couth Buzzard Jazz Festival
For the third year running, Couth Buzzard will throw a music festival to celebrate all that their community is thankful for: namely, jazz (and their neighborhood). Co-sponsored by Earshot Jazz, this fest offers performers like Orville Johnson, Kenny Mandell, and Julie Criswell in a varied sampling of jazz's history to enjoy over Memorial Day Weekend.
WOODINVILLEPours on the Patio
Soak up some sun on the patio and enjoy live music over Memorial Day weekend.
(Friday–Sunday, approx. 20 miles northeast of Seattle)
TACOMA2018 Invitational Big Beer Festival
Go big or go home with this festival of big beers (all over 9% ABV) and wood-fired pizza from Rolling Crust. Along with their own beers, Tacoma Brewing will pour a selection from Harmon Brewing, Pacific Brewing, Odd Otter, and the forthcoming Task Force Brewing.
(Saturday only, approx. 34 miles south of Seattle)
Kitsap Harbor Festival
Bremerton will open its boardwalk to vendors, friendly pirates, and live music for a weekend of family-focused fun.
(Saturday–Sunday, approx. 65 miles west of Seattle)
PORT TOWNSENDArtisan Food Festival
The Port Townsend Farmer's Market will offer artisan foods from the area, live music, and kids' food activities.
(Saturday only, approx. 56 miles north of Seattle)
This sheep-centric festival promises wool shearing and spinning demonstrations, dog herding, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo. They'll also serve up lamb kabobs and lamb chili.
(Monday only, approx. 67 miles southeast of Seattle)
25th Annual Juan de Fuca Festival
Fans of music, comedy, and dance will fill the lovely waterfront town of Port Angeles with melodies and festivities. Special guests include Con Brio, Curtis Salgado, MarchFourth, Royal Jelly Jive, Naomi Wachira, Pearl Django, and many more.
(Friday–Monday, approx. 82 miles northwest of Seattle)
BELLINGHAMHistoric Fairhaven Festival
Bellingham's annual street fair will feature live music from Gin Gypsy, SpaceBand, and Death By Radio, a "historic beer garden," BBQ fare, craft vendors, and live performances from the Bellingham Silk Road Dancers, the Kuungana African Drum and Dance Company, and the Lynden Line Dancers.
(Sunday only, approx. 89 miles north of Seattle)
LILLIWAUPHama Hama Summer Music Series 2018
Slurp delicious bivalves (or opt for bratwurst), sip beer and wine, dance to live music, and play a game of cornhole on the waterfront.
(Saturday–Sunday, approx. 101 miles south of Seattle)
Sasquatch! Music Festival
Summer is coming, and things are about to get heated at Washington’s hottest festival venue. Honestly, though, it gets scorchingly hot and the crowds quickly turn into a cringe-worthy sea of sunburns, so this May 25 to 27, make sure to stay hydrated and wear that sunscreen like a second skin so you can comfortably bask in the glory of seeing one hell of a lineup. Festival highlights include Tank & the Bangas, David Byrne, Modest Mouse, Anderson Paak & the Free Nationals, Japanese Breakfast, Tyler, the Creator, Bon Iver, Neko Case, Thundercat, Grizzly Bear, Lizzo, Japandroids, and Spoon. SOPHIA STEPHENS
(Friday–Sunday, approx. 150 miles east of Seattle))
LONG BEACHSummerFest Long Beach
Long Beach will host live music, face painting, mermaids, and more all-ages fun almost every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
(Saturday–Sunday, approx. 171 miles southwest of Seattle)
MOSES LAKEMoses Lake Spring Festival
From arts and crafts vendors and live music, to a three-on-three basketball tournament and a classic car show, to a farmers market and a grand moonlight parade, there are plenty of reasons to venture east for this annual four-day festival.
(Friday–Sunday, approx. 177 miles east of Seattle))
LANGLEY, B.C.Sticky's 3rd Annual Root Beer Festival
Root beer fanatics can feast on unlimited samplings of flavored fudge, candy, ice cream, floats, and plain old soda pop.
(Saturday only, approx. 122 miles north of Seattle)
VANCOUVER, B.C.Modified Ghost Festival III
Venture north for this Canadian hardcore music fest to get your fill of metal, rock, punk, hardcore, and progressive jams. Over Memorial Day weekend, catch Bongripper, Carcass, and Power Trip.
(Friday–Sunday, approx. 142 miles north of Seattle)
From artist-led workshops and history presentations to exhibits and demonstrations, this month-long, multi-venue craft festival is a good opportunity to hop around different spots in the city. For its final weekend, check out wooden carvings by Canadian coastal artist Beau Dick, a blown glass silent auction at Spark, and an interactive exhibit from automata artist David Dumbrell.
(Friday–Monday, approx. 142 miles north of Seattle)
Vancouver Craft Beer Week
Started in 2010, this annual craft beer event has grown over the years into a "cultural engine that showcases music, food, art, and beer at events across the city, from the last weekend of May to the first weekend of June every year." It begins on May 25 and will continue throughout the week, culminating in a two-day festival from June 2-3 at the Pacific National Exhibition Fairgrounds, with over 300 beers and ciders from over 100 craft breweries and cideries.
(Friday–Monday, approx. 142 miles north of Seattle)
Vancouver International Children's Festival
Canadians don't celebrate Memorial Day, but Vancouver's 41st annual International Children's Festival is still a good excuse to take your kids up north for eclectic live performances (including from the Vancouver Youth Choir, Splash'N Boots Live, and the Afrique en Cirque circus company, and many others).
(Monday only, approx. 142 miles north of Seattle)
PORTLAND, ORCityFair: Portland Rose Festival
Following its annual schedule, Portland's quintessential summer festival will kick off over Memorial Day weekend and last through early June. For its first stretch, head to the waterfront for fireworks and live music from Hit Machine and the One More Time Around Again Marching Band (Fri May 25), a dubstep and bass show with Disciple Records (Sat May 26), and all-day carnival entertainment (Mon May 28). If you love it, return for a "Princes and Princesses"-themed weekend (June 1-3) and a "Pirates and Mermaids"-themed weekend (June 8-10).
(Friday–Monday, approx. 174 miles south of Seattle)
WILLAMETTE VALLEY, ORMemorial Weekend in the Wine Country
Partake in Oregon Wine Month by tasting newly released white wines, rosés, and Pinot noir (plus classic selections) from over 150 regional wineries. The weekend will also feature a vineyard picnic, live music, food pairings, and Willamette Valley art.
(Saturday–Monday, approx. 222 miles south of Seattle)