In this diverse city, music is limitless. To me, music is energy: it inspires and connects. Whether it makes you sway your body back and forth or moves you to tears, fill your soul with the sounds of Seattle.
Buskers at Pike Place Market Suzi Pratt
I often start at Pike Place Market, enjoying the buskers who fill my senses with joy. Within the downtown corridor, there are major music venues for everyone: The Moore Theatre hosts an array of artists from the 60’s to the current day; Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley is an iconic venue with dinner and a show; The Paramount Theatre is worth going to for the architecture alone – I have never seen a bad show or had a bad seat; The Showbox is a piece of history which has hosted many big names; Benaroya Hall is an upscale venue for the more refined taste; and The Triple Door is from A-Z but always intimate and satisfying.
In other nearby neighborhoods, Tractor Tavern on Ballard Ave NW is entertaining and authentic. High Dive in Fremont is a spacious and eclectic venue – I would expect nothing less from Fremont! North Queen Anne has a tried and true venue called The Paragon – Brandi Carlile used to play there on her way up. A little further North near Green Lake, the Woodland Park Zoo is fantastic all on its own, but they also offer ZooTunes Summer Concerts with a consistently impressive line-up.
If you’re open to venturing to the Eastside, cross the 520 bridge to Marymoor Park in Redmond for another summer concert series featuring small outdoor venue and a mature audience. You can take beer to your seat along with an impressive array of delicious food truck offerings. I have seen shows from Janelle Monáe to Peter Frampton (with Chris Cornell playing and singing the encore). Marymoor would be my #1 pick! Can you tell?
Chateau Ste. Michelle David Newman
Just north of Redmond, Woodinville may be better known as wine country. Not only can you go on an extensive wine tasting tour (please have a designated driver), but Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery has been hosting an impressive music venue for decades. Make a day of it or stay at Willow’s Lodge across the street and make it a weekend.
Now, if you’re into an adventure, drive on to the Bremerton Ferry. Just 40 minutes southwest from the ferry dock is a paradise on the Hood Canal called Robin Hood Village Resort. They have live music on Fridays and Saturdays featuring local artists, a dance floor, fire pits on a babbling creek, trails, and kayaks with water access. Let’s not forget to mention quaint cabins and a sweet restaurant and bar.
A short 3-hour drive to Gorge Amphitheater in George, WA will give you a musical experience to last a lifetime. The open-air natural amphitheater is on the edge of the mighty Columbia River with truly stunning views. You’ll want to save a 3-day weekend for this one. Camping or event buses are available.
However you choose to spend your time in and around Seattle, I strongly suggest you make music part of your itinerary. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find one that speaks to you!