Asian Art Museum

Top Arts & Culture Things to Do

Overall, Seattle’s arts scene mirrors its inhabitants. For every traditionalist, there’s a non-traditionalist; for every serious piece of art, there’s something to make you laugh. What inspires us? Some say it’s the coffee culture. Others say it’s the weather. It could just be that Seattle is the cultural center of the Northwest, and its citizens are happy to celebrate. Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that things are fun and a little quirky, too.

5th Avenue Theatre Interior Photo: 5th Avenue Theatre

Treat Yourself to Theater

Seattle earns its standing ovations with world-class theater that will leave you wanting more!

Seattle’s lively theatre scene is second to none. Catch a bold new premiere or an inventive interpretation of the classics at Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT or Book-It. Be dazzled by a blockbuster Broadway show at the historic Paramount or 5th Avenue Theatre. Or dive in to Seattle’s longest running improv theatre at Unexpected Productions.

Ballet Dancers Photo: ©Angela Sterling.

Enjoy All Sorts of Dance

From exquisite renditions of classic pieces, to new works by emerging choreographers, dance shines in Seattle.

Pacific Northwest Ballet is widely recognized as one of the country’s premiere regional dance companies. Founded in 1972, it is now delighting audiences under the artistic leadership of Peter Boal, a well-regarded former dancer with a distinguished 22 year career with the New York City Ballet. The sheer brilliance of the choreographers and dancers will captivate you. Under the leadership of Artistic Director and Tony-nominated choreographer Donald Byrd, Spectrum Dance Theatre produces acclaimed and ambitious works in contemporary dance. If you want to put on your own dancing shoes, don’t miss the Century Ballroom. With its elegantly draped balconies and glossy wood floors, it sets the mood to swing or salsa, and for those of us with two left feet, lessons are usually offered before the dance. You can usually find top international and national companies performing at The Paramount Theatre, On the Boards or the Meany Center for the Performing Arts, or catch our up-and-coming artists at Cornish College of the Arts.

Photo: Greg Dunlap

Take in Some Live Music

With so many venues that cater to every taste, Seattle is a true mecca for live music. Here’s a small sampling of our most epic places to see your favorite bands:

  • Neumos – Pronounced “new moe’s,” this club on Capitol Hill has an always-relevant and carefully curated music calendar, outstanding light production, and a state-of-the-art sound system. The showroom features three full service bars, a second floor mezzanine, and a balcony that over looks the stage. Neumos hosts a variety of national and local musicians who play genres across the spectrum.
  • The Triple Door – Combining world-class entertainment with the award-winning food of Wild Ginger, the Triple Door’s mainstage theater features touring national acts, while the Musicquarium lounge is one of Seattle’s best destinations for happy hour and local music.
  • The Crocodile – Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of “The Best Clubs in America,” there may be no other spot in the Pacific Northwest with such storied and beloved past, and no other rock and roll venue that has earned its right to occupy the hearts of so many. Countless incredible bands played within their walls, so come check out who’s up next.
  • The Showbox – With two locations (across from Pike Place Market and in SoDo), the Showbox has Seattle covered. Opened in 1939, this beautiful art-deco gem has been delivering the goods from the Jazz age, through the Grunge Era to the current wave of Seattle exports. From Prince to The Roots to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Showbox has the shows you want.
  • Benaroya Hall – Home of the internationally acclaimed Seattle Symphony, the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall is one of the world’s finest concert halls. Opened in 1998, Benaroya Hall is the most-visited performing arts venue in Seattle, dazzling more than a half-million people each year.
  • Tractor Tavern – With more than 20 years of diesel music, drinks and dancing, Ballard’s Tractor Tavern delivers the best selection of live local and national alt-country, rockabilly, old-time, folk, blues, and bluegrass bands in town.
  • Vera Project – Seattle’s “premier” all-ages venue, the Vera Project is a mostly volunteer-run, cathedral-ceilinged hall next to the Seattle Center, which plays host to local hotshots as well as nationally touring acts.
  • The Royal Room – Located in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, The Royal Room hosts live music seven nights a week. The restaurant and bar has a comfortable neighborhood feel that welcome patrons of all ages and tastes.
  • Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley – Family owned & operated since 1979, the all-ages Jazz Alley is a legendary live music & dinner club hosting world-renowned jazz and fusion acts from across the globe.
Frye Museum Entry Pete Eckert

Explore An Art Museum

Seattle’s excellent art museums allow you to enjoy exhibits of every kind. Find an expansive experience at any of these inspiring spaces:

  • Seattle Art Museum (SAM) – Just one block from Pike Place Market, light-filled galleries invite you to wander through global and Northwest art collections, temporary installations, and special exhibitions from around the world. In addition to this downtown museum, SAM operates two additional locations in the city:
    • Seattle Asian Art Museum – This 1933 Art Deco building in lush Volunteer Park is SAM’s original home. Now renovated and reimagined, it houses SAM’s extensive Asian art collection, and is a beloved treasure in our creative, cultured, and curious city.
    • Olympic Sculpture Park – Home to monumental contemporary sculptures, this open air sculpture park sits on 9 acres of land right on the Seattle waterfront. Stroll the pathways and take in the city views alongside the artwork. The Olympic Sculpture Park is located just one mile north of the Seattle Art Museum.
  • Frye Art Museum – Located on First Hill, the always-free Frye Art Museum opened as the legacy of Charles and Emma Frye, prominent early-twentieth century Seattle business leaders and art collectors. With its marvelous Founding Collection and constantly changing featured exhibits, the Frye is a revelation and often the most exciting contemporary art museum in Seattle.
  • Henry Art Gallery – A museum of contemporary art and ideas and known for taking risks and for allowing space for uncertain outcome, the Henry presents provocative exhibitions by a multi-national roster of emerging and mid-career artists.
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass – This long term exhibition explores the arc of Seattle’s most famous glass artist, and enchants visitors with rooms and gardens of complex forms and color.

Upcoming Arts & Culture Events

Telling the Story


Join Town Hall Seattle for an afternoon with local journalist and activist Ron Chew to celebrate the audiobook …

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Taste Washington: Dinner Series

3/21/2024 through 3/23/2024

Taste Washington is teaming up with local chefs who are passionate about using the best ingredients the Pacific …


Jim Knapp Orchestra


Jim Knapp was an iconic Seattle composer and arranger, band leader, jazz theorist, and teacher to countless musicians …

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Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement


For decades, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities have been fighting for equality, both under the law …

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Reverberations: Contemporary Art and Modern Classics


Each new generation of artists responds to and builds on the art of earlier periods. Bringing together artworks …

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Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk


Pioneer Square is the center of Seattle’s art scene, exhibiting the depth and range of the vibrant Pacific …

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Now through 3/10/2024

Transport yourself to the world of lucha libre – Mexican wrestling, with this inspired adaptation of the Chinese …

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Art Walk Edmonds | Every Third Thursday


Every third Thursday from 5-8 pm, galleries, businesses, and restaurants join in celebrating the arts & cultivating local …

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Ariel Pink


Enjoy a night of live music with Ariel Pink, Period Bomb and others at El Corazon.

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