When the spring finally breaks in April, Washington begins preparing for a solid summer of fun festivals and special events. Seattle is where most of the action takes place, from neighborhood street parties to massive beer festivals. But every town has its specialty, so you can be sure to find wine festivals in Yakima, onion events in Walla Walla, and flower spectaculars in La Conner.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The town of La Conner in Washington is just an hour’s drive north of Seattle and it’s famous for its flower growing industry. Each April, the tulip and daffodil farms explode into bloom, blanketing the entire Skagit Valley in color. It’s really quite a spectacle, and La Conner capitalizes on it with a nice little spring festival featuring a range of events and activities, including music, food, flower exhibits, and farm tours.
Seattle Maritime Festival
Seattle’s maritime roots are celebrated each May along its scenic, historic waterfront. The Bell Street Pier is the center of the activity, which includes fun events like boat-building contests and tug boat racing. There are a lot of activities geared toward kids, but adults will enjoy the art fair, beer garden, and big Waterfront Chowder Cook Off. Best of all, it’s free!
One of America’s premier alternative music festivals takes place at the Gorge Amphitheater in the town of George, Washington (clever, no?). Three stages host dozens of the hottest bands in the country over three days every May. There are food tents, beer gardens, and even a comedy stage for a few laughs.
Capitol Hill Block Party
One of Seattle’s coolest neighborhoods holds a classic street party every July that is really a tribute to the city’s energy and creativity as a whole. For three days, the streets of Capitol Hill host some of the best bands and musicians in the Pacific Northwest on several stages which are set up around the district. Though music is the focus, there are also loads of food vendors, art and crafts exhibits, and other neat activities.
Tacoma Craft Beer Festival
Washington State is a pioneer in America’s massive craft beer movement, and each September the best local brewers in the region come to Tacoma’s Foss Waterway Seaport for a full day of beer samples from more than 50 small breweries. It’s the state’s biggest local beer event, and always sells out weeks in advance.
This incredibly diverse and eclectic Washington art festival features everything from live music to bizarre performance arts. This hugely popular, three-day September event happens at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Around 2,000 performers entertain a crowd of 200,000 with poetry, music, dancing, acrobatics, and much more. Some 50 Seattle restaurants provide the food from booths in the foodie section.