Tucked away in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle boasts a vibrant festival scene that's jam-packed with all kinds of art, music and cultural festivals throughout the year including Bumbershoot, Seattle Fringe Festival, Capitol Hill Block Party, Northwest Folklife Festival, and the Seattle International Film Festival.
Home to the Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and excellent coffee, Seattle's a hip city with stunning views thanks to its unbeatable location. If it seems like everyone you know is moving out West, it's because they are; Seattle is one of the top 15 most populated metropolitan areas in the country and consistently ranks as one of the fastest-growing major cities.
Seattle makes its case as being the cultural center of the Pacific Northwest with a diverse community that possesses extraordinary talent. From opera and ballet, to theatre and pure visual spectacle, this urban paradise has it all. The city celebrates its cultural diversity with events like the Betsuin Bon Odori Festival, Dragon Fest and dozens of other festivals that revolve around Seattle's innovative arts community.
When it comes to music, you can't beat Seattle's storied history with some of the all-time greats. The likes of Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Chris Cornell, and many other legends have graced Seattle's music scene. But perhaps the most noteworthy is Nirvana, a grunge band led by the late Kurt Cobain, who became an overnight sensation when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" entered heavy rotation on music television stations. This, along with the massive success of other Seattle-based bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains, entered alternative rock into the mainstream. Almost any music festival you attend here will have ties to the Emerald City's incredibly music history.
While Portland remains proud of its ridiculous number of food trucks parked around the city, Seattle lets their food do all the talking for them. For one, Seattle is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington with direct access to the Pacific Ocean. "Catch of the day" is an understatement, because Seattleites reel in scores of fresh seafood looking to earn a spot on your plate. Crisp-skinned salmon, slurp-tastic oysters and many other delectable dishes await you at seemingly every restaurant in the city. Seafood is not all they're good at, though. The Seattle Dog, for example, is a unique combination of cream cheese, grilled onions, peppers, and mustard (among other variations) lathered on top of a hot dog. Seriously. All you need to do is roll up to one of many food festivals throughout the year, like Bite of Seattle, to get a sense of Seattle's exquisite culinary scene.
You could definitely make a day trip to Portland, Oregon, and be spoiled by the city's insane craft beer scene, but that doesn't mean Seattle is lacking in sudsy goodness. Put on some flannel and you'll blend right in at any brewery, tap room, bar or bottle shop you stumble upon. You can't go wrong when delicious beers from local breweries like Reuben's Brews, Stoup Brewing, and Holy Mountain Brewing cascade down your throat. The good stuff doesn't just pour from their taps either; Seattle features a stellar lineup of beer festivals with kegs upon kegs of amazing brews. The renowned Seattle International Beerfest takes advantage of rare sunny skies and more than 200 craft beers from around the world.
If we've buttered you up with talks of suds, then we certainly can't ignore Seattle's coffee culture. Yes, java heads, there is such a thing as coffee culture, and it's absolutely delightful here. Look no further than the original Starbucks retail store, located in Pike Place Market. It goes without saying that Starbucks is the largest coffee retailer in Seattle, but that doesn't mean your options are limited to chains. The city is blessed with hundreds of indie coffeehouses, too. You won't be shocked to hear that Seattle boasts nearly one thousand coffee shops per capita and, hopefully sometime soon, it will snatch the crown from San Francisco.
Still not convinced of Seattle's cultural prowess? Then take a gander at the multitude of festivals happening in the city throughout the year; it's essentially your fault if you're still bored.