Seattle is a city that offers tons of celebrations, events, and festivals to honor just about everything, from music to comic books to beer and hemp and beyond. This is a city that's famed for its politics and its broad tech companies, and as for being the birthplace of the grunge music movement—and it knows how to party with the best of them.

    No matter what kind of culture you're into, from arts and history to popular culture, food, or film, you're sure to find an event in Seattle that celebrates just that. Check out some of the unique Seattle celebrations that make this city stand out.

    1

    Bumbershoot

    Attend a world-famous 3-day music festival

    Bumbershoot offers a 3-day celebration of the end of summer with dozens of international and eclectic music acts plus arts and crafts lineups under the famous Space Needle. This Labor Day-weekend festival is world-famous and has featured such diverse artists as Weezer, Bob Dylan, and J. Cole as headliners, so it's really something for everyone.

    It's not all music at Bumbershoot, either. The festival showcases all forms of multimedia, art, and entertainment, including independent film, stand-up and sketch comedy, dance, and many other creative arts. It's held in Seattle Center at the heart of downtown.

    Location: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

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    photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    New Year’s Eve Space Needle Fireworks

    Ring in the new year in iconic style

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    The New Year's Eve Space Needle Fireworks event offers a mind-blowing, stunning way to welcome the New year with vibrant fireworks, parties, and celebrations. Every city celebrates in its own way, but Seattle takes it to the next level with a fireworks show behind the Space Needle that rivals the Fourth of July. The celebration has been going on for decades and draws thousands every year.

    Inside the Space Needle, you can also ring in the new year with a wild party, but it's worth noting that there's no view of the fireworks from the Needle's restaurant, so if you want to see those, stick to the streets. The view is astounding and the atmosphere vibrant every year.

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    Location: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

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    photo by eclecctica (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Seafair

    Dive into Seattle's maritime history

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    Seafair offers 75 events spread over 8 weeks in celebration of Seattle's maritime legacy, including parades, boat and air shows, water races, and even watching a mountain change colors. This festival goes on from June through August every year and takes place all across the city. Just a few of the events include a Blue Angels air show, a series of boat and yacht races, a Torchlight Parade, and watching Mt. Rainier turn red in the sunset.

    The event began in 1951 as a celebration of the city's centennial and has continued ever since. It has grown by leaps and bounds since its original 11-day span, and it draws more than 2 million people to the area every year.

    Location: 1455 NW Leary Way, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98107, USA

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    4

    Christmas Ship Festival

    Herald the holidays along the waterfront

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    The Christmas Ship Festival sees the harbor and waterways covered in brightly colored Christmas lights as boats take to the waters en masse to celebrate the season. The festival has gone on since 1949 and is led by a boat called the Spirit of Seattle, which leads the procession to 65 different waterfront communities.

    You can take part in this festival either with a boat of your own, by booking a ticket on one of the participating boats, or simply by gathering on the shore to watch the lights and hear the choirs singing Christmas carols. It's a heartfelt and family-friendly way to celebrate the holiday, and it happens across the city.

    photo by Seattle Parks and Recreation (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Seattle Pride

    Honor diversity and inclusion

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    Seattle's PrideFest, held annually in June, sees the city brimming with celebrations of LBGTQ+ culture, rights, and diversity, where all are welcome. The festival takes place all over the city with events held just about everywhere, but it's largely focused in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is the center of the local LBGTQ+ culture in Seattle.

    Like many Pride festivals, Seattle's culminates in a grand parade that winds its way through the streets from 4th and Union downtown. Other events include the Volunteer Park beer garden, live bands, food trucks, arts and crafts fairs, and more.

    Location: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

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    6

    Northwest Folklife

    Attend an arts, crafts, and indie music festival

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    Northwest Folklife is an annual Memorial Day festival that celebrates just about every subculture in the region, from arts and crafts to music to cuisine and more. It has been described as a younger sibling to the world-famous Bumblefoot festival, but it's more focused on subculture and the hippest of the hip. It draws several hundred thousand people to the Seattle area every year over the 3 days of Memorial Day weekend.

    This festival has been going on for more than 50 years and strives to bridge connections to identity and heritage as well as support local community arts efforts. It's a family-friendly festival that seeks to strengthen the community.

    Location: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

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    photo by Tom Sayles (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Seattle International Beerfest

    Find your next favorite craft brew

    Seattle International Beerfest sees thousands of beer lovers descend on the city to sample more than 200 varieties of craft beer from some of the best brewers in the world. Local breweries, like Mac & Jack's, Rainier, and others are on display, but you'll also find brewers from all over, with every style represented. Whether you're into the expected, like IPAs, or you're into saisons, sours, porters, stouts, hefeweizen, or any other style, you'll find it here.

    The festival is held on the Fisher Lawn and Pavilion of Seattle Center at the foot of the Space Needle. It takes place over 3 days in July each year.

    Location: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

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    photo by Randy Wick (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    8

    Emerald City Comic Con

    Celebrate fandom and pop culture

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    Emerald City Comic Con takes place over a long weekend in March and offers a celebration of the best in pop culture, cosplay, comic books, movies, and fandom. Around 100,000 people show up in town for this event every year. Here, you can learn about upcoming happenings in the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, action, and adventure and see stunning and unusual costumes from superheroes and space opera heroes.

    You don't necessarily have to pay for entry to the convention itself at Washington State Convention Center downtown to see some of what makes it so popular. Costumed characters and fans descend in huge numbers on downtown, and it can be a sight to see just walking around.

    Location: 705 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

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    photo by Daniel Stockman (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Seattle International Film Festival

    Explore every genre and style of filmmaking

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    The Seattle International Film Festival is among the largest festivals of its kind in the entire US and showcases films in every genre from over 85 countries. Over the 25 days of the event, you can see hundreds of films in genres like drama, experimental, horror, sci-fi, comedy, and beyond. Many of the films play here exclusively and don't see general theatrical releases.

    The event takes place every October, but the SIFF theater is open all year long, showcasing films from the festival. If you're a cinephile, stop by SIFF in the heart of downtown Seattle and catch a unique short film, feature, or documentary.

    Location: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

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    photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Seattle Hempfest

    Check out a political rally and music festival in one

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    Seattle Hempfest has been held since long before cannabis was legal and celebrates the many uses of the plant, from recreational to practical and medicinal, with music, arts, and crafts. At this festival, you'll naturally get free samples of products, but you can also catch workshops, guest speakers, educational programs, and live performances from big-name bands.

    The festival is held every year in Myrtle Edwards Park just a few minutes west of downtown on the waterfront, and draws upwards of 100,000 people. It's a totally unique combination of a political rally, crafts fair, and music festival that's not to be missed.

    Location: 3130 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121, USA

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    photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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