Updated: February 14, 2017
Seattle cemented its place in music history when a young man named Kurt Cobain launched a band called Nirvana – the sound was called grunge and it defined Seattle in the 90s. But Seattle was a music town before flannel and Doc Martins were high fashion. Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, and Ray Charles all called Seattle home. 60s pop-rock act Paul Revere and the Raiders were Seattle based. Ann and Nancy Wilson, the sisters who formed Heart, hip hop star Macklemore, poetic Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie… there must be something in the water; so much great music, of all kinds, comes from Seattle.
Here’s where to go to find the best:
The Triple Door • calendar – Eclectic. Jazz, Folk, Indie pop and rock. Table seating. Food and cocktails. 216 Union Street.
Showbox • calendar – Rock & Indie Alternative. Established local acts and national/international tours. 1426 1st Ave.
The Paramount Theatre • calendar – Historic 2,800 capacity theater. Popular and eclectic touring acts, stage productions. 911 Pine Street.
The Moore Theatre • calendar – Seattle’s oldest operating theater. Like the Paramount, but smaller. 1932 2nd Avenue.
Highway 99 Blues Club • calendar – Blues, honkey-tonk, country, rockabilly. Serves Creole food. 1414 Alaskan Way.
The Crocodile • calendar – Indie rock, hip hop, eclectic. 2200 2nd Avenue.
Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley • calendar– Nightly jazz performances. National/international touring acts. Table seating. Food and cocktails. 2033 6th Avenue.
Tula’s • calendar – Local jazz. Supper club. 2214 2nd Avenue.
- Seattle Center
Key Arena • calendar – Big name, touring shows. Stadium seating. 305 Harrison Street.
Vera Project • calendar – All ages (early shows, no booze). Indie Rock, up and coming NW bands. 305 Harrison Street.
- South Lake Union
Lo-Fi Performance Gallery • calendar – Hop hop, Indie rock, DJ shows. 429 Eastlake Avenue E.
El Corazon/The Funhouse • calendar – Two venues, one roof. The Funhouse is all punk, while El Corazon showcases punk, metal, and hardcore rock. The Waffle Window serves both. 109 Eastlake Avenue E.
Victory Lounge • calendar – Rock: hard, punk/post punk, surf. Serves hot dogs. 433 Eastlake Avenue E.
- Capitol Hill
Neumos • calendar – Eclectic mix of the region’s top talent: indie rock, hip hop, electronica, roots, more. A Cap Hill powerhouse and one of Seattle’s best clubs. 925 East Pike Street.
Barboza • calendar – Neumos’ basement bar also has live music. 925 East Pike Street.
Highline • calendar – Metal, Punk. Serves food (vegan). 210 Broadway Avenue E.
Chop Suey • calendar – Eclectic: hip hop, indie rock, metal, etc. 1325 East Madison.
Tractor Tavern • calendar – Roots, country, Americana, new folk, rockabilly, singer/songwriter. 5213 Ballard Ave NW.
Sunset Tavern • calendar – Indie rock, eclectic, dive bar. 5433 Ballard Ave NW.
Conor Byrne Pub • calendar– Irish, folk, bluegrass, roots, singer/songwriter. 5140 Ballard Avenue NW.
Nectar • calendar – Hip hop, reggae, bluegrass, indie folk. Indoor/outdoor. 412 North 36th Street.
High Dive • calendar – Eclectic: Indie rock/pop, roots, Americana, metal. Great BBQ. 513 North 36th Avenue.
Fremont Abbey Arts Center • calendar – Local music, spoken word, storytelling and dance. Beautiful venue in an 100 year-old church. All ages. 4272 Fremont Avenue North.
- University District/Wallingford
Neptune Theatre • calendar – Converted movie theater features prominent NW rap and indie rock, as well as touring and eclectic acts. 1303 NE 45th Street.
Sea Monster Lounge • calendar – Jazz, funk. Food/drinks. 2202 North 45th Street.
- Columbia City
Columbia City Theater • calendar – Local and regional artists, burlesque. 4916 Rainier Avenue South.
The Royal Room • calendar – Jazz, folk, world music. Some table seating, food/cocktails. 5000 Rainier Avenue South.
Seattle’s got a fantastic performing arts scene – whether you’re in the mood for opera, musical or dramatic theater, comedy, or dance, there’s sure to be a show in town that’ll knock your socks off. It’s best to buy tickets in advance (via the venue website or TheaterMania), but many venues will hold a number of tickets for last-minute buyers – if you’ve got your heart set on a sold-out show, it can be worthwhile to call the box office and ask nicely. A good hotel concierge may be able to help you score some hard-to-come-by-seats, as well. Here’s what’s playing:
- The 5th Avenue Theater – 1308 5th Avenue (Downtown)
The Pajama Game: February 9 – March 5
Murder for Two: March 25 – June 11
The Secret Garden: April 14 – May 6
Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion: June 8 – July 2
Fun Home: July 11 – 30
- ACT Theatre – 700 Union Street (Downtown)
The Cherry Orchard: January 31 – February 19
Tribes: March 3 – 26
Murder for Two: March 25 – June 11
The Legend of Georgia McBride: June 9 – July 2
Alex and Aris: July 14 – August 6
King of the Yees: September 8 – October 1
The Crucible: October 13 – November 12
- Paramount Theatre – 911 Pine Street (Downtown)
The King and I: January 24 – February 3
Rent: February 21 – February 26
Mamma Mia: March 28 – April 2
An American in Paris: May 9 – May 14
Cabaret: June 13 – June 25
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: July 25- July 30
- Seattle Repertory Theatre – 155 Mercer Street (Seattle Center)
Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie: January 6 – January 29
Dry Powder: March 17 – April 16
Well: February 10 – March 5
Here Lies Love: A Revolutionary Musical Experience from David Byrne and Fatboy Slim: April 7 – May 28
- Book-It Repertory Theatre – The Center Theater, 305 Harrison Street (Seattle Center)
A Moveable Feast: February 10 – March 26
Welcome to Braggsville: June 6 – July 2
- Seattle Children’s Theater – 201 Thomas Street (Seattle Center)
The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats (ages 4+): January 19 – February 26
Into the West (ages 9+): February 23 – March 19
Seedfolks (ages 8+): March 23 – April 16th
Fire Station 7 (ages 4+): April 13 – May 21
- Seattle Shakespeare Company – Center Theatre, Cornish Playhouse, and Leo K. Theatre (Seattle Center)
Bring Down the House: January 24 – March 12
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: May 3 – May 21
- Seattle Opera – McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street (Seattle Center)
La Traviata: January 14 – January 28
Katya Kabanova: February 25 – March 11
The Magic Flute: May 6 – May 20
- Pacific Northwest Ballet – McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street (Seattle Center)
Cendrillion: February 3 – February 12
Director’s Choice: March 17 – March 26
Ballet on Broadway: April 14 – April 23
Pictures at an Exhibition: June 2 – June 11
- The Seattle Symphony – Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street (Downtown)
Classical and contemporary orchestral works. Schedule
- Unexpected Productions – 1428 Post Alley (Pike Place Market)
Improvisational Comedy. Schedule
- The Comedy Underground – 109 South Washington Street (Pioneer Square)
Local and Touring Comedy Acts. Schedule
- Jet City Improv – 5510 University Way NE (University District)
Improvisational Comedy. Schedule