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Like any culturally-charged city, Seattle offers some one-of-a-kind festivals you won’t want to miss.
Bumbershoot. Bumbershoot is an annual four-day music fest - the largest of its kind on the West Coast. Legendary artists and rising stars ranging from Bob Dylan to the Black Eyed Peas perform in more than 30 different indoor and outdoor venues, stages and galleries. Bumbershoot also features poetry, dance, comedy and contemporary art exhibits.
Seattle International Film Fest. Held annually from late May to mid-June, the city’s top-notch film fest is one of the largest cinema showcases in the United States. While the content tends toward documentaries and international independent films, Hollywood is also well represented.
The Seattle Marathon. Held annually in late November, the Seattle Marathon is open to runners and walkers of all skill levels and registers more than 10,000 entrants each year. Much of the hilly, scenic route runs along the Lake Washington shoreline, taking racers from the Seattle Center to Seward Park in southeast Seattle and back again. A kids’ marathon, a half marathon and a marathon walk are also held.
Chilly Hilly Bicycle Classic. The 33-mile course on Bainbridge Island attracts thousands of cyclists for a one-day organized ride in February. The course starts at the ferry dock and makes many gains and losses in elevation (2,700 feet of elevation change in all) before skidding to a stop at a finish-line festival with a huge chili feast.
Fremont Oktoberfest. The eccentric Fremont neighborhood puts its own stamp on the traditional Bavarian beer-drinking festival with a rambunctious chainsaw pumpkin-carving contest, a street dance, polka-dancing lessons and live bands that run the gamut from mainstream to bizarre. Held in the shadows of the Aurora Avenue Bridge, Fremont Oktoberfest is considered one of the top Oktoberfest festivals outside of Germany, taking place over the course of the third weekend in September. The street fair is free and open to all, but admission is charged to enter the beer garden.
Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. This 200-mile road race draws up to 8,000 riders each year for a one- or two-day tour through Washington and Oregon’s forests and farmlands starting at the University of Washington.
Opening Day Regatta. A Seattle tradition since the 1910s, the opening day of yachting season takes place every year on the first Saturday in May with such events as a boat parade and a rowing regatta. Most of the action is centered on the Montlake Cut, which links Lake Washington and Lake Union, and there are a number of great viewpoints on and near the University of Washington campus.