Seattle offers a wide variety of festivals all worth checking out. Bumbershoot is an art and music festival held over Labor day weekend at the Seattle Center. Music: each day has a few different headliners, anyone from R.E.M. to Nickle Creek, it depends on the year, but spanning most genres of music. Local music is also highlighted at one of the smaller stages. The Seattle Center is decked out with hundreds of stands for local and national artists selling their wares, and food—Asian, cheesecake on a stick, and many other fair favorites.
The International Beerfest is one of my favorites. Held in a portion of the Seattle Center, it showcases not only local beers, but ones from every corner of the world, this is a GREAT Time. The beer is served in small glasses for tasting, and tickets must be purchased for each glass. The $20 entrance fee gives you a T-shirt and 10 of these tickets. If you are going to be in the area for a while, volunteer. The volunteer slots fill up quickly, but you receive free admission, a T-shirt, and beer tickets. Live music accompanies the high-spirited crowd.
Bite of Seattle is held every year over Memorial Day weekend in the Seattle Center. Admission is free and you get to taste, for a price, all of the goodies you can imagine—all to the sound of live local bands. Vietnamese, Filipino, Japanese, Polish, Italian, and many more cuisines are offered. Fast for a few days before hand, so you can appreciate this to the fullest.
The Seattle International Film Festival is held about the City from late May to mid-June. A competition for independent films from all over the world, this festival is rich in culture and a great chance to see films you may never otherwise have seen. Try one try all...it's a fantastic way to spend an hour, a day, or a weekend. Parking can be expensive, use the fantastic bus system as much as possible, or the monorail.