If you're looking to get out and enjoy a performance, show or large-scale event, then Seattle is a great place to be. The Seattle/Tacoma region is home to several major concert and event venues, from famed theaters like the Paramount and 5th Avenue to the events centers at the city's largest sports arenas.
This list will help you find out more about the schedule, ticket and seating at the most popular venues.
The 5th Avenue Theatre is one of the best places to look if you have a taste for musicals and plays. The theater brings in both major touring shows (think Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story and the like) as well as hosts local performances by local actors. The theater is a standout for its interior done in Chinese style with coiled dragons highlighting the ceiling and walls. Located right in the middle of downtown, there's no shortage of restaurants nearby.
The home of the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall includes both the 2,500-seat auditorium and the 540-seat Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. In addition to symphony concerts, Benaroya Hall offers concerts from traveling artists and specialty lectures and presentations. Located right in downtown Seattle, Benaroya Hall is right next door to the Seattle Art Museum if you want to extend your cultural experience and there are restaurants galore nearby as well as Purple Wine Bar.
CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC, is also the site of major events such as car and boat shows, concerts and commercial expositions. One month you might find the Seattle Art Fair and the next you might spot a marathon expo, and the Big Seattle Boat Show is held each year here as well and is not to be missed if you love anything to do with boats. While you can park nearby, often a way to avoid paying for parking and dealing with the traffic after an event since this place is large is to take the Link lightrail as there's a stop nearby. Pyramid Brewery is also nearby and makes a great before or after stop!
Key Arena is the permanenty home to the WNBA Seattle Storm and the Rat City Rollergirls, but it's also a venue for major concerts and traveling performances. You'll spot many of the top headliner concerts that come through Seattle here - essentially anyone who could fill a larger arena, from Lady Gaga to Muse to Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Key Arena is located in Seattle Center so if you have time before or after your event, you can take a stroll around the Center or grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants. You'll find everything from casual fast food to coffee shops right within Seattle Center's bounds and many options for sit-down restaurants galore in the blocks surrounding.
The new Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center is home to the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Opera, and musicians and performers from around the world. Like Benaroya Hall, this is the place to go if you seek highbrow entertainment. Located in Seattle Center, there is plenty to do nearby if you have time before or after a show from going up the Space Needle or sitting by the International Fountain for a spell or just walking around. There are plenty of restaurants just outside of Seattle Center and within easy walking distance of McCaw Hall, including Toulouse Petit, the Melting Pot and a McMenamin's.
This downtown Bellevue convention center contains a 410-seat theater, as well as a large hall and meeting rooms. Plays, concerts and music festivals are just some of the performances you can attend at Meydenbauer Center throughout the year. Located in the heart of Bellevue, you can also enjoy a side jaunt to the Bellevue Arts Museum or Downtown Park.
These two downtown Tacoma theaters host a wide variety of performances both touring and local. While these smaller theaters don't bring in the same kinds of shows that Seattle's larger theaters do, the quality is high and the acts are many. Symphony Tacoma, Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma Philharmonic, Tacoma Opera, and Tacoma Youth Symphony Association are all regulars on stage here. The Tacoma City Ballet's Tale of the Nutcracker and the Hard Nut is a regular here during the holiday season and while it's not as well known as Seattle's Nutcracker, it's an amazing show in a smaller theater where there are no bad seats.
If a major musical comes through town, chances are it will land at either the Paramount or the 5th Avenue. Either is a treat to visit. You can see Broadway shows, musical concerts, lectures, film and dance the Seattle's Paramount Theatre. If you want to pair dinner with your show, look to the many (many!) restaurants within walking distance - everything from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to the Cheesecake Factory to Cafe Yumm.
Located south of Seattle in Kent, this 6,000+ seat venue opened to the public in 2009. ShoWare Center is the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team. Major concerts, mixed martial arts, lingerie football, and ice shows are among the many types of events you can attend at ShoWare Center.
The Tacoma Dome hosts a range of concerts, shows and expositions, and sporting events. Major headliners come through the Dome throughout the year. Regular annual happenings include the Holiday Food & Gift Festival in October and the Tacoma Home + Garden Show. Many local high school graduations and sporting events are held here as well.
In addition to the major fairs in spring and fall, the Washington State Fairgrounds are home to many major events and expositions, including all kinds of hobby shows that focus on such things as home improvement, hobbies, collections, motor vehicles, and special interests. Regular annual events like Oktoberfest and the Victorian Country Christmas also take place here and are a lot of fun.