Free outdoor concerts and more fun things to do around Seattle

What’s Happening July 16-22

The summer of “outdoor” is in full swing (hello outdoor dining and outdoor performing arts), and cities like Seattle are writing their post-pandemic narratives with lineups of reimagined summerlong outdoor concert series. This summer, Downtown Summer Sounds continues a 42-year Downtown Seattle Association tradition of bringing free live music across downtown landmarks July 1 to Sept. 30.

“This year, it’s bigger than it has ever been. We’ve got a series that is running through the end of September, and we’ve got more than 100 performances that we’re going to be producing in downtown,” said James Sido, Downtown Seattle Association director of media relations and issues management.

Coming up this week on Friday, July 16, concertgoers can view Benjamin Hunter & his Kinsfolk at noon at Harbor Steps and General Mojo’s at 5 p.m. at Westlake Park. Puget Sound Strings will perform 1-3 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at Westlake Park, and The Triangular Jazztet will play at noon Thursday, July 22, at Freeway Park.

When Downtown Summer Sounds began over 40 years ago, “it was called the Out to Lunch concert series, and it was primarily a lunchtime live music offering that we would produce in downtown so that office workers could come down out of their cubicle in the middle of the day and enjoy some free live music,” Sido said.

“Now downtown has grown — we’ve got nearly 100,000 people who live in downtown — it’s not just about getting the office worker to enjoy live music, it’s about the people who live and visit here as well,” he said.

Today, the longtime concert series has also evolved to include both local and “big names from out of town that have popped into the series like Trombone Shorty back in 2010” and shows at both lunchtime and “some happy-hour-type shows where they’re at 5 p.m.,” Sido said.

Downtown Seattle Association encourages concertgoers to enjoy food trucks at venues like Westlake Park or nearby restaurants “so that small businesses in the area can benefit from that performance and the foot traffic that comes with the show,” Sido said.

Downtown Seattle Association plans to hold the Downtown Summer Sounds concerts in tandem with Welcome Back Week events “to really ramp up the amount of activity and the attractions” in downtown Seattle over the summer, Sido said. “It feels good to have live music back in the heart of the city again — we were without it for so long — it’s great to have these artists performing for people, and it’s great to be able to provide a performance and a measure of activity and vibrancy to the heart of the city.”

Other cities across the Puget Sound area also have outdoor concert series running this summer. For residents on the Eastside, Issaquah’s Gas Station Blues provides free live blues music at the historical Shell Station at 232 Front St. N. at 7-9 p.m. every Thursday through Aug. 26. Bellevue Beats provides free outdoor music at locations across the city noon-1 p.m. every Wednesday through Sept. 8. For residents south of Seattle, Kent’s summer concert series provides outdoor music Wednesdays or Thursdays at three venues across the city through August.

More information:

∙ Seattle’s Downtown Summer Sounds:

∙ Issaquah’s Gas Station Blues:

∙ Bellevue Beats:

Kent’s summer concert series:

What else is happening

Here are some other events happening July 16-22 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please fill out the form at the bottom of the post.

“How Can I Love You” — July 15-18

Cave B Estate Winery presents the world premiere of “How Can I Love You” at its outdoor amphitheater 9 p.m. July 15-18 (and July 22-25). “How Can I Love You,” a contemporary pop musical that celebrates life, love and music through the lens of healing in the midst of memory loss, will be the featured production at the Ancient Lakes Theatre Festival. Purchase tickets online; $20-$30/children 6-12, $40-$60/ages 13 and up. 348 Silica Road N.W., Quincy; 509-785-3500;

Hip-Hop Dance — July 16

The Seattle Public Library hosts an online hip-hop dance class 10:30-11:30 a.m. Participants will enjoy upbeat music and learn a simple hip-hop routine. A standing and seated version will be available. Register online; free.

Refuse to Abuse 5K — July 17

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence presents the in-person and virtual Refuse to Abuse 5K from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at T-Mobile Park. Currently, participants can only register for the virtual 5K (participants will walk, jog or run a 5K on their own and then pick up their race swag from T-Mobile Park) as all in-person tickets are sold out. In-person participants will run or walk through every level of T-Mobile Park, from the top of the players’ tunnel to the final lap around the field. Register online; $25-$45. Virtual and at 1250 First Ave. S., Seattle; 206-389-2515;

Music in the Museum — July 17

Cascadia Art Museum is resuming its classical chamber music concert series at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The program includes the Sonata for Two Violins by Prokofiev, pieces by Milhaud, Moszkowski and Brahms, violinists Pamela Liu and Amy Crow and pianist Harumi Makiyama. Ticket purchase includes admission to the museum, and visitors can tour the galleries and enjoy an hour of music surrounded by art. Purchase tickets online; $12/members, $18/nonmembers. 190 Sunset Ave. S., #E, Edmonds; 425-336-4809;

NW Art Beat — July 17-18

NW Art Beat is a free, self-guided tour of artist studios 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in Skagit County. The tour will feature ceramics, glass, jewelry, stone, pastel and more from 25 artists from Skagit and surrounding Skagit Island, Snohomish and Whatcom counties in 15 art studios. Find a map of the tour online; free. Location varies;

Clamshell Railroad Days — July 17-18

The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum hosts its annual celebration of model trains and local train history 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 17 and 18. Layouts on display will include N and Z-scale, On30, HO and Dean and Donna Mead’s LEGO Train. The museum’s historical railcar Nahcotta will also be open for viewing 10 a.m.-noon July 17 and 2-3:30 p.m. July 18 with a train-themed story time for kids at 1 p.m. on both days. Free/children under 12, $5/ages 12 and up (includes a commemorative button). 115 S.E. Lake St., Ilwaco; 360-642-3446;

Sunnyside Nursery Virtual Classes — July 17-18

Learn more about hydrangeas with horticulturist Trevor Cameron, who will teach “Hydrangealicious” (10 a.m. July 17), on how to take care of hydrangeas during the summer, as well as how to properly prune and care for your hydrangeas heading into the colder months; and “PNW Shade Gardening” (11 a.m. July 18), on how to grow plants that do well in cool, moist and shady places. Register for classes online; free.

Welcome Back Week at Hing Hay Park — July 17-18

The Downtown Seattle Association presents the first of three large-scale Welcome Back Week events at Hing Hay Park 1-7 p.m. July 17 and 18. This two-day event will be a celebration of local food and culture and will feature community martial arts demonstrations, cultural performances and lion dances and performances by local musicians Hollis, Chong the Nomad, Evan Flory Barnes, Totem Star and more. Free. 423 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle; 206-684-4000;

Festival Sundiata Black Arts Fest — July 17-18

As part of Seattle Center’s Virtual Festál series, Festival Sundiata presents Black Arts Fest, streaming at The festival shares and celebrates African American culture with the broader community through the talents of local artists, musicians, youth groups, vendors, historical displays, culinary delights and more. Free;

Did Shakespeare have a ghost writer? — July 20

King County Library System hosts an online class with Michael Blanding, author of “North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work,” and Dennis McCarthy, self-taught Shakespeare scholar, 7-8:15 p.m. Participants will explore the theory that Shakespeare might have had a ghostwriter. Register online; free.