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    All patio, all the time: A Seattle summer for $15 or less

    Warm weather to-do list for cash-strapped culture cravers: Alt-country's JD McPherson at the Mural, Superbad in Fremont, BrasilFest, farmers markets . . . all fresco.
    An opalescent nudibranch from West Seattle's Lincoln Park

    An opalescent nudibranch from West Seattle's Lincoln Park Photo: Flickr user Dan Hershman

    A few months ago, I shared my favorite recurring Seattle events — such as the Moth, Bingo Karaoke, Salon of Shame — all of which take more than a week (or day, or hour) of forethought because they can sell out weeks in advance. Here is an updated summer edition of (mostly free, and more spur-of-the-moment) events to enjoy in the sunshine this summer.

    Beach Naturalist Program
    Beaches all around town, through 6/24, FREE
    Head to one of Seattle’s many beaches and let one of the trained Beach Naturalist volunteers (of many talents and backgrounds) educate you about the amazing marine life. I’ve said it but it bears repeating: The Midwestern child in me is blown away every time I behold the wonder of a local beach. Crabs! Starfish! Those incredible rocks!

    KEXP's Concerts at the Mural
    The Mural at Seattle Center, Fridays, 8/2 -8/23, 5:30 p.m., FREE
    These are some of my favorite summertime events! On Friday nights in August, KEXP hosts a roster of artists for free; these are acts you usually have — and are perfectly willing — to pay good money to see. The series kicks off with No Depression (alt-country) night, featuring Rose Windows and JD McPherson. On August 9th, hardworking, earth-conscious, ethereal indie rockers Cloud Cult (add Minnesotans to that lists and there’s just too much to love) will drop by. The closing show this summer is a preview of the upcoming Decibel (live electronic music) Festival, which features, among others, beloved local band Vox Mod.

    Georgetown Trailer Park Mall
    Georgetown neighborhood, Saturdays, 11-6, Sundays 11-3 (and more)
    I’ve always loved this little self-proclaimed “Purveyors of the Rare and Sublime” market, which I've mentioned a few times now, usually as a part of a larger event happening Georgetown, my favorite out-of-the-way neighborhood. Wander the mall's magical trailers, vessels for a menagerie of vintage and handmade goods. The Trailer Park Mall is always a highlight of Georgetown's regular Art Attack (second Saturdays) and Garden Walk (Sunday, July 14th), and the trailer mall will also be at Sub Pop's upcoming 25th Silver Jubilee celebration.

    Farmers Markets
    We are lucky enough to have a few great farmers markets year-round (in Ballard, West Seattle, and the U District). But over the summer, there are more locations — and fantastic local produce — than ever. Have a darling Friday evening picking out produce in Phinney Ridge, then take yourself out to happy hour afterward. Or drop by the Columbia City market (a good excuse to hit to the Columbia City Bakery) on Wednesdays. If you’re not as titillated by heirloom rhubarb and garlic scapes as I am, there’s always plenty of awesome, and totally affordable prepared foods. Check out the calendar to see when each market has its Sale Day.

    Festál Cultural Festivals
    Seattle Center, FREE
    These cultural celebrations, featuring art, performances and (of course) food take place year-round, but they seem particularly vibrant in the summer months. Iranian Festival, featuring an enticing tea house and an slate of book signings (the cookbook Lucid Food looks incredible!) is coming up on June 29th. In August, don't miss Indigenous Cultures Day, along with BrasilFest and TibetFest.

    Get Out! Summer at SAM
    Olympic Sculpture Park, Thursday nights from 7/11 – 8/29, FREE
    For the last couple summers, SAM has hosted events at the Olympic Sculpture Park, its free and most meander-worthy site. I love to bring visitors there, particularly in the summer, to sit beneath the sculptures and eat tasties from the nearby Macrina Bakery. On Thursdays this summer, the park will be at its best, with live music, three rotating food trucks (including Maximus Minimus and Off the Rez) and free yoga.

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    Posted Sun, Jun 16, 3:32 p.m. Inappropriate

    The Shakespeare in the Parks is wonderful. I go every year.


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