Festivals & Events

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Victoria Fall Sale.

Victoria Fall Sale.

What is not to love about fall in Victoria? The days are crisp, there is stunning fall foliage nearly everywhere you look, and there are enough holiday festivals and activities to keep you celebrating all season long. Likewise, with the favorable exchange rate, there has never been a more affordable time to visit. Take advantage of our Victoria Fall Sale and book your trip by October 8 and travel from October 13 through December 17 to enjoy a one night hotel package, round trip fare aboard the Victoria Clipper starting at only $125 pp/do. Plus, you will get an on board shopping coupon for 20% off duty free items, so you can treat yourself or pick up gifts for friends and family!

Fall & Winter Things to Do in Victoria:

Autumn colors at The Butchart Gardens. Photo Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens.

Autumn colors at The Butchart Gardens. Photo Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens.

Fall Colors at The Butchart Gardens: One of the best places to experience Victoria’s fall foliage is at The Butchart Gardens, where you can see a variety of leaves changing from lush green to brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red combined with late blooming flowers such as dahlias and chrysanthemums to create a truly spectacular display.

The Definitive Craft Brewery Tour. Photo Courtesy of West Coast Brewery Tours.

The Definitive Craft Brewery Tour. Photo Courtesy of West Coast Brewery Tours.

Explore Local Breweries, Cideries and Wineries During Harvest Season: Experience harvest season in Victoria by checking out what is on tap at local breweries, cideries and wineries. The Definitive Craft Brewery Tour will take to three unique craft breweries or you can enjoy a wine, cider and scenic views on the Cowichan Wine Country Tour.

Haunted Victoria Tour.

Haunted Victoria Tour.

Haunted Victoria Tour and Other Halloween: Spook yourself on a Haunted Victoria Tour (October 23, 24, 30 and 31), which will take on a narrated ghost of famously eerie spots like Ross Bay Cemetery, The Parliament Buildings and Bastion Square. For something a little less spine-tingling, stop by Pumpkinfest (October 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31) for hay and train rides, a corn maze to explore, petting zoo and children’s haunted house. There is also the annual Halloween Spooktacular (October 31) at Bear Mountain, featuring carnival games, treats and a fireworks display for all ages.

Shopping on Government Street. Credit: Joel Ray.

Shopping on Government Street. Credit: Joel Ray.

Holiday Shopping: Take advantage of the favorable exchange rate ($1.00 USD is equal to $1.30 CND) and get a head start on your holiday shopping without the crowds, and pick up amazing deals. Johnson Street is Victoria’s trendiest street and is full of locally-owned boutiques, making the place to shop if you are (or shopping for) a fashionista. The nearby Government Street also houses popular stores (such long-running favorites like Roger’s Chocolates and Murchies Tea) as does the Bay Center, an urban shopping mall with over 90 stores. If you are looking for something unique, browse the hip and quirky shops in Fan Tan Alley or explore the Victoria Public Market Artisan Corner, which sets up shop in November, to find amazing works created by local artists.

Holiday Lights Tour to The Butchart Gardens. Photo Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens.

Holiday Lights Tour to The Butchart Gardens. Photo Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens.

Holiday Lights Tour to The Butchart Gardens and Other Holiday Festivities: Get in the holiday spirit on the Holiday Lights Tour to The Butchart Gardens when the gardens come alive with thousands of twinkling lights. You can also view beautifully decorated Christmas Trees at The Festival of Trees (November 18-Januray 5) or creatively designed gingerbread Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase. Other holiday traditions include Christmas Lights Across Canada or the Island Farms Santa Light Parade (November 28).

St. John's Bridge, Portland, Oregon.

St. John’s Bridge, Portland, Oregon.

Although it is not quite fall yet, all of the September things to do in Portland serve as a reminder that it is not too far away. With Oktoberfest, Hops Fest, Cider Squeeze and Feast Portland all taking place this month, there is more than one opportunity to take advantage of the bounty of the harvest. Likewise, you start preparing for Halloween by exploring a few of the corn mazes that open this month or picking up a pumpkin or two.

Sample Portland’s Microbrews or Cider

Widmer Brewing Company. Creative Commons Licensed by M.O. Stevens.

Widmer Brewing Company. Creative Commons Licensed by M.O. Stevens.

One of the things Portland is known for is its fantastic beer, which is certainly evident this month as there are a number of festivals devoted to the brews. Of course, this also means that are there are several opportunities for you to sample these craft beers yourself. Celebrate Oktoberfest with Widmer for the 11th year running and enjoy Munich-style ales, German food and music. Later in month you will have the opportunity to taste even more beer at Hops Fest, which features over 40 breweries with more than 60 fresh hop beers. In addition, breweries like Double Mountain Brewery, Full Sail Brewing and pFriem Family Brewers will be pouring some of their seasonal brews and there will be local cuisine, fun contests, arts and crafts from northwest vendors as well as live music. Pay a visit to the Brewer’s Tent to chat with the makers of your favorite microbrew learn more about their brewing process.

If you prefer this fall’s apple harvest to hops, make sure to stop by the Cider Squeeze at Philip Foster Farm on September 29. Bring along your own apples to press, purchase apples to press at the festival or, if you want to make things really easy on yourself, purchase pre-pressed pasteurized cider. While you are at the farm, take a tour of the historic buildings on the land like the 1806’s barn and log cabin and watch blacksmithing and woodstove cooking demos. Not only is this a fun way to spend a fall day, but you may learn something new as well.

Celebrate the Harvest Season with Fall Festivities

Child in pumpkin patch. Photo courtesy Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Fest.

Child in pumpkin patch. Photo courtesy Wooden Shoe Pumpkin Fest.

Beer and cider are not the only gastrological treasures you have to look forward to this September. In the middle of the month there is Feast Portland, which many foodies have been eagerly anticipating all year. It is no surprise why, since the abundance of wine, beer, cheese and fine cuisine make the event truly a treat for the senses. Kick off the event by attending the Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational Presented by Dave’s Killer Bread, where leading chefs will compete to create imaginative sandwiches to be judged by a panel of food writers, other chefs and the audience itself. You can also sample some of the foods the state is famous for at the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, enjoy Portland’s global street food at the USA Pears Night Market at Zidell Yards or check out the breakfast scene at the Tillamook Brunch. In addition to tasting all of these delightful foods, you can learn how to do everything from how to create your own cocktail ingredients, to how to shuck an oyster, to the best ways to brew coffee during hands on classes taught by some of the best chefs in each field.

Start getting in the Halloween spirit by stopping by Pumpkin Fest at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm between September 25 and October 31. Take in the crisp fall air while wandering through the 9 acre corn maze, practice your archery skills, shoot pumpkins out of a canon, crawl through “spider webs” and ride a cow train. Aspiring farmers can also try your hand at canning green beans, tilling, harvesting and loading grass or grinding wheat. Do not forget to pick up a pumpkin to take home with you so you can carve a spooky jack o’ lantern as well!

More September Things to Do in Portland

Portland skyline. Courtesy of Travel Portland.

Portland skyline. Courtesy of Travel Portland.

The weather has been wonderful this summer, and there has never been a better time to get out and explore the city to experience all of August things to do in Portland. Soak up the sun with a run or bike ride, sample the city’s famous food and beverages or discover artisan crafts and goods at local fairs. Whatever way you to choose to spend these last summer days, you are sure to treat your senses.

Relish the Last Days of Summer at Festivals and Fairs

Fair in downtown Portland. Courtesy of Travel Portland.

Fair in downtown Portland. Courtesy of Travel Portland.

Kick of a month of festivities by attending the Hawthrone Street Fair to shop local. You can expect a unique mix of boutiques, cafes, food carts and bar to explore as well as a music stage featuring performances by local artists, arts and crafts and kids activities. In addition, one of the most popular events of the summer the, Oregon State Fair, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, which means they are going all out and the event will be bigger than ever! You can enjoy a variety of musical acts, chocolate cake contest, a hands-on educational section dedicated to science, technology, engineering and math, the new “Discover the Dinosaurs” exhibit with 8-10 moving dinosaur scenes, carnival rides, 4-H exhibits, family town, a dog town where you can watch dogs perform tricks and a carts and arts district dedicated to food carts and artisans.

Wrap up concert season on a high note at MusicfestNW. Three day concert showcases performances by popular bands like Foster the People, Beirut, Modest Mouse, Belle and Sebastian, the Tallest Man on Earth, Milo Greene, Twin Shadow, Danny Brown, Lost Lander and more. Of course, a concert in Portland wouldn’t be complete without showing off the city’s famous food trucks. Take your pick of at least eight different trucks, serving everything from sliders, to beignets, to dumplings to shaved iced for dessert!

Soak Up the Sun from Mt. Hood to the Coast

Mt. Hood and water.

Mt. Hood and water.

Take advantage of the wonderful weather we have been having and get outdoors before it ends. Cheer on your favorite team of runners or walkers during the last weekend of August during the popular Hood to Coast Relay. This race is one of the longest and largest (about 18,000 people compete) so teams definitely need your moral support as they race to see who can travel from Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Hood, through the city of Portland, over the Oregon Coast Range to the town of Seaside on the Oregon Coast the fastest. After seeing all the beautiful scenery participants journey through, you may even been inspired to form a team and compete next year.

More August Things to Do in Portland

Seattle skyline. Credit: Michael DeBellis.

Seattle skyline. Credit: Michael DeBellis

It may feel like summer is starting to come to a close, but there are still an incredible amount of festivals, events and summer markets to discover, providing a chance to stock up on local goods and show your appreciation to regional artists. Likewise, many of the Emerald City’s beloved return this month. In fact, the Seattle Sounders FC have already began their 2015 season, hoping to make a return trip to the MLS Cup Playoffs and the back-to-back NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks, kick off their pre-season on August 14 with a game against their rivals, the Denver Broncos. There is still plenty of summer left (officially, there is about two months), so make sure to take advantage of all these August things to do in Seattle before the lovely weather we have been enjoying is gone.

Eat Like a Local



This month there is a chance to sample famous Seattle foods at several festivals being held around the city. At the A Taste of Edmonds attendees will be able to treat themselves to treats ranging from entrees to desserts from over 30 vendors, so make sure you come hungry. Once you grab your food, listen to the sweet sounds of local bands, watch a hypnotist work her magic and shop the booths for something to take home. Once you have whetted appetite, travel further north to the Everett Craft Beer Festival to wet your whistle as well. There will be more than 100 beers to sip from 30 Washington breweries, including a few unique varieties that have been infused with fruit, spices and other ingredients.

If you are up for even more delicious cuisine, stop by the Seattle Street Food Festival to enjoy more treats from food trucks, restaurants and pop-up vendors. As a result you can expect to find well-known vendors as well as surprisingly good newbies, serving up everything from falafels, to donuts to even bao. Top with snacks off with a glass of Elysian Beer in the beer garden and then roam the 75 plus booths full of handmade crafts including things like clothing of all types, jewelry, gifts, bags, wallets, buttons, accessories, aprons, children’s goods, toys, housewares, paper goods, candles, kits, art, food and more.

Celebrate Local History and Culture

Viking ship at Viking Days Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Dennis Bratland.

Viking ship at Viking Days Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Dennis Bratland

This month, take some time to explore some of the history and culture that have helped shape the city of Seattle, you may even learn something new. Celebrate the man the city was named after, Chief Si’ahl (which was anglicized to Chief Seattle), during Chief Seattle Days. The event is hosted by the Suquamish tribe and features a delicious salmon bake, traditional drumming and dancing, canoe races, baseball tournaments, a 5K run that goes by historical cultural heritage sites, a parade and a memorial service for Chief Si’ahl at his graveside.

Likewise, some parts of town, such as Ballard, have a strong Nordic influence due to their maritime connections. If this is news to you, you can learn more about this part of Seattle’s history and culture for free during Viking Days at the Nordic History Museum. You will be able to taste Scandinavian foods such as Swedish pancakes, alder-smoked salmon, grilled sausages and then wash it down with craft beer or aquavit in the Valhalla Beer Garden. There will also be entertainment that will provide an opportunity to view of a slice up Nordic life with a large Viking encampment featuring weaving and weapon forging demonstrations and war re-enactments.

Of course, the summer would not be complete without attending one of the largest events in the Pacific Northwest, the Evergreen State Fair. At the fair you will find 4-H exhibits and competitions for all kinds of animals and just as many arts and crafts, auto races, concerts, carnival rides, a petting zoo and a pro-west rodeo. Kids can learn what life was like for early pioneers by being “farmer for a day” and gather eggs, milk a cow and pick apples or learn about life as a lumberjack during the International Lumberjack Show.Whether you are a foodie or are just looking for some fun in the sun, there is no better way to cap off your summer than with one of these August events in Seattle.

More August Things to Do in Seattle

Sunset in Victoria. Credit: Hannah Lise.

Sunset in Victoria. Credit: Hannah Lise

This summer has been absolutely gorgeous, so make sure to relish every last second of it and take advantage of all of the August things to do in Victoria. Escape the heat by checking out sporting events and festivals on the water, view fashion shows to get ideas on how to update your wardrobe for fall or soak in some arts and culture at fairs and farmers markets. Whether you are an adventurer, fashionista or a foodie, there are plenty of fun ways to wrap up your summer in Victoria.

Enjoy the End of Summer in Victoria’s Inner Harbour and Downtown Victoria

Dragon boat races. Credit: Jeremiah Armstrong.

Dragon boat races. Credit: Jeremiah Armstrong

This month, there are an incredible number of festivals and events to experience and explore, especially around Victoria’s Inner Harbour. As a result, you will be able to simultaneously have fun, enjoy scenic views of sparkling water and stay cool. From August 14 through 16, you can watch about 100 dragon boat teams race each other on a 500m/1,640 ft. course, for free, during the 21st Annual Dragon Boat Festival. However, viewing the races themselves is not the only thing to do during the festival. On the first night there is an eye dotting ceremony, where eyes are painted on the dragon faces adorning the boats to “awaken the dragon” as well as a lantern lighting ceremony. Throughout the festival there will also be live music from a variety of genres and dancing ranging from traditional Esquimalt dances, to Chinese dances and to even belly dancers.

Chinese lanterns. Credit: Jeremiah Armstrong.

Chinese lanterns. Credit: Jeremiah Armstrong

Near the end of the month, you can also catch the latest locally produced clothing designs at Victoria’s Fashion Splash, an outdoor fashion show. The show is accompanied by the Ship Point Night Market, which will be open from the evening of Friday, August 21 to afternoon of Sunday, August 23. The market will be full of handmade jewelry, clothing and accessories created by Victoria designers and will also feature live music and food trucks. This a great opportunity to stock up on fall fashions or discover out what will be “hot” in the coming year.

Canadian Snowbirds. Creative Commons Licensed by Tony Hisgett.

Canadian Snowbirds. Creative Commons Licensed by Tony Hisgett

If you are looking for more things to do in downtown Victoria, make sure you do not miss the Snowbirds (the formation flying team of the Royal Canadian Air Force) while they are in town. They will be visiting the BC Aviation Museum in Sidney on August 11 to chat with guests and performing aerial displays over Clover Point on August 12 as a part of an free event for C.H.I.L.D.

Likewise, check out the 29th Annual Victoria Fringe Theatre. According to the festival website, Fringe features “an eclectic mixture of spoken word, drama, musicals, dance, comedy, magic, theatre for young audiences and more.” There are close to 50 fun and hilarious plays presented at 11 different venues downtown, so you are sure to find something that will tickle your funny bone.

Head Up to Oak Bay for More Fun in the Sun

Oak Bay. Creative Commons Licensed by rpaterso.

Oak Bay. Creative Commons Licensed by rpaterso

To soak up more arts and culture, head east to Oak Bay for their inaugural Arts and Cultural Festival. The festival kicks off with a welcome ceremony performed by the Songhees First Nation and is full of other fun activities that are perfect for the whole family. Learn to eat (and perhaps cook) like a local on a heritage picnic or culinary arts tour and explore the arts on a summer gallery walk or at music and movie nights. Visitors to the festival can also partake in a tweed ride, a vintage car festival, Songhees Island cultural boat tours and the Oak Bay Village Night Market.

More August Things to Do in Victoria

Want to take a break from your routine and go on a summer getaway but find yourself short on time? Take day trip to Victoria, the less than three hour trip from Seattle to Victoria on Clipper makes for the perfect international escape. Victoria is incredibly walkable, so it is easy to shop, sightsee (many popular attractions are found in the heart of the city) or hop a tour that will transport you to a specific location. Whether you are a foodie, history buff, avid shopper or outdoor enthusiast there are plenty of activities that can be done in just a day.

The Butchart Gardens. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

The Butchart Gardens. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

    • Hop on a The Butchart Gardens & City Highlights Tour to visit The Gardens and wander through the grounds to see the Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, Italian Garden, Japanese Garden and Mediterranean Garden, which are each filled with a variety of unique plants and flowers. Along the way your guide will tell you Victoria’s culture and point out popular landmarks.
Bon Macaron Patisserie. Photo Courtesy Victoria Food Tours.

Bon Macaron Patisserie. Photo Courtesy Victoria Food Tours

    • Treat your taste buds to the very best food in town and explore the city at the same time on the Victoria Food Tour. You’ll visit secret, insider hot spots and have the opportunity to talk to the chefs, cooks and proprietors about their scrumptious creations.
    • Take a break for traditional Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress. You will feel like you have stepped back in time when you are served delicious scones, pastries, sweets and savories on fine China. You can even give your little prince or princess the royal treatment with kids tea options.
The Gates of Harmonious Interest. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

The Gates of Harmonious Interest. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

    • Explore the historic streets of Victoria’s Chinatown, which is the oldest in Canada and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco’s. Maps located near the ornately decorated Gates of Harmonious Interest will provide historical tidbits and help direct you to various points of interest. Make sure to check out Fan Tan Alley, which is the narrowest street in Canada and houses many small boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
Pedaler Tour in front of Craigdarroch Castle.  Photo Courtesy of Pedaler Tours.

Pedaler Tour in front of Craigdarroch Castle. Photo Courtesy of Pedaler Tours

    • Visit the historic Craigdarroch Castle, which was created for coal baron Robert Dunsmuir that contains 39 rooms and over 25,000 square feet. The castle is still decorated with ornate furniture from the 1890s and has beautiful stained glass windows and carved woodwork that is worth viewing.
    • If you enjoy shopping, you are in luck as there is no shortage of shops in and around Victoria. Trendsetters should check out the fashionable Johnson Street, which is full of locally-owned boutiques selling everything from top-of-the-line vintage to fresh, one-off, custom-made designs. Other popular spots for shopping are Government Street, Broad Street and the Bay Center.
    • View over 100 works of stunning wildlife photography taken by the famous Robert Bateman at the Robert Bateman Centre or learn everything you ever wanted to know about the human and natural history of British Columbia through interesting and interactive exhibits at the Royal BC Museum.
The Victoria Public Market. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

The Victoria Public Market. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

    • During the summertime (and even year-around) the lively and vibrant Victoria farmers markets are full of local, fresh produce and a variety of handmade arts and crafts. Stop by Bastion Square Market, the James Bay Community Market, Moss Street Market or the Victoria Public Market to pick up some goodies to bring home.
Ross Bay Pier. Photo Courtesy of Pedaler Tours.

Ross Bay Pier. Photo Courtesy of Pedaler Tours

    • Take a tour of Victoria by bike! The Bicycle Tour of Castles, Hoods and Legends will take you past popular attractions like Chinatown, Craigdarroch Castle, Beacon Hill, Cook Street Village and the Dallas waterfront.
Miniature World. Credit: Brenna Ciummo.

Miniature World. Credit: Brenna Ciummo

  • If you are traveling with children or just young at heart, stop by the Victoria Bug Zoo as well as Miniature World. At the Bug Zoo you will get to view and get hands-on with a variety of insects, while at Miniature World you will be able to see scenes from history, fantasy books and more created in miniature.
  • Toast to a day well spent with a craft beer on the Brewery Express Tour and Beer Tasting. This two hour tour will take you to one full production craft brewery and one craft beer venue to go on a behind the scenes tour, chat with brewers and sample beer. This is the perfect tour if you want to experience Victoria’s craft beer culture but are short on time.
Vancouver, BC in the summer. Photo Credit: Breanna Rogers.

Vancouver, BC in the summer. Photo Credit: Breanna Rogers

Happy Summer! While Canada Day is over, there are still plenty of July things to do in Vancouver to help keep the celebratory mood all month long! Get outdoors and attend a concert, go local by stopping by a farmers market, explore an undiscovered part of your community to learn something new about its culture or pick up some new decorations for your abode at an art fair. You are sure to fill your calendar no matter what your interests.

Discover Vancouver’s Diverse Community

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Creative Commons Licensed by Daderot.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Creative Commons Licensed by Daderot

One of the great things about Vancouver is the diverse community that contributes to the region’s rich and lively culture, and this July there are a variety of festivals that allow you to explore them. Near the beginning of the month, check out the Indian Summer Festival, which celebrates both sunny summer days and artists and thinkers from Canada and South Asia. This year’s festival lineup award-winning novelists and DJs, social entrepreneurs, a Hollywood set designer, one of India’s famous musical maestros and even a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. You can expect to hear readings and lectures from the guests, view galleries featuring unique art such as creations using a truck as a canvas or a woven sculpture, enjoy concerts dancing as well as sample delicious cuisine at the food bazaar.

Likewise, you can learn more about Coast Salish culture near the end of the month at the All Nations Festival. The event is perfect for all ages as it has talks, art exhibits and performances that incorporate Salish language and identity, and a Dragonfly Kid’s Market with creative stations to teach children about plants, animals, green energy and provide a place to pick up art from Coast Salish artists and artisans. Other festival highlights include a 10 foot long barbecue where wild salmon, bison burgers, elk sausage, Indian tacos, corn on the cob will be cooking up as well as a Lacrosse Camp and Clinic run by the Vancouver Stealth pro Lacrosse players.

Experience the Arts Outdoors

Vancouver Folk Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Christian Muise.

Vancouver Folk Festival. Creative Commons Licensed by Christian Muise

Explore Vancouver’s art scene and the summer weather with outdoor events that focus on music, dance, theater and visual art. Listen to music by well-known artists and take in beach views 38th Vancouver Folk Music Festival. The three day festival spans genres such as outspoken, old-timey, bluegrass, pan-Africa, blues, Celtic and more and also features a Artisan Market and Community Village with interactive booths by organizations that have a focus on green living, creating a sustainable environment and positive community development.

Another popular summer fair is the Harmony Arts Festival, which draws crowds from all over the mainland for art exhibits, outdoor concerts, drop-in art activities, movie screenings and demos, workshops and hands-on classes. There is also the opportunity to enjoy the culinary arts as well, with two beachside restaurants and a variety of food vendors. Should you want to take some art home with you, check out the Fresh St. Art Market, where you can buy photography, jewelry, textiles, glasswork, painting, fine woodwork, ceramics, metal, mixed media, sculptures and more.

Bard on the Beach. Creative Commons Licensed by Irene Kehler.

Bard on the Beach. Creative Commons Licensed by Irene Kehler

With so many July things to do in Vancouver, it may be hard to get everything mentioned here checked off your list. However, some of the events and performances happening this month are not limited to July, but run all summer long, so you can double or triple your fun. For instance, you can enjoy Shakespeare and waterfront views from Vancouver’s Vanier Park during Bard on the Beach, which runs until September 26, 2015. This year’s performances include King Lear, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Comedy of Errors and Rebel. There are even interesting talks 40-50 minutes prior to each performance that provide a preview of the story line and the characters. Or, on Friday nights during July and August, you can listen to music and dance the night away at the Enchanted Evenings concert series present by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Not only will you get to enjoy the musical styling of the artist of your choice but you will also have a chance to explore the beautiful grounds of the gardens at sunset. Since there are multiple performances of both the plays featured at Bard on the Beach as well as the Enchanted Evening concert series, you have the option of attending immediately or stretching out your summer fun and planning for August.

More July Things to Do in Vancouver, BC

Summer is here and it looks like it will be a hot one! Cool off by celebrating Independence Day at a local park, backyard barbeque or festival! The U.S. Women’s soccer team also just made it to the World Cup Final, which is in Vancouver, BC on July 5, which is a great reason to travel north to Canada for the long weekend or at least watch the game from your favorite air conditioned watering hole. Of course, there are plenty of other July things to do in Seattle. Take advantage of the variety of festivals and events happening this month to explore historic wooden boats, sample local wines, beers and cuisine, compete for the fastest bike time from Seattle to Portland in the STP or create the biggest sand sculpture.

Celebrate SeaFair!

Fourth of July Fireworks. Creative Commons Licensed by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Douglas G. Morrison.

Fourth of July Fireworks. Creative Commons Licensed by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Douglas G. Morrison.

It would not be summer in Seattle without Seafair, which has been an annual event since 1950. The festivities “officially” began at the end of June with the landing of the SeaFair Pirates on Alki. However, SeaFair related events really kick into high gear this month and continue in to August. This weekend, July 4, head over to Gasworks Park or South Lake Union Park for a day of celebration at the Seafair Summer Fourth. During the afternoon there will be plenty of activities, games and music to enjoy, capped off by a daring skydive performance over Lake Union. After the singing of the National Anthem, a stunning fireworks display set to music will take place at about 10:20 p.m.

Other SeaFair festivities include community events such as the SeaFair Milk Carton Derby where nearly 100 creatively designed boats constructed out of milk cartons compete to see which vessel can travel across Green Lake fastest. Near the end of the month, on July 25, is the much anticipated Torchlight Parade. This year the parade will be marshaled by Seattle Mariners players Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano, and will include giant balloons, drill teams, horses, clowns, pirates and bands. Make sure not to forget to attend the classic Grand Prix West Seafair Hydroplane Races and Blue Angels performances (they are back this year with more exciting acts and aerial maneuvers than ever) on the following weekend July 31-August 2. With a slew of family-friendly events, you are sure to find an activity that will appeal to all ages.

Blue Angels. Creative Commons Licensed by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Douglas G. Morrison.

Blue Angels. Creative Commons Licensed by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Douglas G. Morrison.

Explore Seattle Like a Local

Whether you are a greater Seattle area resident or just visiting the region, use the month of July to soak in the flavor of the city. There are a few chances to sip Seattle’s locally produced wines, beers and spirits. During Wine Rocks, you can enjoy wine and music performed by brew masters (as well as a few local musicians) who happen to know a thing a two about both arts. If you prefer beer, head to the Seattle International Beerfest to sample beers that are rare or hard to find. With over 220 beers to choose from, you are sure to find something new or that you have not heard of before.

Of course, you cannot try the local beverages without also sampling Seattle’s cuisine. Stop by the Ballard SeafoodFest to celebrate the fishing industry and the Ballard neighborhood’s Nordic roots. While you are there make sure to try the traditional salmon barbeque, listen to local music, check out the arts and crafts available for purchase and sample even more seafood! There is also a wide variety of food to explore at the Bite of Seattle, which is another long-standing Seattle tradition. Here you can find everything from alligator on a stick to truffle oil to wine slush. For foodies who want to sample everything, many vendors offer menu items that are $3.75 or less so you can get a taste of each type of cuisine. In addition to food, the festival also has five stages where there will be a variety of musical and dance performances.

Sand castle. Creative Commons Licensed by Something12356789.

Sand castle. Creative Commons Licensed by Something12356789.

Speaking of annual traditions, there is Seattle to Portland (STP) Bicycle Classic, which attracts about 10,000 riders who vie to see who can make the 202 mile trek the fastest. Upon reaching the finish line, riders are award with a free apparel item of their choice and a meal at the finish line in Portland. You can also compete creatively this month at the Sandsations contest in Long Beach, and see what team can build the most imaginative sand sculpture in six hours. In addition to being able to escape the heat by spending time on the beach and enjoying ocean views, you will also be able to curb your hunger with free hot dogs and enjoy a beach bonfire. Finally, end the month on a high note at the Capitol Hill Block Party to listen to tons of local bands and party with the community.

More July Things to Do in Seattle

Happy summer! With so many fabulous, blue-skied days ahead, there is no better time to get out, enjoy your summer and discover all the July things to do in Victoria. You will find hanging baskets bursting with colorful flowers, public markets full of fresh, home grown produce and handcrafted goods and a variety of outdoor concerts and festivals. Whether you are an adventurer or foodie, there are a variety of fun ways in and around Victoria to fill your summer.

Celebrate Canada’s Birthday

Canadian Flag. Creative Commons Licensed by Tony Webster.

Canadian Flag. Creative Commons Licensed by Tony Webster

Help celebrate Canada’s 148th birthday by making merry at one of the many parties around town on Canada Day on Wednesday, July 1, which honors the day Canada became a new federation with its own constitution by signing the Constitution Act. Visit Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse to join in the festivities for this special day and take in fantastic views. Dance to live music, sing a rousing round of “Oh, Canada” or take part in a variety of fun activities for all ages. Of course, you must not forget to save room for a piece of “Canada Day’s biggest birthday cake” at the end of the evening.

Another option is to stop by Bear Mountain’s Canada Day BBQ to hangout by the pool in the afternoon with live music being spun by DJ Spencer Looysen or enjoy a Canadian inspired barbeque in the evening, live music performed by Shaky Ground, lawn games and great prizes. There will also be a bouncy castle and face painting for kids.

Take Pride in Your City

Rainbow. Creative Commons Licensed by  Anemone Projectors.

Rainbow. Creative Commons Licensed by Anemone Projectors

June 27 kicks off Pride Week in Victoria, and this year the city has done something extra special to lead up to the celebration. The intersection of Pandora and Broad streets have painted with three permanent rainbow crosswalks to celebrate the city’s diversity and show support for the local LGBTQ community. However, these colorful crosswalks are not the only fun thing happening during the Pride Week there is Youth Pride Dance, the Big Gay Dog Walk – a great way watch cute dogs in costumes, Pride in the Word and Drag Ball – Baseball. The event culminates in the annual parade and festival on July 5, which features more than 100 vendors and stages acts that everyone will enjoy.

In addition to Pride Week, there are a variety of other fun festivities and celebrations happening in Victoria throughout July. Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine returns for its seventh year highlighting locally produced food and wine. During the event more than 30 BC wineries will be pouring over 100 wines and treats from some of Victoria’s popular restaurants like the Fairmont Empress and Veneto Tapa Lounge will be served. Festival-goers looking for additional entertainment should check out the Victoria International Buskers Festival to watch flame throwers, acrobats, magicians, jugglers, unicyclists, balloonists, musicians and more. There is even opportunity to sample more cuisine as there will be an International Food Village with bites from a variety of countries. For a little music, head to the annual Rock the Shores concert in the scenic town of Colwood and enjoy performances by artists such as Black Keys, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Jane’s Addiction, Bleachers and more.

Discover Local Arts and Crafts

Lavender Fields. Creative Commons Licensed by Silar.

Lavender Fields. Creative Commons Licensed by Silar

No summer in Victoria is complete without visiting at least one garden, so why not stop by the Damali Lavender Fest and stroll through the fragrant fields of lavender, get lost in the labyrinth or explore the vineyard where you can sample wine infused with lavender complemented by lavender treats. There will also opportunities to learn more about lavender, such as the harvesting process, an essential oil distillation and soap making demonstrations and a farm tour. If you would like, you can even get hands on and pick your own lavender or make a lavender wand.

Go local and attend festivals that showcase arts and crafts that have been produced right here in British Columbia. The Sooke Fine Arts Show features over 375 original works of fine art created by artists on Vancouver Island and the surrounding BC coastal islands. During the 11-day event you can enjoy live artist demonstrations, talks and music and of course view the beautiful jewelry, pottery, sculptures, photography and paintings created by the artists – you may even find a few pieces to take home!

More July Things to Do in Victoria

Seattle Skyline. Credit: Photo Courtesy Haykan Axelsson.

Seattle Skyline. Photo Courtesy Haykan Axelsson

While it appears that summer has already arrived in Seattle, after all 80 degree weather in the beginning of June is pretty spectacular, the season does not officially begin until June 21. However, since summer is one of the most glorious times to visit Seattle (picture sparkling waters, blue skies and verdant scenery) there are a variety of June things to do in Seattle before and after the beginning of summer, to help celebrate the arrival of the much anticipated season.

Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Stilters at the Solstice Parade. Creative Commons Licensed by Joe Mabel.

Stilters at the Solstice Parade. Creative Commons Licensed by Joe Mabel

One of the most popular ways to start the summer season is with the annual Fremont Solstice Parade and Fair. The festival begins on Friday, June 19 with the first Solstice Concert Series performances on the Redhook Main Stage and Main Stage Beer Garden. However, the things really heat up on Saturday with the Solstice Parade itself, which is full of floats, marching bands and bike riders outfitted in crazy costumes and body paint. During the weekend you should also keep an eye out for the Seattle Art Car Blowout, featuring over 75 cars decorated in funny and interesting designs, such as a phone, stiletto, fish and more. There will also be a street fair, craft market and a variety of buskers such as chalk artists, musicians, magicians and jugglers. The fair wraps up on Sunday, June 21 with a cute twist – the Sunday Dog Parade, where four-legged friends of all sizes will march through the fairgrounds. Do not forget to make time to do some sightseeing while you are in town and stop by the Fremont Troll, statue of Lenin or real Soviet-era rocket or visit many of the eclectic shops and businesses in the neighborhood.

Cheers to Dads and Grads

Beer Flight. Photo Courtesy Road Dog Tours.

Beer Flight. Photo Courtesy Road Dog Tours

The Solstice Parade is not the only fun way to kick of summer over the weekend. Toast to summer, dad as Father’s Day is also June 21 or recent school grads at the Washington Brewers Festival. Over 400 beers from 105 Washington breweries will be represented at the festival, as well wine and cider tastings, great food, live music and an all-ages playground featuring balloons, inflatable toys and kids crafts. There will even be a root beer garden, with different varieties on tap throughout the weekend, so families have a place to enjoy dinner together. Want to sip more local brews? Try going on the Seattle Brewery Tour, which will transport you to three of the best breweries in town, where information on what goes into a good brew, the history and culture of craft brew and plenty of beer will be freely dispensed.

Family Fun in the Sun

Booths at the Edmonds Arts Festival. Photo Courtesy of the Edmonds Arts Festival.

Booths at the Edmonds Arts Festival. Photo Courtesy of the Edmonds Arts Festival

There is no better way than spending every minute possible of summer weekends outdoors so you can soak up every ounce of the sun. In the mood for some art appreciation? Head over to the Edmonds Arts Festival, which features a field filled with over 240 artists booths containing everything from paintings, to jewelry, to photography to sculptures and yard art as well as 20 food vendors. Those needing a break from the sun can also find three juried art galleries in the nearby building and school art class exhibits with over 1,000 student creations.

If you would rather take in classics of another kind, visit Seattle’s historic waterfront to view over 50 stylish yachts during Classic Weekend. The classic ships will make for a stunning sight as they parade into Bell Harbor Marina on Friday, June 19 and you will be able to explore most of the yachts from the inside on tours throughout the weekend. While you are downtown, check out of the many new, local businesses that have set up shop on the Waterfront and in Pioneer Square that are helping revive this area steeped in history. Not sure which places to check out? Watch our video guide for ideas:

More June Things to Do in Seattle

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