The high-tech boom created an enthusiastic and philanthropic audience for Seattle's arts community, which continues to grow. The gorgeous Benaroya Hall is a national benchmark for acoustic design. Its main tenant is the Seattle Symphony. At the Seattle Center, the ethereal Marion Oliver McCaw Hall combines Northwest hues and hanging screens in colorful light shows accompanying performances by the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Although the city's music scene has lost some of its shine after Portland became the go-to city for indie rock, music is still a main form of entertainment here. This very literate city also supports a full calendar of readings, lectures, and writing workshops.

The Seattle International Film Festival gets a lot of attention, but the city also hosts numerous smaller festivals throughout the year. The most popular include STIFF (Seattle's True Independent Film Festival; in June; the Children's Film Festival (, held at the Northwest Film Forum in January; and the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival ( in October.

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  • 1. Cinerama

    Belltown | Film

    This 1963 cinema, scooped up and restored by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, seamlessly blends the luxury of the theater with high technology...Read More

  • 2. Seattle Symphony

    Downtown | Music

    The symphony performs under the direction of Ludovic Morlot from September through June in the stunning Benaroya Hall. The group has been nominated...Read More

  • 3. A Contemporary Theatre

    Downtown | Theater

    Dedicated to launching exciting works by emerging dramatists, the Contemporary has four staging areas, including a theater-in-the-round and...Read More

  • 4. Benaroya Hall


    The acoustics are good from every one of the main hall's 2,500 seats—great news if you want to check out the Seattle Symphony, which is based...Read More

  • 5. Big Picture

    Belltown | Film

    Enjoy the same first-run films that are playing down the street at the multiplex—minus the crowds, screaming kids, and sensory overload—at the...Read More

  • 6. Central Cinema

    Central District | Film

    If you're tired of 40-ounce Cokes and $10 popcorn with neon-yellow butter and wish that moviegoing could be a little more elegant, check out...Read More

  • 7. Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center

    Queen Anne | Theater

    This performance and education venue run by the Cornish College of the Arts hosts public music and theater programs, produced by students and...Read More

  • 8. Egyptian Theater

    Capitol Hill | Film

    Head to this art deco movie palace, a former Masonic temple, for first-run films. ...Read More

  • 9. Elliott Bay Book Company Reading Series

    Capitol Hill | Readings/Lectures

    The famed bookstore presents a popular series of renowned local, national, and international author readings in a cozy, basement room next to...Read More

  • 10. Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

    Lower Queen Anne | Arts Centers

    The home of the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet is an opulent, glass-enclosed structure reflecting the skies and the Space Needle...Read More

  • 11. Meany Hall for the Performing Arts

    University District | Dance

    National and international companies perform October through May at the University of Washington's Meany Hall. The emphasis is on modern and...Read More

  • 12. Moore Theater

    Downtown | Arts Centers

    Built in 1907, Seattle's oldest theater still hosts off-Broadway performances and music events, including jazz concerts, instrumental duets...Read More

  • 13. Northwest Film Forum

    Capitol Hill | Film

    A cornerstone of the city's independent film scene, its two screening rooms screen classic repertory, cult hits, experimental films, and...Read More

  • 14. Northwest Puppet Center

    University District | Theater

    Keeping its stories lively and brief (45 minutes), and encouraging kids to sprawl on the floor, this troupe uses marionettes to dramatize folktales...Read More

  • 15. On the Boards

    Lower Queen Anne | Dance

    Since 1978, On the Boards has been presenting contemporary dance performances, as well as theater, music, and multimedia events. The main...Read More

  • 16. Pacific Northwest Ballet

    Lower Queen Anne | Dance

    The lineup of Seattle's resident ballet company and school includes works from celebrated contemporary choreographers as well as a mix of classic...Read More

  • 17. Paramount Theatre

    Downtown | Arts Centers

    Built in 1928 as a venue for early talkies and vaudeville acts, this lovely beaux arts movie palace—which features an original Wurlitzer theater...Read More

  • 18. PONCHO Concert Hall

    Capitol Hill | Arts Centers

    Distinguished jazz, dance, and other groups all perform at this concert venue at Cornish College of the Arts. It also hosts solid student productions...Read More

  • 19. Seattle Center

    Queen Anne | Arts Centers

    Several of the Seattle Center's halls are used for theater, opera, dance, music, and performance art. Public radio station KEXP frequently hosts...Read More

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  • 20. Seattle Children's Theatre

    Lower Queen Anne | Theater

    Top-notch productions of new works join adaptations from classic children's literature here. After the show, actors come out to answer questions...Read More

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