Seattle

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; www.trueindependent.org) in June; the Children's Film Festival (www.childrensfilmfestivalseattle.nwfilmforum.org/), held at the Northwest Film Forum in January; and the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (www.threedollarbillcinema.org) in October.

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  • 1. Benaroya Hall

    Music

    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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Town Hall

    Downtown | Readings/Lectures

    Christian Scientists occupied the Roman-revival-style Town Hall for decades, and attending lectures here can still make you feel a little starchy...Read More

  • 5. University Book Store

    University District | Readings/Lectures

    Free readings by best-selling authors and academics are the attraction here. The second-floor space is rich with book stacks, perfect for browsing...Read More

  • 6. Hugo House

    Capitol Hill | Readings/Lectures

    This writers' haven has classesnd readings by Northwest luminaries and authors on their way up. Temporarily located in a building on the campus...Read More

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