Families in our region have a dizzying number of options for getting outdoors and sampling great performances. We’ve put together a list of South Sound-area concerts and movies that will get you outside, keep you entertained and, in most cases, not even cost you a penny.
Here's what's happening around the South Sound this summer. If we missed your favorite, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear about it!
Kent Summer Concert Series: This series offers a bounty of weekly options from July 11–Aug. 17. Free kid-focused shows happen on Wednesdays, noon–1 p.m., at Town Square Park. Other ongoing series are family-friendly and take place Tuesdays, noon–1 p.m., at Kent Station, Wednesdays, 6–8 p.m., at Kent Station, and Thursdays, 7–8:30 p.m. at Lake Meridian Park. Check the scheduled line-up online. FREE. [KENT]
Lacey in Tune Summer Concert and Entertainment Series: The city of Lacey also offers a more than one outdoor entertainment option. Children's concerts take place Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at noon, June 20–Aug. 2, at Huntamer Park. On Saturdays at 7 p.m., July 15–Aug. 5, turn up for a concert followed by a family-friendly movie. Concerts start at 7 p.m. and movies are shown at dusk. Check the schedule of performers and movies online. FREE. [LACEY]
Summer Sounds at Skansie: Head to the revamped Skansie Brothers Park in Gig Harbor for live music and restaurant delivery service right to the park. This series runs Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., June 27–Aug. 15. Tip: You can swing by the park and stake out a spot with your camp chairs beginning at 7 a.m. (though your chairs may be moved for safety and set up). Preview the line up online. FREE. [GIG HARBOR]
Auburn Kids’ Summer Stage: Stop by for live performances for kids at Les Gove park Wednesdays at noon from July 12–Aug.16. Magic, reptiles, great kindie bands and more are on the docket.You can bring your swimsuits and visit the nearby spray park after the show. Bring some cash ($5–$6) for the climbing wall that will be set up after every performance from 1–3 p.m. Climbing available for kids ages 4 and up. On rainy days, shows are inside the Parks Building. FREE. [AUBURN]
Bonney Lake Kids’ Club: Cruise by Allan Yorke Park for great entertainment two times a week! On Mondays at 6:30 p.m. kids' performers' are scheduled from July 10–Aug. 14. On Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., the Tunes @ Tapps series brings live music of varying genres to the park for a great family picnic experience, July 5–Aug. 16. An outdoor market precedes the shows, beginning at 5 p.m. Check the line up for both series online. FREE. [BONNEY LAKE]
Puyallup Concerts in the Park: Puyallup offers two concert series geared toward families, Tuesdays, noon– 1 p.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. The Kiwanis Kids Noon Tunes series runs Tuesdays, June 27–Aug. 22, rotating between Pioneer Park and Bradley Lake Park. The Thursday evening family series runs June 29–Aug. 24 and also rotates between Pioneer Park and Bradley Lake Park. Check the full line-up for each series online. FREE. [PUYALLUP]
Second Sunday Concert Series: Tacoma presents concerts in the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright Park, which is technically indoors, but the music can be heard outdoors in the park. So if the kids need to run around (or be noisy), you can hang outside and still be serenaded. Concerts take place in 2017 on Sundays, July 9, Aug. 13 and Sept. 10, 1–2:30 p.m. Free to listen outside; suggested donation of $3 to enter the Conservatory. [TACOMA]
Music in the Park: Olympia's Music in the Park series rotates between Sylvester Park and Port Plaza and features family-friendly live music acts from Jazz to Latin guitar. Head outside, perhaps with a picnic dinner, and enjoy music in the park, Wednesdays 7–8 p.m., from July 5– Aug. 19. FREE. [OLYMPIA]
Lacey Outdoor Cinema Series: Connected to the Lacey In Tune concert series described above, this movie series follows the Saturday evening concerts. Music starts at 7 p.m. and movies play at dusk. Movies run Saturdays, July 15–Aug. 5 in Huntamer Park. FREE. [LACEY]
Gig Harbor Movies in the Park: Free family movies at Skansie Brothers Park! Movies are shown at dusk (which is fairly late in early July), on Fridays, July 7–28. Family activities begin at 7:30 p.m. and movies are shown when it's dark enough. Note that rain or high wind cancels. Skansie Brothers Park. FREE [GIG HARBOR]
Summer Sounds and Cinema: Live entertainment, kids’ activities plus concessions and food truck fare available, all in advance of movies showing at dusk. Series runs three Fridays, July 28–Aug. 11, with activities beginning at 6 p.m. at Lea Hill Park. Check the full line-up of entertainment and movie titles online. FREE. [AUBURN]
Summer Bash and Movies in the Park: Summer Bash events at parks around Tacoma feature Click! Mobile Movies beginning at dusk. Start time of activities vary; check timeline and movie titles online. Dates and locations: Kandle Sunset Cinema on Friday, July 28 at Kandle Park; outdoor movies at Ethnic Fest, Saturday, July 29 at Wright Park; Summer Bash on Friday, Aug. 4 at Stewart Heights Park; Summer Bash on Friday, Aug. 11 at The Center at Norpoint; Summer Bash on Saturday, Aug. 19 at STAR Center. FREE. [TACOMA]
About the author: Lauren Valencia is a former Seattle pre-K teacher and a freelance writer.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2013 and updated in June 2017.