Downtown Summer Sounds
The kids are out of school, the tots are underfoot, you've got to get out of the house! Luckily, a Northwest summer delivers as just about every town in our region offers a family entertainment series to give you loads of destination options for nearly every day of the week.
Best of all? The concerts and performances are in local parks and they're almost all free. Show up, sing along, play, dance or roll out a blanket and have a picnic.
Did we miss a great series? Email email@example.com to let us know, and check out our full list of South Sound-area free summer concerts and performances.
Seattle-area outdoor concerts and performances
Concerts at the Locks, Ballard
We can’t think of a prettier place to hang on a summer afternoon than what is popularly known as the Ballard Locks. On weekends and some holidays, enjoy concerts at 2 p.m. that include jazz and big band. Highlights include: Seattle Civic Band on July 4, Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band on July 8 and Batucada on Aug. 11.
Details: Saturdays, Sundays and most holidays, June 2–Sept. 16, 2 p.m. Free. Location: Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, 3015 N.W. 54th St., Seattle.
Music in the Mini Park, Lake City
The Lake City Future First Arts and Culture group presents this new series of outdoor concerts at the Lake City Mini Park. All concerts start at 5:30 p.m.
Details: Wednesdays, June 13–Aug. 15, 5:30 p.m. Free. Location: Lake City Mini Park, 12359 Lake City Way N.E., Seattle.
Summer Park Concerts, Seattle
Every other weekend, a different park will feature an eclectic concert on select Sundays, noon–6 p.m. in this music series that’s been going strong in Seattle since 1981. Donate online to help keep this entirely volunteer program running.
Details: Every other Sunday, July 1–Sept. 23, noon–6 p.m. Free, food bank donations encouraged. Locations: various city parks.
Downtown Summer Sounds, downtown Seattle
Formerly known as "Out to Lunch," this series has taken on a new title for its 40th year. Downtown Summer Sounds provides free music at various locations around downtown Seattle. Times vary but most take place weekdays, noon–1 p.m. or 4–5:30 p.m. Performances aren’t geared specifically toward kids, but it’s a great excuse to explore the downtown core. New this year, the Pike Place Market Front joins the list of venues! Full lineup here.
Details: Monday–Friday, July 9–Aug. 31, noon–1 p.m. or 4–5:30 p.m. Free. Various downtown Seattle locations.
Summer Concerts in the Park, Shoreline
Eclectic music, plus one Shakespeare theater performance, at various parks rain or shine.
Details: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m., July 11–Aug. 22. Free. Locations: Animal Acres Park, Richmond Beach Community Park, Cromwell Park, Kruckeberg Botanic Garden.
Summer at SAM at Olympic Sculpture Park, downtown Seattle
Summer at SAM's free Thursday evening program at Olympic Sculpture Park includes live music plus food trucks and kids' art activities, 6–8 p.m. Bonus: On Saturdays, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., head to the Sculpture Park for two kinds of yoga, Zumba, open studio art activities and public tours. All welcome and classes are free.
KEXP Concerts at the Mural, Seattle Center
Although these shows aren’t necessarily kindie rock, they do draw plenty of families and offer lots of space for kids to let loose and dance. Check out this summer's line-up.
Details: Mural Amphitheater in Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St, Seattle. Fridays, 5:30 p.m., August 3–31. Free.
ZooTunes at Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle
These concerts aren't free but your kids are. One of the best things about ZooTunes concerts is the bonus: One kid age 12 and under gets in free with every purchased adult ticket (note: you must add child tickets to your order when purchasing). There also lots of kids' activities, and carousel rides available. Highlights include Ziggy Marley, The Roots, Violent Femmes and the Indigo Girls! Check website for full line up and details.
Details: June 13–Sept. 9. Ticket prices vary (one kid free per adult ticket purchase). Woodland Park Zoo, 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle.
Eastside outdoor concerts and performances
Pack up the kids and head to wonderful Juanita Beach Park Tuesdays at 10 a.m. this summer. This park features wetland trails, bike paths, beach and playground. Don't miss kindie faves Recess Monkey (July 17); The Not-Its! (July 24) and Caspar Babypants (Aug. 21).
Details: Tuesdays, July 10–Aug. 21, 10 a.m. Free. Juanita Beach Park, 9703 N.E. Juanita Dr., Kirkland.
Enjoy music at this popular waterfront park on Thursday evenings. Performers include Creme Tangerine (fabulously-named Beatles cover band), West Coast Feed and, for the uke fans, The Castaways.
Details: Thursdays, July 5–Aug. 16, 7–8:30 p.m., Free. Marina Park, 25 Lakeshore Plaza Drive, Kirkland.
Kids First!, Sammamish
Explore various parks in Sammamish and enjoy a variety of entertainment aimed at the toddler through elementary-age crowd on Tuesdays, 1–2 p.m. in summer.
Details: Tuesdays, July 10–Aug. 14, 1–2 p.m., Free. Various Sammamish parks.
Concerts in the Park, Sammamish
Enjoy free outdoor concerts on Thursdays at Pine Lake Park. Bring your own picnic or purchase hamburgers from Sammamish Rotary and ice cream from the Sammamish Kiwanis. Parking is extremely limited at the park and fills up during the day. A free shuttle runs between the South Sammamish Park and Ride and Pine Lake Park before and after the concert.
Details: Thursdays, July 13–Aug. 16, 6:30–8 p.m. Free. Pine Lake Park, 228th and S.E. 24th St., Sammamish.
Mostly Music in the Park, Mercer Island
Cajun, world, Latin, roots and big band jazz perform Thursdays, 7–8:30 p.m. (the last concert is an exception. Note special day and time below) at Mercerdale Park on Mercer Island.
Details: Thursdays, July 19–Aug. 16, 7–8:30 p.m. (Note: Final concert in the series is Friday, August 24 at 5 p.m. Free. Mercerdale Park, 77th Ave. S.E. and S.E. 23rd St., Mercer Island.
Marymoor Park Concert Series, Redmond
These concerts are not free — expect typically concert prices — but you can pack a picnic and take the kids. Catch the I Love the '90s Tour, Willie Nelson or Jason Mraz.
Details: Select dates June 22–Sept. 9. Ticket prices vary. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E., Redmond.
North Sound outdoor concerts and performances
Sit by the water and enjoy free entertainment Thursdays and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. Pooches are welcome and you can grab dinner from a food truck or adjacent Italian restaurant.
Details: Thursdays and Saturdays, June 28–Aug. 30, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Free. Port Gardner Landing, 1700 W. Marine View Dr., Everett.
Marysville Children’s Concerts, Marysville
Pack a picnic and enjoy popular children’s entertainers on select Wednesdays at noon in Jennings Memorial Park.
Details: Wednesdays, July 11, July 25 and Aug. 8, noon–1 p.m. Free. Jennings Memorial Park, 6915 Armar Road, Marysville.
Everett Children’s Series, Everett
This popular children’s series spotlights performers on Thursday mornings at Thornton A. Sullivan Park. Shows include popular kindie bands like Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its! and Eric Herman and Puppy Dog Dave.
Details: Thursdays, July 12–Aug. 23, 10–11 a.m. Free. Thornton A. Sullivan Park, 11405 Silver Lake Road, Everett.
Summer Concerts in the Park, Edmonds
Edmonds presents free, accessible concerts, all summer long on three days at two locations: Sundays, 3–4 p.m. at City Park, Tuesdays, noon–1 p.m. at Hazel Miller Plaza, and Thursdays, 5–6:30 p.m. at Hazel Miller Plaza. Expect various styles of music, a Shakespeare performance, physical comedy and Buffo the Clown. See full lineup here. (Be sure to bring suits or dry clothes for the City Park spray park.)
Sounds of Summer Concert Series, Marysville
Marysville hosts a series of fun cover bands in Jennings Memorial Park on Fridays 7 p.m. this summer.
Details: Fridays, July 13–Aug, 10, 7 p.m. Free. Jennings Memorial Park, 6915 Armar Road, Marysville.
Editor's notes: This article was most recently updated in June 2108. Kris Collingridge, Lauren Valencia and ParentMap staff contributed to this article.