beer festival
International Beer Fest at Seattle Center with our friends Jen & Eric

We have so many great things in the Northwest — food, beer, wine, spirits — that we like to hold as many food and drink events as we can throughout the year just to show it off. Seriously, if you went to every festival, event and tasting offered in Seattle, you’d have no time for anything else, especially in the summer when it seems like there’s an event every other day — the schedule would be grueling. So I’ve collected the best of the best in this list of 15 annual food and drink events in Seattle that you do not want to miss.

⇒Wondering where to stay in Seattle? See our hotel recommendations at the end of this post.

Top 15 Food and Drink Events in Seattle

Seattle Food & Wine Experience

When: February
Where: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
What: The Seattle Wine and Food Experience is one of my favorite events. There’s a ton of food and wine, beer, cider, liquor (you really have to pace yourself). And they don’t seem to ever oversell tickets, so it doesn’t get atrociously packed. While it’s very similar to Taste Washington, it’s smaller so you can get around the entire event and try everything if you want without feeling rushed. It’s also less expensive to attend, which is an added bonus.

Taste Washington

When: March
Where: CenturyLink Field Event Center
What: A two-day event, Taste Washington is the largest single-region food and wine event in the nation, with 225 wineries and 50 restaurants serving up the finest food and wine from the state of Washington. Top features are a beer station giving away free glasses, an oyster bar and more wine than you could ever hope to drink. I recommend printing out the program so you can plan ahead and hit up your favorites first. There’s VIP entry that will get you in an hour earlier than everyone else.

Hop Scotch Beer & Scotch Festival

When: April
Where: Fremont Studios
What: I’m not a huge Scotch fan, but I do know that it’s cost prohibitive to try a bunch of different brands to find your favorite. That’s where the annual Hop Scotch Beer & Scotch Festival at Fremont Studios comes in. You use tickets to sample beer, wine and other spirits, then have a flight tasting of different varieties of Scotch Whisky.  Tickets go up in price the longer you wait to buy, so it’s best to get them early, otherwise it becomes overpriced.  The event benefits the Seattle International Film Festival.

Sexy Syrah

When: April
Where: Salty’s on Alki
What: The Sexy Syrah event, hosted by Seattle Uncorked, is in its 13th year and sells out quickly each year. More than 30 Washington wine producers bring their best Syrah for tasting, which is paired with bites from Salty’s Executive Chef and an incredible view of Elliot Bay. If you know anything about Washington Syrah, you definitely don’t want to miss this event. Cost is $50.

Mobile Food Rodeo

When: There are so many food truck events that it’s hard to tell when the official “Mobile Food Rodeo” is actually held, but it’s in May in Fremont in 2014. Best to check their Facebook page for full details.
Where: Fremont and sometimes International District (unless they choose a different location)
What: This event has been going on for a number of years now that Seattle is crazy about food trucks. Dozens of trucks converge on Fremont to feed hungry masses with sandwiches, tacos, Thai food, grilled cheese — whatever your heart desires. Just don’t go if you’re in a hurry because the lines can get really long. I’ve been hearing that there may be a new food truck event added to the lineup in October called Trucktoberfest. Can’t wait.

Washington Brewer’s Fest

When: June
Where: Marymoor Park in Redmond
What: THE beer event of the year, the Washington Brewer’s Festival features over 250 beers served by 75 brewers during this three-day event in the park. It’s a great opportunity to try Washington’s newest and best beers all in one place. Friday night is 21+ – so that’s when you’d find me there. But who takes their kids to a beer festival anyway? This event usually also falls on Father’s Day weekend, which is convenient for treating dad to a fun day out.

Ballard SeafoodFest

When: July
Where: Ballard
What: 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Ballard SeafoodFest! Food vendors pack the streets of Ballard selling everything seafood — oysters, crab cakes, fish sandwiches and tacos, tons of salmon and chowder. There’s also a Salmon BBQ, live music and craft vendors around to round out the event. The only problem to me is that you want to try everything, but servings are all full sized. This year they’ve added a BeerFest to the event, so we can try all those great Ballard beers!

Wine Rocks

When: July
Where: Pier 66, Elliott Hall at Bell Harbor International Conference Center
What: Lots of wine drinking takes place at the pier — a great place to hang out on a lovely Seattle day — along with LIVE music to dance to at Wine Rocks — an annual, not-for-profit, gathering of local winemakers, craft brewers, distillers, and musicians. There are also food trucks parked nearby to offer a variety of foods.

Proof – Washington Distillers Festival

When: July
Where: Fremont Studios
What: Featuring more than 40 Washington distillers and food from local restaurants, PROOF attendees can sip and sample a variety of spirits and meet the craftsmen and women who are putting Washington on the map.

Bite of Seattle

When: July
Where: Seattle Center
What: At Bite of Seattle, about 50 different restaurants (not the big, fancy ones you know all about) serve their best food from trucks and booths situated around Seattle Center. It resembles something like a fair without rides. You’ll find deep-fried Pepsi floats, strawberry shortcake, ethnic foods and a nice big beer garden. Along the outskirts of the festival is The Alley, where you can pay $10 to try 6 bites from various upscale restaurants, plus a pretty nice little wine tasting area. There are also cooking demos by some of Seattle’s best chefs and live entertainment. Entrance is free.

DragonFest

When: July
Where: International District
What: Chinatown International District Dragon Fest is a two-day street festival for all things pan Asian-American in Seattle. The best part (to me anyway) is that you can walk around to the various food vendors and sample all kinds of delicious Asian food for only $2 a plate. The event is free to attend. There’s also a Night Market on Saturday that you don’t want to miss.

Seattle International Beer Fest

When: July (August in 2014)
Where: Seattle Center Lawn
What: This is a great chance to try International beers that you wouldn’t get a chance to try otherwise. There’s a large selection of beers in the bottle from all over the world — some very rare! And there’s plenty more beers on tap outside, including many from the Pacific Northwest. There’s room to spread out a blanket on the grass, there’s food for when you need to soak up the alcohol, and there are “special” beers that are opened throughout the two-day event. Get there early because they tend to run out later in the day on Saturday.

Seattle Street Food Festival

When: August
Where: Capitol Hill
What: Not to be confused with the Food Truck Rodeo, which is put on by the same folks, the Seattle Street Food Festival features over 100 food trucks and booths, a beer garden and live music in Capitol Hill. The event was so popular in its first year that they’ve increased it to two days. There’s also a VIF (Very Important Foodie) pass that you may want to look into so you can skip the extremely long (45+ min) lines at each food truck. Yes, it’s THAT popular.

Cider Summit Seattle

When: September
Where: Discovery Park in South Lake Union
What: What’s better than drinking fresh, crisp cider on a sunny summer day in Seattle? Nothing. That’s why Cider Summit Seattle is so great. The cider industry has really taken off in Washington (and so it should, since Washington apples rock!) so this is your chance to try as many different variations as you want so you know what to buy. There’s plenty of seating and shady areas on the grass to hang out. Dogs are allowed.

Fremont Oktoberfest

When: September
Where: Fremont
What: I once poured beer for the Fremont Oktoberfest and had a great time! It’s probably best to go during the day when crowds are less, but the revelry really begins after dark. The lines for beer are all right next to each other and can get really long during busy hours. There’s some German food to eat, festive music and lounges to hang out in. And you can always buy additional tokens so you can try all of the pumpkin and spiced beers you can handle.

St. Nick’s Open House

When: December
Where: Woodinville
What: Woodinville hosts its annual festival holiday open house of wineries throughout the area. Restaurants, food trucks and local entertainment also join in on the fun. The three day event starts Friday night with a holiday wine tasting at Columbia Winery. Saturday and Sunday is the open house event at more than 30 wineries. You take your tasting card around to each winery you wish to visit to receive a stamp. There are three separate prices. $60 for Friday’s event, $65 for both Saturday and Sunday or $50 for just Sunday.

If you’re looking for something to do in Seattle, or a reason to travel, these top 15 food and drink events in Seattle should give you plenty to think about. We’ve been to all of them and love them all!

Where to Stay in Seattle

Seattle is the type of city where you need a car to get around if you’re planning to get out of the downtown area at all. If you’re just going to be exploring downtown, you can really easily take the light rail from the airport to anywhere in downtown, and you won’t need a car. We still highly recommend staying downtown, no matter how you choose to explore the city. Just beware that parking can cost as much as $30-40 a night at area hotels.

Here are our recommended Seattle hotels. You can use any of these links to read reviews or book hotels for your stay in Seattle.

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