The following food festivals are some of the most popular events showcasing food in Seattle and around the Puget Sound region. All are well-established annual food festivals. Except where noted, they have free admission. Food and any beverage (adult or otherwise) is, of course, extra.
These food festivals include “Taste” and “Bite” events showcasing Puget Sound food vendors, as well as summer festivals, and themed events featuring international cuisines, seafood, barbecue, mushrooms, and more. In this list of free food festivals, we are after big food and big fun for the least possible cost. This means no admission free (or very, very small like $5), and lots and lots of food, plus other activities as a backdrop to the food (such as crafts, music, and kid’s fun).
- We don’t include festivals where the focus is beer, wine, and spirits, primarily because adult beverage events typically include a fairly hefty tasting fee, with food cost added on top of that.
- We don’t include festivals where the focus is not food, so most arts and music festivals, cultural celebrations, community events, and county fairs are not listed here, even though all of these events have plenty of food vendors and food trucks at the ready. (One exception is the Chinatown-ID Food Walk, which takes place within ID street festivals, but can be attended on it’s own and presents a great way to taste many favorite or new Asian foods at one place and time.)
- We do include festivals with an admission fee above $15, if there is a discount available (such as early bird purchase, discount online advance purchase, or a coupon code). Hint: Volunteer at a food festival and you may get free food.
Free food and more for volunteers. Whether or not there is an admission charge, if the cost of attending a food festival is too steep, consider becoming a volunteer. Most community festivals and events have volunteer opportunities. In fact, most couldn’t run without a large number of people willing to help with setup, breakdown, and everything in-between from taking tickets to bussing tables and a slew of other tasks. Most volunteers at a food festival can work a few hours, get a free meal, and often a volunteer’s a t-shirt. Free food and free clothes–what’s not to like? To sign-up as a food festival volunteer, check their website menu for “volunteer”.
How to get the most out of food festivals
A great way to approach a food festival, that is spend less and enjoy more, is to go with one or more people. Two to four people sharing a plate can power through more variety and try some of everything. Note that you may not spend less money overall with this approach. But if food sampling is your goal, then plate sharing is the ideal strategy.
Personally, I find it hard to devour $20 (pun intended) and usually fill up before my Jackson (and sometime after 2020, the Tubman) is spent. Your needs may be vastly different, of course.
Pets are usually prohibited at food festivals, due to the food nature of the event. Before you go, it’s a good idea to check their website for these and other details (such as where to park for free).
Plan to have a whole day of food fun, family fun, adult fun, free entertainment, more food and more fun.
List of Seattle and Puget Sound Food Festivals 2018
(Listed in order by date. We update this list as organizations announce their food festival dates for the coming year.)
These Seattle and Puget Sound food festivals typically offer activities for kids, amusement rides, beer and wine gardens, a vendor marketplace, and may offer other fun such as car shows, 5K runs, contests, and more.
January food festivals
January-March. International Dumpling Crawl in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The New Year brings a time of reflection and a chance to start anew. Dumplings are prolific in the new year as they represent wealth, looking similar to ancient gold ingots in some Asian Pacific cultures. On this tour, enjoy many different types of dumplings, the stories behind them, and become wealthy with new knowledge. Note: Dietary restrictions such as vegan or vegetarian, gluten allergies, and nut allergies cannot be accommodated. For all ages. The tour route is approximately 1 mile on sidewalks and inclines. Usually sells out by October, so get tickets early for this popular event before Halloween. http://www.wingluke.org/tours/
February food festivals
February 11, 2018. Lunar New Year $3 Food Walk. Restaurants across the Chinatown-ID has will offer a variety of $3 bites from China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia from 11AM – 4PM as part of the Lunar New Year festivities. http://cidbia.org/events/lunar-new-year/
March food festivals
March 23 – April 8, 2018. Plate of Nations features specials at independently-owned ethnic eateries along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in the Rainier Valley in south Seattle. http://www.plateofnations.com/
March, 30 – 31, 2018. Grilled Cheese Grand Prix at Magnuson Park Hanger 30 in Seattle. Admission: $35-$75. Tickets include tokens. This year’s event now offers four timed ticket options that come with food tokens built into the ticket price. There is one family-friendly session: Saturday, March 31, 11-4pm, when kids under 12 get in free with an adult. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grilled-cheese-grand-prix-2018-tickets-43332159656
April food festivals
April 2 – 19, 2018. Dine Around Seattle/Seattle Restaurant Week. Sunday through Thursday, enjoy 3 course DINNER for $33 and $18 lunch at select locations. (Note: Friday-Saturday and Sunday brunch excluded.) If you haven’t heard the news, Dine Around Seattle and Seattle Restaurant Week, two biannual celebrations of Seattle-area cuisine, have unified into one premier dining promotion flying under the Seattle Restaurant Week banner. https://srw.seattletimes.com/
May food festivals
May 6, 2018. Taco Libre Truck Showdown in Fremont. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
May 12, 2018. Food Truck Round-Up at South Lake Union Saturday Market. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
June food festivals
(If you are looking for strawberry festivals, go here.)
June 1 -3 , 2018. Bite of Greece on Seattle’s Capitol Hill is a relaxed alternative to the giant St. Demetrios Greek Festival in October. Enjoy Greek food, wine, and music. http://www.biteofgreeceseattle.com/
June 2, 2018. Kent International Festival at ShoWare Center showcases the region’s ethnic dance, musical performances, spectacular native attire, cultural booths and delicious authentic cuisine. Always held on the first Saturday after Memorial Day weekend. http://www.kentinternationalfestival.com/
June 9, 2018. Food Truck Round-Up at South Lake Union Saturday Market. https://www.facebook.com/events/612898592380289/
June 16, 2018. Truckaroo in Tacoma celebrates street food, local ingredients and small business owners on the campus of Bates Technical College at 2201 S 78th. Beer & wine garden. Entertainment for the whole family. Supports student-run food truck culinary program. A great event for food truck lovers and anyone who wants to start a food truck. Tickets: $5 advance. Kids enter free. Free parking. https://www.wafoodtrucks.org/truckaroo/
June 16, 2018. Solstice Night Market at South Lake Union in Seattle. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
June 22-24, 2018. Taste of Tacoma at Point Defiance Park featuring 40+ restaurants & vendors, craft & merchandise vendors, over live bands on 4 stages, live cooking demonstrations & cook-offs, Wine & Craft Beer Tasting, outdoor beer gardens, and the Funtastic Carnival. Free admission, parking & shuttle from Tacoma Community College. Plus food, merchandise, and some activities for sale. https://www.tasteoftacoma.com/
July food festivals
July 7-8, 2018. Seattle Street Food Festival at South Lake Union. https://seafoodfest.org/
July 13-15, 2018. SeafoodFest in Seattle’s around Ballard Commons Park. https://seafoodfest.org/
July 14, 2018. Food Truck Round-Up at South Lake Union Saturday Market. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
July 14-15, 2018. Dragon Festival $3 Asian Food Walk features 120 restaurants in the heart of Seattle’s historic Chinatown-International District. The Pacific Northwest’s largest annual Asian American celebration, this mid-summer festival attracts tens of thousands of people and includes a food walk, along with cultural performances, Chinese lion and dragon dances, martial arts demonstrations, and Japanese Taiko drumming, as well as historic walking tours, a large-scale outdoor Asian market and activities for people of all ages. http://cidbia.org/events/dragonfest/
July 20-22, 2018. Bite of Seattle at Seattle Center. https://www.biteofseattle.com/
July 22, 2018. Tacoma Food Truck Fest in Wright Park. http://www.metroparkstacoma.org/foodtruckfest/
August food festivals
August 2018. So Bazaar Night Market in Redmond. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
August 2018. SalmonFest Seattle at Lake City Community Center. https://salmonfestseattle.com/
August 11, 2018. Food Truck Round-Up at South Lake Union Saturday Market. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
August 10-12, 2018. $5 admission (13+). Taste of Edmonds at Civic Playfield in downtown Edmonds. http://tasteedmonds.com/
August TBD? Taste of Main in Bellevue. http://tasteofmainbellevue.com/
August 31 – Sept 1, 2018. Trucktoberfest at Magnuson Park Hanger 30 in Seattle. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
September food festivals
September 8, 2018. Food Truck Round-Up at South Lake Union Saturday Market. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
September 21-22, 2018. Great Wallingford Wurst Oktoberfest–style Festival in north Seattle. http://www.stbens.net/news-events/wurst-festival
September 28-30, 2018. Bite of Broadview at Christ the King Church in north Seattle. http://www.biteofbroadview.com/
September 28-30, 2018. Everett Sausage Fest at Perpetual Help Church in Everett. http://www.everettsausagefest.com/
October food festivals
Buy tickets for International Dumpling Crawl which takes place January-March. Usually sells out by October, so get tickets early before Halloween for this popular winter event. The Dumpling Crawl is a food tour through Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The tour route is approximately 1 mile on sidewalks and inclines. For all ages. Note: Dietary restrictions such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten allergies, and nut allergies cannot be accommodated. http://www.wingluke.org/tours/
November food festivals
November 16 -17, 2018. NW BBQ Fest at Magnuson Park Hanger 30 in Seattle. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
December food festivals
December 7-8, 2018. NW BBQ Fest at Magnuson Park Hanger 30 in Seattle. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
December 16, 2018. Winter Feast in Fremont. http://www.mobilefoodrodeo.com/
But what if you’re hankering for street food on a day when there is no food festival to be found?
You might also like:
- Where to find food trucks in Seattle and the Puget Sound region.
- Free (and cheap) cooking classes and food tours.