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A Long Weekend in Issaquah

DIA Front St. Al Fresco

Front Street in Issaquah. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Issaquah Association.

Issaquah is a go-to destination for all things art and music, and, throughout the pandemic, has worked to stay that way despite limitations. 

“People were able to wander through town and see pieces of art that have been there for years that maybe they didn’t recognize,” said Christina Bruning, president of the Downtown Issaquah Association. “We also launched the first window art project during the pandemic, so it gave the community something new to see when they went outside.” 

As the height of the pandemic has lowered, Issaquah has resumed its Gas Station Blues concert series. It also has been deemed a Creative District by the state.

Starting Thursday, Aug. 26, Issaquah will host a long weekend’s worth of fun activities that live up to its stellar arts reputation. From a city-wide dance party and a live music festival to a weekend-long outdoor dining experience, there is sure to be an activity for you. 

Thursday, Aug. 26

Gas Station Blues Finale

The finale of the Gas Station Blues series hits the stage on Thursday evening. The last event of the summer, taking place at the historic shell station, will feature Scott Holt, an internationally renowned blues performer who has refined his skills under the tutelage of Buddy Guy. Get there before the tunes start at 7 p.m. for a front-row seat. 

Friday, Aug. 27

Pop-Up Market

Explore the Farm Fresh Market, located at the Historic Shell Station every Friday evening, for farm-fresh veggies and fruit. While you’re there, check out Out of the Box Eco Store, a pop-up low-waste shop offering refillable body, hair, and cleaning products. 

Outdoor Activities

With the rest of the weekend jam-packed with markets, live music, and public art, Friday is perfect for slowing down to explore Downtown Issaquah’s shops at Gilman Village, the Mercantile Building, and the surrounding area. For adventure junkies and outdoor rec-fanatics, Lake Sammamish State Park and Tiger Mountain State Forest are prime locations for paragliding, kayaking, and hiking. Admire the Downtown Issaquah Association-sponsored Art in the Park exhibit while you are at Lake Sammamish State Park. For out-of-towners, the drive to Mount Rainier National Park is a great distance for a day trip. For those looking for a relaxing Friday, downtown Issaquah’s walking trails offer a self-guided tour of local outdoor art and the city’s numerous spas provide a tranquil way to unwind. Downtown Issaquah also boasts opportunities for visitors to not only appreciate local art, but buy and create it. Art by Fire, a glass-blowing gallery and studio, offers glass-blowing classes and showcases local glass-blown art for purchase. 

Saturday, Aug. 28

Al Fresco on Front 

Starting Saturday morning, Front Street will be blocked off for pedestrians and cyclists. The Al Fresco On Front weekend-long event is designed to celebrate the outdoor dining experience and encourage visitors to take a leisurely stroll down the city’s main street while stopping by local shops. Acting as a pedestrian playground, challenge someone to a game at one of the open ping-pong tables and cornhole courts, or bring a game of your own.  

Walking Tour

Head to the homebase and weekend information center at the Historic Shell Station for a pop-up walking tour of historic downtown starting at 10:30 a.m. The hour-long tour will invite visitors to travel back in time as guides retell the city’s history.

Hip-Hop Dance Class

Practice your moves before the city-wide dance party at a free introductory hip hop class on Front Street. The 45-minute interactive class, led by Chris Mercado, will start at 1:45 p.m. 

Historically Hip Artisan Market

Head to the Historically Hip Artisan Market on Saturday afternoon, from 4-8 p.m., for local handmade crafts and artwork. The market, located on Front Street, features local artisans eager to share their crafts with the community. 

City-Wide Dance Party

Head back to the Historic Shell Station Saturday evening for a dance party starting at 5 p.m. set to the sounds of the Jet City Band. Sway and spin to well-known hits with the Issaquah community.  

Sunday, Aug. 29 

Confluence Music Festival 

Plan to spend all afternoon at Confluence Park Sunday for a day filled with tunes and tasty treats. The free live music festival, highlighting women musicians, features headliner and recent Voice contestant Savanna Woods alongside the Rae Gordon Band. Running from 3-8 p.m., the event also will include more than a dozen local artists and interactive art activities for the whole family.