I used to fly to European jazz festivals every summer until I realized I was missing the best season around Seattle. Hearing music outdoors here is one of the great pleasures of Northwest life. Couple of nice indoor spots, too. Here are five favorites:
Chateau Ste. Michelle: So maybe lying on the grass watching a full moon rise behind John Prine as he sings “Picture Show” in Woodinville isn’t your idea of a perfect moment. But it is mine. The wine helps, too. (14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville; ste-michelle.com
McCurdy Pavilion: I have often thought, looking out from this cavernous, repurposed balloon hangar to the evergreen trees beyond while listening to jazz, blues or fiddle music, that all is right with the world. An illusion, OK, but a lovely one. And so many things to do before and after the show, from beach to bookstore. (Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend; centrum.org)
The Gorge Amphitheatre: People come from all over the world to hear music in this natural amphitheater on a bench overlooking the staggeringly beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Join them at Sasquatch, Watershed, Paradiso or for a day of Dave Matthews. Bring sunscreen. (Quincy, Grant County; amphitheatregeorge.com)
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Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley: I’ve been to pretty much every jazz club in America. For sightlines, sound system, acoustics, décor and plain cool, very few venues can match this one. There’s more than jazz on the menu, too. (2033 Sixth Ave., Seattle; jazzalley.com).
Royal Room: Sometimes it’s all about the hang. This Columbia City outpost has become the musical hub Seattle has needed forever, a place where distinctions like jazz, rock and “neo-folk” don’t mean a thing to the musicians, friends and families who mingle here. (5000 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle; theroyalroomseattle.com)
Paul de Barros: 206-464-3247 or email@example.com or on Twitter @pdebarros