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An unofficial guide to unofficial PAX parties

PAX-related—but unofficial—parties and destinations, mapped

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It’s nearly Labor Day weekend, which means Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) West is upon us. And while the big event at the Convention Center is the main draw, the geeky explosion happening in the surrounding area is just as much fun—and is a great way to experience the event and the community, even if you haven’t managed to nab tickets to the sold-out convention.

We’ve mapped spots that, for Labor Day, will be tangentially PAX-related, but open to the general public from Thursday until Sunday night, whether you don’t want the party to end or satellite events are your entire party.

Didn’t get PAX tickets? While a couple of these events are geared toward attendees, we specifically included events that are of general interest, whether they’re fresh out of the expo or they just want to party with a bunch of other nerds.

Bonus: Lots of them are free (with some exceptions).

Just want to see the sights and not look another game dev in the face? Here are 26 more evergreen things to do in Seattle.

See a big party that should be on here but isn’t? Send us a tip.

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1. Mopop: Nindies at Night

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325 5th Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

When: Thursday, August 31 from 8:30 to midnight

Cost: Free

What is it? This Nintendo event at Mopop features both games about to come out for the Nintendo Switch, plus developer chats.

More information

2. Timbre Room: Dungeons and Drag Queens

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1809 Minor Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

When: Thursday, August 30

Cost: $10

What is it? It’s about what it sounds like: a role-playing quest and a drag show rolled into one.

More information

Posted by Matt Baume on Thursday, August 17, 2017

3. Raygun Lounge: Trivia, cosplay, and more

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501 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122

Raygun Lounge is host to a few different PAX parties—and no doubt will be full of PAX attendees all weekend long regardless.

The Quest for PAX West: Geek Out! Trivia Night IV

When: Thursday, August 31 from 7:30 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

What is it? It’s Raygun Lounge’s regular trivia night, but a little more PAX-y.

More information

NW Nerd Podcast after party and cosplay contest

When: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free (pre-register here)

What is it? The NW Nerd podcast’s cosplay contest will have prizes from Pink Gorilla Games, Pacific Fabrics, and Comics Dungeon.

More information

4. Various locations: Triwizard Drinking Tournament

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Capitol Hill
Seattle, WA

When: Thursday, August 31 at 8 p.m.

Cost: Free (buy your own drinks, though)

What is it? Celebrating its 10th year, this annual pre-PAX drinking tournament raises money for charity. It’s 21+.

More information

A post shared by Derrick Jones (@loudnbrown) on

5. Kremwerk: PAX Countdown 2017

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1809 Minor Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

When: Thursday, August 31 at 8 p.m.

Cost: Free (including pizza and drinks!)

What is it? One of Seattle’s coolest clubs for going out dancing is hosting this very-free party with drinks, games, and dancing to geeky tunes. This is hosted in part by Queer Geek Seattle, the folks behind Pink Party Prime. This event is 21+.

More information

6. Block 41: MIX Indie Games Showcase

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115 Bell St
Seattle, WA 98121

When: Friday, September 1 from 8 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free (originally $10)

What is it? Media Indie Exchange will showcase indie games and their creators, all available to play at the event.

More information

A post shared by Ashley Richards (@gastlyashley) on

7. Fred Wildlife Refuge: Indie PAX Party by Game Jolt and Dreamhack

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127 Boylston Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102

When: Friday, September 1 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Cost: Free

What is it? This party on Capitol Hill is another opportunity to try out some indie games—nine of them, specifically—plus have some indie-themed cocktails and dance to “retro tunes.” Those that want to show off their own game can set up a laptop. 21+.

More information

Posted by Game Jolt on Wednesday, August 9, 2017

8. The Funhouse: The PAX West Nerdcore Showcase

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109 Eastlake Ave E
Seattle, WA 98109

When: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free (tickets here)

What is it? The Funhouse is home to a nerdcore showcase presented by NPC Collective, including Sammus, Shubzilla, Kadesh Flow, MC Ohm-i, Eye Q with Death*Star and Klopfenpop, Adam Selene and Les One, and Mark Dago. This one’s 21+.

More information

Posted by Adam Selene on Thursday, August 17, 2017

9. Trace Lounge: Sleepless retrowave and synthpop dance party

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1112 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

When: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

What is it? It’s dance party, plus an informal cosplay contest with a Nintendo 3DS XL on the line.

More information

Posted by Alan Szymkowiak on Monday, August 28, 2017

10. Neumos: Pink Party Prime

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925 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122

When: Saturday, September 2 at 9:00 p.m.

Cost: $15 (tickets here)

What is it? This long-running queer PAX party has theme drinks, an arcade, and a cosplay contest—and it benefits Gender Justice League.

More information

Posted by Jetspace Magazine on Monday, July 17, 2017

11. Q Nightclub: Haute Sauce unofficial PAX afterparty and Poropalooza

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1426 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122

Capitol Hill’s Q Nightclub is host to two PAX afterparties.

Haute Sauce

When: Saturday, September 2 at 10:00 p.m.

Cost: $12 (tickets here)

What is it? A PAX version of Q’s “weekly Saturday party that blends the heat of summer, the vibe of the old school, the style of couture beach life, and the music of today.”

More information

Poropalooza

When: Sunday, September 3 at 10:00 p.m.

Cost: $15. Cosplayers and enforcers get in free.

What is it? A dance party, plus a cosplay contest with a $1000 grand prize.

More information

12. Motif Seattle: Seattle Indies Expo

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1415 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

When: Sunday, September 3 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: Free (register here)

What is it? It’s an all-ages indie game showcase (bar with ID). It’s also a happy hour: From 6 to 9 p.m., there will be free snacks and a limited number of drink ticket giveaways.

More information (and game lineup)

Posted by Constance Chen on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1. Mopop: Nindies at Night

325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

When: Thursday, August 31 from 8:30 to midnight

Cost: Free

What is it? This Nintendo event at Mopop features both games about to come out for the Nintendo Switch, plus developer chats.

More information

325 5th Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

2. Timbre Room: Dungeons and Drag Queens

1809 Minor Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

When: Thursday, August 30

Cost: $10

What is it? It’s about what it sounds like: a role-playing quest and a drag show rolled into one.

More information

1809 Minor Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

3. Raygun Lounge: Trivia, cosplay, and more

501 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122

Raygun Lounge is host to a few different PAX parties—and no doubt will be full of PAX attendees all weekend long regardless.

The Quest for PAX West: Geek Out! Trivia Night IV

When: Thursday, August 31 from 7:30 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

What is it? It’s Raygun Lounge’s regular trivia night, but a little more PAX-y.

More information

NW Nerd Podcast after party and cosplay contest

When: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free (pre-register here)

What is it? The NW Nerd podcast’s cosplay contest will have prizes from Pink Gorilla Games, Pacific Fabrics, and Comics Dungeon.

More information

501 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122

4. Various locations: Triwizard Drinking Tournament

Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA

When: Thursday, August 31 at 8 p.m.

Cost: Free (buy your own drinks, though)

What is it? Celebrating its 10th year, this annual pre-PAX drinking tournament raises money for charity. It’s 21+.

More information

Capitol Hill
Seattle, WA

5. Kremwerk: PAX Countdown 2017

1809 Minor Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

When: Thursday, August 31 at 8 p.m.

Cost: Free (including pizza and drinks!)

What is it? One of Seattle’s coolest clubs for going out dancing is hosting this very-free party with drinks, games, and dancing to geeky tunes. This is hosted in part by Queer Geek Seattle, the folks behind Pink Party Prime. This event is 21+.

More information

1809 Minor Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

6. Block 41: MIX Indie Games Showcase

115 Bell St, Seattle, WA 98121

When: Friday, September 1 from 8 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free (originally $10)

What is it? Media Indie Exchange will showcase indie games and their creators, all available to play at the event.

More information

115 Bell St
Seattle, WA 98121

7. Fred Wildlife Refuge: Indie PAX Party by Game Jolt and Dreamhack

127 Boylston Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

When: Friday, September 1 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Cost: Free

What is it? This party on Capitol Hill is another opportunity to try out some indie games—nine of them, specifically—plus have some indie-themed cocktails and dance to “retro tunes.” Those that want to show off their own game can set up a laptop. 21+.

More information

127 Boylston Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102

8. The Funhouse: The PAX West Nerdcore Showcase

109 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98109

When: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free (tickets here)

What is it? The Funhouse is home to a nerdcore showcase presented by NPC Collective, including Sammus, Shubzilla, Kadesh Flow, MC Ohm-i, Eye Q with Death*Star and Klopfenpop, Adam Selene and Les One, and Mark Dago. This one’s 21+.

More information

109 Eastlake Ave E
Seattle, WA 98109

9. Trace Lounge: Sleepless retrowave and synthpop dance party

1112 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

When: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

What is it? It’s dance party, plus an informal cosplay contest with a Nintendo 3DS XL on the line.

More information

1112 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

10. Neumos: Pink Party Prime

925 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

When: Saturday, September 2 at 9:00 p.m.

Cost: $15 (tickets here)

What is it? This long-running queer PAX party has theme drinks, an arcade, and a cosplay contest—and it benefits Gender Justice League.

More information

925 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122

11. Q Nightclub: Haute Sauce unofficial PAX afterparty and Poropalooza

1426 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122

Capitol Hill’s Q Nightclub is host to two PAX afterparties.

Haute Sauce

When: Saturday, September 2 at 10:00 p.m.

Cost: $12 (tickets here)

What is it? A PAX version of Q’s “weekly Saturday party that blends the heat of summer, the vibe of the old school, the style of couture beach life, and the music of today.”

More information

Poropalooza

When: Sunday, September 3 at 10:00 p.m.

Cost: $15. Cosplayers and enforcers get in free.

What is it? A dance party, plus a cosplay contest with a $1000 grand prize.

More information

1426 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122

12. Motif Seattle: Seattle Indies Expo

1415 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

When: Sunday, September 3 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: Free (register here)

What is it? It’s an all-ages indie game showcase (bar with ID). It’s also a happy hour: From 6 to 9 p.m., there will be free snacks and a limited number of drink ticket giveaways.

More information (and game lineup)

1415 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101