Nothing screams summertime in Seattle than the sound of thundering Blue Angels jets performing over Lake Washington for the Boeing Seafair Air Show. If you’re hoping to score a first-class view of every heart-pounding maneuver, we’ve zoomed in on the best places for your family to land for the show. From lakeside beaches, to the hydro pits, and even a pilot meet and greet, read on for the scoop on how to satisfy your crew if they’re feelin’ the need for speed.

photo: pvland via Flickr

Know Before You Go

Show Times: The Boeing Seafair Air Show runs Fri., Aug. 4 thru Sun., Aug. 6, 2017. Catch the amazing flying aerobatics of the best of the best pilots including the Blue Angels, Warbirds and more. Festivities kick off at 11:40 a.m. on Friday with the U.S. Air Force A10 Flyover. For the full schedule of activities happening on the water, over the land and in the air, click here

I-90 Bridge Closures: If you are planning on making your way to either side of the bridge during Seafair weekend, keep in mind that it will be closed for the Blue Angels’ practice and performance sessions. The closure times are listed below, but to avoid a major meltdown (yours not theirs) try to make it across at least one hour prior. To learn more check the WSDOT website.

Thurs., Aug. 3, 9:45 a.m.-noon & 1:15 p.m.-2:40 p.m. (practice)
Fri., Aug. 4, 1:15 p.m.-2:40 p.m. (practice)
Sat., Aug. 5, 1:15 p.m.-2:40 p.m. (show)
Sat., Aug. 6, 1:15 p.m.-2:40 p.m. (show)

What to Bring: Be sure to lather on the sunscreen, plus bring lots of water and some extra cash as many of the beaches will have tasty treats to purchase. Your wingmen will enjoy the show best if you gear them up with some ear protection, especially if they can sport some cool ear muffs like the ones the pilots wear.

photo: Rachael Brandon

Seattle Venues

Museum of Flight Jet Blast Bash
The Museum of Flight’s 3rd Annual Jet Blast Bash is a two-day event that offers families the closest views of the Blue Angels’ takeoffs and landings as well as some close and personal views of two World War II warbirds, a Lockheed P-38 Lightning and a Consolidated PBY Catalina. Also on display will be the popular SR-71 along with spyplane pilot and author, Brian Shul.

In addition, the Museum will be chock-full of outdoor family activities, a classic car show, plane displays, live music, a trampoline for the kids to celebrate their own air show on and lots of food and beverage choices. All activities are free with Museum admission and free parking can be found adjacent to the museum.

Museum of Flight
9404 E. Marginal Way S.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: museumofflight.org

Dates and Times: Aug. 5-6, 2017 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $21/Adults; $18/Seniors; $13/Youth (5-17); 4 & under Free; Discounts are available for AAA members, Military, Boeing employees, BECU members. AAA members and can book tickets online.

photo: Rachael Brandon

Genesee Park and Stan Sayers Pits
The official Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup location on Lake Washington is going to be your best bet for a front row seat to the Air Show extravaganza. If you can swing a day off (cough, cough) be sure to check out Family Day on Friday where general admission is free (if you pick up a general admission ticket ahead of time at various locations listed here) and just $10 gives you access to the pits to see the hydros up close. There will be plenty of food booths and vendors, plus a special Kids Zone with inflatables, rides and family activities held throughout the day. Psst… purchase tickets for Sat. and Sun. online and save time at the gates.

Parking Tips: We know we don’t have to tell you that finding parking at this popular summertime event is no picnic. With having to navigate traffic, road closures and finally finding a spot you can plan on making the festival an all-day event, so it would behoove you to take advantage of buses and lightrail for your transportation. Otherwise, a limited amount of parking passes are available to purchase online or at the event for $40 (cash only).

Dates & Times: Aug. 4-5, 2017 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Aug. 6, 2017, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Free on Fri., Aug. 4; Entrance fees for Sat., Aug. 5 & Sun., Aug. 6 are as follows: $30 advance & $40 at gate/Adults; $10 advance & $15 at gate/Youth (6-12); 5 & under Free

4316 S. Genesee St.
Seattle, Wa 98118
Online: seafair.com

photo: Gary Breedlove for Seafair

Seattle Parks & Beaches

Mount Baker Park
Located just two miles away from the Seafair epicenter, this beach park is the perfect spot to picnic while you watch in awe as the team displays the amazing agility and speed of the F/A-18 Hornet, performing a flurry of stunts that loop, roll and turn through the sky. The small, well-groomed space has plenty of entertainment to keep those jet-heads busy while you wait for the show, including a life-guarded beach complete with a roped off kiddie area, a cozy grass lawn perfect for a picnic, plus a small playground with a sturdy zip-line for small fries to attempt their own daredevil maneuvers on.

Insider Tip: Be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds and spend some time exploring the park before the show. Parking is limited, so consider using public transportation or venturing the neighborhoods on the hill above the lake.

2521 Lake Park Dr. S.
Seattle, Wa 98144
Online: seattle.gov/parks

photo: Rod Mar for Seafair

Colman Park
Located adjacent to Mount Baker Park, this lush, grassy waterfront area offers an amazing view of Lake Washington and a stellar place to picnic with the crew while you do some plane watching. Spend some time wandering the walking trails, community garden and score some ice cream before the show.

Colman Park
1800 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, Wa 98144
Online: seattle.gov/parks

photo: Sterling Yun for Seafair

Pritchard Island Beach
Tucked quietly away in the Rainier Beach area of Lake Washington is a little grassy beach that heralds panoramic views of Seward Park and Mercer Island. Here kids can splash around in the water, cannonball from the low or high diving boards and enjoy the show away from the noise and glitz of the big festivities.

Pritchard Island Beach
8400 55th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98118
Online: seattle.gov/parks

Eastside Parks & Beaches

Aubrey Davis Park – Mercer Island
Formerly called Park on the Lid, this huge green space, located just off of the I-90 bridge, offers an abundance of room to watch a stellar show with spectacular views of Lake Washington, the Olympics and Seattle’s skyline as the backdrop. The park also offers two softball fields, two playgrounds and trails throughout the park, giving everyone plenty of room to run around, throw a Frisbee or park for a bite to eat.

Aubrey Davis Park
2030 72nd Ave. S.E.
Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Online: mercergov.org

Groveland Beach Park Beach – Mercer Island
This hidden gem is located in a residential neighborhood on the west shore of Mercer Island and offers a guarded, sandy beach and playground to hang with your flight crew during the show. Keep in mind that you will have to walk down a steep, paved path to get to the beach. Although not a direct vantage point for the demonstration, this area does offer a less crowded alternative for plane gazing.

Groveland Park
7740 S.E. 58th St.
Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Online: mercergov.org

Medina Beach Park – Bellevue
Keep ‘em cool at this gorgeous lakefront park with a sweet panorama of Lake Washington with Seattle, plus Mount Rainier in the background. Bring along those shovels and buckets and let the kids play in the sand, or splash around in the water while scoring one of the best views around for watching the Blues.

Medina Beach Park
501 Evergreen Point Rd.
Medina, Wa 98039
Online: medina-wa.gov

Chism Beach Park – Bellevue
It will be planes galore at this scenic Bellevue neighborhood park with its lakefront sandy beach, and sloping grass lawn, and the perfect place for your crew to convene for an afternoon airshow. With its play structure built right on the beach, tots can easily maneuver from water-play, to playground, to sand digging without missing a moment of all the high-flying action.

Chism Beach Park
9600 S.E. 11th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98004
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/parks

Meydenbauer Beach Park – Bellevue
Note: This park is closed this summer due to construction, but keep it mind for next year’s Seafair Air Show!
Nearly walking distance from downtown Bellevue, this hidden beach park will give you enough of a view, and plenty of activities to keep the chitlins busy both before and after the show. Kids can wander a wooded trail, take a dip in the lake or spend the extra wait time on a small play structure. Good to Know: you’ll likely need to find street parking and walk a steep path down to the park, so be sure to save some of their energy for the return trip back up the hill.

Meydenbauer Beach Park
419 98th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue, Wa 98004
Online: http://www.ci.bellevue.wa.us/

Does your family have a favorite place to watch the Blues? Tell us in the comments below!

— Jeffrey Totey & Rachael Brandon