Get the scoop on the best family activities in Seattle.

Celebrate Stars and Stripes: 14 Independence Day Activities That Shine

Rain or shine, there’s no shortage of red, white and blue activities going on around the city this 4th of July. From all-day Independence Day celebrations and spectacular fireworks shows to concerts, parades, and family picnics, here are some of our picks for where to catch the 4th of July festivities this year.

seafair 4th of july

Seafair Summer Fourth
If your family’s endurance is high and you don’t mind crowds, the all-day Seafair Summer Fourth is the big show in town. The folks at Seafair promise to make this Independence Day celebration (which has been a Seattle tradition at Gas Works Park for more than 25 years) one to remember. Starting at noon, families can enjoy a variety of entertainment, food, and all-American games and activities (think pie eating contests, sack races and hula hoop contests) leading up to a spectacular fireworks show over Lake Union. Friday, July 4 from 12 p.m.–11 p.m. (fireworks start at 10:15 pm). Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details.

Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival
This old-fashioned, down-home waterfront festival (now in it’s 38th year!) is partnering with Seafair this year which means now you have two places to watch the fireworks over Lake Union. Starting at 11 a.m., see gorgeous wooden vessels, go on a free boat ride, and see craft and skill demonstrations by regional boat builders. Plus, enjoy food vendors, live music, exhibits, and kids’ activities including toy boat building and a treasure hunt. Since this year’s venue will take place on the wharf, on the docks, and in the area directly south of the floating facilities, you can grab a spot at South Lake Union Park to watch the fireworks show over Lake Union at 10:15 p.m. Friday, July 4 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (also Sat. & Sun.). Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details.

Seattle Civic Band
The Seattle Civic Band will hold its annual 4th of July concert at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard. Pack a picnic lunch and be prepared to stomp your feet to the patriotic classics. Come early or stay late to watch the boat traffic navigate the locks. Thursday, July 4 at 2 p.m.. Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details.

american flag - seafair

Grand Old Fourth of July
Want to get out of town on the 4th of July? Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island and enjoy the annual Grand Old Fourth of July parade and community celebration. The fun starts early (7 a.m.) with a traditional pancake breakfast and continues throughout the day with a classic car show, all-day street fair, family fun run, children’s games, and much more. The parade – self-titled the “Best Small Town Parade in America” – begins at 1 p.m and the fireworks over Eagle Harbor kick off at dusk. Friday, July 4 from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Bainbridge Island. Free. All ages. Event details.

Bellevue Family 4th
Jugglers, storytellers, rides, bouncy houses and field games at the Bellevue Parks Family Fun Zone make the Bellevue Family 4th a fave for Seattle kids! After the sun goes down, settle in for a spectacular fireworks show set to the sounds of the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra at 10:05 p.m. and stay late for a post fireworks show concert. Friday, July 4 from 2 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Bellevue. Free admission (costs vary for rides and games). All ages. Event details

Auburn 4th of July Festival
Auburn’s 4th of July festival is an annual hometown fave for folks south of Seattle. This all-day celebration will feature a kids’ bike parade, live entertainment on two stages, inflatable rides, a climbing wall and euro-bungy trampolines as well as food vendors, mini golf, a car show, and much more. Friday, July 4 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Auburn. Free admission ($5 wristbands for unlimited activities–wristband sales begin at 10 a.m.). All ages. Event details.

owen 4th of july

Burien Independence Day Parade 
Put on your best red, white and blue attire and grab a curbside seat for this annual Independence Day parade. See floats, clowns, drill teams, and more march through the streets of downtown Burien at this longstanding local tradition. Friday, July 4 at 3 p.m. Burien. Free. All ages. Event details.

Down Home 4th of July/Heritage Day Celebration
Take the fam to Issaquah’s annual Independence Day celebration for lots of family fun! This 4th of July celebration will start off with a special Kids, Pets ‘n Pride Parade. From Labradors to llamas, favorite pets accompany costumed children on decorated floats and bikes down Front St. to Veterans’ Memorial Field. Once there, try your hand at old-fashioned games, activities and races and take in live music and the Annual Slug Beauty Pageant. Friday, July 4 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Issaquah. Free admission (various costs for games and activities). All ages. Event details.

Tacoma Freedom Fair
Gather on the Ruston Way waterfront for the annual Freedom Fair in Tacoma. This festival will include an airshow, live music, and a fireworks show that’ll knock your socks off. While the bulk of the events take place on the 4th, there will be a Wings and Wheels festival on July 6 that will feature an air, car and motorcycle show as well as live entertainment, military vendors and displays, and flying demonstrations. Friday, July 4 from 10 a.m.–10:30 p.m; Saturday, July 6 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tacoma. $2 to $15 suggested donation for Freedom Fair; $5 to $15 (kids under 5 free) for Wings on Wheels. All ages. Event details.

4th of july parade

Bothell is BOOMING: 4th of July Parade
Start your day off with a filling (and free!) pancake breakfast at Downtown Firehouse #42 and then watch the Children’s Parade and Grand Parade along Main St. in Bothell. Be sure to wear your red, white and blue garb and bring along your American flag to wave! Friday, July 4 from 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. (parade starts at 11:15 a.m.) Bothell. Free. All ages. Event details.

Family Fourth at Fort Dent Park
Enjoy lots of family-friendly activities including inflatable bouncers and slides and a fab entertainment stage at Tukwila’s 4th of July celebration at Fort Dent Park. Pack a picnic or purchase food from one of the many vendors you’ll find throughout the festival. Then, stake out a spot on the lawns to watch the fireworks display at 10 p.m. Good to  know: Parking is limited; arrive early or carpool. Friday, July 4 from 4 p.m.–10 p.m. (park opens at 9 a.m.). Tukwila. Free. All ages. Event details

Admiral 4th of July Kids Parade
Also known to locals as the “Admiral Kiddie Parade,” the Admiral 4th of July Kids Parade is not your classic “floats and marching bands” type of parade; hundreds of kids and their families come from all over to walk and ride (bicycles, scooters, strollers, wagons) the route through residential streets in North Admiral to Hamilton Viewpoint Park. After the parade, participate in old school games (think 3-legged races, wheelbarrow races, and sack races) and enjoy concession stands. No need to worry about registering for this parade… just show up and participate! Friday, July 4 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Seattle. Free (concessions extra). All ages. Event details.  

admiral kids' parade

The Twenty-Seven Flags
Brush up on your American history with The Twenty-Seven Flags. This cool event is where members of Skyway Post 9430 (of the Veterans of Foreign Wars) honor the nation’s 238th birthday with a salute to the American flag – all 27 versions! See the evolution of the flag from its 13 star version to its modern 50-star version we all recognize. Friday, July 4, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Seattle. Free with admission or membership ($11 to $19; 4 and under free). All ages. Event details. 

Renton’s 4th of July
With awesome KidsZone activities (think face painting, inflatables and games), plenty of live entertainment, yummy concessions and a spectacular fireworks show, Renton’s 4th of July celebration is one not to miss. Be sure to pack the kids’ swimsuits so they can cool off in the waters of Lake Washington and take them to the awesome playground (to get the wiggles out) before settling in for the fireworks show at 10 p.m. Friday, July 4 from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Renton. Free. All ages. Event details.

Does your family have a 4th of July tradition? Where is your favorite place to watch the fireworks? Let us know in the comments section below. 

–Kristina Moy

Photo credit: Seafair Facebook page, Natalia Dotto Photography, Admiral Neighborhood Association Facebook page, Phil Scoville via Flickr, Grand Old Fourth of July, and Lori Bee via Flickr

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