Rain or shine, there’s no shortage of red, white and blue activities going on around the Emerald City this Fourth of July. From all-day Independence Day celebrations and spectacular fireworks shows, to concerts, parades and family picnics, there’s something for everyone. Read on for our top picks for where to catch the star-spangled festivities this year.

photo: David Rosen via Seafair Facebook page

Red, White & Zoo
For families who want to get a jump-start on their holiday celebration, Woodland Park Zoo will be throwing a Fourth of July picnic on the days leading up to Independence Day. Watch as the zoo’s animals – orangutans, lemurs, pigs, gorillas and more – are treated to star-shaped popsicles, watermelons and corn on the cob in celebration of Red, White & Zoo. While you’re there, listen to zookeeper talks and learn how these treats help enrich the lives of the zoo’s animals, promote natural animal behavior, keep the animals mentally stimulated and engage visitors. July 1-2 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Event details.

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. July 4 from noon–11 p.m. Event details.

Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival
This old-fashioned, down-home waterfront festival (now in it’s 41st year!) is partnering with Seafair again this year which means you have two places to watch the fireworks over Lake Union. Starting at 10 a.m., see gorgeous wooden vessels, go on a free boat ride and watch craft and skill demonstrations by regional boat builders. Plus, enjoy food vendors, live music, exhibits, and kids’ activities including toy boat building and pond boat sailing. 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 Lake Union Park to watch the fireworks show over Lake Union at 10:20 p.m. July 4 from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (also July 1-3 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.). Event details.

photo: The Center for Wooden Boats

Seattle Civic Band at Ballard Locks
The Seattle Civic Band will hold its annual 4th of July concert at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard. Put on your red, white and blue duds, pack a picnic lunch and be prepared to stomp your feet to a rousing selection of patriotic music and help celebrate the Ballard Locks’ 100th birthday! Psst… the Centennial Ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. July 4 at 2 p.m. Event details.

Burien Independence Day Parade 
Put on your best red, white and blue attire and grab a curbside seat for this annual Independence Day parade now in its 96th year! See floats, clowns, drill teams and lots of kiddies march through the streets of downtown Burien at this longstanding local tradition. July 4 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Event details.

Colors of Freedom 4th of July Parade, Festival & Fireworks
The City of Everett’s 4th of July festivities include a parade through the streets of downtown Everett, a festival at Legion Memorial Park and, of course, a spectacular fireworks display over Port Gardner Bay. Expect to see marching bands, stilt walkers, dancers, clowns and all sorts of fun surprises travel along Colby & Wetmore Avenues. After the parade, head to Legion Memorial Park to enjoy a picnic with the fam, free kids’ activities, a food fair, live music and fireworks display. July 4 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (fireworks start at 10:20 p.m.). Event details.

photo: City of Everett

The Grand Old 4th of July
Want to get out of town this Independence Day? Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island and enjoy the annual Grand Old 4th 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, foot races, 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 kicks off at dusk. July 4 from 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Event details.

Bellevue Family 4th presented by The Bellevue Collection and PACCAR
Jugglers, storytellers, rides, bouncy houses and field games at the Bellevue Parks Family Fun Zone make the Bellevue Family 4th a fave for Eastside 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. July 4 from 2 p.m.–11 p.m. Event details.

4th of July Festival at Les Gove Park
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 at noon, live entertainment, inflatable rides, a climbing wall, euro-bungy trampolines and a car show as well as food vendors, mini golf, an arts and craft area with over 50 artists, food concessions and much more. July 4 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Event details.

celebrate kirkland 4th of july 2015

photo: Celebrate Kirkland 4th of July Facebook page

Celebrate Kirkland: 4th of July Parade, Picnic & Fireworks
Join in the fun at Kirkland’s Annual 4th of July Celebration at Marina Park. The full-day of festivities will include a “decorate to celebrate” event for kids at Marina Park Pavilion followed by a “With Liberty and Justice for ALL”-themed children’s walking parade and old-fashioned downtown parade, plus live music, vendors, and a fantastic fireworks display over Marina Park. Decorating of kids’ bikes, hat making and face painting begins at 10 a.m. at the Marina Park Pavilion; the Kids Walking Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. Psst! Pets are welcome and encouraged, so put a red, white and blue collar on Fido. July 4 from 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Event details. 

Issaquah’s Down Home 4th of July & Heritage Day
Take the fam to Issaquah’s annual Independence Day celebration for lots of family fun! This 4th of July celebration will start off with the Kids ‘n Pets Parade. From Labradors to llamas, favorite pets accompany costumed kiddies on decorated floats, bikes, scooters and wagons 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 and Slug Speed Race. July 4 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Event details.

Tacoma Freedom Fair
Gather on the Ruston Way waterfront for the annual Freedom Fair in Tacoma. This festival will include an air, car and BMX bike show, live music, vendor booths, food booths 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 Gig Harbor Wings & Wheels festival on July 2 that will feature airplane fly-bys, plane rides and vintage wardbirds, as well as a car show, live entertainment, military vendors and displays and an awesome Kid’s Zone. July 4 from 10 a.m.–10:30 p.m. (Gig Harbor Wings & Wheels – Sat., July 2 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.). Event details.

4th of july parade

Bothell Freedom Festival Parade
Start your day off with a filling (and free!) pancake breakfast at the Bothell Downtown Firehouse 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! July 4 from 8:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Event details.

Family Fourth at the Fort
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. July 4 from 4 p.m.–10 p.m. (park opens at 9 a.m.). Event details

West Seattle 4th of July Kids’ Parade
Also known to locals as the “Admiral Kiddie Parade,” the West Seattle 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… you name it) the route through residential streets in North Admiral to Hamilton Viewpoint Park. After the parade, families can participate in old-fashioned games (think: 3-legged, wheelbarrow and sack races) and enjoy concession stands. No need to worry about registering for this parade… just show up and participate! July 4 from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Event details.  

photo: West Seattle 4th of July Children’s Parade

Renton’s Fabulous 4th of July
With awesome Kid’s Zone activities (think: face painting, inflatables and games), plenty of live entertainment, yummy concessions, the Annual Sand Blast Volleyball Tournament and a spectacular fireworks show, Renton’s 4th of July celebration at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is one not to miss. Be sure to pack the kids’ swimsuits, so they can cool off in the waters of Lake Washington and be sure to hit the awesome playground (to get the wiggles out) before settling in for the fireworks show at 10 p.m. July 4 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Event details.

Fireworks Over Des Moines
Take your crew to the Des Moines Marina to celebrate Independence Day. There will be a beer and wine garden and live entertainment for Mom and Dad and tons of activities for the kiddies (think: bounce houses, mazes and a bungy run, plus a climbing wall and obstacle course) along with a spectacular fireworks show at 10:20 p.m. July 4 from noon-11 p.m. Event details. 

Family Fourth of July at Angle Lake Park
Gather your family and friends and celebrate Independence Day at Angle Lake Park. This Family Fourth event will offer the spray park for kids to cool off in, plus bouncers, an afternoon of live music and a spectacular fireworks show at 10 p.m. produced by Entertainment Fireworks—the largest fireworks provided in Washington state! July 4 from noon-10:30 p.m. Event details.

Does your family have a 4th of July tradition? Where is your favorite place to watch the fireworks? Tell us in the comments below! 


— Kristina Moy