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Celebrate Red, White & Blue: 13 Independence Day Activities

Rain or shine, there’s no shortage of family-friendly 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, there’s a little somethin’ somethin’ for everyone. Here are some of our picks for where to catch the 4th of July festivities this year.

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Seafair Summer Fourth
If your family’s endurance is high and you don’t mind crowds, the all-day Seafair Summer Fourth (that’s the new name this year) 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 24 years) one to remember. Starting at noon, families can enjoy a variety of entertainment, food, and activities leading up to a spectacular fireworks show over Lake Union. Thursday, July 4 from 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm (fireworks start at 10:15 pm). 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 2:00 pm. Seattle. Free. All ages. Event details.

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 (7:00 am) with a pancake breakfast and continues throughout the day with a classic car show, all-day street fair, a historic baseball game, and much more. The parade – self-titled the “Best Small Town Parade in America” – begins at 1:00 pm. Thursday, July 4 from 7:00 am – 10:30 pm. 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 favorite 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 pm and stay late for a post fireworks show concert. Thursday, July 4 from 2:00 pm – 10:30 pm. Bellevue. Free admission (costs vary for rides and games). All ages. Event details

Phil Scoville via Flickr

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. Thursday, July 4 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Auburn. Free admission ($5 wristbands for unlimited activities). All ages. 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. See floats, clowns, drill teams, and more march through the streets of downtown Burien at this longstanding local tradition. Thursday, July 4 at 3:30 pm. Burien. Free. 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. Thursday, July 4 from 10:00 am – 10:30 pm; Saturday, July 6 from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Tacoma. $2 to $15 suggested donation for Freedom Fair; $5 to $15 and kids under 5 free for Wings on Wheels. All ages. Event details.

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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 and Pets Parade. From Labradors to llamas, favorite pets accompany costumed children on decorated floats and bikes down Front Street to Memorial Field. Once there, try your hand at old fashioned games, activities and races and take in live music, the Sky High Rummage Sale, the Annual Slug Beauty Pageant and Speed Contest. Thursday, July 4 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Issaquah. Free admission (various costs for games and activities). 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 10:00 pm. Insider Tip: Parking is limited; arrive early or carpool. Thursday, July 4 from 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm (park opens at 9:00 am). Tukwila. Free. All ages. Event details

2013 Bothell 4th of July
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 Street in Bothell. Be sure to wear your red, white and blue garb and bring along your American flag to wave! Thursday, July 4 from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm. Bothell. Free. All ages. Event details.

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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 gunny sack races) and enjoy concession stands. No need to worry about registering for this parade… just show up and participate! Thursday, July 4 at 10:00 am. Seattle. Free (concessions extra). All ages. Event details.  

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 237th 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. Thursday, July 4, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Seattle. Free with admission; $10 to $18. All ages. Event details. 

4th of July in Renton
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 kiddos 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. Thursday, July 4 from 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Renton. Free. All ages. Event details.

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

–Kristina Moy

Photo credit: Phil Scoville via Flickr, Marcy Grantor, Beliefnet Blog, Grand Old Fourth of July, and Lori Bee via Flickr

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