Seattle summers are lousy with diverse activities and festivals, and the Fourth of July is no exception. Residents of the city and its suburbs flock to the many events held throughout the region, as nearly every city and many neighborhoods hold their own festivities to ring in Independence Day. Some events pay earnest tribute to the nation with heartfelt speeches and ceremonies, while others are content to simply hold massive outdoor parties and often set off a few fireworks. For visitors and locals alike, Seattle has no shortage of Fourth of July events.
Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival
The free Wooden Boat Festival is held from Friday, July 3 to Sunday, July 5. The festival, meant to honor the maritime heritage of the Northwest and of Seattle in particular, boasts boat rides and demonstrations alongside live music and food vendors. The festivities here are strictly during the daytime, as the activities and the docks where they’re held are closed off to the public at 6 p.m. each night, though the adjacent Lake Union Park remains open for viewing the fireworks.
Seafair Summer Fourth
The event organizers at Seafair hold two separate celebrations for Independence Day, one at Gas Works Park beginning at noon on July 4th, one just across the water at South Lake Union Park beginning at 3 p.m. Both locations have free festivities until 11 p.m., culminating in a professional fireworks show but also including beverage gardens, food trucks, concession booths, live music and open and reserved seating options. This year, Today’s Warm 106.9FM will be broadcasting from Gas Works Park between 2 and 10 p.m., and the fireworks show will air live on KIRO 7 Eyewitness News beginning with behind-the-scenes information on the display beginning at 9 p.m.
31st Annual Naturalization Ceremony
Here, the public can watch 500 individuals from 80 nations receive American citizenship in an emotional ceremony featuring a live band to welcome visitors before the actual ceremony and the emotional speeches begin. The free Naturalization Ceremony takes place at the Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on July 4th.
4th of July Picnic at Cal Anderson Park
Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill hosts a free all-ages picnic annually in honor of Independence Day. Details have yet to be released for this year’s festivities, but previous years have included live music, arts & crafts projects, pie eating contests, free hot dogs, prize drawings, a root beer garden and much more. The free event runs from noon to 5 p.m. on July 4th.
Concerts at the Locks
One of Seattle’s largest tourist draws, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard holds a series of free concerts throughout the summer. The July series begins with the Seattle Civic Band performing a patriotic set at 2 p.m. on July 4th.
Bellevue Family 4th Presented by PACCAR
Seattle’s neighboring suburb to the east across Lake Washington hosts a large celebration in the Bellevue Downtown Park. The event features live performances, a wide variety of food vendors and a family fun center with many activities and performers geared towards children. The largest 4th of July celebration on the Eastside kicks off at 2 p.m. and ends with a post-fireworks performance by the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Argosy 4th of July Cruises
Seattle cruise line Argosy is offering two Fourth of July experiences encompassing several Independence Day activities in one. The first cruise departs at 6:45 p.m. in the evening from Pier 55 and begins with a narrated cruise across the Sound to Blake Island before guests enjoy a salmon barbeque and Native American storytelling show. Finally, the cruise heads to Eagle Harbor for a close-up view of Bainbridge Island’s fireworks shows. Prices are $104 for adults and seniors, and $58 for children between ages four and 12.
The Fireworks Viewing Cruise aboard the Spirit of Seattle also departs from Pier 55 and cruise to Eagle Harbor for the Bainbridge fireworks. This 21-and-over cruise includes a live DJ, dancing, and beverages available for purchase. The cruise departs at 8:45 p.m. and costs $85 per adult.
11th Annual Old Mill Days Americana
The Kitsap Peninsula town of Poulsbo hosts their own weekend-long festivities, honoring rural Washington’s woodsman heritage with a carnival that includes live music, lumberjack shows, chainsaw carving competitions, auctions, beer gardens and of course, fireworks. The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 3rd and Saturday, July 4th and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 5th. The popular town of Poulsbo is located only 28 miles northeast of downtown Seattle, accessible via the Bainbridge Island ferry across Puget Sound.
Grand Ole 4th of July
Billing itself as “Bainbridge Island’s biggest party”, the Grand Ole 4th of July is an all-day street fair featuring a classic car show, foot races, a beer garden, food vendors, live entertainment and a mile-long parade. The festival is easily accessible by foot from Seattle via the 11 mile Bainbridge Island ferry ride. The 2015 schedule begins with a traditional pancake breakfast, with events schedule until dusk when the fireworks go off over Eagle Harbor.