Washington State celebrates July 4th in style in all kinds of ways. From huge shows in Seattle and Tacoma, to smaller community festivities featuring picnics, parades, music and family fun. Many of these small-town celebrations make an excellent excuse to plan a long weekend getaway. Whereas Western Washington locales typically include fireworks in their July 4th celebrations, drier conditions in Eastern Washington often prohibit such activity because of the fire risk.
Note that firework shows typically begin at dusk or dark, which is approximately 10 p.m. in the Seattle area.
Stake out a spot at Gas Works Park (or on a boat on the lake or pretty much anywhere else along the shores of Lake Union) to see thousands of pounds of fireworks explode over Lake Union. General admission is free but VIP seats can be purchased online. Activities include live music, games, pie-eating contests, sack races and more. This even is extremely popular so parking is limited and public transportation is encouraged.
Billed as Washington State's largest one-day event with more than 80,000 attendees each year, Freedom Fair fills the Ruston Way Waterfront in Tacoma with multiple music stages, a car show, an air show, food vendors of all kinds and a kids zone. Even though tens of thousands of people show up, one of the best perks of this event is the nature of its location - since it's spread out on Ruston Way, there's lots of room and tons of great view points to see the fireworks.
If you want a larger celebration, but perhaps not quite as large as Seattle's, Bellevue's Downtown Park is filled with family-friendly fun all day long on July 4th. About 60,000 people show up to enjoy live music, food and the Family Fun Zone and Family Plaza. Also expect a presentation by the Bellevue Fire Honor Guard and a performance of the National Anthem. At dark, the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra will accompany a spectacular fireworks show.
Everett celebrates Independence Day with an all-day event. Kick the day off with a parade at 11 a.m. at Colby and Wetmore avenues featuring marching bands, clowns, puppets, stilt walkers and more. From 1 p.m. to 11 p.m., Legion Park Bluff is filled with live music, kids' entertainment, a food fair, a beer garden and - of course - fireworks to cap it all off at dark.
Located in the Snoqualmie Valley, about 35 miles from Seattle, Carnation is a small town that likes to throw a party on July 4th. Expect the day's events to run the gamut, from a 5K run/walk, a pancake breakfast, a late-morning parade, three-on-three basketball, a car show, food, music, vendors, strawberry shortcake feast, and fireworks. In short, you'll have no trouble keeping busy all day long. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. and continues until fireworks at dark.
July 4th fills Kirkland's downtown Waterfront with family fun. The day starts with a children's parade, continues with the hometown parade, and is filled with food and music and Marina Park. Fireworks start at dark and are visible from Marina Park, Heritage Park, and boats on Lake Washington.
Just north of Seattle, the cute town of Edmonds has had a long tradition of celebrating the 4th - as in more than 110 years! This celebration is all about community and even the event's signature fun run wrangles in some community pride as runners chase "Old Man Brackett" (a man dressed up like George Brackett, the founder of the city). There's not one, but two parades, games, and a beard and mustache contest. Fireworks will be set off from Civic Stadium at dark.
Location: Lake Meridian Park
Kicking off at noon at Lake Meridian Park, the Kent Fourth of July Splash goes all day long until fireworks at dark. Games and fun include bounce houses, giant Jenga and food booths. Expect plenty of live entertainment and several bands playing on stage throughout the day. Fireworks take place over the lake and fireworks are always more stunning over water.
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is home to Renton's annual Fourth of July celebration that's filled to the brim with family fun. Enjoy two ActivityZones for kids and families, join in the volleyball tournament on either a sand or grass court, or kick back with some food and listen to the live music that lasts from noon to 9:30 p.m. To cap it all off, a 25-minute fireworks display will take place over Lake Washington.
Starting at 6 p.m., Sammamish Fourth on the Plateau fills Sammamish Commons Park with lots to do. Grab dinner at one of the food trucks, and enjoy bigger and better kids activities, play some games with the family or enjoy the new grown-up game area, and expect more giveaways than previous years. Of course at dark, around 10 p.m., there will be fireworks.
Fort Dent Park in Tukwila kicks off a July 4th party at 4 p.m. with bounce houses, airbrush face painting, kids activities, a food court, and live music. Food vendors include Off the Rez, All About Cookies, My Newt Mini Donuts and Shave Ice, and more. Fireworks start at dark.
From sunup to sundown, downtown Winslow will have its annual July 4th celebration. If you don't live in Winslow, you can get there via a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle (you can walk or bike on). Windslow is just a five-minute walk from the ferry terminal. The celebration includes an all-day street fair, food races, a car show, beer and wine garden, an old-timers baseball game, kids activities that range from pony rides to bounce houses to mini golf, and a grand hometown parade starting at 1 p.m. Fireworks at dark.
Whatcom County's biggest fireworks display is preceded by lots of fun happenings. The Bellingham Haggen 4th of July Celebration includes a bit of everything. Starting at 2 p.m., the beer garden and KidsZone will open. Kids get to enjoy games, face painting, and circus performers from the Bellingham Circus Guild. As this is a major event, parking will be tight and attendees are encouraged to walk, bike or use the free shuttles.
The Port Angeles City Pier kicks off a day of fun at noon. Expect all things traditionally American here - from hot dogs and apple pie to baseball. The Port Angeles Lefties will be onsite to sign autographs and chat with fans. Also expect a wine and beer garden, a parade, a pickleball tournament, a cornhole tournament, a lawnmower derby and an appearance by rock and soul band Freddy Pink.
Vancouver, Washington, hosts the largest fireworks display in the Portland, Oregon, metro area. The display takes place over Fort Vancouver National Historic Site - and this is the best place to go to watch the show as you cannot spot them from Portland, Clark College or the Columbia River. There will be food onsite as well as live music. You can bring along your own food, blankets or chairs. Before the fireworks, visit The Marshall House, Providence Academy, Fort Vancouver, or Pearson Air Museum during the day.
The fireworks set off from the top of the Grand Coulee Dam are often voted one of the best shows in the state! In 2019, the show will take place on both July 3 and July 4. On July 4, just after the nightly laser light show, watch the fireworks set off from the top of the dam. There's also a rodeo, food fair, kids' activities, arts and crafts, live music and boating.
Leavenworth's July 4th is all about families at Kinderfest. The Bavarian-themed village hosts games for kids and families. Activities include a bike parade, cupcake walk, disc golf, nature walks, fishing lessons and more, and often the activities weave in Leavenworth's beautiful natural surrounds.
Spokane is the biggest city in Eastern Washington (and the second largest city in the state) and so you can expect grand things from its July 4th hoopla at Riverfront Park. The festivities start at noon with live music going all day long until the fireworks at dark, as well as food galore, family fun, craft vendors, and a beer garden by No-Li Brewhouse. The fireworks go off over the park and Spokane River gorge.
For a day of old fashioned family fun, Yakima's 4th of July Celebration has you covered. Kids activities include a watermelon eating contest, sack races, and even an inflatable water slide! Other fun includes a parade, vendor and food booths, carnival rides, live entertainment and fireworks at dark.