Fourth of July fireworks can be the bane of families with young kids — and dogs. Should you choose to watch, you have to battle crowds and a seriously late night for the littles. Sunset is at 9:10 p.m. this year in the Seattle area and fireworks generally start well after that. Even if you don't go to watch a public show, you still may get sleepless kids and a terrified dog.
A happy medium, if you can find it, is to head to a neighborhood viewing spot to get a glimpse of the sparkly show, without the crowds. But where to go? We asked our readers for their top tips and they also shared their favorite July 4th fests from around the Sound.
For even more ideas, here's our booming-big list of July 4th events for 2018 around Seattle, the Eastside, the South Sound and beyond.
Seattle fireworks-watching spot for Seafair Summer Fourth at Gasworks
Seafair Summer Fourth's fireworks are the region's biggest display. The main fest and fireworks viewing take place at Gas Works Park, but our readers offered up these less-crazy alternatives spots from which to catch the show.
- Ballard bridge: "Years ago before kids and when we lived in Ballard we would walk down to the Ballard bridge for a little view of the fireworks."
- Eastlake Bar and Grill or other Eastlake neighborhood locales: "Eastlake Bar and Grill will have a great view from the deck. There are also a lot of pocket parks and docks all around Lake Union." Another reader suggests: "anywhere along Lakeview Blvd. or the Roanoke overpass area."
- Ivar's Salmon House, Lake Union. "Ivar's Salmon House is located on the lake and you can eat there too. Make a reservation early." (Editor's note: This might be a good date-night spot, too. Leave the kids at home!)
- Queen Anne street ends with views: One likely park with a view, if you live near the area, is MacLean Park at Taylor Ave. N. and Newton St.
- Overlook at Providence Mt. St. Vincent. "We enjoy watching fireworks from the overlook at Providence Mt. St. Vincent in West Seattle (4831 35th Ave. S.W.) and also from the overlook at Belvedere Park along Admiral Way. Also, we love West Seattle's 4th of July Kids Parade!
Eastside and north fests and fireworks-watching spots
- Magnuson Park: "Here's a great alternative to watching the Lake Union show. Watch Kirkland's fireworks from one of the parks on Lake Washington, such as Magnuson Park."
- Bellevue Family Fourth: Our favorite Fourth of July fest is hands-down the one in downtown Bellevue. We usually spend the day with family, and scurry over to the Downtown Bellevue Park to catch the fireworks show. It's amazing and the drive isn't too terrible going home."
- Fourth on the Plateau in Sammamish: "Awesome fireworks, kids' activities, music, more."
- The Issaquah Fourth of July parade and festival. "The Issaquah Fourth fest is all about families and little ones, love the small-town feel."
- An Edmonds Kind of Fourth: "We like going to the Edmonds Kind of 4th festival, which has a close-up fireworks show and fewer people but a good-size show." Another reader says: "Great parade including local kids! Awesome water hose fight with local fire fighters. Fireworks... you can sit up high on a hill and see both the Kingston and Edmonds fireworks."
- Meadowdale Park, Edmonds: "We live in North Edmonds so usually see the fireworks from Meadowdale Park."
- Log Boom Park, Kenmore: "Lake Forest Park has some great neighborhoods to see the fireworks launched at Log Boom Park on Lake Washington."
- Everett Colors of Freedom Fourth: "Parade, Imagine Children's Museum, cheap ice skating at Angel of the Winds Arena."
Kitsap Peninsula fests and fireworks-watching spots
- Bainbridge Island's Grand Olde Fourth: "Parade, street fair: It's small-town Americana. Lots of booths, food for sale by local non profits and school clubs, teams."
South of Seattle fests and fireworks-watching spots
- Field House Park, Des Moines: "For those with kids who don't like the noise [of the fireworks], you can still view them from the Field House Park in Des Moines — a little farther away, but perfect for those no-noise kids."
- Steilacoom: "We always go to Steilacoom's Fourth fest, south of Tacoma, for a small-town, fun but not-frenzied Fourth." "It's small-town America with kids riding decorated bikes and parents pulling kids in wagons." "It is doable for the whole family and small enough to not be overwhelming."
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated most recently in June 2018.