On the 4th of July, the city of Seattle puts on a gorgeous fireworks display over lake union to celebrate America’s birthday. Fireworks are the #1 thing you need for a patriotic celebration, and for the 4th especially I just have to watch some.
Living in Queen Anne, I was very close to some prime spots in the city to watch the show and get some of those perfect Seattle views, but I really wanted an experience. One notoriously fun but somewhat insane place to watch from is Gas Works Park in the Fremont area. They have live music and beer gardens all day (in addition to the standard killer view), and are the perfect place to watch the fireworks SUPER CLOSE. The kind of close where you can feel the *BOOM!* in your chest every time one goes off.
However it is no secret that this is an awesome place to watch, so it is also notoriously a little $h*t Show-y in regards to the number of completely inebriated city-dwellers who show up. Admission is FREE, so just imagine how many people in Seattle have the same idea, to come watch the fireworks at Gas Works Park? It’s the kind of thing I knew I wanted to do once in my life, but probably just once (and for sure before having a kid), so my then boyfriend, now husband set off to tackle the adventure.
We decided to arrive early, getting there before 2pm when the fireworks don’t actually start until about 10:30pm… yes it is that busy. We brought blankets to lay out on the lawn, a little food to snack on, and cash for the beer garden. We spent the day lounging in the sun, meeting up with friends, making new friends, and in all just enjoying the day.
Once dusk started to set in, lawn room really wasn’t a thing anymore and the venue basically turned into standing room only! By the time it was fully dark, there wasn’t a single blade of grass to be seen… shoulder-to-shoulder people packed in as tightly as possible through the whole park.
The view couldn’t have been better! However getting home was an absolute MESS! We had Ubered over earlier in the day and had the thought we could do the same to get back to Queen Anne, just paying elevated fares. Nope! No Ubers available. Of course cabs weren’t available, everyone knows the Seattle cab scene is a total joke. Lastly, we thought we could just give up and catch a bus, only to find the buses so full that they were zooming past the stops! We ended up surrendering to Seattle’s lack of good public transportation options and just walked home.
So, if you have never tried watching the 4th of July Fireworks show I say it is worth it to try, but here are my suggestions:
You should go if…
- You are young, drunk, and have zero $hits to give on how your night goes
- If you are walking or biking distance
- If you can arrive extremely early and stay the day to claim your spot on the lawn to watch
You should not go if…
- You have small children (they will get trampled)
- You can’t come early and need to drive into the city (you will never find parking)
- You have somewhere important to be the next day (it’s going to take you a while to get out of there)
It has been a few years since this experience, so if you feel things have changed please let me know. I think Gas Works Park is such a Seattle staple, that any good Seattleite should plan on doing this one year, just to say you did!
So, who in Seattle is tackling fireworks at Gas Works this year? I hope you have fun, and good luck 😉
P.S. – I apologize for the crummy pictures, this was way back in the day before iPhones had better pictures than DSLR cameras 😉