The Insider’s Guide to July 4th on the Eastside
Something is about to explode on the Eastside! Every year around the Fourth of July, lots of communities put together a fireworks display. But it can be overwhelming to figure out where to go and when. Never mind navigating the traffic that comes with it. So I thought it’d be nice to put together a quick little list of firework shows, times, and locations for you. Yes, I’ve got the big three on here (Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue), but I also wanted to talk about a few of the outlying communities. Many have shows that are just as awesome, but with half the crowds. So who knows, maybe this year you’ll venture out and find something new!
The BIG Three
Date: July 4
Expect more than 60,000 people. Yes, there will be live music and events as well, but… 60,000 people. If you’re up for braving the crowds, the family fun zone opens at 2 pm, and the big show kicks off around 10 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Marina Park
If you’ve never seen fireworks over water, you’re missing out. This might just be my favorite display because, if you’re lucky, you can catch some of Seattle’s show in the background, too. There is a parade starting at 9AM with events lasting right up until BOOM time at 10 pm. Parking is a tight and space to sit is limited, so get in town early. Finding some blanket space at Houghton Beach or Heritage Park is a sneaky way to see the show with a smaller crowd, but the best trick is finding a friend with a boat and bribing your way aboard.
Date: Derby Days! July 12th and 13th
Redmond ushers its residents to nearby displays, opting to save traffic and budget for their Derby Days celebration. Read more about THAT, here.
Other Favorite Outliers
Date: July 4
Nothing like free pancakes (8:30 am) to get your day started off right! There’s also a children’s parade, grand parade, and other events to last the day until 10 pm when the fireworks show gets started.
Date: July 4
Close to home, the Down Home festival features a kids-n-pets parade (11 am), old-fashioned games, and live entertainment. I like that this one starts a bit later in the day, meaning I get to sleep in a bit before rushing to the festival to find parking. Yes, please.
Date: July 4
Location: Log Boom Park
A short drive north for a fun experience! This one really gets started later in the evening, with food and vendors kicking off at 7:30 pm. The fireworks get started around 10 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Vasa Park
This one is kind of a fundraiser and show built into one. Donations benefit the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. The event has raised more than $69,000 since 2015. If you’re looking for a way to feel good about the Fourth, this is my pick. The fireworks show itself is beautiful and, again, over water. Things get started around 10:15 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Angle Lake Park
I like this one because it’s a little lower key. There will still be a big crowd and lots of kiddos, but the spray park, lake, and kid’s bounce zone make it easy to spend more time here as you wait for the display to start. The operation kicks off around noon, with the big finale lighting up the sky around 10 pm.
Date: July 4th
Location: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is the perfect summer backdrop for Renton’s 4th of July celebration!
An array of entertaining options including two ActivityZones for kids and families, co-ed grass & sand volleyball tournament, live stage entertainment, and the company of friends and family. Be sure not to miss Oncore at 8:00pm. A 25-minute firework display over Lake Washington will conclude the day’s events at 10 p.m.
I have a friend who absolutely RAVES about seeing fireworks down south at the Emerald Downs. It’s hosted BEFORE the 4th, this year falling on July 3rd, and runs like an all-day event. It kicks off with a kid’s movie playing on the big screen before the horses come out to race. Kids really love watching the horses run and trying to pick which one will win. Kids can get up close to the thoroughbreds, which is nice. When its show time, everyone sits right by the track for a real front row view of the fireworks- always set to music. There is, naturally, a TON of parking and almost always a Groupon for admission, making it nearly free to attend. (Kids are always free) If you’re up for something different, make this your family’s newest tradition.
Let’s face it — you can’t really go wrong with what you choose around here. So many amazingly fun things to do and places to see those fireworks. Happy Fourth Y’all!!
PS — if you check any of these things out be sure to share your experience and pictures!
You’ll hear me talk about the “Big Three” pretty often. To me- those are the three cities that make up the heart of the Eastside. Redmond. Kirkland. Bellevue. Depends on who you ask, the Eastside is growing, and can sometimes include Issaquah, Bothell, Woodinville and Sammamish. But, for me, when we’re talking Eastside, we’re talking the big three.
Since the city is growing so quickly, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a patch of green space where you’re allowed to camp overnight. There are still plenty of parks and natural areas around town, but try to pitch a tent overnight and you’re likely to wind up in some hot water. It’s just not cool. But that doesn’t mean that you need to plan an epic road trip in order to find a nice little camping spot, either. Here are my personal top three favorite places to get some R&R and a bit of nature within three hours from the Eastside.
Address: 5700 SW Dash Point Rd, Federal Way, WA 98023
Drive Time: Less than an hour.
Why I Love It
Dash Point State Park is right off of I-5 in Federal Way. It’s so close to the city that sometimes you even get city noise while you’re in the park. While that may sound like a turn off, hear me out! This park has so much going for it! Positioned right near Commencement Bay, the park has access to a swimmable beach that plays host to some incredible beachcombing at low tide. Expect to find thousands of sand dollars, shells, clams, jellyfish, and the last time I was there, I even saw a fully intact “ghost” sailboat washed ashore. How cool! To top it off there are great hiking trails, a summer “Jr. Ranger” program for the kids, and a large grassy field in the middle of the campground loop for the kids to makes friends and play in. Remember that city I talked about? It’s pretty cool because, if you don’t like campfire cooking, you can easily pop right into town and have dinner out, returning to your site for s’mores and tent sleeping. Plus, if everything goes bust, you’re so close to home that it’s simple to call it a loss, pack up, and head home. That makes it perfect for first time campers!
Address: 11401 River Bend Dr, Leavenworth, WA 98826
Drive Time: 2 Hours
Why I Love It
The only non-state park camp on my list, this place is super fun for a long weekend. It’s only a 2 hour drive time (admittedly, that’s before we account for traffic) and most of that drive is spent going through either scenic Stevens or Snoqualmie Pass. The campsite itself offers SO many amenities. There is space for trailers, RVs, tents, and even a few cabins that you can rent. Onsite you’ll find a playground and even a pool. In the summer there is a free breakfast in the mornings, outside movies in the evenings, and even a free shuttle into downtown Leavenworth, where you’ll find a whole host of things to do. In the winter you can enjoy a massive open field directly behind the campground, perfect for sledding, snowshoeing, or a winter trek into town. Leavenworth is a city of festivals, with something going on almost every weekend. This glimpse into a Bavarian village makes the kids happy, and the high concentration of wineries and breweries makes mom and dad happy, too.
Address: 41020 SR 20 Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Drive Time: 90 minutes
Why I Love It
As far as I’m concerned, this is the gold standard for an immersive camping experience. This park has.it.all. On top of a TON of spots for RVs, trailers, and tents, you’ll find not one, not two, but THREE beaches. There is a salt water beach opening to the Salish Sea, a freshwater beach on Cranberry Lake, and another saltwater lagoon beach that has some of the best tide-pools in the PNW (at low tide). The Salish Sea beach has a ton of driftwood, perfect for hut making, the lake beach plays host to canoe and kayak rental as well as a seasonal snack stand, and the tide-pooling beach has rangers on site to guide you (during the summer) and help you find creatures! On top of ALL of that, you’ll also find iconic bridges that you can walk (or drive) across with sweeping vista views of the sea. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the other half of this massive park has great fishing access, too. Freshwater and saltwater fishing are both available, along with a whole host of hiking opportunities of varying difficulty. Not that you will ever need to leave this park to stay busy, but my family really enjoys a quick trip into Oak Harbor where we enjoy an evening at one of the only drive-in theaters left in the state. (Blue Fox Drive-In Theatre). Frankly, if you’re only going camping once, make it this park. It’s pretty popular and fills up fast, so make sure to make reservations well in advance.
Address: 3572 Olga Rd, Olga, WA 98279
Why I Love It
Missing my list due to time constraints only, this park is cool because it’s on an Island. Orcas Island, to be exact. That means that you’ll need to take a state ferry to get there, making it kind of pricey for trailer or RV campers. The sites are small, but the views are BIG. You can even drive (or hike) clear to the top of Mt. Constitution for a bird’s eye view of all of the San Juan Islands.
Did I miss your favorite campsite? If you want to keep it a well-guarded secret, I get it. But, if you’re willing to share, please let me know what I’m missing out on in the comments below.
We are in the final weeks of the school year. Don’t panic! There is still time! Just because the kids are out of school doesn’t mean parents don’t have to get things done. As we all know, summer camps are a great way to get the kids out, meet new people, and reduce the amount of screen time. They also give parents a minute to do, well… all of the things we need to do on our mounting lists. Right now — if you’re like me you’re just trying to get through the last few weeks of crazy with all of the end of year activities. So summer camp may be just an after thought….until NOW… there is still plenty of time to find a great camp in your community!!
Where do I look?
The Puget Sound area offers a variety of great camps for all ages, check out 6crickets to see what camps are in your community.
How cool would an indoor ski camp in Bellevue be? What a great way to get the kids ready for the slopes this winter! Sign the kiddos up for Nature Camp Sessions and allow them to deepen their understanding of the environment and its inhabitants through games, exploration, hands-on activities, stories and art. This program is offered at Madrona Park, The Valley School, Hamlin Park, Cascade K-8 Community School, Soundview School, or Brookside Elementary School.
Parentmap is another great resource for camps in your area. You can search by key word, location, day camps, classes, or overnight camps and by category. With so many great options this makes it really simple to find the perfect fit for your kiddos.
Kiddie Pool Fun!
If summer camps are not working out or maybe not in the budget, I found some really fun things to do with your kiddie pools… and some of them do not require water! I am not sure what I want to try first… walking the plank or maybe the rainbow soap foam? I would love to know what you decide to try! Check out these fun things to do with kiddie pools.
Just a head ups, next Sunday, June 16 is Father’s Day. And we have your back! We are dedicated to helping with a few places to go and things to do for the Dad or Dad’s in your life!
Washington Brewers Fest June 14-16 – Marymoor Park in Redmond offers 500 beers from Washington breweries, wine, cider, food trucks, live music, and a kids’ area. Check out this fun event!
Fenders on Front Street is a great car show in Downtown Issaquah where you can see hundreds of classic cars as you stroll down Front Street. Don’t miss the “cruise” that starts at 3pm. For more great ideas in your community click here.
NO more tie’s — I don’t really think that’s a thing anymore but we have found some personalized, inexpensive and heart tugging gift ideas too.
Let’s get those little hands dirty! So many fun projects to do with your hands!
How cute is this? If you can’t get your hands on the fancy letters grab the markers and crayons and have the kids draw their own! Get the full tutorial from Make It & Love It. If you have pets have them help with this too, maybe dangle a letter from their collar? Let us know if you try it and how it worked, we would love to see how creative you get!
Let’s face it! You’re busy…heck we’re all busy. And in the case of shopping — technology is your friend. I’ve been wishing this new shopping and pick up thing was available for years. Mostly when my kids were little — who wants to take three kids into a store and roam the isles! EEK! But I guess better late than never. Many of us have tried online grocery shopping but it seems there is a new alternative to this. I can still shop at my local grocery store then pick it up — it’s all ready and waiting for you in a designated spot in the store. Even better — having fresh produce delivered to your front door? There are so many great options for this (see below). It may take a few times to get your online ordering skills on point but let me tell you, it’s so worth it! Your orders will be saved and the next time you shop you can just click click click on the items you need and love and you’re done. Another bonus — coupons are more accessible and it’s easier to take advantage of additional savings while shopping this way. With so many local grocers offering this service, whether it is delivery or pick-up, this will save you time and these days, time is money so it is a win win!
Located in North Bend this is a great option for your produce. Farming organically since 1996 they make it simple to live the good food life and bring the season’s best mix of organic produce and specialty farm products conveniently to your home or office. Each delivery comes with farm news and some fun fresh recipes.
Smith Brothers Farms is a local family-owned and operated dairy that has been serving the greater Puget Sound area for more than 90 years. They are one of the largest independent dairies in the region, processing and delivering the freshest milk and select Northwest products to more than 50,000 homes every week. And don’t be fooled, they don’t just have milk and eggs, my kiddos love the Alki Bakery Banana Bread and Blazing Bagels.
Although I have not tried New Roots Organics I love that they are located in Ballard and have been supporting healthy customers and local growers since 1999! Each week a bin of fresh seasonal produce is delivered, you will have the option to customize what you are getting prior to your delivery. Throughout the year they make it a priority to include locally grown produce 1st, and then when needed to make your bins balanced and complete, they will include citrus, avocados, fresh greens and lettuces , etc. from California, and sometimes Mexico but they will always identify what is grown locally. Let me know what you think if you have tried New Roots Organics, I would love to know.
Check out https://www.fredmeyer.com/ for a location offering pick-up/delivery near you.
A few locations are below:
17667 Ne 76Th St
Redmond, WA 98052
12221 120th Ave NEFred Meye
Kirkland, WA 98034
23475 NE Novelty Hill R
Redmond, WA 98053
2041 148Th Ave Ne
Bellevue, WA 98007
2746 NE 45th St
Seattle, WA 98105
2902 228th Ave SE
Sammamish, WA 98075
21045 Bothell Everett Hwy
Bothell, WA 98021
Let’s face it — we live in a pretty amazing area. There is no need to go elsewhere if you want to enjoy Memorial Day weekend. It’s seems like the perfect time to stick around and have some LOCAL fun. And as a bonus — this weekend is supposed to be SUPER fabulous as far as being able to get some vitamin D is concerned. We’ve looked around some of our most favorite communities so you can find the fun — no mater where you live. Don’t forget to let us know what your favorite events are. Especially if there is something everyone else should know about. Post some pictures on IG or FB and be sure to Tag me!!
Northwest Folklife Festival & Kindiependent Showcase
The 48th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival & Kindiependent Showcase is one of the largest folk festivals in the country and fun for the whole family. With hands on activities for the kids, 26 different stages, back to back performances and dancing you will have a hard time choosing what to do first. Oh! and there will be food so make sure you are hungry!
Memorial Day Weekend Train Rides
All Aboard! With what looks like a promising weather weekend ahead take a scenic train ride through the Cascade foothills of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley to celebrate Memorial Day. This special 75-minute train ride is in addition to the railroad’s usual weekend train schedule and takes you to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. As a bonus, the Northwest Railway Museum will be offering $5 round-trip train fare Sat.-Mon. to members of the military, including active duty, guard, reserve and retired and their dependent family members, with current military ID.
Remlinger Farms is now open on Saturdays and Sundays. Take a ride the half-sized steam train along the Tolt River, pet the farm animals (think: goats, horses, piggies, cows, alpaca, sheep, bunnies, donkeys) or take a pony ride and jump in the hay maze, spin on the mini roller coaster or “fly” on the pumpkins. Plus, go ’round and ’round in the pedal cars and enjoy a day full day of farm fun.
Memorial Day Weekend Run
Put on your running shoes and bring the family to the Memorial Day Weekend run. You can choose a 5K, 10K or 15K run/walk as well as a 1 mile Memorial mile and there is a Kid’s Dash! The 400-meter Kid’s Dash (for ages 2-10) will start 15 minutes before race time, giving you the perfect chance to run with your kiddo and get warmed up before your race.
Sat., May 25 at 10 a.m. Seattle. $3 to $32. Registration required. Ages 2 & older.
Get ready for the noise at Tankfest Northwest this Memorial Day Weekend. This family event will showcase military vehicle demonstrations, remote control tanks and a scavenger hunt, plus face painting, a bouncy house and food from some of our region’s top food trucks.
Memorial Day Ceremony
This 3 day event is a great way to teach your kids the importance of Memorial Day. Enjoy this annual ceremony held at The Museum of Flight. The Museum will honor military service with patriotic music from The Boeing Employees Concert Band, followed by a ceremony with local officials and US Military personnel. And! All veterans and active US military personnel will receive free admission with ID.
Did you know May is National Bike month? Yes that’s right, it’s time to dust off the wheels and enjoy those sunny day’s — because we all know, sometimes in Spring they are few and far between. One of the best places to ride in our area is the Burke Gilman Trail — enjoyed by runners, walkers, bikers, young, and younger. Extending from Seattle to Kenmore –with MANY amazing spots along the way. Much of the trail is wide and flat with great spots to stop for lunch and views of our beautiful region. With so many access points along the trail you will usually be able to find a good spot to start and will always find a new view. If you’re really ambitious you can always just ride the whole thing from start to finish, 19 miles in total! This is a great trail for the whole family, you will not be disappointed.
Miri’s at Golden Gardens
Begin your journey at the sandy beaches of Golden Gardens that lie at one end of the trail. If you don’t pack a lunch Miri’s specializes in local, organic breakfast and lunch goodness. Make sure to try the poffertjes, Tiny Dutch pancakes! Yum! Open Thurs.-Sun. and Mon.-Sun. starting in mid-June.
8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98117
The Lockspot Cafe
The Lockspot is located at the entrance of the Ballard Locks, so if you are hungry or thirsty be sure to stop. From The Café the kiddos will be intrigued as they watch the boats go through the locks. Maybe Mom can actually eat her fish sandwich while it is still hot, one can only hope! With a menu for your little riders, and a beautiful patio, make sure this is marked on your map as a must see.
3005 N.W. 54th St
Seattle, WA 98107
Hale’s Ales and the Burke-Gilman share the same corner of the path in Fremont. Order some Mexican food from El Camión and check out the live event at Hale’s, make sure to catch The I Hate Children Children’s Show, a very funny magic show starring… kids!
4301 Leary Way N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107
Whatever you may need bike related Recycled Cycles will have what you need. Have you heard of a Trail-a-Bike? It is hitched to an adults bike and the kiddo gets to pedal along while still safely attached to your bike. With 25 years of dedication and knowledge Recycled Cycles is a great place for all your cycling needs including, air, parts, new and used bikes.
1007 N.E. Boat St
Seattle, WA 98105
Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club
Switch it up and add some water fun to your cycling journey. Agua Verde rents stand-up paddleboards and kayaks for the whole family. It is also a great place to grab tacos, nachos, and margaritas… Oh my!
1307 NE Boat St
Seattle, WA 98105
206-545-8570 (ext. 2)
Great State Burger & Burke Gilman Brewing Company
2 in! Burgers and Beer at 1 stop! Are you tired yet? Grab a burger, fries from Great State Burger and a NW IPA from the recently opened Burke Gilmand Brewing Company, which opened July of 2018. No worries… they are kid and dog friendly.
And if you prefer wine over beer and Burrata Tartin instead a burger try Erickson’s Bistro Shirlee just opened in the same complex. bistroshirlee.com
Great State Burger
3600 N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
Burke Gilman Brewing Company
3626 N.E. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
Where are you going when you hit the Burke Gilman trail? Any great places to be sure to see, play, restaurants to enjoy? Let us know!
My Five Favorite Cold Treats on the Eastside
Summer and warm weather in our region is always somewhat of a surprise, isn’t it? Just like this week — 80 in May!!? There have been years where the kids have splashed in Lake Washington on Easter, and there have been years that we’ve all worn coats well into July. And with June-uary approaching we never know what we’ll get. Since we don’t know what mother nature has in store for 2019, I thought it’d be great to plan ahead and have your list of hot places for cool summer treats ready to go in advance! Enjoy!
With several locations scattered across the Eastside, Menchies is a FROYO place that comes out heads and shoulders above the competition. They’ve built a brand around fun, and have been able to stay on brand with ease. The colors and design of the stores are fun, you’re encouraged to walk your dog to their shops (even if he can’t come inside), and they feature trendy revolving flavors that often capitalize on pop culture. Add as many or as few toppings as you like, they have a whole buffet of options, but you’ll pay by the total weight of your dish. If you go on Fridays after 6 pm, your treat costs $5 no matter how much it weighs.
The new kid on the block, Molly Moons in Downtown Redmond rarely fails to have a line around the block when the weather is nice. It’s delicious, sure, but the real story is about how the ice cream is made. 90% of ingredients are locally sourced in the PNW, making it a real hometown treat. They donate more than 3,000 scoops of ice cream per year and donate 1% of their profits to food banks. This is a cone that tastes as great as it makes you feel. With regular and revolving “seasonal” flavors, there is always something new to try… and a trusty favorite on tap for if it’s not a hit!
Cold Stone Creamery
Almost as much fun to make as it is to eat, having a Cold Stone is a full adventure. You go to the shop and start by picking your ice cream flavor. Then you pick candies, treats, and sauces that sound good. A sundae artist then uses metal spatulas to blend them into one dreamy mix while you watch. This is done on a frozen marble slab (hence the name) right before your eyes. It’s a place to let creativity run free! There are various locations on the Eastside, but my family prefers the one in Woodinville by the AMC theatre.
Not exactly Eastside, but my conscious wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t mention it. The Snoqualmie creamery isn’t in Snoqualmie either. In fact- you need to go the exact opposite direction to find it. Located on an unassuming hill in Maltby, this is the birthplace of all those gourmet and artesian flavors you can find in your local freezer section at the grocery. The inventiveness of the chefs at Snoqualmie never ceases to blow me away. (Who would ever have thought to create Tennessee Bourbon flavored ice cream?) The kids can also run around the little farm and watch as ice cream is being made. It’s a cozy, inviting family place that can be turned into an educational afternoon, and you’ll never have ice cream so fresh!
Fog Rose Ice Cream
A boutique ice cream joint in Bellevue, this is the hot new contender on the market. Yelp! Is literally blowing up with people singing the praises of this one, and it’s not hard to see why. Targeted at a more mature, sophisticated audience, Fog Rose bills themselves as “a secret that you want to keep.” Made with liquid nitrogen right before your eyes – the ice cream is never preserved. It never sits in a tub in a freezer. It goes directly from the mixer to your mouth. What a concept! Ice cream is served in a beautiful manner, and with an impressive list of upscale toppings.
Honorable mentions go out to Baskin Robbins in Kirkland and the plethora of boutique ice cream shops in downtown Seattle. For top value, my kids also never get sick of an ice cream sundae from Costco, or a or a Wendy’s Frosty (they’re surprisingly good!).
If you’re a fan of the “Shop Local” movement, chances are good that I don’t have to clue you in on local farmer’s markets. But, just in case you don’t already plan your weekends around these markets, let’s break it down.
Farmer’s markets on the Eastside give you access to the freshest, most flavorful produce you can imagine. And it’s usually offered at rock bottom prices to boot. You’re supporting local farmers (some of whom drive to the Eastside from Spokane every week!), probably getting better food, and showing your kids about business. It’s really a win-win-win. Here’s where to Farmer’s Market this spring.
Season: May 4-October 26
The Redmond Saturday Market is a staple in the Farmer’s Market scene. The event is held on Saturdays, as the name would suggest, but you’ll find so much more than just food here. Crafts, flowers, pet supplies, and even live musicians are here every weekend. The event has a permanent home near the Redmond Town Center and always draws a large crowd. Often called the “Cadillac of Farmer’s Markets.” 2019 marks the 44th consecutive year of operation for this group.
Season: May- October
The Bellevue Farmer’s Market operates on Thursdays, rain or shine, from 3-7pm. With less infrastructure than the bigger Redmond market, this one really feels like visiting the farm. Vendors sell out of tents and stations, and everything for sale is made or grown right here in Washington. Just like in Redmond, you’ll find eggs, fruit, vegetables, crafts, flowers, meats, and artisan designs.
With a much shorter season than the big markets on the Eastside, Kirkland’s answer to local produce pops up on Wednesdays through the summer. The market pops up in the downtown waterfront park, which means the kids can chase ducks and splash in the lake after you shop. With all of the restaurants and vendors downtown, visiting this market feels like urban shopping at it’s finest.
These are not the only markets on the Eastside, just the most well known. You’ll also find markets in Issaquah, Sammamish, and Woodinville. Which market is your favorite? In fact – what are the farmer’s market items that you just HAVE to have? I want to know so that I can try them, too!