Originally published Aug 1, 2016 and updated July 26, 2018.
Seattle Seafair Festival
Our family gets excited every August because we know it’s SEAFAIR TIME! We love airplanes, so we mostly go for the incredible Seafair air shows, but also enjoy watching the hydroplane races and visiting the booths. May contain affiliate links.
My family has been to Seafair in Seattle a few times. The first time we went, I was 4 months pregnant with my oldest and it was a very hot day. We were able to find a spot right on Lake Washington and we put our feet in the water while watching the air show. It was heavenly!
The next year, our son was 7 months old and was actually pretty interested in watching the boats and the airplanes. We brought along our Baby Banz headphones for him, which helped mute some of the sound. He ended up not wanting to wear them for the most part. There were really only a few times anything was super loud, so we didn’t stress out about him wearing them all the time.
The following year, we had a 19 month old and he loved every second of Seafair! We found a spot near the water and set up our blanket and snacks and took turns walking around. We stopped by the Albert Lee booth and he got a free wooden hydroplane with 2 sets of stickers! Our son was extremely interested in both the hydroplane races and the air shows. The Blue Angels were back and better than ever!
And the year after that, we had a 2.5 year old and I was 7 months pregnant. We brought a collapsible wagon and loaded it with snacks, drinks, and our toddler. We got there early and claimed a spot near the water. Since I was in my 3rd trimester, I held down the fort while my husband and son explored the festival. We had so much fun!
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What’s for Kids at Seafair 2018?
If you bring your own lunch or need a place to feed your kids, check out the new Picnic Zone. It’s a spot for families to sit down and enjoy their food rather than eating on the go.
This area has inflatables and all kinds of games. In the past, we’ve seen bouncy houses, bungee jumping areas, flight simulators, etc.
Many of the vendors give away food/drink samples and cool products. A few years ago, my son got an inflatable hat, a wooden hydroplane, a packet of beef jerky, and countless other things. They are vendors who sell large pool floaties and things that light up. Plus, tons of food booths offer tasty treats!
One of the big events at Seafair in Seattle are the hydroplane races. These boat races are quite impressive and kids get a kick out of seeing the boats whiz by! Everyone is asked to get out of the water during the boat races, so make sure to have a nice spot on land to enjoy the festivities!
The main reason we attend Seafair is for the Boeing Air Show. The 2018 Seafair air show includes the Blue Angels, A10 Jet, A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog, P-51 Mustang Warbird, Mike Wiskus Aerobatic Stunt Plane, Brad Wuersten Aerobatic Stunt Plane, PBY Catalina also known as the American flying boat, the Port Angeles US Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and many more!
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Where to Find Discount Seafair Tickets
If you can go on Friday, there are FREE General Admission tickets available for pick up at Tulalip Resort Casino, Quil Ceda Creek Casino, or select HomeStreet Bank locations. Tickets at the gate on August 3 will be available for $10 with proceeds benefiting the Seafair Foundation.
Otherwise, Safeway and Albertson’s stores are offering 50% off Seafair coupons for General Admission at these locations.
Active duty, reserve, & retired military may enter Seafair Weekend Festival for free by presenting their Military ID badge at the special Boeing & Military entry gate at Genesee Park. Active duty, reserve, & retired military may also purchase additional reduced price general admission tickets at the gate for $20 per ticket, per day.
For Seafair weekend, children 5 and younger are free. Tickets for youth ages 6-12 and seniors 65+ are available for $10.
Seafair Tips and Tricks for Families
1. DECIDE ON SEAFAIR PARKING
We’ve done the Link Light Rail and the bus to get there in the past. It’s a bit more cumbersome if you are bringing a stroller or cooler. But, it’s definitely the most cost effective way to get to Seafair. And kids LOVE riding on Link Light Rail and buses, so it adds to the event.
Uber is another option. They have partnered with Seafair this year and have a designated pick up/drop off area.
For our family, we pay to park in someone’s driveway. We find the steep cost of Seafair parking is worth it. It saves us a lot of time walking in the heat. And it lets us stay a bit longer when we can get in the car right in time for afternoon naps. Plus, we can easily head back to the car if we forget something.
2. SHOULD YOU BRING A STROLLER?
There can be a lot of walking in the hot sun. You’ll need to walk across a grassy field to get to Lake Washington and from there, you’ll probably want a spot on the hill to watch the Seafair air show and boat races. But, if you’re planning on walking around and enjoying the festivities on the move, a stroller is a great idea! Especially if your child might take a nap.
We took our son in his baby carrier for his first two times at Seafair and that was an easy way to walk around with him. For babies and toddlers, this is a great option because it doesn’t take up much space. It’s also super helpful if you will be doing Link Light Rail.
We have also taken a collapsible wagon with us, which worked out well. It’s a long way to walk with little legs, so it was nice to pull our toddler and our stuff. And then, we were able to collapse the wagon when we picked a spot to hang out.
3. GET THERE EARLY IF YOU WANT A PRIME SPOT
People stake out their spots near the water as soon as doors open and sometimes they set up tents that block the view of those behind them. If you have a lot of stuff with you, you might want to find your spot first and take turns exploring so you don’t have to lug your stuff everywhere.
But, if you just want to walk around or don’t want to be near the water, come a little later. We tend to arrive about 2 hours before the Seafair Air Show and usually find a “good enough” spot for our family. That works for our family because our kids are little.
4. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD
I’ve seen people roll in coolers full of sub sandwiches, bbq stuff, drinks, etc. This is a great way to save money, ensure your kids have stuff to eat, and save you from standing in a long line in the hot sun. I like to bring those frozen Uncrustables sandwiches and frozen yogurt tubes with us.
5. DON’T FORGET SUNSCREEN
For some reason, the field you have to walk through to get to the Seafair festivities is always so darn hot and it feels like you trek forever through it. There is a nice lake breeze when you get away from the field. It’s important to make sure kids and adults keep applying sunscreen, wear sunglasses and wear a hat. And keep hydrated! My favorite sunscreen brand is Babyganics. They make this mineral-based sunscreen spray that soaks in well.
6. BRING EXTRA CLOTHES
The lake is very tempting on the hot days, so make sure you and your kids have either swimwear or an extra set of clothes. My son tends to want to snuggle with me when he’s soaking wet thereby soaking my clothes as well. I’ve learned to grab an extra shirt.
7. WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME
The following items aren’t allowed at Seafair: Pets, sparklers, whistles, balls of any kind, enclosed tents, etc. See the full list here.
Other Family Fun in Seattle
How Kid-Friendly is the Seattle MoPOP Museum?
Riding The Sounder Train to Seattle’s International District for a Play Date
6 Tips for Enjoying the Pacific Science Center with Toddlers
Spend the Day at Pier 57 in Seattle with Kids
Take a Seattle Argosy Cruise to Kid-Friendly Tillicum Excursion