The Boeing Air Show during Seattle Seafair Weekend is a must see for all families and thrill seekers. For many across the Pacific Northwest, summer and Seafair reach their pinnacle as the pilots behind the yokes of the “Blue” Boeing F/A-18 Hornets make their thunderous and spectacular appearance over the skies of Seattle.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels amaze the Seafair audience with their knife-edge passes and dynamic maneuvers directly overhead boaters on Lake Washington. The F/A-18 can reach speeds just under Mach 2 (almost twice the speed of sound or about 1,400 MPH).
Blue Angels Seafair practice and show schedule*
*This is the schedule from 2017 since Seafair has not been updated their website in recent years.
- (tentative) Thursday: 9:45 a.m. – noon and 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. (Practice)
- (tentative) Friday: 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. (Practice)
- (tentative) Saturday: 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. (Full show)
- (tentative) Sunday: 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. (Full show)
Seafair I-90 closure information
Another reliable source for the schedule is the WSDOT Seafair page. These guys and gals at WSDOT are the ones who schedule the bridge closures required while the Blue Angels fly over Lake Washington. The Washington State Department of Transportation closes all lanes of Interstate 90 across Lake Washington several times to accommodate air show practices and performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
- The bridge highrises will still be accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. However, no one on foot or bike can travel beyond the highrises up to 30 minutes prior to posted closure times.
- I-90 east of Mercer Island will NOT be closed during the performance, although drivers should note that heavy congestion during these closures often restricts access to the exits.
The 2018* WSDOT I-90 closure schedule is as follows:
*We’ll update the link for 2019 when the new schedule becomes available.
- Thursday, Aug. 2: 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1 to 2:45 p.m. (practice)
- Friday, Aug. 3: 12:55 to 2:45 p.m. (Seafair Air Show)
- Saturday, Aug. 4: 12:55 to 2:45 p.m. (Seafair Air Show)
- Sunday, Aug. 5: 12:55 to 2:45 p.m. (Seafair Air Show)
Places to watch the Blue Angels for freeNote: As of 2018, there is NO FREE FRIDAY admission to Seafair. But there are lots of other places to see the air show, and especially the Blue Angels flying to and fro:
A lot of people walk out into I-90 while it is closed. Note that you cannot drive onto I-90 (see Seafair I-90 closure information above).
Parks along Lake Washington with good viewpoints, from north of the Seafair boundary at S Massachusetts St, or south of the Seafair entrance at 49th Ave S and Lk Wash Blvd S
- Mt Baker Ridge Viewpoint, 1403 31st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144 (map)
- Mount Baker Park Bathing Beach, 2521 Lake Park Dr. S, Seattle, WA 98144 (map). (Note that this option is available only to walk to–no parking–as there is a fenced boundary north of Colman Park at S. Massachusetts Street, though the Seafair entrance is south of Mt. Baker Beach)
- East Portal Viewpoint, 1400 Lake Washington Blvd. S (map)
- Day Street Boat Ramp, 1402 Lakeside Ave. S (map)
- Colman Park, 1800 Lake Washington Blvd. S (map). (Note that this option is available only to walk to–no parking–as there is a fenced boundary north of Colman Park at S. Massachusetts Street, though the Seafair entrance is south of Mt. Baker Beach)
- Seward Park is closed during Blue Angels performances, 5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S (map)
- Pritchard Island Beach, 8400 55th Ave. S (map)
Parks on Mercer Island with good viewpoints
- Aubrey Davis Park (formerly Lid Park), 2030 72ND AVE SE, Mercer Island, Washington 98040 (map)
- Groveland Beach Park, 7740 SE 58TH ST, Mercer Island (map)
Slater Park, 2835 60TH AVE SE, Mercer Island(this option is no longer available as the park is closed to the public and used for official business during Seafair)
Other free viewing points around Seattle:
Many people ask whether you can see the Blue Angels from downtown Seattle. The answer is, it depends. You need someplace high with a fairly wide view of the sky. Here are some general recommendations. We have not personally checked these, but the views from these public parks is stunning, without or without jets flying about. You might make a summer project out of it–where will we watch the Blue Angels–by visiting these locations earlier in the summer. Go during lunch, pack a picnic and bring a camera. You can also wait until Seafair weekend, and plan to visit a different spot each day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
- Beacon Hill: Twelfth Avenue South Viewpoint, 2821 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
- Beacon Hill: Jefferson Park, 3801 Beacon Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98108. Go to the north end by the skate park.
- West Seattle: Hamilton Viewpoint Park, 1120 California Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98116
- West Seattle: Don Armeni Boat Ramp, 1222 Harbor Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98116
- West Seattle: Seacrest Park (aka Luna Park), 1660 Harbor Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98126
- West Seattle: Belvedere Park (aka Admiral Viewpoint), 3600 SW Admiral Wy., Seattle, WA 98126
- West Seattle: Jack Block Park, 2310 Harbor Ave SW, Terminal 5, Seattle, WA 98127
- West Seattle: Rotary Viewpoint, 4622 35th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98126
- Capitol Hill: Volunteer Park water tower, 1247 15th Ave. E, Seattle, WA 98112 (view is obstructed by metal grate and trees, so not the best, and the rest of the park is relaxing and fun)
- Capitol Hill: (Louisa) Boren Park, 1606 15th Ave. E, Seattle, WA 98112
- First Hill: Yesler Community Center, 917 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122. The adjacent Yesler Terrace Park is still under construction. But the views south from the patio of the center are stunning.
- Queen Anne Hill: Kerry Park (Franklin Place), 211 W Highland Dr., Seattle, WA 98119
- Note: The Seahawks VMAC is NOT open as a viewing spot, though some report (falsely) that it is. If you go there, you will be turned away.
- Downtown Seattle: Smith Tower Observatory, 506 Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104. 35th floor, 360 degrees views. Tickets: $12 with valid Washington State ID, otherwise $19.
- Downtown Seattle: Sky View Observatory, Columbia Center, 700 4th Ave, Floor 73, Seattle WA 98104. 902 feet, 360 degrees views. Tickets: $22.
- Downtown Seattle: Space Needle Observation Deck, 400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109. 520 feet, 360 degrees views. Tickets: $29.
- South of downtown Seattle: Museum of Flight (MOF) is the Blue Angels’ headquarters and Seafair’s Boeing Air Show aircraft. Jet Blast Bash is at the launch pad for most of these spectacular performers. The Museum of Flight’s annual Seafair weekend outdoor festival-by-the-flightline. Fast planes, fast cars, music, food and beer with the closest seats in Seattle to the ceremony and thunder of the Blue Angels’ takeoffs and landings. Free offsite parking and free shuttle. METRO Bus #124 makes a stop directly in front of the Museum. Free with museum admission: Adults $25, Senior (65+), Youth (5-17) $16, Child (0-4) free. Discounted tickets are available to active military & veterans, Boeing employees, AAA members
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