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. The Seafair.com website is very poorly maintained this year–yeah Seafair.com, we’re talking to you. As of August 2, 2018 the Seafair.com Boeing Air Show website lists NO details about the Boeing Air Show schedule, or the Blue Angels performance times or practice schedules. In any case, we’re including information from prior 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 WSDOT I-90 closure schedule is as follows:
- 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: In 2018, there is NO FREE FRIDAY admission to Seafair. But there are lots of other places to see the air show:
Museum of Flight (MOF) is the Blue Angels’ headquarters during the team’s Seafair performance, as well as the launch pad for Seafair’s Boeing Air Show featuring a multitude of aircraft. Outside the museum, it is free to see the Blue Angels’ thunderous takeoffs and of the nearby Boeing Field flights for other Seafair Airshow airplanes. Note: There is no parking at the museum that day, so before you go, check their website for alternatives (METRO Bus #124 or ride share are the general recommendations). Inside MOF, the museum celebrates Seafair and the Blue Angels’ with the “Jet Blast Bash” festival, filled with children activities, food, entertainment and more. Festival activities are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and included with admission to the Museum. Regular admission is $22; a variety of free and discount passes are available to AAA members, Boeing employees, military/veterans, seniors, and youth. Children 4 and under are always free. Visit the MOF website for more information or to purchase tickets.
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.
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