High Flying Fun: Your Guide to Seafair 2023

Blue Angels flying at Seafair Image: Chief Petty Officer Michael Russell/US Navy Blue Angels

Where to see the practice sessions, the best parks for viewing the action, and how to get there by public transit

Held at Genesee Park, Seafair has been a Seattle tradition since 1951, and for many families, it’s one of the “can’t-miss” events of the summer. While adults are impressed with what the high-flying acrobats can do in the sky, kids are flat-out amazed. But the event isn’t just about what’s happening in the sky. It’s a special time when hydroplanes and classic cars are celebrated too. Of course, the show’s biggest stars are the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. They have performed at Seafair for over 40 years! Want to get in on this Top Gun action? Below you’ll find the general scoop on the three-day weekend in addition to information on the best places to watch the Blue Angels at Seafair this year.

Can’t-Miss Weekend Activities at Seafair 2023

Blue Angels flying at Seafair
Seafair / U.S. Navy Blue Angels

 

Boeing Seafair Air Show

The Boeing Seafair Air Show runs Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6, 2023, and it’s where you can catch the amazing flying aerobatics of the best of the best pilots. This year’s lineup includes US Navy Blue Angels (including Fat Albert C-130), the US Navy EA-18G Growlers (from Naval Air Station Whidbey), B-17 “Sentimental Journey”, B-25 “Made in the Shade”, US Army’s Golden Knights, US Army Helicopters, PBY-5A Catalina Seaplane, and US Coast Guard MH65 Search and Rescue.

The air show also includes displays by civilian pilots, vintage aircraft, and parachute demonstrations. It is said that Brad Wursten will be pushing the envelope of one of the most advanced aircraft in the world during his “Power Addiction Air Show” all three days.

As with past years, the Blue Angels have a flight plan for practices over Lake Washington so the I-90 Bridge and Seward Park will remain open.

hydroplanes and classic cars are part of seafair seattle, along with blue angel show
Seafair

HomeStreet Bank Cup

The HomeStreet Bank Cup is a H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Boat Race where the hydroplanes up to 220 MPH! Not only is this race an integral part of Seafair, but it’s also the third oldest H1 unlimited race site. This year they are celebrating 70 years with Seafair.

Seafair Classic Car Show

Up to 100 classic vehicles will be on display on the shores of Lake Washington for the Seafair Classic Car Show on Sat. and Sun. Come see vintage antique cars from the 1920s and 1930s, modified classic cars, custom classic cars, and classic foreign cars along Thunder Alley.

Museum of Flight Jet Blast Bash

The Museum of Flight’s Annual Jet Blast Bash is a two-day event that offers families the closest views of the Blue Angel show as the planes park and take off from the Museum. Held on Aug. 5 and 6, 2023 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., the Museum of Flight will be chock-full of outdoor family activities, plane displays, live music, food, and even a beer garden for moms, dads, and other caregivers. All activities are free with Museum admission. There will be some free parking onsite, but it will be limited so they recommend taking public transit.

 

Seafair Weekend Schedules

Blue Angels pilot at Seafair
Chief Petty Officer Michael Russell/US Navy Blue Angels

Boeing Airshow Schedule

Friday:
11:10 – US Army Gold Knights
1:05 – US Navy EA18 – Growlers
1:35 p.m. – US Air Force C-17
1:50 p.m. – PBY – Catalina
2:05 p.m. – Brad Wursten – MXS-R
2:25 p.m. – US Army Helos
2:45 p.m. – B-17 Sentimental Journey
2:55 p.m. – B-25 Made in the Shade
3:05 p.m. – US Coast Guard – MHJ65 Search and Rescue
3:20 p.m. – US Navy Blue Angels – Fat Albert C-130
3:30 p.m. – US Navy Blue Angels

Saturday
10:50 a.m. – US Coast Guard – MH65 Search and Rescue
11:05 a.m. – PBY – Catalina
11:45 a.m. – US Army Golden Knights
1:05 p.m. – US Navy EA18 – Growler
1:35 p.m. – US Air Force C-17
1:50 p.m. – Brad Wursten – MXS-R
2:50 p.m. – B-17 Sentimental Journey
3:00 p.m. – B-25 Made in the Shade
3:10 p.m. – US Army Helos
3:20 p.m. – US Navy Blue Angels – Fat Albert C-130
3:30 p.m. – US Navy Blue Angels

Sunday
10:30 a.m. – Opening Ceremony
10:35 a.m. – US Coast Guard – MH65 Search and Rescue
10:45 a.m. – US Army Helos
11:55 a.m. – US Army Golden Knights
1:05 p.m. – US Navey EA18 Growlers
1:50 p.m. – PBY Catalina
2:10 p.m. – Brad Wursten – MXS-R
2:55 p.m. – B-17 Sentimental Journey
3:05 p.m. – B-25 Made in the Shade
3:15 p.m. – Boeing 737-9 Flyover
3:20 p.m. – Blue Angels – Fat Ablert C-130
3:30 p.m. – Blue Angels

hydrofoil at Seafair
Seafair

Hydroplane Racing Schedule

Friday:
9 a.m. – H1 Testing
10:30 a.m. – J Hydro Heat 1
9:35 a.m. – H1 Unlimited Testing
10:50 a.m. – Vintage Hydroplanes
10:50 a.m. – Vintage Hydroplane Exhibition
11:45 a.m. – H1 Unlimited Qualifying
3:30 p.m. – Blue Angels

Saturday:
9 a.m. – H1 Testing and Qualifying
10:25 a.m. – J Hydro Heat 2
11:20 a.m. – Vintage Hydroplanes
12:30 p.m. – H1 Heat 1A Start
12:55 p.m. – H1 Heat 1B Start
2:20 p.m. – H1 Heat 2A Start
2:35 p.m. – H1 Heat 2B Start
3:30 p.m. – US Navy Blue Angels

Sunday:
9 a.m. – H1 Testing
10:05 a.m. – J Hydro Final
10:30 a.m. – Opening Ceremony
11:10 a.m. – H1 Heat 3A Start
11:25 a.m. – H1 Heat 3B Start
11:35 a.m. – Vintage Hydroplanes
12:40 p.m. – H1 Heat 4A Start
12:55 p.m. – HT Heat 4B Start
2:35 p.m. – Home Street Bank Cup Final and Gold Cup Race
4:35 p.m – Home Street Bank Cup and Gold Cup Awards Ceremony

Blue Angels flying at Seafair
Petty Officer 2nd Class Cody Deccio

 

Going to the Races

What to Bring
Be sure to lather on the sunscreen and bring lots of water and some extra cash as many of the beaches will have tasty treats to purchase. Your wingmen will enjoy the show best if you gear them up with some ear protection, especially if they can sport some cool earmuffs like the ones the pilots wear.

The Best Way to Get There
Genesee Park on Lake Washington will be your best bet for a front-row seat for both the air show and hydroplane extravaganza. However, getting there by car is no picnic, and finding parking will be that much harder. There is some general parking available for $50 (which you can purchase ahead of time) and limited paid ADA parking. Instead, we suggest you take advantage of buses and link light rail for your transportation needs. In any case, here are your options:

Sound Transit Link Light Rail
Get free round-trip shuttle service from Columbia Center Station from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sound Transit schedules and rates can be found online.

Sound Transit Buses
Check the Sound Transit Trip Planner for the most direct route from your home.

Metro Transit Buses
Metro Bus Route 50 will be operating a standard schedule with stops at Genesee Park & Columbia City Station. This route will operate every 15 minutes from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Seafair Saturday and Sunday. Military members and their families will receive free rides by showing military ID.

ADA Parking
Limited paid ADA event parking will be available on-site on a first-come, first-served basis. A state-issued, accessible placard is required for access.

Online: seafair.org

hydrofoils at Seafair
Seafair

Where to Find All the Action 

Genesee Park on Lake Washington is the official location and will be your best bet for a front-row seat to the Air Show extravaganza, hydroplane hoopla, and a lot more. The park is located at 4316 South Genesee Street.

Tickets

Best Deal
General admission on Fri., Aug. 4 is FREE for everyone!

General Admission
1- Day Pass (Sat. & Sun.): $40 (adults) and $15 (Children 6-12 and Senior 62+)
3-Day Championship Pass: $85 includes Pit Pass
Grandstand Seating: $45 – $95
Captain’s Club Seating: $150 – $450

Active and Retired Military Families
In appreciation for their service, all service members will receive free admission with military I.D. Military family members get in for $20.

Helicopter at Seafair
Seafair

 

Other Places to See the Air Show

Mount Baker Park
Located just two miles away from the Seafair epicenter, this beach park is the perfect spot to picnic while you watch in awe as the team displays the amazing agility and speed of the F/A-18 Hornet, performing a flurry of stunts that loop, roll, and turn through the sky. The small, well-groomed space has plenty of entertainment to keep those jet-heads busy while you wait for the show, including a life-guarded beach complete with a roped-off kiddie area, a cozy grass lawn perfect for a picnic, plus a small playground with a sturdy zip-line for small fries to attempt their own daredevil maneuvers on.

Insider Tip: Be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds and spend some time exploring the park before the show. Parking is limited, so consider using public transportation or venturing the neighborhoods on the hill above the lake.

2521 Lake Park Dr. S.
Seattle
Online: seattle.gov/parks

a blue angel show pilot waves from the cockpit
U.S. Blue Angels

Colman Park
Located adjacent to Mount Baker Park, this lush, grassy waterfront area offers an amazing view of Lake Washington and a stellar place to picnic with the crew while you do some plane-watching. Spend some time wandering the walking trails, community garden and score some ice cream before the show.

Colman Park
1800 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle
Online: seattle.gov/parks

Pritchard Island Beach
Tucked quietly away in the Rainier Beach area of Lake Washington is a little grassy beach that boasts of panoramic views of Seward Park and Mercer Island. Here kids can splash around in the water, cannonball from the low or high diving boards and enjoy the show away from the noise and glitz of the big festivities.

Pritchard Island Beach
8400 55th Ave. S.
Seattle
Online: seattle.gov/parks

Aubrey Davis Park – Mercer Island
Formerly called Park on the Lid, this huge green space, located just off of the I-90 bridge, offers an abundance of room to watch a stellar show with spectacular views of Lake Washington, the Olympics, and Seattle’s skyline as the backdrop. The park also offers two softball fields, two playgrounds, and trails throughout the park, giving everyone plenty of room to run around, throw a Frisbee, or park for a bite to eat.

Aubrey Davis Park
2030 72nd Ave. S.E.
Mercer Island
Online: mercergov.org

Groveland Beach Park Beach – Mercer Island
This hidden gem is located in a residential neighborhood on the west shore of Mercer Island and offers a guarded, sandy beach and playground to hang with your flight crew during the show. Keep in mind that you will have to walk down a steep, paved path to get to the beach. Although not a direct vantage point for the demonstration, this area does offer a less crowded alternative for plane gazing.

Groveland Park
7740 S.E. 58th St.
Mercer Island
Online: mercergov.org

Medina Beach Park
Keep ‘em cool at this gorgeous lakefront park with a sweet panorama of Lake Washington with Seattle, plus Mount Rainier in the background. Bring along those shovels and buckets and let the kids play in the sand, or splash around in the water while scoring one of the best views around for watching the Blues.

Medina Beach Park
501 Evergreen Point Rd.
Medina
Online: medina-wa.gov

Chief Petty Officer Michael Russell/US Navy Blue Angels

Chism Beach Park
It will be planes galore at this scenic Bellevue neighborhood park with its lakefront sandy beach, and sloping grass lawn, and the perfect place for your crew to convene for an afternoon airshow. With its play structure built right on the beach, tots can easily maneuver from water play to playground, to sand digging without missing a moment of all the high-flying action.

Chism Beach Park
9600 S.E. 11th St.
Bellevue
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/parks

Meydenbauer Bay Park
Nearly walking distance from downtown Bellevue, this newly remodeled beach park will give you enough of a view, and plenty of activities to keep the chitlins busy both before and after the show. Take advantage of the quarter-mile of Lake Washington waterfront, beautiful swimming beach and swimming platform, plus a 400-foot-long curved pedestrian pier that extends into the lake, a hand-carry boat launch, paved walkways, picnic areas, and a fantastic playground. The park also features a hilltop overlook with gorgeous views of Seattle, a new beach house with restrooms, changing rooms, and boat rentals (think: canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards), as well as a lifeguard station.

Meydenbauer Bay Park
419 98th Ave. N.E.
Bellevue
Online: bellevuewa.gov

Additional reporting by Rachael Brandon

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