There’s nothing more exciting than Memorial Day in Seattle! The unofficial opening day of summer and a time to celebrate our freedom by remembering those who fought for it.
No matter how you’d like to spend the holiday, you don’t need to go far for museums, beach days, parks, shopping, or hiking. Try to put away your home projects and forget about work this weekend. It’s time to enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful State you call home. Celebrate like a Washingtonian and pull out the bicycle, fire up the grill and throw on a salmon or two. Living this close to the open water has its benefits.
Blue Star Museums is a program opening up on Memorial Day for active duty families granting them free access to participating museums all summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 27 Museums all over the Seattle and Tacoma area participate in the program. Art, history and children’s museums participate. There’s something for every age and interest level to enjoy with this fantastic service member benefit.
The Museum of Flight located in South Seattle, just below the Boeing Airfield, will be celebrating Memorial Day with live music by the Boeing Employee Concert Band and a special ceremony. Memorial Day is the grand opening of a brand-new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park with a B-52G Stratofortress plane as the main focal point and a memorial statue and tribute wall. Guest speakers and jet flyovers will celebrate this momentous event. Veterans and active duty military are allowed free entry.
48th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center, this is a free festival located on the Space Needle grounds. It’s an anything-goes kind of festival, and there’s a market place full of goods from all over the world, street performers, musical instrument workshops, 20 stages and 5,000 entertainers and performers, food stands and lots of hippies. It’s a love it or hate it kind of a place, so if you don’t like crowds of smelly strangers, you might want to avoid it. But, if you’re up for an adventure, you’d like to meet interesting folks, enjoy excellent entertainment and unique food you’ll love it.
Newcastle Beach Park, bring a blanket and spend the day in this 29-acre green space. A lovely swimming area is roped off in Lake Washington keeping the space wake free for your little ones to swim safely. Take a walk on the trail or steak out a spot on the dock. A play structure will keep the kids busy, and public grills are available for lunch so you can spend the whole day enjoying the views in the great outdoors.
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is one of the most popular beach parks in Renton. It’s a large, 57-acre space with views of Mount Rainer. Gene Coulon is situated on Lake Washington with a large playground, a boat launch, trail, barbeque grills, and a swimming area. Come early especially on Memorial Day weekend, it will be busy, and parking can be tricky. A strict no-dog policy is in play here with hefty fines if you’re caught with one in the park. If you don’t have time to plan a picnic, no worries, Ivar’s Seafood and Kidd Valley burger both have locations in the park.
Sammamish Landing Park is an eight-acre park on Lake Sammamish. Three beaches are favorite spots to soak in the sunshine. This is the only public access point on Lake Sammamish and can be busy, so come early and stay for the day. For a different change of pace on Memorial Day head over to Pier 59 downtown. There are more than enough activities to keep the whole family happy for the day.
The Seattle Aquarium will be hosting a Family Science Weekend. Shows, exhibits and educational opportunities are offered all weekend. You’ll have the chance to explore the sea life living in the Puget Sound. After the aquarium, you can enjoy dinner on Elliot Bay at one of the dozens of eateries with water views. Ride the Ferris Wheel overlooking the city and the Bay and wander along the waterfront while taking in the sounds of the city. There is more than enough to keep the family busy here for a weekend.
Follow the Orca Network and find whales. The Orca Network is a public group where anyone who spots whales of any kind (not only orcas) will post their findings, the time and location. If you watch closely, you could use this information to chase and spot whales of your own. You may be required to hop a ferry to find them, leading to a day of adventure and warm family memories.
There are dozens of ways to celebrate this Memorial Day. The most important thing is to leave your to-do lists behind and revel in your freedom.