Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Fourth of July Weekend: July 4–7, 2024

Pioneer Square Fest, Big Ass Boombox, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
July 4, 2024

Did you miss Sunset Tavern's Big Ass Boombox in May? No worries—they're running it back this weekend, showcasing Seattle bands like PNW beach rock trio Warren Dunes.

(Warren Dunes via Facebook)
Listen, America may not be worth celebrating right at the moment (is it ever?), but a day off from the capitalistic grind sure is. We've got an absolutely stacked weekend guide for ya, so at least your holiday won't be as bleak as our future looks. Read on for Fourth of July food specials, plus events from Seafair 4th of July to Pioneer Square Fest: Seattle's Fourth of July Weekend Market and Music Festival and from Big Ass Boombox to the Seattle Zine Fest.

Holiday hours may vary—check venue websites directly for the most up-to-date information.

Jump to: Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Multi-Day



Bellevue Family 4th Past Event List
Bop along to live music and grab grub from a dozen on-site food trucks while you celebrate the nation's founders, or whatever. Thirty-two years strong, Bellevue Family 4th is one of those safe, fam-friendly gatherings that reminds you that picnicking in a big crowd is actually kinda fun. Throughout the evening, country and soul acts will take the stage, but make sure to stick around until 10:05 pm for a "spectacular" fireworks show, which will be synchronized with a live performance by the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. LC
(Bellevue Downtown Park, Bellevue, free)

Fourth of July BBQ Past Event List
If you're fatigued by all the usual American barbecue standards, check out the Ballard gem Secret Congee's Thai-inspired barbecue pop-up, which will feature barbecue chicken, skirt steak, Thai sausage, salmon dip, sticky rice, and Thai barbecue sauce. You'll get to see the pros working the grill with binchotan-style Thaan Charcoal (as featured on The Strategist). JB
(Secret Congee, Ballard)

Grand Old 4th of July Past Event List
Driving in the city is going to be a mess on Thursday, but I can understand wanting to get out. Luckily, Seattleites can walk or take public transportation downtown and hop on a ferry over to Bainbridge Island, where a full-day of community fun is taking place (no car required). The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast at 7 am, followed by a family fun run at 9. All day activities include a street fair featuring vendors and community groups, a kids' zone with pony rides and putt-putt, a classic car show, and a beer/wine/cider garden. The cornerstone of the celebration is the parade, which organizers claim to be the "Best Small Town Parade in America." Go check it out and see for yourself! SL
(Bainbridge Island, Winslow, free)

Seafair 4th of July Past Event List
Though I'm firmly in the drones > fireworks camp, I hear some people out there still like their big, fiery booms. If that's you, find a spot with a view of Lake Union and prepare for quite the spectacle. Gas Works is the traditional spot to watch from, where you'll find beer gardens, food vendors, and live music, but good luck if you have to cross any bridges after it's over (traffic will be a nightmare). Lake Union Park also offers direct views, food vendors, and lawn games. Though the event is generally free, you can pay to reserve a seat in a gated-off section with security. While this might be good for safety, it's a bummer for those who want to BYOB. Plan accordingly! SL
(Gas Works Park & Lake Union Park, $0-$60)


Cupcake Royale
Cupcake Royale's July specials will take you back to the days of running outside after hearing the jaunty jingle of the ice cream truck, with nostalgic flavors like "strawberry shortcake" and the especially Fourth of July-appropriate "bomb pop," decked out in red, white, and blue sprinkles. They also have holiday-themed dozens if you're stuck on what to bring to your potluck.
(Burien, Capitol Hill, Madrona, West Seattle)

Lady Yum
Bomb Pop diehards will also want to check out this macaron maven's glittery turquoise take on the flavor. Alternately, choose from raspberry chardonnay, strawberry, POG, vanilla bean, oatmeal cookie, toasted coconut, toffee, and "mermaid" to build your own red, white, and blue cookie pack.
(Various locations)

Mighty-O Donuts
Add some sweetness to your Independence Day with Mighty-O's "fireworks donut," a vanilla cake donut with scratch-made vanilla glaze and red, white, and blue stripes.
(Various locations)

Top Pot Doughnuts
Barbecue glazed...doughnuts? Yep—the famed local chain Top Pot is boldly daring to go where no doughnut shop has gone before with their "sweet and tangy" flavor for the holiday. Try it at your own risk. (They also have classic doughnuts with red, white, and blue sprinkles if you're not willing to take a chance.)
(Various locations)


Spotlight Series: Caribbean SeaFest Past Event List
If you're like me, you might wish you were anywhere other than America this week. This free festival highlighting the vibrant sounds and tastes of the Caribbean will (kinda) transport you to the tropics. Bomba dancing, live music (I'm excited for a plethora of hand drums), and local vendors will give a taste of the full Caribbean SeaFest slated for August at Jimi Hendrix Park—mark your calendars. SL
(Pier 62, Downtown, free)


Hot Diggity Dog After Party Past Event List
After the last of the fireworks have fallen, head over to the Octopus Bar for a hot dog-themed after party with sapphic power couple DJ Baby Van Beezly and host ToX!c. Fresh frankfurters will be served until the wee hours, and hot dog costumes are encouraged. JB
(The Octopus Bar, Wallingford, $5)



Kitten Around: A pet-themed comedy show Past Event List
Listen, I love kittens as much as the next person, but I haven't spent much time considering their capacity to inspire stand-up comedy. That said, I'm intrigued by this performance, which is billed as a "pet-themed comedy show" featuring some of the city's funniest folks. Can they make you laugh about Goldendoodles and budgies? It's possible, and there's only one way to find out. LC
(Rendezvous, Belltown, $15)


MaXXXine Past Event List
Indie horror ace Ti West (The Sacrament, The House of the Devil) returned in 2022 with a Southern-fried A24 slasher. Following a gang of youth cruising through rural Texas in the '70s, X drew clear inspiration from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but still managed to craft a pretty fresh story centered around a psychopathic elderly villain. West made the best of it, quickly releasing the follow-up backstory Pearl, and MaXXXine will conclude the freaky trilogy. Who's the common denominator? Mia Goth, our 21st-century version of Shelley Duvall. She'll reprise her role as Maxine, a porn starlet hellbent on real fame in a serial killer-ridden Los Angeles. LC
(SIFF Cinema Uptown, Uptown)

Secret Cinema Remind List
Secret Cinema is exactly what it sounds like—just show up and prepare to be seduced by whatever pops up on screen. Opportunities to be entirely surprised by a film don't come along very often, so try it out as a reminder that there are still mysteries to uncover in the world. Or maybe you'll hate it. Who knows! That's the fun of the whole shebang. Go forth, switch off your brain, and let the enigma reveal itself. LC
(The Beacon, Columbia City, free)



Seafair Pirates Landing Past Event List
Whether you’re here for it or not, Seafair season is coming in hot! That means over a month of associated community events, kicking off with the beloved annual tradition of pirates storming Alki. Pirate revelry includes firing cannons, waving swords, and generally being surly. I ran into these pirates as a child in Pike Place and they left me shaking in my boots, but I did have a souvenir doubloon to show for it. Will you be so lucky? SL
(Alki Beach, Alki, free)


Fantasy A Gets a Mattress Past Event List
You may have seen the fliers created by Fantasy A, aka Seattle's "Autistic Undisputed King of Hustle," plastered all over town—he's become something of a local legend, and his music was covered byTheStranger back in 2015. The creativity continues: Fantasy's major motion picture stars (who other than?) himself, and charts his challenges as he attempts to become a superstar and acquire a mattress. Fantasy A Gets A Mattress also won the Best Narrative Feature award at the Seattle Black Film Festival—grab a seat to witness Fantasy's love letter to South Seattle. He'll attend this special screening to offer a Q&A session with the filmmakers. LC
(Grand Illusion, University District, Limited tickets at door)


THEM In-Store Performance and Signing at Easy Street Records Past Event List
West Seattle-based teenage indie pop quartet THEM will play an in-store performance in honor of their harmony-driven sophomore EP, Girls Mind, which draws inspiration from contemporary luminaries like Olivia Rodrigo, Haim, Taylor Swift, and Phoebe Bridgers. They will also have limited CDs available to get autographed after the show. AV
(Easy Street Records, Junction)

Wild Powwers x Constant Lovers Past Event List
Former Stranger writer Amber Cortes wrote of Wild Powwers, "Fans of guitar-driven rock will dig this trio's wily, grungy ways. Each member contributes to the band's immense sound: Jordan Gomes builds full and heavy bass lines, Lupe Flores wails on the drums like there's no tomorrow, and guitarist and vocalist Lara Hilgeman's forceful voice will rip you apart (in a good way)." This twofer release party will celebrate their latest output, Pop Hits & Total Bummers Vol. 5, and hard rock quartet Constant Lovers’ new album, Manifesting Now. Don't miss an opening set from industrial punk trio Haunted Horses. AV
(Neumos, Capitol Hill, $15)


Cedar River Salmon Journey with the Seattle Aquarium Remind List
Thanks to the tireless efforts of countless ecological stewards, Washington’s salmon population is slooooowly rebounding, and you can learn all about how these humble fish support our entire ecosystem at a family-friendly gathering by the Ballard Locks. Salmon may look like slippery little weirdos, but their whole lives are fascinating quests rivaling those of the most intrepid adventurers. And here in Seattle, we’re fortunate to be able to cheer them along on their journey—one that helps keep countless other species from dropping off the face of the Earth. The Salmon Journey gatherings are hosted by trained naturalists on Saturdays from July to September; you’ll learn how to spot a spawning salmon, about their surprisingly epic exploits, and the cruel enemy threatening to wipe them out. (Shocking twist: It’s people!) FORMER STRANGER STAFF WRITER MATT BAUME
(Ballard Locks, Ballard, free)


Party in the USA: '90s/2000s Party Past Event List
This is an Independence Day party for millennial anarchists who can't help but bop along to Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA."  Hop off the train at Westlake Center with a dream and your cardigan and head on over to the Crocodile for an evening of nostalgic tunes courtesy of DJ Dance Dance and performances from early-aughts tribute dance groups #All4Doras and Baewatch. No American flag attire or faith in humanity required. AV
(The Crocodile, Belltown, $10)


Ballard FC 2024 Home Games Past Event List
USL League Two champions Ballard FC return this season to defend their title. It doesn't get much more local than being sponsored by Reuben's Brews and having your main chant be "Up the bridges!" At the home opener this year, the game ball was delivered by parachuters and Dick's burgers were thrown into the crowd after every goal. Honestly, it was more exciting than expected and I would recommend a game to anyone as cheap, entertaining, family-friendly fun. Plenty of local food vendors are on-site if you're looking to do dinner at the game; the line seemingly never dies down for Nepalese food stand Kathmandu MoMoCha. SL
(Memorial Stadium, Uptown, $15-$40)


Patterns: Nancy Callan, Mel Douglas, Ben Edols, Kathy Elliott, Dante Marioni, and Corey Pemberton Remind List
Coinciding with their teaching sessions at Pilchuck Glass School, Patterns brings together works by Nancy Callan, Mel Douglas, Ben Edols, Kathy Elliott, Dante Marioni, and Corey Pemberton, six educators and acclaimed glass artists. Mirroring the "pattern" session theme at Pilchuck this year, the exhibition explores repetitive processes, repeated shapes and designs, and unique decorative possibilities in glass. If you can't make it up to Pilchuck's picturesque wooded campus this year, Patterns offers a window into the school's rigorous creative output. LC
(Traver Gallery, Downtown, free; opening)



Seattle Zine Fest Past Event List
Zine culture tends to emphasize approachability, community-building, and nontraditional art, and that ethos is hard to find fault with—who doesn't appreciate open-minded art-sharing, DIY spirit, and Sharpies? Show up for all things indie publishing at this day-long celebration of zines, which will include over 60 local artists, a make-your-own-zine workshop, and a zine library. Whether you're a risograph wizard or still learning this technique, you'll be welcomed. LC
(420 15th Ave E, Capitol Hill, free)



Pioneer Square Fest: Seattle's Fourth of July Weekend Market and Music Festival Past Event List
This weekend, dozens of local bands, artists, and vendors will gather in Pioneer Square for a two-day festival celebrating Seattle's oldest neighborhood. Although the event is mostly free,  optional festival passes ($30 regular, $100 VIP) will allow wearers to bypass door charges at participating venues and offer discounts on food and drinks at local establishments throughout the festival. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for free performances from TezaTalks, Batchild, Saint Deon, Justin Harden, Glendal, and Justice Manslayer. AV
(Various locations, Pioneer Square, $0-$30, Friday–Saturday)


Center City Cinema Remind List
Seattle Parks and Recreation presents this summer series of much-loved film screenings under the stars, with pre-movie activities kicking off around 6 or 7 pm and each film beginning at dusk. The series will continue on July 5 at Cal Anderson Park with Jazz Age scandal story Chicago and on July 6 at Lake Union Park with formic family film A Bug's Life. LC
(Various dates, free, Friday–Saturday)


Big Ass Boombox Past Event List
This weekend, the Sunset will crank up the volume for the annual Big Ass Boombox mini-festival. The two-day affair will feature a raucous lineup of primarily PNW talent across two stages, indoor and outdoor. Highlights from the lineup include post-punk outfit Weep Wave, garage rockers Acapulco Lips, art pop band Terra Nobody, dance-punk trio Zookraught, and over 15 others. Plus, admission is free, so you have no excuses! AV
(Sunset Tavern, Ballard, free, Friday–Saturday)


Beach Naturalist with the Seattle Aquarium Remind List
The Seattle Aquarium's Beach Naturalist program brings together beach-loving residents and those who want to learn more about the Puget Sound's shorelines. A wide variety of marine plants and animals deserve our advocacy and protection, and if you stroll along any local beach at low tide, you'll likely encounter them. On select dates throughout the summer, beach naturalists will also be stationed on shorelines to help you "explore gently, tell you what sea stars eat, explain why barnacles stand on their heads, [and] describe how moon snails lay their eggs." C'mon, you know you're intrigued. LC
(Various locations, free, Thursday–Sunday)

BIMA’s Treasure Trek Past Event List
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this spring, has dispersed 200 hand-blown glass orbs (inspired by the glass fishing net floats used by Japanese fishermen) across Kitsap County public lands for fearless art lovers to discover. The rules are simple: You find it, you keep it. And what's better than a real-deal treasure hunt?! Orb-spotters can also share their find with the hashtag #BIMATreasureTrek for an entry to win a prize package. LC (Various locations, free, Thursday–Saturday)


Wooden O: The Two Gentlemen of Verona Remind List
Seattle Shakespeare Company's free outdoor productions will continue this summer with The Two Gentlemen of Verona, the Bard's tale of Love Island-level backstabbing, a water spaniel named Crab, and a total abandonment of bro code. Grab a picnic basket and your thespian friends to catch one of the performances, which you'll find throughout the Puget Sound area—exact locations are listed here. LC
(Various locations, by donation, Thursday–Sunday)


Claudia Fitch: Models and Messengers Remind List
Little has been revealed about Seattle-based artist Claudia Fitch's solo exhibition Models and Messengers, but I'm already intrigued. The artist's smart, playful sculptural work is always a quizzical journey for the eyeballs, often sourcing cultural narratives from pop and art history to bold, inventive ends. I'm excited to see what she's come up with this time—will she be working in bronze, ceramic, cast resin, or another medium entirely? (Fitch has also created quite a few of the city's public works; see if you recognize any.) LC
(Greg Kucera Gallery, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Saturday; opening)

Clyde Petersen: Naïve Melody Remind List
Artist, musician, and filmmaker Clyde Petersen designed his latest solo show at J. Rinehart Gallery to be more approachable than your traditional gallery exhibit. Instead of protecting perfect original prints behind glass, several pieces in Naïve Melody were printed in limited runs of 20, 40, 50, or more, and they’re all hanging on the walls, ready to be taken home that very day. Though they're fully on display, flipping through the hanging posters feels intimate, not unlike peeking at pages of private journals. The collection of song lyrics, poems, sketches, and memories lays bare a path to who Petersen is today. For example, the piece "1993" (which was excerpted in our recent Queer Issue) is a letter to his younger self that recalls the moments that helped him find, define, and embrace his queerness, from buying a used copy of Lesbian Poetry, an Anthology at Open Books to surviving the mosh pit at a sweaty Sleater-Kinney show. As you examine these artifacts, you'll start to think about your own roadmap and what you might display if ever tasked to define yourself for all to see. STRANGER ARTS AND CULTURE EDITOR MEGAN SELING
(J. Rinehart Gallery, Pioneer Square, free, Thursday–Saturday)

Composition / Decomposition Remind List
Bringing together works by 19 members of Carnation Contemporary, a Portland-based artist collective (and one of my favorite galleries), Composition / Decomposition digs into the fertile soil of "entangled histories, questions, fears, grief, and longing" like so much mycelium. Themes emerging from the show include "archetypal life cycles, ephemerality, consumption, ritual, generational knowledge, motherhood, and intimacy," so you're sure to see something that resonates among the poems, soap sculptures, and projected landscapes. SOIL member artists will reflect on Composition / Decomposition and develop a response, which will be showcased at Carnation Contemporary in November. LC
(SOIL, Pioneer Square, free, Friday–Sunday)

MAD STUDIO Past Event List
As former Stranger staff writer Jas Keimig wrote back in 2022, "To be an arts writer in Seattle is to be continually in awe of the site-specific works dreamed up by artists-in-residence at MadArt Studio." Sadly, MadArt's final exhibition is upon us, and the group show will pay tribute to the organization's 15-year legacy. All past MadArt artists were invited to "propose works that referenced, extended, or resonated with their original MadArt creations," leading to a whopping 51-piece showcase that incorporated lesser-visited areas of the MadArt space, like the mezzanine office and the kitchen. It's a fitting final tribute to MadArt's immersive art ethos. LC
(MadArt, South Lake Union, free, Thursday–Saturday)

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