I'm going to celebrate our country's independence my usual way—by consuming an entire vodka watermelon and falling asleep in a pile of weeds in my backyard. But for everyone else, I've compiled a list of wholesome all-American activities for your Fourth of July weekend.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Watching the fireworks at the waterfront on the Fourth can induce migraines. Find a nice spot overlooking the city instead and avoid all the ragamuffins gallivanting around downtown.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito, fireworks at 10:05 pm, free
Celebrate with carnies and swarms of pubescents! I wonder which group is scarier.
Oaks Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park, gates open at 10 am, fireworks at 9:55 pm, $2.50-4 (rides not included), oakspark.com for more info
Blue Lake Park
The park is open all day for (booze-free) picnics and wholesome recreation.
NE 223rd & Marine Drive, Fairview, festivities start at 6 pm, fireworks at 10 pm, $6 per vehicle or $12 for large vans
Vancouver National Historic Reserve
Our neighbors up in Washington boast one of the biggest fireworks displays on the West Coast. Arrive early since parking can be a nightmare. While you wait, amuse yourself with an orchestral performance or a puppet show.
Vancouver National Historic Reserve, official4thofjuly.org for directions, fireworks at 10:10 pm, $4 donation
Waterfront Blues Festival
Take a breather from your flaming Jell-O shots and mosey over to the Waterfront Blues Festival. Isaac Hayes is taking the stage on Thursday, July 3, at 9 pm, in all of his funky glory. On the Fourth, Bill Rhoades and the Party Kings are hosting the Harmonica Blow-Off at 7 pm. (Insert your lame Blues Traveler joke here). I personally like to top off any weekend of debauchery by getting back on God's good side. I suggest spending Sunday, July 6, enjoying Linda Hornbuckle and Janice Scroggins' Old Time Gospel Hour (starting at 3:30 pm) and repenting.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito, $10 suggested donation plus two canned goods
Team America: World Police
Old Town Computers and Backspace are hosting a night of Team America: World Police, the best film in which puppets shit on each other. They will interrupt the movie at 10 pm to show a live internet streaming of the fireworks downtown—because nerds prefer a simulation to the real thing, even if it is literally a couple of blocks away. There'll also be a wienie roast (with vegan options) and a beer garden.
Backspace, 115 NW 5th, 8 pm, free, all ages