Things to do for the 4th of July
Add some spark to your Fourth of July celebration with fireworks displays, parades, live performances, patriotic games and crafts, and other star-spangled happenings.
Saturday | 1
Bayside Summer Nights Presents “Star-Spangled Pops.” Be part of this traditional tribute to the music of America, from movies and Broadway to patriotic favorites. Tonight & tomorrow, 7:30 pm. Embarcadero Marina Park South, downtown San Diego. For tickets, visit www.sandiegosymphony.org.
FREE Celebrate USA: A Patriotic Celebration. Join this event at Gateway Church that commemorates what makes our country great with historic music performed by the choir and orchestra, as well as dramatic presentations. Hot dogs will be served at 4 pm, and the program will start at 5 pm followed by delicious pie and ice cream. 1280 N. Johnson Ave., Ste. 102, El Cajon. www.gatewaychurchonline.com.
FREE Make a Liberty Crown at Lakeshore Learning Store. 11 am-3 pm. For ages 3 & up. 7510 Hazard Center Dr., San Diego & 702 Center Dr., San Marcos. www.lakeshorelearning.com.
FREE Oceanside Independence Parade. This year's theme is "Star-Spangled Salute." Check out an array of floats, bands, groups, cars and other parade entries. Parade travels north on Coast Hwy., from Wisconsin to Civic Center Dr. 10 am. Spectators are encouraged to bring folding chairs. www.mainstreetoceanside.com.
Monday | 3
FREE Fireworks Show in Oceanside. Plus music and food trucks. 5-9:30 pm. Rancho Del Oro Blvd., between Mesa Dr. & Oceanside Blvd. www.oceansiderec.com.
Tuesday | 4
Fourth of July at San Diego County Fair. Check out the Most Patriotic Contest (1 & 3:30 pm) at the Contest Corral, the Hometown Heroes Parade (1 pm), a performance by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band on the grandstand stage (7:45 pm) and fireworks (9 pm). 10 am-midnight. $11-$18; ages 5 & under free. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. www.sdfair.com.
FREE Old-Fashioned Fourth of July. Patriotic entertainment, train displays, games, crafts, food and more at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.) from 10 am-4 pm. More fun awaits at Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.) where you can enjoy games, DJ and fireworks. 6-10 pm. $5 at the gate; ages 11 & under free. www.poway.org.
Red, White and Boom. LEGOLAND California Resort presents a star-spangled Fourth of July celebration where kids of all ages can participate in all-American family picnic games like tossing water balloons, burlap sack races, patriotic costume contests and building activities. Fireworks show starts at 8:30 pm. Visit www.legoland.com for hours and admission.
America’s Birthday with Wynonna. Country superstar Wynonna Judd returns to Bayside Summer Nights with a celebration of America’s birthday. Make sure to stay for a great view of the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show. 7:30 pm. Visit website for tickets. Embarcadero Marina Park South, downtown San Diego. www.sandiegosymphony.org.
FREE Santee Salutes. A patriotic ceremony (6 pm), music, Kids’ Fun Zone, food (available for purchase) and a fireworks show simulcast on KSON 97.3 FM. 2:30-10 pm. Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Dr. www.cityofsanteeca.gov.
FREE Fourth of July in San Marcos. Live entertainment, face painting, party jumps, food and fireworks. Entertainment starts at 6 pm; fireworks display at 9 pm. Bradley Park, 1587 Linda Vista Dr. www.san-marcos.net.
FREE Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show. The biggest 4th of July fireworks show in San Diego offers the best views from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, Marina District and Coronado Ferry Landing. Starts at 9 pm. Listen to musical simulcast on THE MIGHTY 1090 AM and MAX FM 105.7. www.bigbayboom.com.
FREE Old-Fashioned Celebration in Old Town. Featuring the annual parade around the plaza, music and dance, 19th century contests and living history activities. 11 am-4 pm. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego Ave. & Twiggs St. www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego.
FREE Julian 4th of July Parade starts at noon and travels from Julian High School to Frank Lane Park in downtown Julian. Pre-parade activities include flyovers by vintage aircraft, patriotic musical presentations and more, starting at 10 am. www.julianparade.com.
FREE Independence Day Festival & Fireworks in Escondido. Live music, kids’ activities and games, food vendors, a performance by Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division Band and a fireworks display. 4 pm; fireworks, 9 pm. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. www.artcenter.org.
FREE Fireworks Display Off the Ocean Beach Pier. 9 pm. Listen to the fireworks soundtrack broadcast simultaneously during the show by tuning in to KyXy 96.5. www.oceanbeachsandiego.com.
FREE Scripps Ranch Parade. This year’s theme: “Hip-Hip Hooray! It’s Independence Day.” Parade starts at Red Cedar Dr. & Ironwood Rd., and ends on Scripps Ranch Blvd. at Aviary Dr. www.scrippsranch.org.
FREE Coronado Independence Day Celebration. This year’s highlights include the annual 12K and 5K run/walk at Tidelands Park (7 am), the parade along Orange Ave. (10 am), a U.S. Coast Guard demonstration in Glorietta Bay (2 pm), a performance by the Coronado Community Concert Band at Spreckels Park (4 pm) and fireworks over Glorietta Bay (9 pm). Complete schedule at www.coronadotimes.com/4th.
Celebrate Fourth of July at Maritime Museum of San Diego. Choose from various experiences: a picnic dinner (5-6:30 or 7-8:30 pm seatings) aboard the Berkeley, a fireworks cruise aboard the Californian, fireworks viewing aboard the Pilot and more. 1492 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. Details at www.sdmaritime.org.
FREE Dinghy Parade. Decorated dinghies cruise the Oceanside Harbor. 1-3 pm. www.oceansideyc.net.
FREE Freedom Festival. Family Fun Zone, live entertainment, all-American food as well as an array of international flavors and a tailgate party (registration required). This event is for military families, retirees, reservists and DoD employees. Noon-9 pm. Harbor Drive Annex, Naval Base Point Loma. www.navymwrsandiego.com.
FREE University City Celebration. Includes a one-mile Fun Run and 5K race in the morning, the pet/bike parade, family field games, free swimming at Swanson Pool, live performances, a car show and vendors. Starts at 7:30 am. Standley Park, 3585 Governor Dr. Details at www.uccelebration.com.
FREE Mira Mesa Parade & Family Fun Day in the Park. Parade steps off from the cor. of Mira Mesa Blvd. & Greenford Dr. at 11:30 am, travels down Mira Mesa Blvd., and turns north on Camino Ruiz to end at New Salem. Also, food and entertainment plus a great view of the fireworks at Gil Johnson Recreation Center (8875 New Salem St.) from 11 am-9 pm. www.miramesatowncouncil.org/fourth-of-july.
Hornblower’s Fireworks Dinner Cruises. Enjoy a gourmet buffet dinner, DJ, panoramic views and the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show over the bay. Three-hour cruises: 6:30-9:30 pm & 7-10 pm. Departs from Grape Street Pier, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. For fees and reservations, visit www.hornblower.com.
Independence Day Fun at SeaWorld. Spend the day enjoying park favorites, then stay for a 15-minute display of fireworks set to a musical soundtrack, starting at 9:40 pm. Park hours: 10 am-11 pm. Included with admission. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr., San Diego. www.seaworldsandiego.com.
4th of July Fireworks Cruises. Choose from cruises that offer great views of the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show: Star-Spangled Dinner Cruise, Stars & Stripes Spectator Cruise, Fireworks Spectacular Cruise and Patriotic Spectator Cruise. 7-10 pm; fireworks at 9 pm. For fees and reservations, visit www.flagshipsd.com/cruises/4th-july-firewoks-cruises.
FREE Military, Fire & Law Appreciation Day. Active and retired military as well as fire and law enforcement officers receive free admission to The Wave Waterpark from 10 am-4 pm. Please present ID. 101 Wave Dr., Vista. www.thewavewaterpark.com.
Have a Blast at the Marriott Coronado Island Resort & Spa. Take in the spectacular view of the iconic Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show and the San Diego skyline while indulging in a buffet of seafood, summertime flavors and all-American BBQ classics. 7-10 pm. Call for fees and reservations. www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sanci-marriott-coronado-island-resort-and-spa; 619-522-3150.
Things change. That’s why we’ve included phone numbers and websites when available. Since most activities require advance reservations or have limited space, don’t forget to call first to confirm dates, times and admission prices.
Want more events going on in San Diego County? Go to San Diego's Best Day-by-Day Calendar of Events in our online magazine.
Planning your own 4th of July party? Find tasty recipes and fun crafts in our Red, White and Blue: July 4th Round-Up.
updated: June 2017
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