Add some spark to your Fourth of July celebration with fireworks displays, parades, live performances, patriotic games and crafts, and other star-spangled happenings.
Sunday | July 1
Bayside Summer Nights: “Star-Spangled Pops.” Concert ends with a grand fireworks display. 7:30 pm. Embarcadero Marina Park South, downtown San Diego. www.sandiegosymphony.org.
Del Beach Bash. Start off Independence weekend with live music, fire pits with s’mores and fireworks (8:45 pm). 7 pm. $25; free for overnight hotel guests. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave. www.hoteldel.com.
Monday | July 2
FREE International Summer Organ Festival. American theatre organist Walt Strony performs patriotic tunes to celebrate Independence Day. 7:30 pm. Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park. www.spreckelsorgan.org.
Tuesday | July 3
FREE Oceanside’s 130th Anniversary & Independence Celebration. Music, food and fireworks (9 pm). 6-10 pm. El Corazon site at Rancho Del Oro Rd. www.oceansiderec.com.
Wednesday | July 4
FREE Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show. Don’t miss Southern California’s largest fireworks show that offers the best views from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, Marina District and the Coronado Ferry Landing. 9 pm. www.bigbayboom.com.
Fourth of July at San Diego County Fair. Highlights include the Most Patriotic Contest (2 & 3:30 pm), food, music, entertainment plus a fireworks display at 9 pm. 10 am-midnight. $12-$19; ages 5 & under free. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. www.sdfair.com.
Red, White and BOOM! Participate in all-American picnic games, join a patriotic costume parade, watch performances and enjoy fireworks set to a patriotic musical tribute. 1-9 pm; fireworks, 8:30 pm. Free with park admission. LEGOLAND California Resort, Carlsbad. Tickets at www.legoland.com.
Hornblower’s Fireworks Dinner Cruises. Watch the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show from the deck of a Hornblower yacht after a sumptuous buffet dinner. 6:30-9:30 & 7-10 pm. Departs from Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. www.hornblower.com.
FREE Fourth of July Picnic & Fireworks in El Cajon. 1 pm; fireworks, 9 pm. Kennedy Park, 1675 E. Madison Ave. www.cityofelcajon.us.
FREE Lake Murray Music Fest & Fireworks. Bands, food and fun abound at Lake Murray Community Park in San Carlos. The fireworks show can be seen throughout the Navajo community, from La Mesa to Del Cerro and beyond. 11 am-9:30 pm. www.lakemurrayfireworks.org.
FREE Santee Salutes. Live music, a patriotic ceremony, food, Kid’s Fun Zone and fireworks. 2:30-10 pm; fireworks, 9 pm. Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Dr. www.cityofsanteeca.gov.
FREE Fireworks Extravaganza & Independence Day Celebration in San Marcos. Kids’ activities, food, live music and fireworks (9 pm). 6-10 pm. Bradley Park, 1587 Linda Vista Dr. www.san-marcos.net.
FREE Old-Fashioned Fourth of July. Live music, the annual parade around the plaza, 19th century contests, games and more. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego Ave. & Twiggs St.
FREE Julian’s Star-Spangled 4th. The annual parade features marching bands, the Marine Color Guard, antique cars and more. Noon; pre-parade events, 10 am. Parade travels on Main St., from Julian High School to Frank Lane Park. www.julianparade.com.
FREE Alpine Parade & Festival. Parade travels down Alpine Blvd., from the Alpine’s Woman’s Club to Tavern Rd., starting at 10 am. Festival is at the Alpine Community Center with live music and family activities. www.alpinekiwanis.org.
FREE Independence Day Festival in Escondido. Food vendors, live music and kids’ activities. End the day with a performance by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band and a fireworks display (9 pm). 4 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. 10 am. Parade starts at Red Cedar Dr. & Ironwood Rd., and ends on Scripps Ranch Blvd. & Aviary Dr. After-parade activities at Hoyt Park, starting at 11 am. www.scrippsranch.org.
FREE “Spirit of the Fourth” Community Fair, Parade & Fireworks Show in Rancho Bernardo. The fair starts at 9 am at Webb Park. Check out a patriotic pet contest, classic cars on display, a rubber ducky race, food and entertainment. Parade starts at 3:30 pm; more entertainment and fireworks at Bernardo Heights Middle School, starting at 6 pm ($10-$20 donation). www.spiritofthefourth.org.
4th of July Parade at San Diego Botanic Garden. Kids can wear red, white and blue and bring their decorated strollers and wagons (no bikes, please). Parade starts at 10:30 am; meet at Seeds of Wonder at 10 am. 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. www.sdbgarden.org.
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. Present valid ID. 101 Wave Dr., Vista. Details at www.thewavewaterpark.com.
FREE Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration. Entertainment, gun fighting re-enactments, train rides and games at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.) from 10 am-4 pm. Then head on over to Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.) for more games and activities, plus fireworks. 6-10 pm. $5 at the gate; ages 11 & under free. www.poway.org.
FREE Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade. Decorated dinghies cruise the Oceanside Harbor. 1-3 pm. www.oceansideyc.net.
FREE Freedom Festival. Open to military families, retirees, reservists and DoD employees, this event features a tailgate party (registration required), music, Family Activity Zone, food and a great view of the fireworks. Noon-9 pm. Harbor Drive Annex, Naval Base Point Loma. www.navymwrsandiego.com.
FREE Fourth of July in Coronado. Enjoy the annual parade (starts on First & Orange) at 10 am, Art in the Park (8 am-4 pm) at Spreckels Park, music by the Coronado Community Concert Band (4 pm) and fireworks over Glorietta Bay (9 pm). www.coronadotimes.com.
FREE University City Celebration. Highlights include a one-mile Fun Run and 5K race, music, field games, a bike and pet parade, snow play, a classic car show and free swimming at the Swanson Pool. Standley Park, 3585 Governor Dr., San Diego. www.uccelebration.com.
FREE Mira Mesa Parade & Family Fun Day in the Park. Parade steps off at 11:30 am from the cor. of Mira Mesa Blvd. & Greenford Dr., travels down Mira Mesa Blvd., and turns north on Camino Ruiz to end at New Salem. Family Fun Day is at Mira Mesa Community Park from 11 am and continues until the fireworks show at 9 pm. www.miramesatowncouncil.com/fourth-of-july.
4th of July at SeaWorld. Fireworks (tonight-July 7, starting at 9:50 pm) can be seen from all over the park, but the best view will be from reserved seats at Orca Encounter amphitheater. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr., San Diego. www.seaworldsandiego.com.
America’s Birthday with Clint Black. See one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the modern country era perform his greatest hits. 7:30 pm. Embarcadero Marina Park South, downtown San Diego. For tickets, go to www.sandiegosymphony.org.
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 2018