Add some spark to your Fourth of July celebration with fireworks displays, parades, live performances, patriotic games and crafts, and other star-spangled happenings.
Friday | July 1
Star-Spangled Pops. This all-American program showcases Broadway tunes, hits from the big screen, a military salute and a grand fireworks display. Tonight, tomorrow & July 3, 7:30 pm. For tickets, visit website. Embarcadero Marina Park South, downtown San Diego. www.sandiegosymphony.org
Sunday | July 3
Fireworks Show in Oceanside. Plus music and food trucks. Fireworks start at 9 pm. El Corazon Site at Rancho Del Oro Rd. Free admission. Recommended viewing location: Rancho Del Oro Rd., between Mesa Dr. & Oceanside Blvd. www.oceansiderec.com.
Monday | July 4
Military, Fire & Law Appreciation Day. Active and retired military as well as fire and law enforcement officers can enjoy free admission to The Wave Waterpark from 10 am-4 pm. Please present ID. 101 Wave Dr., Vista. www.thewavewaterpark.com.
Celebrate Freedom: A Fireworks Extravaganza. Live entertainment by Beta Maxx, carnival games and jumps, food and fireworks. Entertainment starts at 6 pm; fireworks, 9 pm. Free admission. Bring chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Bradley Park, 1587 Linda Vista Dr. www.san-marcos.net.
Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show: A Salute to the Military Families of Our Service Heroes. Don’t miss the largest fireworks show on the West Coast! Get the best views from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North/South Embarcadero, Marina District, Seaport Village and Coronado Ferry Landing. Starts at 9 pm. Free admission. www.bigbayboom.com.
Old-Fashioned Celebration in Old Town. This free event includes the annual parade around the plaza, a contra dance, 19th century crafts and games, contests and more. 11:30 am-4 pm. Free admission. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego Ave. & Twiggs St. www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego.
Julian Parade. starts at noon and travels on Main St, from Julian High School to Frank Lane Park. Before the parade, enjoy musical presentations, flyovers by vintage aircraft and live entertainment from 10 am-noon. Free admission. www.julianparade.com.
Mira Mesa Parade & Family Fun Day in the Park. Celebrate America’s birthday starting with the annual parade that starts at 11:30 am from the corner of Mira Mesa Blvd. & Greenford Dr., and travels down Mira Mesa Blvd. to Camino Ruiz. Food, entertainment and an incredible view of the fireworks at Gil Johnson Recreation Center (8875 New Salem St.). 11 am-9 pm. Free admission. www.miramesatowncouncil.org.
Escondido’s Independence Day Festival & Fireworks. Live music, food vendors, kids’ activities and games, a performance by Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division Band and a fireworks display. Also, get free admission to two family-friendly exhibits at the Center’s Museum. Event starts at 4 pm. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. www.artcenter.org.
Fourth of July in Poway. Come to an old-fashioned celebration at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.) featuring gun fighting re-enactments, crafts and games, train rides and entertainment from 10 am-4 pm, plus a veterans ceremony at Veterans Park at 11 am. Free admission. Then head over to Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.) for games, music and other activities from 6-10 pm. Fireworks start at 9 pm. $5 at the gate; ages 11 & under free. www.poway.org.
4th of July Celebration Aboard the USS Midway Museum. Live band music, concessions and family activities. Get a spectacular view of the Big Bay Boom Fireworks show from the flight deck. Doors open at 6 pm. Tickets: $10-$15. 910 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. www.midway.org.
Scripps Ranch All-Star Fourth of July Parade. starts at 10 am at Red Cedar Dr. & Ironwood Rd., and ends on Scripps Ranch Blvd. at Aviary Dr. Free admission. www.scrippsranch.org.
Coronado Independence Day Celebration. Festivities include a 12K, 5K and Kids 1/2-mile fun run at Tidelands Park starting at 7 am, the annual parade along Orange Ave. at 10 am, a live performance by the Coronado Community Concert Band at Spreckels Park at 4 pm, fireworks over Glorietta Bay at 9 pm and more. www.coronadotimes.com/4th.
Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade. Decorated dinghies cruise the Oceanside Harbor. 1 pm. Free. www.oceansideyc.net.
Freedom Festival. Live entertainment, Family Fun Zone, tasty treats and a tailgate party (registration required). This event is open to military families, retirees, reservists and DoD employees. 1-9 pm. Free admission. Harbor Dr. Annex, Naval Base Point Loma. www.navylifesw.com/sandiego/freedom-festival.
Celebrate Independence Day in University City. All-day event highlights include a one-mile fun run and 5K walk/run, a pet and bike parade, live music, field games and children’s area, free swimming at Swanson Pool and more. Visit website for schedule. Standley Park, 3585 Governor Dr. www.universitycitynews.org/uc-4th-of-july.
Chula Vista 4th Fest. Come to this free fireworks show at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (2800 Olympic Pkwy.). 9 pm; gates open at 6 pm. www.91x.com/event/chula-vista-4th-fest.
Santee Salutes. A patriotic ceremony, (6 pm), live music, Kids Fun Zone, and a fireworks display (9 pm). 3:30-10 pm. Free admission; parking $5-$15. Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Dr. www.cityofsanteeca.gov.
Independence Day Celebration at Maritime Museum of San Diego. Choose from various 4th of July experiences: a picnic dinner (seatings: 5-6:30 or 7-8:30 pm) aboard the Berkeley, a fireworks cruise aboard the Californian, fireworks viewing aboard the Pilot and more. For tickets, visit website. 1492 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. www.sdmaritime.org.
Hornblower’s Fireworks Dinner Cruise. Enjoy an elaborate buffet dinner, DJ entertainment, panoramic views and the annual Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show over the bay. Three-hour cruises: 6:30-9:30, 7-10 & 7:30-10:30 pm. Departs from Grape Street Pier, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. For fees and reservations, visit www.hornblower.com.
Red, White and Boom! Join this star-spangled celebration at LEGOLAND California Resort where kids of all ages can participate in all-American family picnic games, patriotic costume contests and building activities. 10 am-9 pm; fireworks show, 8:30 pm. Free with park admission. www.legoland.com; 760-918-LEGO.
Grand Tradition’s 4th of July Celebration in Fallbrook. Live bands, a military salute, games, food and drinks, and a fireworks display. Gates open at 2 pm. General admission: $25-$35 includes entry and open lawn seating; ages 10 & under free. 220 Grand Tradition Way. www.grandtradition.com/signature-events/4th-of-july.
Fourth of July at San Diego County Fair. Spend Independence Day at the Fair that offers a patriotic opening ceremony (9:30 am) at the O’Brien Gate, the Hometown Heroes Parade (1 pm), fireworks display (approximately 9 pm) and more. 10 am-midnight. $9-$16; ages 5 & under free. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. www.sdfair.com.
Independence Day Fun at SeaWorld. Enjoy all your park favorites by day, then stick around for a whole new park after dark with amazing nighttime shows. Don’t miss the Sea to Shining Sea 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular at 9:30 pm. Included with admission. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr. www.seaworldsandiego.com.
Fourth of July Parade at San Diego Botanic Garden. Kids can bring their decorated strollers and wagons for the annual parade through the garden. 10:30 am; meet at Seeds of Wonder at 10 am. Free with admission. $8-$14; ages 2 & under free. 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. www.sdbgarden.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 2016