Photo: Frank Mckenna via Unsplash

It’s the weekend before the biggest celebration of the summer: the 4th of July. Get the party started early with Star Spangled concerts, an Independence Day parade and a beach bash at The Del. All that and the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is rolling into town, it’s the debut of the Game Masters exhibit and the Junie B. Jones musical hits the stage! Talk about a blast! Read on for the details and don’t miss our guide to the best July 4th festivities and fireworks shows all over the city.

Downtown

Fingerpainting Friday
Make messy art-making fun by joining The New Children’s Museum for Finger Painting Friday! Finger painting is an immersive art experience that allows children to be completely creative with their work. Better yet, caregivers don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess! Fri. Event details.

Star Spangled Pops
Bayside Summer Nights opens with a traditional tribute to the music of America, from movies and Broadway to patriotic favorites, including a salute to the armed forces. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Escondido

Farm Animal Fridays
Have you ever had goat milk? Come learn about goats and what we can do with goat milk on this month’s Farm Animal Friday. Farm Animal Fridays is an educational program that takes place on the last Friday of every month. Each program includes an opportunity to meet farm animals, hear a special storytime and participate in a themed craft or activity. Fri. Event details.

Balboa Park

Junie B. Jones, The Musical
See the beloved children’s fiction character, sassy little diva Junie B. Jones spring to life on stage in this lively musical. The adventures of first grade have never been more exciting and little theatergoers are going to love seeing Junie light up the theater in this fun production. Note: Friday Night, July 7, 2017 is Pajama Night! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Game Masters: The Exhibition
The Fleet Science Center’s Game Masters: The Exhibition showcases the world’s best video game designers, from the arcade era to today’s console and online games. And with 100+ playable games, it’s game on! (No quarters required). This is the first large-scale exhibition to take visitors behind the scenes of how video games are made as well as spotlighting the people who actually make them. From Nintendo’s iconic worlds featuring Mario and Link, to the obsession that is Minecraft, to the immersive experiences of Blizzard Entertainment, this is a landmark collection of the most popular video games on the planet, as well as independent games with a cult-like following. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Mission Valley

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck at Fashion Valley Mall
The beloved Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is returning to Fashion Valley! Visit the pink truck near the AMC Theater to pick up some super cute treats while supplies last. Sat. Event details.

Poway

Summer Movies in the Park: LEGO Batman
All summer long, families and friends are invited to enjoy a free movie under the stars! The Summer Movies in the Park Series is proud to feature new blockbusters and old favorites. Bring a blanket, bring a picnic (or don’t; Beachin’ Boba food truck will be selling all sorts of tasty food, snacks and treats), and enjoy a new summer tradition! A free, family-fun recreation area opens at 6 p.m. Parking is free but can fill up fast; come early and get a good seat! Sat. Event details.

Coronado

Del Beach Bash
Get a jumpstart on 4th of July festivities at this beach party on July 1st, complete with a live band, firepits, s’mores and fireworks. On July 4th, Coronado Island will have their annual parade including family-friendly activities and an awesome fireworks show. Note: The Del Beach Bash on 7/1 is complimentary for overnight hotel guests. For day visitors, tickets to the event may be purchased for $25 per person. Sat. Event details.

Oceanside

Independence Day Parade
Celebrate Independence Day before the July 4th crowds at this annual parade and event. This year’s theme is “Star Spangled Salute!” Sat. Event details.

Where are you having fun this weekend? Tell us in the comments!

––Beth Shea