Kick of July off with a bang, boom and plenty of aaaaahhhhhs. That’s right, it’s Independence weekend so get ready to pick from a plethora of parades, carnivals and firework shows. Choose from the biggest celebration in the valley at Hansen Dam, a 3-day extravaganza in Huntington Beach, straight up fireworks in Marina Del Rey, festival action at CBS Studios, two-wheelin’ fun in Long Beach and so much more. Need to burn off all the cotton candy goodness? Lace up the sneakers for Pacific Palisades 5/10K run, complete with a kiddie course. And if your kids need an independence free moment, check out Storybook Theatre’s production of The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Fire it up!
Santa Monica (Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu, Marina Del Rey)

We Love a Parade
The 2010 Fourth Annual Santa Monica Fourth of July Parade Break out your American Flags and get ready for some old-fashioned fun. Floats, bands and more will be marching down Main Street beginning at the Civic Center.. Afterwards, head to Ocean View Park for food stands, music and more fun. Sun., 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Santa Monica. Free. Read More
Community Communing
July 4th Fireworks at Fisherman’s Village Pack up the picnic basket and shake out a blanket for a dazzling display programmed to patriotic tunes. Chase Park, Fishermen’s Village and Marina Beach are the best viewing spots–word to the wise, get there early!
Sun., 9 p.m. Marina Del  Rey. Free. Read More
Beach Cities (Manhattan Beach, Huntington Beach, Redondo Beach, Long Beach)

Wheels of Fancy
Great American Kids Bike Parade Red, white and blue is the theme as adults and kids adorn their bicycles with streamers, balloons, flags or whatever strikes their creative fancy. The top ten designing kids nab cash and prizes based on originality, creativity, spectator appeal, and the grand display of America’s colors. Prefer to be a spectator? Head to the Long Beach bike path beginning at Granada Ave. Sun., 10 a.m. parade start. Belmont Shore. Free. Read More
Best of the Fest
Huntington Beach Fourth of July Pier Festival and Parade It’s nonstop activity in this beachside town, whether you hit the 3-day Pier festival for carnival rides and corn dogs, hit the pavement for the Surf City 5K Run, or line up for the annual Fourth of July Parade. The festivities wrap up with a fireworks display. Pier Fest, Sat. and Sun, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mon. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Surf City 5K Sun., 7 a.m., Fireworks Sun., 9 p.m. All events are free. Read More
Westside (Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista, Culver City)

Slice of American Pie
Annual 4th of July at Culver City High School Join in the traditional family fun as the community gathers for games and entertainment. Bring your own picnic basket or fill up on hot dogs and kettle corn until the fireworks light up the sky. Sun., gates open 5 p.m., fireworks 9 p.m., Culver City. $2 donation. Read More
Lace ‘Em Up
33rd Annual Palisades/Will Rogers 5k/10K Run Kick off the Fourth by pounding the pavement. The kids run is non-competitive and each runner nabs a ribbon and a flag. Sun., adult run 8:15 a.m., kid run 9:15 a.m., Pacific Palisades. 5K/10K, $45, Kids Run $30. Read More
Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood)
Hurray for Hollywood…And America
July 4th Fireworks Spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl Featuring special guest Vince Gill, there’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day. Whether you picnic beforehand or just arrive for the show, you’re guaranteed one of the best fireworks shows in the city.
Fri., Sat., and Sun., 7:30 p.m., $14.50-156. Read More
Better Than TV
Storybook Theatre presents The Emperor’s New Clothes Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale comes to life in this musical version. Perfect for kids from ages 3 to 9. Sat., 1 p.m. Los Angeles, $10-12. Read More

Downtown (Silverlake, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Downtown, Pasadena)

Red, White and the Blues
8th Annual Fireworks Extravaganza Find your soul this Fourth at Leimart Park’s Jazz  Festival complete with great food, music, and arts and crafts for the kiddos. At dusk,  head over to the Los Angeles Coliseum to set up your lawn chairs, sit back and get ready to be wowwed by the booms and pops of fireworks. Best viewing areas are around Exposition Park, Christmas Tree Lawn or anywhere in the LA Memorial Coliseum’s south lawns. Sun., Jazz Fest 1 to 7 p.m. Fireworks, 8:45 p.m. Downtown, Free. Read More.
Red, White and Rose Bowl
84th Annual 4th of July Celebration: Americafest 2010 They promise this is the biggest and best fireworks in all of California. You be judge by heading out for a day smashed full of family fun. Gorge yourself silly on food and get into the beat with live performances by some of the best drum corps in the country. The day culminates with an eye-popping fireworks show. Sun., 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Pasadena, $13, kids under 7 free. Read More
Valley (Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Encino, Glendale)
The Valley-the Beautiful
16th Annual Hansen Dam 4th of July Spectacular It promises to be spectacular, and we think they deliver. After all, it’s the biggest celebration you’ll find in all of the valley. A full-on carnival complete with games, rides, live entertainment, food galore (hey, we promised cotton candy) plus a 1.5 acre lake for swimming. The day caps off with the Skies Over America fireworks presentation orchestrated to patriotic music. Sat.,  11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun.,  3 p.m.–10 p.m., San Fernando Valley, Free. Read More
A Grand Ol’ Flag
12th Annual Grande Ole Fourth of July CBS Studios opens up it’s back lot for this festival featuring live performances by  Shel and Cody Bryant, food by All-American Smokehouse BBQ, a kid’s fun zone, and of course, fireworks! Splurge on rooftop tickets to get a fantastic view.
Sun., 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Studio City, Adults $15 advance, $20 at the gate, Children 6-12 $8 advance, $10 at the gate, $20 rooftop access, $100 VIP tickets. Read More

-Lara Burnap