It’s a long 4th of July weekend, which means BBQs, pool parties, sunshine and beach traffic. It’s also when you flip a coin to choose between catching snippets of fireworks by hanging out locally, or seeing the whole show but then keeping kiddos out ‘til way too late with crowds and traffic. So we found loads of ways to celebrate early without missing anything, or the best ways to spend the whole day at one destination on Monday. Happy Independence Day, LA!

july 4 girl johnmorgan via flickrphoto: John Morgan via flickr

Downtown

Nothing Is as American as Baseball
The Dodgers are playing the Rockies all weekend with a fireworks show on Friday and Kids Run the Bases on Sunday. On the 4th they take on the Orioles with more fireworks. (Pssst: if you can’t spring for Dodgers tickets, you can still show your kids the All-American pastime when you catch a Quakes minor league game.) Fri.-Mon., Various times. Elysian Park. $20 & up. All ages. Event details.

Hollywood

Hollywood Bowl’s Annual 4th of July Fireworks
This may be the ultimate LA 4th of July event, combining fireworks, music, beautiful weather and a historic setting. Chicago headlines this year and kids tickets are half off. Sat.-Mon., 7:30 p.m. Hollywood. $5 & up. All ages. Event details.

Eastside

Ultimate Frisbee Match
The LA Aviators are winding down their season (did you even know we had a professional ultimate Frisbee team?) and these super athletic and fast-paced games are a great reminder to bring the Frisbee to the beach Monday! Sat., 7:30 p.m. Eagle Rock. $12-$15. All ages. Event details.

San Gabriel Valley

Dustbowl Revival at the Levitt
Celebrate the jubilant American swing of The Dustbowl Revival at the Levitt Pasadena, which is a fabulous outdoor space to bring a blanket, picnic and enjoy the concert. Sat., 8 p.m. Pasadena. Free. All ages. Event details.

A Night of Destruction with Fireworks
If you like fast cars, head to the Irwindale Speedway for Night of Destruction with an accompanying fireworks show. Sun., 7 p.m. Irwindale. $5-$15. All ages. Event details.

The Wizard of Oz on Stage
Take a break from red, white & blue and follow the yellow to the green. See Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion on their musical journey through the magical Land of Oz. Fri. & Sat., Various times. Pasadena. $20-$32. Ages 4 & up. Event details.

Westside

A Summer Reading Road Trip
Join the Scholastic Summer Reading Road Trip for signings with authors and illustrators, crafts and activities, giveaways, photos with Clifford the big Red Dog and more. Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Santa Monica. Free. Ages 2-12. Event details.

Palisades for the 4th
Start the day with a fun run for the family at Will Rogers, then head to the center of town for the skydivers who kick off the parade. Then it’s time to go to the high school for a concert and finally fireworks. Mon., Various times. Pacific Palisades. Free parade, various costs for the run and concert. All ages. Event details.

Marina Del Rey Fireworks
If you’re going to brave a fireworks outing on the 4th, we recommend this one. The fireworks are shot from a barge in the Marina’s main channel for a spectacular display that is doubled by its reflection in the water below. Mon., 9 p.m. Marina Del Rey. Free. All ages. Event details.

South Bay

Salute the Troops Picnic & Concert
Celebrate America by honoring the men and women in uniform who serve our country. Pack a picnic and join in this community event that ends with a patriotic concert. Sun., 4-7 p.m. Manhattan Beach. Free. All ages. Event details.

Independence Day with the Founding Fathers
The 4th of July isn’t just about fireworks and hot dogs (although they’re both awesome- so the Printing Press Museum celebrates with Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson giving a humorous account of history. With museum tours, food and activities it’s a full, fun and educational day. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Carson. $15 or $50 for a family of 4. Ages 5 & up. Event details.

Cars and Stripes Forever
Kick off the July 4th long weekend with some early fireworks plus live music, more than 100 classic cars on display, a dancing water show and food trucks. Fri., 5-10 p.m. San Pedro. Free. All ages. Event details.

San Fernando Valley

A Something for Everyone 4th of July
The day caps off with a fireworks show, but you can keep busy all day starting with the all-you-can-eat pancake, followed by the Home Run Derby at Borchard Park.  There’s also a family open swim day at several pools and a free patriotic concert in the park. Mon., 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Thousand Oaks. Various prices, most events are free. All ages. Event details.

Long Beach

An Early Fireworks Cruise
Beat the crowds! Have an early celebration on the waters of Long Beach Harbor as you watch the firework displays in Alamitos Bay from a boat. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Long Beach. $30. All ages. Event details.

We only picked a few faves for the 4th for our weekend’s best. But if you’re looking of a complete roundup of all the family fun for Independence Day, don’t miss our guide! What are your family traditions for this weekend?

—Meghan Rose

main image of kids in wagon by Michael Witzel via flickr