It’s time to have a blast with your little firecrackers this July 4th! We’ve got the lowdown on the best places to get patriotic and watch the sky light up with spectacular fireworks. Get dolled up or dapper in your finest red, white and blue attire, then make your way to the city’s most festive Independence Day parades, festivals and dazzling fireworks displays at these family-friendly fourth of July events. Read on for the best places to see fireworks in San Diego.

photo: Tristan Loper via Flickr

Coastal San Diego

The Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show 
The Big Bay Boom bash is back with amazing fireworks over the San Diego Bay. What’s unique about this extravaganza is the fireworks are lit from several coastal locations, including Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero North and Coronado Ferry Landing. The show is always popular, so consider carpooling or take the San Diego Trolley. Event details.

Bring the kids and enjoy an entire day of patriotic activities on Coronado Island. The festival starts at 10 a.m. for the annual Independence Day Parade on Orange Ave. Then head over to Spreckels Park for picnicking, games, entertainment and a concert at 4 p.m. Stay until the evening for the fireworks blast over Glorietta Bay. Event details.

A Family Fun 4th of July Celebration on the USS Midway
Join the reverie of A Family Fun 4th of July Celebration at the USS Midway Museum! Bring a blanket, lawn chairs and small coolers with picnic-type snacks and experience a stunning view of the Big Bay Boom fireworks show from the flight deck of the USS Midway. This annual celebration includes: the best view of downtown San Diego fireworks, live entertainment featuring one of San Diego’s leading show bands, family fun activities and savory All-American concessions with adult and kid-friendly beverages for sale. Event details.

photo: Dan McGeorge

Del Beach Bash
Get a jumpstart on 4th of July activities at this beach party on July 2nd. There will be live music by The Mighty Untouchables, fire pits with s’mores and an exciting fireworks display. Then on the 4th of July Coronado Island celebrates with an annual parade, family-friendly activities and a spectacular fireworks show for all to see. Fireworks will begin around 8:45 p.m. The Del Beach Bash is complimentary for all overnight hotel guests. Day visitors can purchase tickets for $30. Event details.

Ocean Beach 
Spend the day at the Ocean Beach Pier and stay for the fireworks. Bring along a radio if you’d like because you can hear the fireworks soundtrack being broadcast simultaneously during the show if you tune in to KyXy 96.5. Event details.

photo: Jill Wellington via Pixabay

East County

While it’s true Julian is known for apples and mining, the town also has an old-fashioned 4th of July day planned. Camp out on Main Street for a day of family fun at “the best little town parade in America.” This year’s theme is ”Historic Julian Celebrates the 4th.” This year you’ll see marching bands and bands including the Emerald Society Bag Pipe Band, Gold Drum and Bugle Corps and Mariachi Continental de San Diego. Antique cars, vintage tractors, belly dancers, World War 2 Submariners, and several comedy entries will appear to complete a fun well rounded home town parade. Note: Julian does not have a fireworks display. Event details.

El Cajon 
This fun July 4th event starts at 1 p.m. with food, games, prizes, kiddie train rides and live musical entertainment. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Arrive early to Kennedy Park for parking to find the best spot for your picnic and to view the fireworks. Event details.

Lake Murray Fireworks
The beloved San Diego Lake Murray Music Fest and Fireworks show is on this July 4th! The music fest is held at Lake Murray Plaground. Enjoy live music from a variety of bands and performers from noon-9 p.m. and the fireworks show at 9 p.m. Event details.

Santee Salutes
Santee’s Salutes July 4th takes place at the Town Center Community Park East. The celebration will feature a kid’s fun zone, a food court and live music by the 80z All Stars. There will be a patriotic ceremony at 6 p.m. and fireworks follow later in the evening at 9 p.m. Note: Continuous free shuttle service will be available from 3:30 to 11 p.m. from the Costco parking lot or on Cuyamaca near Rio Seco school the to the event site. The Costco parking offers a no cost alternative for event parking. Event details.

photo: Frank McKenna via Unsplash

San Diego Inland

Mira Mesa 
Plan to pack up the kids and spend the entire day in Mira Mesa. The 4th of July festivities begin with a Pancake Breakfast at the Mira Mesa Senior Center from 7-11 a.m., hosted by the Black Mountain Masonic Lodge. Family Fun Day in the Park starts at 11 a.m. with food vendors and entertainment. The Annual Mira Mesa 4th of July Parade, steps off at 11:30 a.m. from the corner of Mira Mesa Blvd. and Greenford Dr., traveling down Mira Mesa Blvd. and turning north on Camino Ruiz to end at New Salem. Family Fun Day continues until 9 p.m., and the Park provides a front row seat for the Fireworks Extravaganza. Event details.

Old Town 
Enjoy some old-fashioned family fun at the Old Town State Historic Park. The day includes a classic parade, crafts and activities reminiscent of the early San Diego days. Note: This fun day does not include fireworks, so head to the Big Bay Boom Fireworks show (details above) after the festivities. Event details.

4th of July Picnic Dinner at Maritime Museum 
Enjoy a patriotic picnic buffet dinner at the Maritime Museum on the upper deck interior of the 1898 Victorian-era steam ferryboat Berkeley, which also affords an amazing view of the fireworks over San Diego Bay. Two seatings are available and fireworks start at 9 p.m. Event details.

photo: City of Poway

North County – Inland

Enjoy a taste of the “good ‘ol days” with Old Poway Park’s “Old Fashioned 4th of July.” Bring your family and friends to Old Poway Park and celebrate our country’s independence “turn-of-the-20th-century-style.” This event will feature patriotic entertainment, western reenactors, free children’s crafts, train displays and old-fashioned games. Tasty treats and train rides will be available for a nominal fee. Event details.

Finish the day with a fireworks extravaganza at Poway High School. School gates open at 6 p.m. with a DJ, games and lots of fun to keep the kiddos patient until the fireworks start at 9 p.m. Event details.


Rancho Bernardo
Celebrate America at the “Spirit of the Fourth” Festival and Parade. The Parade begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes five high school bands, beauty queens and a host of dignitaries. Then head to Rancho Bernardo’s fireworks event starting at 6 p.m. at the Athletic Field at Bernardo Heights Middle School at 12990 Paseo Lucido. Enjoy live music by the local “US” Band and at 9 p.m. the fireworks display “Sky Concert” begins. Note: Seating is on the grass, so bring a blanket or lawn chairs. Event details.

Join 25,000 patriotic festival-goers for Escondido’s 56th Annual Independence Day Festival & Fireworks! This free community event features rockin’ live music, fabulous food vendors and a wealth of children’s activities and games for everyone to enjoy. The day’s festivities will conclude with a special performance by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band and a dazzling fireworks display starting at 9 p.m. You won’t want to miss this annual North County tradition! Note: parking is limited so carpool if possible. No alcohol, bbq, pop-up tents or dogs allowed. Event details.

San Marcos 
Head to a patriotic 4th of July celebration at Bradley Park in San Marcos. This free event includes live music, kids’ activities and food, culminating with a spectacular fireworks celebration. Bring chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Event details.

Celebrate Independence Day with live music, the Light up the Night Dinner and fireworks. Note: Parking in Brengle Terrace Park is $15/car; Admission to the Moonlight Amphitheater is $5/person; Kids five and under, active and retired military members and their immediate family are free. Event details.

photo: Sandy Huffaker/LEGOLAND

North County – Coastal

Carlsbad: LEGOLAND
Don’t miss Fireworks set to a patriotic musical tribute with great viewing in designated locations throughout LEGOLAND. Throughout the day you will enjoy All-American family picnic games: water-balloon tosses, burlap sack races, Family Build Challenge and LEGO Hamburger relay, Patriotic costume parade: come dressed in your favorite Red, White and Blue attire, fireworks, character meet and greets, live performances and more. The celebration lasts from 1-9 p.m. with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. All Red, White and BOOM! activities are included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California. Event details.

Del Mar
Spend July 4th at the San Diego County Fair! End a fun-filled day on a high note with a spectacular fireworks display choreographed to a soundtrack at 9 p.m. The fireworks are visible from many areas of the Fairgrounds, with favorite viewing areas including reserved Terrace seating and 2nd and 4th levels of the Grandstand, Family Funville and the Fun Zone. Event details.

Celebrate the 4th with fireworks a day early at this annual Oceanside bonanza on July 3rd. Arrive anytime after 6 p.m., park in the business park nearby, bring a beach chair and walk to the viewing area on Rancho Del Oro Rd. There will be live music and food trucks offering a wide variety of foods. The fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m. Event details.

*Fireworks shows begin at 9 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

––Beth Shea


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