Your San Diego guide to an explosive Fourth

On Monday - the 240th anniversary of America’s birth - we’ll gather to celebrate this country’s birthday with backyard barbecues, picnics, outdoor concerts, parades, and of course, fireworks. However you choose to declare your independence this Fourth of July, here are our top picks of events sure to get your patriotism bursting with red, white and blue.

Fireworks only

Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show: The 16th annual show features fireworks discharged simultaneously from four barges around North San Diego Bay. The display begins at 9 p.m., lasts about 18 minutes and is accompanied by a patriotic score simulcast on radio stations FM 105.7 and AM 1090. You can also watch it live starting at 8 p.m. on Fox 5 San Diego or KTLA 5 Los Angeles. Check the website for recommended viewing locations and information about transportation options, parking and free shuttles. Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, Marina District, Seaport Village/South Embarcadero and Coronado Ferry Landing. Free admission. (619) 686-6200 or

Chula Vista ‘s 4th Fest: Chula Vista welcomes the return of its fireworks show this Fourth of July. The pyrotechnics start at 9 p.m. and will be set to a custom music soundtrack sychronized to the display. It will air on five radio stations: 92.5 FM, 90.3 FM, 91.1 FM, 760 AM and 100.7 FM. Gates to the training center open at 6 p.m. for cars and pedestrians. Parking is $10 per vehicle and is first-come, first-served. Street parking is free along Olympic Parkway near the training center and at New Hope Community Church. Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, 2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista. Free admission.

Fourth of July Lights Over The Cove: Bring a picnic basket, a blanket or chair and find the perfect spot to enjoy San Diego’s sunset views and a fireworks show starting at 9 p.m. Ellen Browning Scripps Park, 1180 Coast Blvd., La Jolla. Free admission.

Ocean Beach Fourth of July Fireworks: The fireworks display launches at 9 p.m. from the Ocean Beach Pier, at the foot of Newport Avenue and Abbott Street. Tune in to KYXY 96.5 FM to hear the fireworks soundtrack broadcast simultaneously during the show. Free admission.

Fireworks and more

Coronado Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks: Daylong festivities include a 7 a.m. run/walk at Tidelands Park, the Art in the Park art show from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Spreckels Park, a 9 a.m. annual rough-water swim at Central Beach and a 10 a.m. parade down Orange Avenue. The Coronado Community Concert Band will perform patriotic music at 4 p.m. at Spreckels Park. Celebrations end with a fireworks display over Glorietta Bay, simulcast with music by radio station 96.5 FM. Spreckels Park and Glorietta Bay, Coronado. Free admission. (619) 319-5147 or

Escondido ‘s 53rd annual Independence Day Festival and Fireworks: Presented by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. An estimated 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, which begins at 4 p.m. with live entertainment, food vendors and children’s activities and games. Stop by the center’s museum from 4 to 8 p.m. to catch two of the current exhibitions, “My Hero: Contemporary Art & Superhero Action” and “Unlocking Wonderland: The Exhibit.” Admission is free. The festivities conclude with a special performance by Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division Band, followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido. Free admission.

National City ‘s Fourth of July Carnival and Fireworks: The National City Lions Club hosts this annual carnival at Kimball Park. The carnival begins at noon and runs until midnight. There will also be games, rides, food and entertainment. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Kimball Park, 12th Street and D Avenue, National City. Free admission.


The Surfrider Foundation is hosting its annual “Morning After Mess” beach cleanup from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Ocean Beach Pier, Belmont Park in Mission Beach, Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and the Oceanside Pier. No need to preregister. Volunteers under the age of 18 will need a parent or legal guardian’s signature. For more information, visit

Poway Old-Fashioned Fourth of July and Fireworks Celebration: Enjoy a turn-of-the-century Independence Day celebration, including live music, craft activities and old-fashioned games. A variety of refreshments and rides aboard the 1907 Baldwin Steam Engine will be offered for a small fee. Free shuttles to and from the event will be available at Poway City Hall and the Poway Adult School. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Road, Poway. Free admission. Later, you can enjoy games, activities and a DJ spinning music at Poway High School Stadium, 15500 Espola Road, Poway. Gates open at 6 p.m., with the fireworks show at 9 p.m. $5 admission per person at the gate (free for ages 11 and younger). (858) 668-4576 or

” Santee Salutes” Fourth of July Celebration: Santee’s annual fireworks extravaganza begins an hour earlier this year with festivities taking place from 2:30 to 10 p.m. Entertainment includes the 80z All Stars rock band, a Kids Fun Zone with carnival rides and games (nominal fee), a patriotic ceremony with the HMH-462 Color Guard, the National Anthem and “God Bless America” sung by local youth, and fireworks at 9 p.m. Food trucks will be on-site selling an array of menu options. Parking is $5 (cash only). Free parking available at Costco with free shuttle service between 3 and 11 p.m. Town Center Community Park, 550 Park Center Drive, Santee. Free admission. (619) 258-4100 or

Festivities only, no fireworks

Julian Fourth of July Parade and Community BBQ: Pre-parade activities begin at 10 a.m. with a gunfight and bank robbery by the Julian performance group Doves and Desperados, followed by several patriotic musical performances, and two flyovers by vintage aircraft. A cannon shot at noon is the traditional start to the parade, which will feature marching bands, equestrian units, vintage cars, and Miss Julian and her court. After the parade, head over to the American Legion Post 468’s 75th annual deep-pit beef barbecue lunch for $15. No fireworks are planned. Main Street, Julian. Free admission. (760) 765-1857 or

Old Town 1800s Fourth of July: Enjoy games, crafts activities and contests typical of early San Diego, as well as informational demonstrations and wagon rides. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. with a brass band, followed by patriotic speeches, a flag raising ceremony, a parade around the plaza and a contra dance. No fireworks are planned. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street. Free admission. (619) 220-5422 or

University City 28th annual Fourth of July Neighborhood Festival: Start the day with the 5K or 1-mile Fun Run at 8 a.m., or a pancake breakfast from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Show your spirit by decorating your bike and/or pet for the 10:30 a.m. parade. Beginning at noon is a photo scavenger hunt, a Polynesian dance performance, field games for all ages and a free swim at Swanson Pool. Throughout the day, enjoy festival and food booths, entertainment, a rock-climbing wall, inflatables and a beer garden. From 5 to 7 p.m., dance band Y3K will perform. Free trolley pickup and drop-off along Governor Drive from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. No fireworks are planned. Standley Park, 3585 Governor Drive, San Diego. Free admission. (858) 552-1652,


Top Fourth of July parties in San Diego

Source: DiscoverSD