Holding our breath for one second, then two, all in hushed anticipation of something that's about to happen?
We don't find many situations where we can experience that particular, and particularly sweet, sensation. But calling upon a major fireworks show on the Fourth of July can deliver that anticipation, especially as the lights dim and we know the first glittery flower of the night will soon bloom in the sky.
But where to see such patriotic pyrotechnic wizardry around Southern California in 2018?
The choices are as plentiful as a firework bloom is colorful. But if you're looking for some of the larger shows, you might glance in the direction of the dozen picks below.
No, you can't visit them all over a single Independence Day, but find your way to one and, just maybe, find yourself holding your breath just seconds before the first sparkler of the night lights to dark dome overhead.
The Rose Bowl:Americafest presented by Honda is turning 100 years old in but a few short years, which tells you how important this particular tradition has become to the local community. The day starts early, with the doors opening at 2, and the fireworks show? It rounds it all out at 9 p.m., after a line-up of terrific performances.
Grand Park + The Music Center: This blast is billed as "the county's largest free July 4th celebration," and, by golly, there's a bunch of stuff going on. That means a fairly early start time of 3 p.m., to pack all of the partying in, and DJs, and live music, and a caboodle of food trucks. The fireworks? Look above the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for all of the DTLA-style wowza.
Dodger Stadium: The boys in blue'll be on the diamond squaring off against the Pirates on Wednesday, July 4, and you can bet that some showy pyrotechnics will add to the baseball game's ultra-holiday feel. Find your ticket info, times, and all of the peanuts-and-popcorn-y excitement at the Dodgers site.
The Queen Mary: Long Beach's epic ocean-liner played a role in World War II, as the Grey Ghost, so many people seek it out each Independence Day, and all of its interesting history exhibits. But stay beyond the sun sets for fireworks over the water, a eye-dazzling sight. An All American 4th of July begins at 2 o'clock.
Huntington Beach: Some spots put the focus on the fun by night on the Fourth, some celebrate the sunlit sweetness of the day, but this surf-tastic community embraces both sides of the occasion. There's a parade earlier in the day, but if you want to see some gnarly fireworks near Huntington Beach Pier, be sure to be there well ahead of 9 p.m. on July 4.
Knott's Berry Farm: So you're swinging by the Buena Park-based theme park to check out HangTime, the new stomach-dropper of a coaster, the one that just debuted in May. But as it is the Fourth of July when you'll be there, you'd love to see some brilliant fireworks, too. Lucky you, that's happening: Here's what you need to know.
Marina del Rey: There's much to be said for watching water-cool fireworks from the shore, but what if you could hop on a boat and see the sparkle above from your spot on deck? There's that option, via Hornblower Cruises, and "light bites" are included with the fireworks show. Get your need-to-knows about this lovely Pacific-fun holiday display now.
The Hollywood Bowl: Few famous music acts are as quintessentially LA-ish as The Go-Go's, so having the band on the big stage, under the bandshell, feels extra special for the holiday. In fact, The Go-Go's will be at the mega amphitheater for three nights, July 2, 3, and 4, and all three evenings will include a Fireworks Spectacular. Wear your legwarmers, if it isn't too warm.
Fairplex: KABOOM! is one of the most venerable Fourth of July celebrations in the region, but it isn't all about what's going on over our heads around 9 o'clock. The event is also devoted to monster trucks and motocross, so if you like the vroom-vroom before the boom-boom, check out the hours, prices, and details now.
Disneyland Resort: While the Happiest Place on Earth boasts a large-scale sky show each and every night of the year, if the weather permits, it gives the Fourth of July special focus, with a host of patriotic songs and "inspirational" fireworks. You'll need to pay park admission to enter, but people do also watch from Downtown Disney and other nearby spots, too.
Exposition Park: Stroll for the South Lawn of the expansive Coliseum-close area for the annual Community Festival & Fireworks Show. This merry to-do is one of the longest of the Fourth festivities around town, with a start time that begins before noon (11 a.m., to be exact). Ready to spend close to a half day enjoying the Fourth? With a fun fireworks ending? Start here.
Six Flags Magic Mountain: The Valencia theme park is bringing the vibrancy over not just one night but five full evenings, beginning on June 30. Will there be fireworks over each of those five nights, right through to Wednesday, July 4? You bet. Is the five-nighter presented by Coca-Cola? It is. Can you find more here, plus what coasters are zooming at the ride-tastic destination? Zoooooom.
There are so many other truly colossal fireworks events around Southern California, beyond those 12, so head for the Starlight Bowl in Burbank, Avalon on Catalina Island, Lancaster (where bull riding is traditionally a part of the pre-fireworks fun), and Newport Beach.
Or gaze down the street, where your local high school or park may also be finding the Fourth fun via some sparkle right around 9 o'clock or so on the fourth day in July.
Other Fireworks Shows Around SoCal
- Artesia Park, 18750 Clarkdale Ave.
- Sierra Vista High School, 3600 N. Frazier St., Baldwin Park
- Calabasas High School, 22855 Mulholland Highway
- Cerritos High School, 12500 E. 183rd St.
- Pomona College, 333 N. College Way, Claremont
- Rosewood Park, 5600 Harbor St., Commerce
- West Los Angeles College, 9000 Overland Ave., Culver City
- Diamond Bar High School, 21400 E. Pathfinder Road
- Rowley Park, 13220 S. Van Ness Ave., Gardena
- Salt Lake Park, 3401 E. Florence Ave., Huntington Park
- Irwindale Reservoir, 5008 Allen Drive
- Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave., La Crescenta
- La Habra High School, 801 Highlander Ave.
- Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Park Drive
- Lynwood City Park, 3700 Beechwood Ave., Lynwood
- Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona
- Shepherd of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch
- Rosemead Park, 4343 Encinita Ave.
- Valencia Town Center, 24201 W. Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita
- South El Monte High School, 1001 N. Durfee Ave.
- South Gate Park, 9615 Pinehurst Ave., South Gate
- South Pasadena High School, 1401 Fremont Ave.
- Dr. Richard Rioux Memorial Park, 26233 Faulkner Drive, Stevenson Ranch
- Verdugo Hills High School, 10625 Plainview Ave.
- Walnut High School, 400 N. Pierre Road
- Westlake Village Golf Course, 4812 Lakeview Canyon
- York Field, 9110 Santa Fe Springs Road, Whittier