With patriotic parties aplenty, there will be no shortage of fireworks in San Diego this 4th of July. Here's our guide to 19 dazzling shows that will illuminate our skyline on Independence Day 2019.
Big Bay Boom
9 p.m., San Diego Bay
San Diego’s famous Big Bay Boom is, quite frankly, as big as its name. San Diego's largest fireworks show starts at approximately 9 p.m. on the Fourth of July and, whether you decide to watch from a spot in Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, Marina District, Seaport Village or the Coronado Ferry Landing, you'll be in for a treat. Fireworks launch from four barges in the bay and create simultaneous displays all along the city skyline. The Big Bay Boom typically draws between 300,000 and 500,000 spectators to the waterfront. To that end, be prepared for crowds and limited parking, and check out some suggestions on how to get there.
San Diego County Fair
9 p.m., Del Mar Fairgrounds
The San Diego County Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4th – its final day of the 2019 season – and will, as usual, end with a bang: fireworks seen throughout the fairgrounds. The show begins at approximately 9 p.m. from the Corona Grandstand Stage and will include more than 3,600 aerial display counts – with 500 shells in the grand finale alone. Prime viewing areas for these fairgrounds fireworks include reserved Terrace seating (additional cost + fair admission) and the 2nd and 4th levels of the Grandstand (additional cost + fair admission), as well as Family Funville and the Fun Zone.
Chula Vista 4th Fest
6 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m., Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
Bring your blanket and chair and cuddle up for fireworks at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center located at 2800 Olympic Parkway. The show will be synced to music played on three local radio stations: 91x, Magic 92.5 and Z90.3, starting at around 9 p.m. If you want to watch the display from the training center, the gates open at 6 p.m. and parking costs $10 (cash only) per car. There’s a 400-car capacity at that lot, so arrive early. Otherwise, you can park for free at either Mountain Hawk Park (1475 Lake Crest Dr.) – which also has a good view of the fireworks – or at New Hope Community Church of East Chula Vista (2720 Olympic Parkway) and walk to the training center or park from there.
Fireworks Over Glorietta Bay in Coronado
9 p.m., Coronado Island
Coronado’s Independence Day celebration includes a 10 a.m. parade along Orange Avenue (get there bright and early to snag a viewing spot), a 12K and 5K run, and a 4 p.m. Concert in the Park at Spreckels Park (6th Street and Orange Avenue). The holiday culminates with a 16-minute, 9 p.m. fireworks show over Glorietta Bay set to patriotic tunes on KyXy 96.5FM radio. Locals say the best spots to watch the fireworks are from the golf course or Stingray Point. Parking is at a premium on the island on July 4th, so consider alternatives to driving, including taking the 15-minute ride between San Diego and Coronado via the Coronado Ferry.
Escondido’s Independence Day Festival & Fireworks
4 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m., California Center for the Arts Escondido
The California Center for the Arts Escondido will celebrate the Fourth with this 56th Annual Independence Day Festival & Fireworks on the Great Green. Expect live music, art demos, food trucks and patriotic merrymaking throughout the day – including a performance by the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band – followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. Parking is limited, so carpool or take a ride share service and plan accordingly.
Ocean Beach Fireworks
9 p.m. (OB Time), Ocean Beach Pier
Find a spot on the sand in Ocean Beach and celebrate the Fourth with fireworks off the OB Pier. The show begins at 9 p.m. – “OB Time” – which means the start time is somewhat lax and will be synced to songs playing on KyXy 96.5FM, so bring a radio to listen along. Free parking, although limited, is available at the Main Beach Lot and the Pier Parking Lot. You could get there early, spend the day at the beach and wrap up with the fireworks. In year’s past, the Ocean Beach 4th of July celebration also included the so-called “Marshmallow War” following the fireworks (it’s exactly what it sounds like). However, a sticky mess left behind in 2013 – and a whole lot of controversy – put an end to that. Now, attendees are welcome to "Mallow Out" and eat marshmallows, just not throw them at one another.
Ken Grody Ford Fourth of July Beach Bash
9 p.m., Del Mar Beach Resort at Camp Pendleton
This Fourth of July Beach Bash on the sand at Camp Pendleton is open only to authorized military personnel with a valid DOD ID card and their sponsored guests. The party includes a DJ, activities for kids, food trucks, prizes, and fireworks between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
4th of July: Santee Salutes
2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m., Town Center Community Park East
The City of Santee will host its annual “Santee Salutes” celebration on July 4th at Town Center Community Park East at 550 Park Center Dr. The all-day event includes a kids’ fun zone from 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., food vendors, live music, a patriotic ceremony at 6 p.m. and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. The event is free, but parking at the park costs $10. You can also park at the nearby Costco or Rio Seco Elementary School on Cuyamaca Street and hop on a free shuttle to the park; that service will run from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
El Cajon Fourth of July Celebration & Fireworks
1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m., Kennedy Park
The City of El Cajon will celebrate the holiday with games, activities, live music and fireworks at Kennedy Park (1675 E. Madison Ave.). The community event kicks off at 1 p.m., so get there early, spread out a blanket and enjoy the day. Fireworks are set to begin at 9 p.m.
Lake Murray Fireworks & Music Fest
11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Lake Murray Park
After several years on hiatus, the Lake Murray Fireworks and Music Fest returned to Lake Murray Park (5540 Kiowa Dr.) in 2017. Donations from locals and a group of volunteers known as the Lake Murray Fireworks Committee have made the event possible once more. The all-day celebration includes lots of live music, family-friendly activities and food vendors. The fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. and can be seen throughout the surrounding areas – from La Mesa to Del Cerro.
4th of July in Imperial Beach
9 p.m., IB Pier
Over in Imperial Beach, 4th of July fireworks will launch from the IB Pier (10 Evergreen Ave.) at 9 p.m. The city says spectators can see the display from Imperial Beach Boulevard to Palm Avenue, facing the end of Portwood Pier. Bring a blanket or some chairs and set up early; the show will be synched to music on KyXy 96.5FM. This event is also funded by donations from the community.
San Marcos Fireworks Extravaganza
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Bradley Park
Over at Bradley Park (1587 Linda Vista Dr.) in San Marcos, locals will find the Fireworks Extravaganza, a patriotic celebration crowd-funded entirely by donations from San Marcos residents and businesses. Live music and entertainment starts at 6 p.m., and this includes children’s activities and food vendors. The fireworks show is at 9 p.m.
Mira Mesa Fireworks & Family Fun Day
11 a.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m., Mira Mesa Community Park
Family Fun Day at Mira Mesa Community Park (8575 New Salem St.) begins with a parade at 11:30 a.m., which starts at Mira Mesa Boulevard and Greenford Drive, then turns north on Camino Ruiz and ends at New Salem Street. After that, locals can enjoy entertainment, food vendors at the park, and a front row viewing area for the 9 p.m. fireworks show produced by Scripps Mesa Fireworks. The display will launch from Mira Mesa High School and will boast around 600 shells.
Poway Fourth of July Fireworks
6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with fireworks at 9 p.m., Poway High School
The fireworks in Poway start at 9 p.m. at Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.). The gates will open at 6 p.m. and the event will include games and a DJ spinning tunes; it costs $5 per person to get in and kids 11 and under get in free. Meanwhile, during the day, the Old-Fashion Fourth of July Celebration goes down from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.), a patriotic party, “turn-of-the-20th-century-style.” That event includes western-style reenactments, free crafts, train displays and old-timey games. Free shuttles to the daytime fest will run from two locations: the Poway City Hall parking lot on Civic Center Drive, and the Poway Adult School parking lot on Twin Peaks Road.
9 p.m., Brengle Terrace Park
Over in Vista, the holiday celebrations go down at Brengle Terrace Park (1200 Vale Terrace Dr.) and Moonlight Amphitheatre. The amphitheatre opens at 5 p.m. and admission there costs $5 per person; kids age 5 and under and active and retired military and their family get in free. A ceremony at 7:15 p.m. will recognize our U.S. military, followed by a performance from the Sensation Show Band. Brengle Terrace Park opens at 7 p.m.; parking there costs $15 per car and $30 per RV. The fireworks show starts at 9 p.m.
Ramona’s July 4th Family Picnic & Fireworks Show
5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m., Olive Peirce Middle School
The Ramona Rotary Club has been hard at work collecting donations around the community to fund its annual July 4th Family Picnic & Fireworks Show. The free celebration starts at 5 p.m. at Olive Peirce Middle School (1521 Hanson Ln.); the fireworks blast off at 9 p.m.
Red, White & Boom!
8:30 p.m., Legoland California Resort
Legoland guests can enjoy Fourth of July festivities from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and a “Red, White and BOOM!” fireworks display at 8:30 p.m. with designated viewing locations throughout the amusement park. Visitors are encouraged to dress up in patriotic red, white and blue attire. All holiday activities are included with paid admission into the park.
SeaWorld San Diego Fourth of July Fireworks
9:40 p.m., SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld guests will be treated to a sparkling fireworks show at the amusement park at 9:40 p.m. on July 4th. The show is included with paid admission.
Oceanside Fireworks Show (July 3)
6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with fireworks at 9 p.m., Rancho Del Oro Road
The City of Oceanside will ring in Independence Day early with a 9 p.m. fireworks show on July 3. Spectators can watch from a viewing area on Rancho Del Oro Road at Oceanside Boulevard; there’s parking at a nearby business park, according to the city’s website. The event is free and will include live music and a variety of food trucks selling goodies throughout the evening. On July 4, the Oceanside Pier and beaches will be filled with patriotic entertainment, and the community’s beloved “Yankee Doodle Dinghy Parade” will take place on the water at Oceanside Harbor from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.