What to Know About Watching the Big Bay Boom

The annual fireworks spectacular will explode over the San Diego Bay this 4th of July at 9 p.m.

 The biggest Independence Day fireworks spectacular in the county is set to launch over the San Diego Bay Friday, and if you plan to go, you’ll want to enjoy the pyrotechnics, not the explosion of hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend.

Luckily, we’ve gathered some tips and trick to help you navigate the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Boom, which starts at 9 p.m.

First Up: Getting There

As with most downtown events, parking will be a struggle.

Event organizers say parking along the bay and Shelter Island filled up by 1 p.m. last year, so they recommend forgoing the car in favor of public transportation.

A free shuttle will run from a parking lot next to the Port Administration building at 3165 Pacific Highway to take visitors to the Harbor Police parking lot on Harbor Island Drive. From there, fireworks-goers can walk to the bay for an up-close view. That shuttle service starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m. Friday.

If you have your eye on Shelter Island, the Old Towne Trolley shuttle will take people from the corner of Carleton and Rosecrans streets in Point Loma (where there’s just street parking) to the gazebo on Shelter Island. The first passengers will be picked up at 3 p.m., and the last will be taken away at 11 p.m.

Public transportation like the San Diego MTS buses and trolleys, the COASTER and Amtrak trains will also be running their normal routes into downtown.

Where to Watch:

The 4th of July spectacular reaches high in the sky, but a few spots around the bay are prime for taking it all in.

On their website, organizers list their official locations as the Coronado Ferry Landing, North and South Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Harbor Island and Shelter Island.

Homes in Point Loma, Liberty Station, Little Italy and downtown hotels and high-rises should also offer a good glimpse.

You could make it dinner and a show by booking a reservation at one of the many bayside restaurants, though you’ll want to call in soon to make sure they’re not filled.

But no matter where you sit, don't forget to bring a radio along. The fireworks' soundtrack will be broadcast live on WALRUS 105.7 FM beginning at 7 p.m.

If you don’t feel like fighting the crowds, 2014 is the first year the show will be aired live on TV, so starting at 8 p.m., you can snuggle up on your own couch and avoid breaking up your personal Independence Day party.

The Run-Up

Leading up to the bay blowout, special events will dot the downtown area. The Midway Aircraft Museum is opening it up its flight deck at 6:30 p.m. for a family picnic-style viewing, including live entertainment, flight simulators and food.

A free outdoor concert kicks off at Seaport Village at 1 p.m., followed by other all-American activities like face-painting and carousel riding.

The decks of the Berkeley and Star of India – two of the ships that make up the San Diego Maritime Museum – will also open for some fireworks watching.

If you want to view the display from the high seas (of the bay), Hornblower Yachts and Flagship Cruises are both offering star-spangled dinner cruises.

The fireworks will launch from four barges stationed in the north bay, so those setting sail on their own boats should keep a safe 300-yard distance away from where the pyrotechnics are taking off.

The 14th Annual Big Bay Boom is expected to draw in at least 300,000 people from across Southern California.

This year, all proceeds will go to the Armed Services YMCA.

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