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Where to Celebrate Fourth of July in San Diego 2024

America’s Independence Day arrives with a bang at these 15 festive community events
The San Diego 4th of July Firework Show called the Big Bay Boom happening in 2024
Courtesy of Big Bay Boom

Get ready to paint the town red, white, and blue this Fourth of July at these patriotic celebrations around San Diego County. While fireworks displays are, of course, the main attraction on this summer holiday, several events offer family-friendly fun before the pyrotechnics start. From early morning races and neighborhood parades to theme park activities and live outdoor concerts, spend the day and night celebrating the land of the free and home of the brave. 

Fourth of July event San Diego featuring the Oceanside Independence Day Parade & Fireworks Display with a plane flying by
Courtesy of Visit Oceanside

4th of July Events in San Diego

Oceanside Independence Day Parade & Fireworks Display

June 29 & July 3

Start the festivities a little early in Oceanside with the annual Independence Day Parade on Coast Highway. Starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, cheer on the floats, bands (including the 1st Marine Division Band), walking groups, and decked-out cars. Then, on July 3, witness a spectacular fireworks show, hosted by the Oceanside Parks and Recreation Department. The pyrotechnics start at 9 p.m. at the SoCal Soccer Complex, but the gates open at 4 p.m. with family-friendly activities and food trucks.

3300 Dr Hugh La Bounty Dr, Oceanside

SeaWorld San Diego 4th of July Fireworks

June 30–July 4

Oh, say, you can see some glimmering pyrotechnics after a day of sea-themed fun. The week of June 30 through July 4, view nightly SeaWorld fireworks at 9:30 p.m. from around the park. The festive explosives show is synced to music to ring in another year of America’s independence.

500 Sea World Drive, Mission Bay

Chula Vista 4th Fest

July 4

BYO blankets and chairs to the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center for a free fireworks display set to a bilingual soundtrack on Amor 102.9. Get to South Bay early—the gates open at 7 p.m., and free parking is limited to 600 spots. There will be food trucks onsite to enjoy while you wait for the show to start. If you miss out on the training center parking, you can still get a great view of the fireworks from nearby Mountain Hawk Park

2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista

Fourth of July event in San Diego called the Crown City Classic Run featuring a 12k or 5k on Coronado Island
Courtesy of Crown City Classic

Crown City Classic Run

July 4

Burn off some pre-barbecue calories with a patriotic 12K or 5K run on Coronado Island. (Why 12K? A nod to America’s birthday—it equates to 7.4 miles.) The out-and-back race, now in its 51st year, starts in Tidelands Park, wraps around the golf course and Glorietta Bay, and heads out onto the Silver Strand with scenic views of the Coronado Bridge. You can bring the whole family—there’s a Crown City Half Mile race for kids. Then stick around after your run for more star-spangled Coronado festivities (see below).

2000 Mullinex Drive, Coronado

Coronado Fourth of July

July 4

From sunup to sundown, celebrate our nation’s independence with a packed schedule of patriotic events for the whole family. The 75th annual parade on Coronado’s Orange Avenue doesn’t set out till 10 a.m., but spectators start saving their spots at 5 a.m., and the pre-parade entertainment begins at 7:30. Afterward, catch a demonstration by the US Navy parachute team, live musical performances in Spreckels Park, and a colorful fireworks show you can watch from the Coronado Golf Course at 9 p.m.

Various locations, Coronado

El Cajon Fourth of July Fireworks

July 4

East County’s Kennedy Park hosts this patriotic fireworks display starting at 9 p.m., but the family-friendly activities start at 2 p.m. Arrive early to the park to enjoy free train rides, arts and crafts, and games and watch live music from two bands. Then sit back to ooh and ahh as the fireworks light up the sky.

1675 East Madison Avenue, El Cajon

Fourth of July event in San Diego  called the Big Bay Boom firework show happening in 2024
Courtesy of Big Bay Boom

Big Bay Boom Firework Show

July 4

The Big Bay Boom is the largest fireworks display in California. Bring lawn chairs to watch from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the North Embarcadero, the Marina District, or the Coronado Ferry Landing at 9 p.m., or get a closer view from your own vessel on the bay. To avoid parking downtown, consider taking advantage of the expanded trolley service that night.

Various locations

Maritime Museum July 4th BBQ Dinner & Fireworks Viewing

July 4

The San Diego Maritime Museum opens up the McKinney Deck of the 1898 steam ferryboat Berkeley and the waterfront barge behind it for visitors to enjoy a barbecue dinner along the water starting at 7 p.m., then a front-row seat to the 9 p.m. fireworks show over the bay. Purchase your tickets online in advance, and bring a blanket for the first-come, first-serve seating on the boat.

1492 North Harbor Drive, Waterfront

Old Town Historic 4th of July Celebration

July 4

Join Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s staff and volunteers to experience an 1800s-style Independence Day celebration. Running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the free event offers games, crafts, and live music from Big Mountain Blue Grass Band. Previous years’ activities have included potato sack races, tug-of-war, and folk dances.

San Diego Avenue & Twiggs Street, Old Town

Fourth of July event in San Diego  featuring the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July at OId Poway Park featuring the Poway-Midland Railroad
Courtesy of Poway-Midland Railroad

Old-Fashioned Fourth of July

July 4

Flash back to the turn of the 20th century at Old Poway Park’s Independence Day celebration. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., visitors can enjoy train displays, children’s crafts, old-fashioned games, patriotic entertainment, train rides, and tasty food. Follow that up with two glimmering fireworks displays illuminating the sky over the Poway High School Stadium and the Poway Sportsplex. The high school gates open at 6 p.m., and for $6 per adult (kids 11 and under are free), you can enjoy games, activities, and music leading up to the big show.

14134 Midland Road | 15500 Espola Road | 12349 McIvers Court, Poway

San Diego County Fair Fireworks Spectacular

July 4

The Del Mar Fairgrounds has hosted the San Diego County Fair—the unofficial summer kick-off in SD—since 1936. Spend the day riding the Ferris wheel, cheering on piglets in the Swifty Swine Pig Races, or housing fried chicken sandwiched between two hot honey–drizzled funnel cakes. Then, head to the Corona Grandstand Stage to watch the dazzling fireworks show at 9 p.m. General admission (standing room only) is free, or you can pay to reserve a seat

2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar

Escondido Independence Day Festival

July 4

Let freedom ring in the heart of Escondido at this annual Independence Day Festival. Starting at 4 p.m. in Grape Day Park, you can explore the artisan market; order eats from local food trucks; drink local craft beers and spirits; and listen to live performances, including one from the Navy 32nd Street Brass Band, hosted by the adjacent California Center for the Arts. Then settle down on a blanket or lawn chair for the spectacular fireworks finale at 9:05 p.m. For the first time this year, the Center for the Arts is extending the celebration to a four-day free concert series, so come back on July 5, 6, or 7 for more live shows.

321 North Broadway, Escondido

Fourth of July event in San Diego featuring Legoland’s Red, White & Boom! celebration featuring a lego mascot dressed as a hot dog
Courtesy of Legoland

Legoland’s Red, White & Boom!

July 4

Spend Fourth of July at Legoland with a full schedule of USA-themed activities—DJ dance parties, limited-edition treats, lawn games, and meet-and-greets—in addition to the normal brick-building fun and rides. Then put on magic glasses to see a spectacular show: fireworks exploding into 3D Lego bricks. The special event is included with regular park admission.

One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad

Santee Salutes

July 4

Enjoy an all-American afternoon in East County at Santee’s Town Center Park. The gates open at 2 p.m., inviting guests to partake in amusement rides and food trucks in between performances by the US Marine Corps Band Popular Music Group and country band Whiskey Ridge. The fireworks start at 9 p.m. and will be synced to the fireworks soundtrack on SanteeTV

550 Park Center Drive, Santee 

Julian 4th of July Parade

July 4

Experience small-town charm in the Cuayamaca Mountains with this annual patriotic parade. For more than 20 years, Julian residents and their friends have lined up on Main Street to wave their flags and cheer on local school marching bands. Pre-parade activities include musical performances, an Old West reenactment, pie-eating contests, and a vintage airplane fly-over before the main event starts at noon. 

Main Street, Julian

By Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is a writer, editor and aficionado of hiking, crafting and thrifting. She is an adjunct professor in journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University, and she lives in Escondido with her husband and three daughters.

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