Things to Do in San Diego for the 4th of July

Though summer officially starts in June, any San Diegan that has lived through May Grey and June Gloom can tell you that summer doesn’t really start in San Diego until July.  Weather in May and June is typically mild and cloudy, and it seems nearly every year the clouds miraculously lift for the 4th of July weekend, signaling the official start of San Diego Summer.  Kick off the season right with a few of our ideas for a fantastic fourth.

4th_of_july_san_diego

The Big Bay Boom

What’s the first thing that comes to mind for 4th of July?  Fireworks of course!  There’s close to 20 different fireworks displays around San Diego, but The Big Bay Boom is by far the largest.  With simulcast fireworks launched from four different barges around San Diego harbor, there’s plenty of places to get a great view.  You can even schedule a 4th of July bay cruise to watch the fireworks from the water.

Grill n’ Chill

Second only to fireworks, 4th of July is about grillin’ and grubbin’!  And just because you don’t have a great space for outdoor entertaining doesn’t mean you can’t throw a 4th of July cookout.  Many parks have grills or fire pits for use and there’s always the option of finding a vacation rental property that has a yard with a good view of one of the many fireworks displays.  

Get Beachy

As the official kick off to summer, it’s no surprise that the beach is a popular destination for 4th of July. Combining sun, sand, friends and family it’s a recipe for a good time, plus many beaches have views of fireworks if you stay past dark.  Ocean Beach in particular does a great fireworks show from the end of the pier.  Aside from the nearest fireworks, do your research before you select a sandy destination since parking and rules about fires or grills vary from beach to beach.

  Group Surf Lesson

The Summer Pops

The San Diego Symphony conducts an outdoor concert series on the Embarcadero downtown every Summer.  This year, they happen to be doing a special performance on 4th of July titled Celebrate America.  But before you conjure up ideas about old songs from America’s early days, this is the Summer Pops and this particular performance will feature the music of legend Johnny Cash.  The concert leads right up to the Big Bay Boom, ensuring you’ll have a great seat to watch the fireworks show too.

( Summer Pops: Celebrate America – Buy tickets link if you want to include http://www.kpbs.org/events/2016/jul/04/celebrate-america-on-americas-birth/?et=62880 )

Amusement Parks

Two of San Diego’s amusement parks go all out for 4th of July.  Sea World, located on Mission Bay, is known for their 4th of July fireworks display that can be seen from many surrounding beaches.  And in North County, Legoland in Carlsbad hosts their Red White and Boom celebration with all-American picnic games like the water balloon toss and sack races taking place among the Lego themed rides and attractions.

Coronado Island

Though Coronado is technically a peninsula, many (including its residents) refer to Coronado as an island.  Year-round Coronado has a small town feel and this San Diego “island” goes all out for the 4th of July.  Activities are scheduled all day on the 4th including a parade, a fun run, a rough water swim, a concert in the park and of course fireworks.  

Closing Day of the Fair

The San Diego County Fair is one of the biggest county fairs in the country.  It occupies the fairgrounds in Del Mar for one month each Summer, with the last fair day always falling on 4th of July.  A popular attraction with locals, the fair draws thousands of attendees each day, but the closing day of the fair is one of the best as they pull out all the stops with special food, entertainment, events and of course fireworks.  

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With so many options for what to do on the 4th, it can be tough to decide!  Do your best to plan ahead and do your research.  Because many of these 4th of July celebrations have been going on for decades, crowds and traffic jams can be the norm.   But wherever you end up, we hope you have a fantastic day celebrating independence and freedom here in the great United States.


Map of fireworks displays here: http://www.sandiego.org/campaigns/summer-in-san-diego/4th-of-july.aspx

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