How should I get around?
This year is no different than any other Fourth of July, so expect more traffic than usual with snarls getting worse as you get closer to the beach. Ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber are always a good option if you’re going to indulge. And, depending on where you’re headed, taking the Metro is a cheap and easy option, especially if your destination is Downtown... or the beach, by way of Santa Monica via the Expo Line. You can then grab a e-scooter or bike-share upon arrival (because they’re everywhere in these parts) and zip around all day.
Where should I pregame?
Many of the venues hosting fireworks displays also offer food, music, entertainment, and activities beforehand, so you can show up during the day and hang out until it’s time for fireworks. You can also, of course, easily spend the day beach-bar hopping by bike if you plant to catch waterfront fireworks later in the evening. Santa Monica’s Fourth of July parade (9:30am to 12pm) can also be a fun place to start before making your way along Main Street’s many bars and restaurants. For an only-in-LA experience, hit the Venice Boardwalk for the annual Mr. and Mrs. Muscle Beach bodybuilding competition (the finals take place at 1pm), which happens to be open to all “amateur athletes” just in case you want to throw your biceps in the ring.
Waterfront bars and hotels are always a fine option, of course, but you’ll need to show up early to secure your seat. For an all-day extravaganza, Marina del Rey Hotel’s Fourth of July Block Party will offer live music, games, food for purchase, and a beer garden on the lawn, along with a DJ and dancing on the pool deck starting at 1pm. (It’s $20 cover for the pool deck, while lawn access is free.)
You can also camp out at one of our great city’s ever-expanding offerings of rooftop and sky-high bars, where you’ll most likely be able to see multiple fireworks shows after the sun goes down. The poolside Wet Deck at the W Hollywood (12th floor) Downtowns Perch (16th floor), Nest at WP24 (24th floor), and 71Above (71st floor), are all solid albeit sure-to-be-crowded options, so it's best to make a reservation if you can. And if you really want to get up there, OUE Skyspace -- the state’s tallest observation open-air observation deck -- will give you 360-degree views along with an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet, a couple of drink tickets, and a ride on the venue’s bananas glass-enclosed Sky Slide for $75 a pop. Check out our comprehensive rooftop hangout guide to get even more ideas