Where to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks in San Diego This Year

From Downtown to Gaslamp and across San Diego County, here’s where to catch pyrotechnic displays this Independence Day.

Here in San Diego, we love our pyrotechnics. We’re always looking for an excuse to light up the sky, whether it’s a Padres win, a concert by the bay, or best of all, Independence Day. This year, San Diego commemorates our nation’s birthday with dozens of parades, picnics, beach parties, festivals, and yes, fireworks displays all around the county, from Oceanside to Imperial Beach. Grab your sunscreen, soak up some rays, drink some beer, and snuggle under a blanket while you watch the dazzling displays after sunset. We've rounded up all the best places for you to catch every jaw-dropping moment.

Where should I pregame?

As you’re undoubtedly aware, San Diego has no shortage of bars at which to tipple. For Fourth of July, elevate your game by hitting up some of San Diego’s best rooftops, but if you need some immediate picks, check out Kairoa Brewing Company for a chill New Zealand-influenced vibe, Altitude Sky Lounge for luxe bird’s eye views, or Catania for some quality Italian food alongside signature cocktails.

Just a reminder:

Before you decide to include your pet in the celebrations, check the venue to ensure that they are welcome. Fireworks and noisy crowds are frightening for some animals, and many venues prohibit them from attending fireworks displays and festivals for their own safety and wellbeing. For additional information on how to keep your pets safe and stress-free during Independence Day celebrations, consult the Humane Society’s website.

SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego

San Diego

Downtown and surrounding areas
Time: 9 pm
San Diego’s Big Bay Boom is one of the largest pyrotechnic displays on the West Coast, with a spectacular show from four coordinated barges, strategically located around the North San Diego Bay and choreographed to a live music simulcast on ROCK 105.3, plus a live televised broadcast on Fox 5 (San Diego) and KTLA 5 (Los Angeles). Free, prime viewing spots include the shores around Point Loma, Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Liberty Station, Spanish Landing, Little Italy, the North Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and the South Embarcadero to the Coronado Ferry Landing, as well as by boat.
Parking: People arrive early to picnic and spend the day on the water, so parking around the bay fills up fast. Use our handy guide for public transportation, ride sharing, parking, and shuttle information.

Pacific Beach
Time: 9:50 pm
SeaWorld celebrates Independence Day with Ignite, a 15-minute display of fireworks set to a musical soundtrack. The show is free with your admission ticket, and is visible from anywhere in the park.
Parking: $30 per car, $35 for up-close parking, and $45 for VIP parking.

Coronado
Time: 9 pm
Coronado's Independence Day celebration is a full weekend that’s jam-packed with fun things to do, beginning with a couple of different races on Saturday, July 2—the Crown City Classic 12K Run and 5K Run/Walk, and a rough water swim in 250-meter, half-mile, and one-mile distances. Get there early on Monday, July 4 to stake out your spot for the Independence Day Parade, then head to Spreckels park for a live concert. Capping the day off is a fireworks display over Glorietta Bay, complete with a soundtrack broadcast by KYXY 96.5. Locals like to bike or walk to the Coronado Golf Course or Stingray Point for top notch viewing. Of course, you can also go to the Ferry Landing side of Coronado to view the Big Bay Boom.
Parking: Unless you live on Coronado Island, finding street parking is notoriously difficult, so consider carpooling, ride sharing services, or taking the ferry over (your bike rides free).

San Diego County Fair
San Diego County Fair

North Coastal

Del Mar
Time: 9pm
The San Diego County Fair goes out with a bang and a breathtaking fireworks program that includes more than 3,600 aerial display counts, with 500 shells in the grand finale alone. Enjoy a full day at the fair and fireworks, visible from most areas of the Fairgrounds, with your entry fee, or purchase a reserved ticket in the grandstand for premiere seating.
Parking: On-site: $15-30 per car or motorcycle (no vehicles over 27-feet in length). Free off-site parking at Torrey Pines High School with shuttle service, or take public transportation.

Carlsbad
Time: 8:30 pm
Grab the kids and head to Legoland for the day. Enjoy over 60 rides, shows, and attractions, then top it off with an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to a patriotic musical tribute with great viewing in designated locations throughout the park.
Parking: On site, $25/car or motorcycle, $35/motorhomes, oversized vans and vehicles with trailers. Preferred parking is $35 per car.

Oceanside
Time: 9 pm
On Sunday, July 3, the city of Oceanside celebrates Independence Day with a free, family-friendly event at the new location of So Cal Soccer Complex at El Corazon. Arrive anytime after 5 pm for live entertainment, a family fun zone with inflatables, a picnic area, and food vendors. Fireworks start at 9 pm, with live entertainment after. Sorry, no dogs or alcohol permitted at the event.
Parking: $12/car at the SoCal lot. Free parking is available in the nearby Ocean Ranch Business Park.

escondido fourth of july celebration
California Center for the Arts, Escondido

North Inland

Escondido
Time: 9 pm
The City of Escondido is bringing back their Independence Day fireworks show this year, but without the traditional festival that typically happens alongside. Enjoy the show from anywhere in central Escondido—locals like to gather in Grape Day Park, which will be open late for the event, with the usual regulations—no dogs, BBQs, or alcohol.
Parking: Free but limited, so consider carpooling or using ride share services.

Poway
Time: 9 pm
Bring your family and friends to Old Poway Park for a turn-of-the-century-style event featuring children’s crafts and games, train rides, western reenactments, and train displays. After the party, head over to the Poway High School Stadium, where the skies above the grandstand will light up with spectacular fireworks, while games, activities, and a live DJ round out the fun. Entry to the stadium is $5, but kids 11 and under get in free. Note: The party and the fireworks take place at different venues—allow plenty of time so you don’t miss out on anything!
Parking for the party in Old Poway Park: Free shuttles to and from the event from two different locations: Poway City Hall parking lot, and the Poway Adult School parking lot. Shuttles will run throughout the event.
Parking for the fireworks: Free at the school, but allow plenty of time.

Rancho Bernardo
Time: 9 pm
The Spirit of the Fourth Community Fair returns once again in beautiful Webb Lake Park, opening at 9 am with an array of food vendors, food trucks, drinks, handicrafts, and other items. Activities include a classic car show, a patriotic pet costume contest, a magic show, and a rubber ducky race. At 6 pm, the gates to the fireworks show open at the Athletic Field of Bernardo Heights Middle School, with live music by the local Shark Jones Band. The "Sky Concert" fireworks display ends with a grand finale of nearly 400 high altitude shells, and seating is on the grass, so be sure to bring blankets or lawn chairs for comfort. A donation of $10 per person or $20 for a family is requested at the entrance to support the fireworks show. Note: The fair and the fireworks take place at different venues—allow plenty of time so you don’t miss out on anything.
Parking for the fair: Free parking is available at office buildings in the vicinity, but avoid parking in the Pearl Chinese Restaurant parking lot.
Parking for the fireworks: Free in the student parking lot off Avenida Venusto.

Vista
Time: 9 pm
Celebrate the Fourth of July in Vista at the Moonlight Amphitheatre at Brengle Terrace Park. The festivities begin with an honorary ceremony saluting local military heroes and live music by the DecaDames, followed by an extravagant fireworks display. Food and non-alcoholic drinks may be brought into the amphitheatre, and beer and wine are available for purchase. There’s also a catered BBQ Dinner option for $65 that includes entry and parking fees. Admission to the Moonlight Amphitheatre is $5 per person, but free for children five and under, active and retired military, and their immediate family.
Parking: $15/car, $30/RV

Lake Murray Fireworks
Lake Murray Fireworks

East County

La Mesa
Time: 9 pm
Head to Lake Murray Playground for an all day music festival starting at 11 am. There’s organized games for the kids and a day-long scavenger hunt played in between music sets throughout the day on the park lawn. The musical lineup includes I-90, Pop Vinyl, Frankie T & The Triple B, and Whisky State of Mind. Bring a picnic, or purchase food from one of the pop-up vendors like Doggos Gus and Dang Brothers Pizza. The fireworks can be seen from a number of viewpoints from La Mesa to Del Cerro and beyond.
Parking: Free parking is available near the baseball fields west of the park venue. ADA spaces are reserved along the round driveway at the entrance to the baseball fields and adjacent to Murray Park Drive.

Ramona
Time: 9 pm
The gates at Olive Peirce Middle School open at 4 pm, so come early and bring your picnic dinner, non-alcoholic beverages, chairs, and blankets to stake your claim in the grassy areas for one of East County’s best fireworks displays, set to music from Star 94.1 FM.
Parking: Free parking is available at the school and in the surrounding neighborhood. Observe the no parking signs along Hanson Street, Ramona Street, H Street, and San Vicente Road.

El Cajon
Time: 9pm
Honor Independence Day in El Cajon with a good old-fashioned picnic at John F. Kennedy Park, Rec Center & Skate Park. The Fourth of July event starts at 2 pm, and the fireworks kick off at 9 pm. Arrive early to find the best spot for your picnic and to view the fireworks.
Parking: Free parking at JFK Park and surrounding areas.

Santee
Time: 9 pm
Santee salutes our nation’s birthday at Town Center Community Park East, beginning at 2 pm with a carnival fun zone, a flyover by San Diego Salute Formation Flying Team, a patriotic ceremony with Santee’s adopted Marine Unit, live music by the 80z All Stars, and plenty of food vendors. The evening concludes with East County’s best fireworks show.
Parking: $10/car for on-site parking (advance purchase required) with no in and out privileges. No shuttle service will be available this year.

City of Chula Vista Government
City of Chula Vista Government

South Bay

Chula Vista
Time: 9 pm
Chula Vista’s Fourth Fest is held at the splendid Elite Athlete Training Center, with gates opening at 6 pm; the event is free and open to the public. Find your perfect spot to watch the fireworks and tune in to 100.7 BIG FM for specially coordinated music. Even if it’s warm during the day, the evening weather can be cool in this neighborhood, so bring blankets and cozy clothing to layer on.
Parking: Free at the training center and at New Hope Church at 2720 Olympic Parkway.

Imperial Beach
Time: 9pm
The fireworks at Imperial Beach are set off from the Imperial Beach Pier, so the best viewing is on the beach from Imperial Beach Boulevard to Palm Avenue, facing the end of Portwood Pier. Pack a picnic (or purchase some snacks from nearby restaurants), spread out a blanket, and tune into KYXY 96.5 FM for a synced music playlist set to the fireworks show.
Parking: There is some free street parking in residential neighborhoods, along with public lots.

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Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting various vegetables and beverages, reading cookbooks and traveling around Mexico. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.