Big Bay Boom
A Big Bay Boom before the pandemic. Courtesy of the Port of San Diego

With the coronavirus finally receding before a wave of vaccinations, San Diegans are understandably ready for the July 4 celebrations they missed in 2020.

Here is Times of San Diego’s comprehensive guide to post-pandemic fireworks displays, from Coronado to Oceanside, and from SeaWorld to Ramona.

Most are free to the public, but you may have to pay for parking, or get there very early. And take a mask just in case.

Big Bay Boom

The biggest fireworks show of all is back. The Port of San Diego’s 20th Big Bay Boom can be seen all over the city, as well as on live television from Los Angeles to Sacramento.

The 20-minute show begins at 9 p.m. with rockets and roman candles firing off from four barges spaced along the bay front from the south Embarcadero to Shelter Island.

Approximately 500,000 residents and visitors are expected to flock to the bay to view the patriotic show. Popular viewing locations are Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Spanish Landing, the North Embarcadero, Broadway Pier, Embarcadero Parks North and South, Cesar E. Chavez Park and the Coronado Ferry Landing.

The location of the fireworks barges. Courtesy Port of San Diego

Parking with be a hassle, so consider taking the MTS trolley, which will run more frequently on July 4. You can also try the SpotHero parking reservation app.


The Crown City’s annual holiday parade returns on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. at First Street and Orange Avenue and ending at Churchill Place and Ocean Boulevard. On Sunday at 9 p.m. there will be fireworks over Glorietta Bay, visible from the golf course or Stingray Point, while The Big Bay Boom will be visible to the north of the island.

Del Mar

The scaled-down San Diego County Fair ends on Sunday with the traditional fireworks display at 9 p.m. It’s best viewed from the Del Mar Fairgrounds, though residents of surrounding areas of Del Mar and Solana Beach will be able to see it.

El Cajon

The city-sponsored fireworks show returns to Kennedy Park at 9 p.m. on Sunday. The park will be open, so bring a blanket or chairs and watch the show.


Fireworks will return over Grape Day Park in downtown Escondido, blasting off at 9 p.m. from the Woodward Avenue parking lot. It’s just fireworks this year, without the usual live music and food trucks, but residents are invited to bring chairs and blankets and enjoy the 15-minute show.


Julian’s known for its apple pie, so the town has to do the Fourth up right. The community begins the day’s festivities with a 10 a.m. flyover by World War II era biplanes and music on three stages, followed by a noon parade on Main Street. Follow it up with a barbecue from 1 to 5 p.m. for $12 and dancing until 8 p.m.


Legoland’s Red, White and Boom! celebration takes place throughout the day on Sunday and ends with patriotic music and fireworks. The pyrotechnics include bursts of Lego bricks. The event is included in regular park admission.


Oceanside traditionally schedules fireworks a day early, to celebrate its incorporation on July 3. The show begins at 9 p.m. on Saturday at El Corazon park. The recommended viewing area is along Rancho Del Oro Drive from Oceanside Boulevard north to Mesa Drive. The city’s Parks and Recreation Division suggests arriving by 6 p.m. with beach chairs or blankets, purchase food and enjoy musical entertainment before the fireworks.


You can enjoy fireworks at 9 p.m. Sunday at two locations in Poway — Poway High School and the Poway Sportsplex. Gates at the high school open at 6 p.m. and the event includes games and a DJ. Admission is $5.

Nearby Lake Poway will stay open as a viewing area for the fireworks at the high school. Parking for residents is free, but $10 for others.

There is no charge for parking at the sprawling Sportsplex on the city’s south side.

Earlier on Sunday you can enjoy Old Poway Park’s “Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature patriotic entertainment, western reenactors, free children’s crafts, train displays, and old-fashioned games. Tasty treats and train rides will be available for a nominal fee.


The fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m. Sunday in the field behind Olive Pierce Middle School with a soundtrack on Star 94.1FM. Food vendors will be on site starting at 4 p.m. The event is presented by the Ramona Kiwanis, Ramona Rotary, and Ramona Chamber of Commerce. Contributions are welcome.

Rancho Bernardo

The fireworks will go off at 9 p.m. at the Rancho Bernardo High School complex. Viewers are asked to park in every other space in the student lot to allow room for chairs and social distancing. The “US” Band will provide entertainment starting at 6 p.m., and picnicking is encouraged.

San Marcos

Kaiser Permanente is sponsoring the San Marcos fireworks show at 9 p.m. Sunday in Bradley Park. The city suggests enjoying the display from your own home to stay COVID safe.


The annual Santee Salutes patriotic celebration is back, with food trucks lining up at Town Center Community Park at 4 p.m., followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m., music at 6:30 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m. The event is free, but parking is $10 and available for purchase online.

For residents on the city’s east side, a second fireworks show will be visible over West Hills Park, though the park itself will be closed.


The iconic theme park on Mission Bay will celebrate Independence Day on Sunday with a 15-minute display of fireworks set to a patriotic soundtrack at 9 p.m. The best view is from the park, of course, but the display will be visible in many areas of San Diego.


Brengle Terrace Park and the Moonlight Amphitheater open at 5 p.m. Sunday for Vista’s July 4 celebration. The San Diego-based rock band DecaDames will perform on stage starting at 7:35 p.m. and again after the fireworks at 9 p.m. Park admission is $15 and entry to the amphitheater is another $5. Guests can bring chairs, blankets and food into the park, and there will be food and alcohol for sale. Masks are required.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.