An Big Bay Boom lights up the night sky over San Diego Bay. Courtesy of the Port of San Diego
The annual Big Bay Boom lights up the night sky over San Diego Bay. Courtesy of the Port of San Diego

With its military history, and miles of safe, open water, there may be no better place to view fireworks on July 4, 2015, than San Diego.

Here is Times of San Diego’s complete guide to San Diego fireworks displays, from Imperial Beach to Oceanside, and from La Jolla to El Cajon.

And if you can’t wait until July 4, check out Oceanside’s early bird show on Thursday, July 3.

Big Bay Boom

Map shows location of fireworks barges and best viewing areas. Courtesy Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego’s annual Big Bay Boom — billed as the biggest fireworks show in the West — starts at 9 p.m.

Suggested viewing areas include Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the north embarcadero, Seaport Village, the south embarcadero and the Coronado Ferry Landing.

If you don’t want to brave the traffic, take the San Diego Trolley or Coaster, or watch the show live on Fox 5 in San Diego and KTLA 5 in Los Angeles.

Patriotic music will be broadcast on THE MIGHTY 1090 AM and MAX FM 105.7 while the skies light up.

The event website has detailed information about where to park and how to use a special shuttle service.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Armed Services YMCA.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is offering two viewing packages for the Big Bay Boom, including a barbecue dinner on the historic steam ferry Berkeley and a cruise on the revenue cutter Californian. The dinner is $35 for adults and $18 for children 12 and under. The cost of the fireworks cruise is $85.

Another way to watch the Big Bay Boom is on a Hornblower Cruises & Events dinner cruise. The 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. cruise on July 4 includes a three-course dinner before the fireworks begin. The cost is $78.95  for adults and $47.37 for children 4 to 12.

Coronado

Coronado residents may have great views of the Big Bay Boom, but they also have a show of their own, with fireworks over Glorietta Bay at 9 p.m. Locals say the golf course is a great spot to watch the show. Traffic into and out of Coronado is likely to be heavy, and police warn not to stop on the Coronado Bridge. The show follows a full day of activity in this Navy town, including an Independence Day Parade at 10 a.m. along Orange Avenue from 1st Street to Churchill Place.

El Cajon

El Cajon’s annual fireworks show takes place at 9 p.m. at Kennedy Park. The show caps a day of activities starting at 1 p.m., including carnival games, crafts, a kiddie train and live music. General parking is limited, and some streets will be closed prior to the fireworks, so plan to carpool and arrive early.

Escondido

Escondido’s 52 annual Independence Day Festival begins at 4 p.m. and ends with fireworks at 9 p.m. on July 4. Some 20,000 are expected for the music, food vendors and children’s activities on the big green at Grape Day Park. The night concludes with a special performance by Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division Band amid the rockets red glare.

Imperial Beach

For South County residents, the Port of San Diego is sponsoring a second major fireworks show at 9 p.m. off the Imperial Beach Pier. In addition to the fireworks, a DJ will play music until 10 p.m. on Pier Plaza. The best place to view the show is along the beach, from Palm Avenue to Imperial Beach Boulevard. Parking will be available at Mar Vista High School.

La Jolla

The sky over La Jolla Cove will light up at 9 p.m. with La Jolla’s annual fireworks Ellen Browning Scripps Park. The noise and and lights may frighten the famous seals for a few minutes, but humans are sure to love it. And La Jolla is a great place for dinner before the show.

Mira Mesa

Mira Mesa’s annual 4th of July Parade and Family Fun Day in the Park end with fireworks bursting at 9 p.m. over Mira Mesa Community Park. Come early for the 11:30 a.m. parade and stay late for the fireworks.

Poway

Poway’s  old fashioned Fourth of July and fireworks celebration begins at Old Poway Park at 10 a.m. and ends with fireworks at Poway High School Stadium at 9 p.m. The turn-of-the-century style celebration in the park features patriotic entertainment, gun fighting re-enactments, free crafts, old-fashioned games and rides aboard the 1907 Baldwin steam engine. Then gates to the stadium open at 6 p.m. with a DJ playing music in preparation for the fireworks. The festival in the park is free. A $5 per person donation is required for the fireworks, with children 11 and under are free.

Ocean Beach

Fireworks will blaze over the Pacific Ocean at 9 p.m. as Ocean Beach celebrates Independence Day. Free parking at the Main Beach and Pier parking lots. Ocean Beach merchants urge visitors to “mallow out” and not engage in the marshmallow throwing fights of years past, which lefts huge messes.

Oceanside (July 3)

You can get a head start on the holiday with Oceanside’s annual one-day-early fireworks on Friday, July 3. Arrive by 6 p.m., bring your lawn chairs, sample the food trucks lining Rancho Del Oro Road, and watch the display at 9 p.m. Parking is available in nearby lots.

San Marcos

San Marcos will celebrate July 4 with an evening of music and fireworks in Bradley Park. The celebration begins at 6 p.m. with music by Polyester Express and ends with fireworks at 9 p.m. Children will enjoy carnival games and jumpers, and food will be sold on-site. Remember to bring chairs or blankets for lawn seating.

Vista

Vista’s Independence Day celebration begins at 7 pm. at Brengle Terrace Park and the Moonlight Amphitheatre. After an honors ceremony, the Mar Dels will perform in the amphitheatre, followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. Admission to the amphitheatre is $5 per person, and you can enter earlier for dinner, but the fireworks will be visible throughout the park. Parking in Brengle Terrace Park is $15.

Other San Diego-Area Fireworks

  • SeaWorld San Diego will cap the day’s fireworks with a late-night show at 10:30 p.m. on July 4.
  • If your children have an early bedtime, LEGOLAND California plans 8:30 p.m. fireworks show on July 4.
  • You can eat the latest fried concoctions at the San Diego County Fair and watch the fireworks at 9 p.m. on July 4.
  • Join the Ramona Kiwanis and Rotary clubs for a family picnic and fireworks at Olive Pierce Middle School. The picnic begins at 5;30 and the fireworks start at 9 p.m. on July 4.
  • The National City Lions Club’s annual carnival at Kimball Park includes fireworks at 9 p.m. on July 4.
  • Independence Day celebrations in Santee begin at 3:30 pm. in with a kids fun zone and live music in Town Center Community Park. Stay for dinner and sample the food vendors. Fireworks go off at 9 p.m.

Have we missed an Independence Day event? Let us know at news@timesofsandiego.com.

Chris Jennewein

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