A previous Big Bay Boom. Photo by Tristan Loper via Port of San Diego

With is military history, and miles of great views over the water, there may be no better place to view July 4 fireworks in 2018 than San Diego.

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

Most are free to the public, but you may have to pay for parking, or get there very early.

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

Big Bay Boom

Big Bay Boom fireworks barges and recommended viewing locations.

The Port of San Diego‘s annual show — arguably the largest in Southern California — covers the waterfront with fireworks launched from four barges in San Diego Bay.

If you have a good view of the bay, you’ll see the fireworks, but the port recommends Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the downtown embarcadero and Coronado Ferry Landing.

If you can’t watch the 18-minute spectacle in person, you can view it on either Fox 5 or, in the case of jealous Los Angeles residents, KTLA 5. The Mighty 1090 AM and MAX FM 105.7 will play accompanying music.

The Big Bay Boom website has detailed information about where to watch, where to park and how to use the special shuttle service. With up to 500,000 people expected, it’s a good idea to reserve parking via a special app or take the trolley.

All proceeds from the fireworks show benefit the San Diego branch of the Armed Services YMCA.

Chula Vista

The Chula Vista 4th Fest fireworks will be set off from the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center with patriotic music simulcast on 91X, Magic 92.5, and Z90.3. Gates open at 6 p.m., but parking at the center is limited. There’s free parking along Olympic Parkway, and another viewing area at nearby Mountain Hawk Park, 1475 Lake Crest Drive.


The Big Bay Boom will be visible from much of Coronado, but the Crown City will have it’s own show over Glorietta Bay starting at 9 p.m. Earlier in the day there’s a parade and other activities.

El Cajon

Kennedy Park is the location for El Cajon’s July 4 celebration. The event begins at 2 p.m. with food, games and kiddie train rides. Live music starts at 3 p.m. and fireworks blast into the sky at 9 p.m.


Some 20,000 are expected to attend Escondido’s 55th annual Independence Day Festival & Fireworks at the California Center for The Arts. Music, food vendors, and children’s activities begin at 4 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.

Imperial Beach

The City of Imperial Beach will be hosting a fireworks show off the Imperial Beach Pier choreographed to patriotic music broadcast by KYXY 96.5. City officials say viewing will be great on the beach from Palm Avenue south to Imperial Beach Boulevard.

Lake Murray

The annual Lake Murray Music Fest culminates in fireworks at 9 p.m. The music takes place on the San Carlos side of the lake beginning at 11 a.m., but the fireworks will be launched from a barge and can be seen from anywhere you can see the lake.

Mira Mesa

Mira Mesa’s holiday celebration begins early at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast, parade and family activities at Mira Mesa Community Park. The fireworks start at 9 p.m.

Ocean Beach

The fireworks begin at 9 p.m. at the OB Pier. Bundle up with a blanket on the beach after the sun sets to watch the show. Bring a radio and tune to KyXy 96.5 for a simultaneous fireworks soundtrack. There’s parking in the beach and pier parking lots, but get there early. Better yet, spend some time in the beach neighborhood, enjoying the many shops and restaurants.

Oceanside (July 3)

Get a head start on the holiday with Oceanside’s traditional July 3 show. The fireworks can be viewed from Rancho Del Oro Road, which will be partially closed between Oceanside Boulevard and Mesa Drive. Parking is in the business park near El Corazon Park. Arrive before the 9 p.m. show to listen to music and sample food trucks.

San Marcos

Bradley Park is the location of the City of San Marcos’ 9 p.m. fireworks show. The city suggests bringing a blanket or beach chair to listen to the live music that begins at 6 p.m. There will be food for sale at the park.


Santee Salutes features live music and a patriotic ceremony at 6 p.m. prior to fireworks at 9 p.m. The celebration takes place at Town Center Community Park East. There’s a shuttle from the nearby Costco parking lot.

The Rest

Here are other popular fireworks displays which require paying an admission price.

Legoland — The Carlsbad resort’s “Red, White and BOOM!” celebration from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. includes rides, shows and all-American picnic games before the fireworks begin at 8:30 p.m.

Poway — Poway celebrates July 4 the old fashioned way at Poway High School Stadium with music and food at 6 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.

Rancho Bernardo — Rancho Bernardo is planning an entire day of fun on July 4 with a community fair at Webb Park and fireworks at Bernardo Heights Middle School at 9 p.m. The fair opens at 9 a.m. and features food, music, a patriotic pet contest, classic cars and a parade.

San Diego County Fair — The fair’s 26-day run in Del Mar concludes with a July 4 celebration and fireworks at 9 p.m. Gates open at 10 a.m. and the fair closes at midnight.

SeaWorld San Diego — San Diego’s best-known attraction will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 4. Electric Ocean begins at dark followed by fireworks at 9:40 p.m.

Vista — Vista’s Independence Day celebration takes place at the Moonlight Amphitheatre with music and a ceremony starting at 5 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.

Have we missed a fireworks show? Let us know at news@timesofsandiego.com.

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