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Where to Experience the Fourth of July in California

Where to Experience the Fourth of July in California

Regardless of where you are and how you’re celebrating, the Fourth of July in California is fun, fun, fun. Discover where to celebrate now.


5 min read

June 27, 2023

Happy Fourth of July! Regardless of where you are and how you’re celebrating, the Fourth of July in California is fun, fun, fun. America’s birthday is commemorated with festivals, fireworks, family gatherings, and feasts. It doesn’t matter if you’re observing the celebrations en route to a summer getaway or during a small gathering at home—when you’re with the people you love, you’re bound to have a good time.

Whether you choose to go on a road trip, have a couple of (vaccinated) people over for a party, or both, we’re here to help you spend the Fourth of July in California the best way you can.

Where to Celebrate the Fourth of July in California

1. San Francisco

The City by the Bay puts on one of the most impressively synchronized firework shows for Independence Day. Live music and street performers set the scene before the night sky is illuminated throughout the day. This is followed by an incredible display of feu d’artifice over the Bay starting at around 9:30 p.m. Browse the shops, enjoy the unique exhibits, then see the skies light up with colorful pyrotechnics. The best places to view the fireworks are from the Aquatic Park, Cannery, Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Coit Tower. You could also do a low-key evening seeing the San Francisco Symphony at the Shoreline Amphitheatre if your tastes are more refined.

Fourth of July in San Francisco is always a busy holiday. Enjoy fireworks along the waterfront, ferry rides, and activities around Fisherman's Wharf.

2. San Diego

Many Californians embark on a summer road trip to San Diego on the Fourth of July to watch the Big Bay Boom. Plan a picnic at one of San Diego’s best spots, enjoy family fun at Kellogg Park, and get ready to witness the fireworks once the sun starts to set. Seaport Village, North Embarcadero, and Harbor Island are a few of the best places to watch the incredible display in all its glory. Other celebrations are happening at Seaworld's fireworks show and the Crown City Classic 4th of July Race. There's no shortage of fun things to do on this holiday in San Diego.

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3. Columbia 

If you’re looking for a more unique way to experience the Fourth of July in California, head over to the Gold Rush town of Columbia. The city puts on a very old-fashioned celebration, with a community parade you can march in, classic games, and more activities. In Columbia State Historic Park, there will be an exciting small-town fair with activities such as a watermelon eating contest, tug-o-war, and an egg relay race. All backed by good energy, live music, and community.

The Gold Rush town of Columbia celebrates the Fourth of July Celebration with a community parade, games, and lots of other fun activities.

4. Los Angeles

There’s always a lot going on in Los Angeles on Independence Day. The Hollywood Bowl hosts a music-filled bash each year, and this year features the legendary California rock band The Beach Boys and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Check out the signature Grand Park block party from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., an event filled with live music, food, art vendors, and games. You'd love to be a part of this massive party. Also, don't count out taking a trip over to Universal Studios Hollywood for their Fourth of July celebrations, including a fireworks show and Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. Other popular spots to get into the holiday spirit include Pacific Palisades and D.T.L.A. Celebrate good times; come on!

5. Pasadena

This year on the Fourth of July, the traditional AmericaFest will be replaced by an electric Major League Soccer game between the two local teams, LA Galaxy and LAFC. This will be an exciting matchup that will be a great way to spend the day, watching the world's biggest spot. The game begins at 7:30pm. There will be a street fair in South Pasadena called the July 4th Festival of Balloons, that kicks off at the South Pasadena Fire Station at 7am, followed by a parade at 11am.. There will also be live performances at at Garfield Park.

LAFC has become a key part of the Southern California sports culture despite its relatively recent creation.

How to Throw a Fabulous Fourth of July Party

Do you prefer showing your love for the U.S.A. with the ultimate Fourth of July bash at home? Once again, we have your back. These are all games, recipes, and decorations you need to throw an unforgettable star-spangled banger, because baby, you’re a firework!

Send Out Festive Invitations in Advance

The first step to throwing the best Fourth of July party on the block is letting people know it’s happening. Customize and make your own e-vites online and send them out in a matter of minutes. Go for something festive and keep the color scheme of red, white, and blue going. 

Make sure to include all the basic information on the invite, as well as other safety rules and regulations you might like your guests to follow (wearing masks and staying home if their immunity is compromised). And last but definitely not least, have fun with the many creative options of DIY-ing your e-vites. 

Get ready for a fun red, white and blue celebration with these family-friendly ideas. We're talking sparklers, a backyard cookout, and more!

Bring Out the Red, White, and Blue

Embrace all the stars and stripes when decorating for your Fourth of July party. You can keep the theme tied together through tableware, wall decorations, and even food and drinks. But, the easiest way to incorporate the nation’s colors into your party decor is with balloons, candles, bunting, string lights, and of course, the U.S. flag. If you’re into arts and crafts, this is the day to channel your inner DIY enthusiast.

Make a Menu to Match

The key to making a killer Fourth of July menu is to keep it simple and traditional. The day is all about celebrations and good vibes, and the food should represent exactly that. Think barbecue, finger food, refreshing summer drinks, and easy desserts like cake pops and fruit wedges.

If you can incorporate the day’s color scheme into your food and drinks, don’t shy away from doing so. Color your icing, serve berry lemonades, and get creative.

A backyard cookout is the perfect activity for the long weekend, so throw some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill and have a feast.

Don’t Forget your Playlist

Nothing gets everyone into party mode other than a good playlist. Give a musical shoutout to America and make a playlist that corresponds to the ambiance. Cheesy anthems like Miley Cyrus’ Party in the U.S.A. and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. are a few on-theme bangers that’ll definitely get everyone singing along. If you’re not having a good time to these songs, julyin’! 

Think of Games to Keep your Guests Entertained

The Fourth of July is perhaps the best day to bring out the giant lawn games. After you’re done grilling and dancing, you’re going to want to have a couple of activities planned to keep your guests entertained. Classic games like ring toss, themed bingo, and charades are always fun. But if you’d like to step it up with more unique activities, you can definitely DIY, set up a game station, and plan patriotic games everyone will enjoy.

Put on the patriotic swimsuits and have the ultimate backyard water bash. Don’t have a pool? The sprinklers make for the perfect at-home splash pad.

Take it Outside

Turn your backyard into one big Fourth of July-themed location, set sanitizers on every table, and have an outdoor shebang like no other. If fireworks are visible from your lawn, then you got yourself a recipe for success. Make sure to have enough seating for everyone to sit back and enjoy the fireworks. However, remember to follow your local ordinances when it comes to your own fireworks usage. Keep California safe, especially during wildfire season.

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