As one of the biggest holidays in the USA, the 4th of July (or Independence Day) is a celebration you wouldn’t want to miss. If you have lived in the States for a while, or are a frequent visitor, you probably know just how important this day is. All over the nation, people gather with friends and family to commemorate the Declaration of Independence in 1776. And of course, major cities like Los Angeles host several large scale events in honor of this day.
Unlike New York, LA has many firework shows throughout the city. Even though you won’t be able to watch them all, you can take your pick of viewing spots and displays. Do note that some locations have free admission, while others require a fee to enter. Apart from fireworks, many events in this Southern Californian region also include parades, festivals, and performances. So if you happen to be in Los Angeles over 4th of July, don’t just stay in. Head out to one of the sites below for the best views of a vibrant display lighting up the sky!
1. Rose Bowl
The 4th of July Americafest is hosted annually at the Rose Bowl outdoor stadium. Located in Pasadena, just outside of Los Angeles, this enthusiastic celebration of America’s independence features a patriotic red, white, and blue theme.
Get a taste of some classic American food, for example burgers, hot dogs, and southern barbecue, here at the Rose Bowl Stadium. Filled with kid-friendly activities, it is a great spot for families in particular. Adults and children alike will find themselves gaping at the motorcycle stunt show, and the performances from Elvis and the Beatles tribute bands.
As one of the largest firework displays in Southern California, Americafest is not going to disappoint when the display begins at 9 pm. For a small general admission fee, you are guaranteed hours of entertainment once the venue opens to the public at 2 pm. Should you wish to continue the partying into the night, an outdoor screening of Despicable Me 2 is also featured after the fireworks.
Rose Bowl Stadium: Americafest
Address: 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103, United States
Hours: 2 pm - 9 pm
Price: 13 USD
Access: 20-minute drive (11 miles / 18 kilometers) from downtown LA
Website: Rose Bowl Stadium: Americafest
2. Hollywood Bowl
Like the Rose Bowl, the Hollywood Bowl hosts an annual July 4th Fireworks Spectacular every year right in the heart of Los Angeles. The best part about this is that you don’t have to wait till the actual day to have fun! The Hollywood Bowl starts its event 2 days early on July 2nd, where the public is invited to start celebrating in advance.
No matter which day you visit, you will be able to catch this year’s feature live music performance by the renowned rock band, Chicago. Even if you’ve never heard their music before, you can still rock out with everyone else. If you’re looking for fireworks specifically, do note that they only occur on the evening of the 4th of July.
Starting from around 30 USD, tickets must be purchased to enter the amphitheater for a clear view of the fireworks. Even though tickets are on the pricey side, the spirited energy of the atmosphere will make it worth your while. Nothing beats celebrating the 4th of July surrounded by people who are just excited to be there as you are.
Hollywood Bowl: July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
Address: 2301 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068, United States
Hours: Starts at 7:30 pm
Price: From 30 USD
Access: 12-minute drive (7.5 miles / 12 kilometers) from downtown LA
3. Marina del Rey
Marina del Rey is one of the most highly-recommended spots for viewing 4th of July fireworks. There is something undeniably remarkable about watching fireworks over a marina. Maybe it’s the way the vibrant colors reflect on the surface of the water. Or maybe it’s the feeling of freedom you get from looking out into the vast expanse of the ocean that embodies Independence Day.
The fact that Marina del Rey is completely free, unlike the previous two locations, is a bonus. For the best views, head to Fisherman’s Village, Burton Chace Park, or Marina (Mother’s) Beach. A common mistake people, especially tourists, make is choosing a random location along the marina. Some sections are blocked by trees or other obstructions that will prevent you from getting a clear shot of the fireworks.
The fireworks only last from 9 pm to 9:20 pm. But if you don’t have any other plans, make the most out of this day by spending the entire afternoon there with a picnic. Proceed with a waterfront dinner as you wait for the fireworks to appear. If you’re seeking something more fancy, a cruise is also available in the evening that will allow you to watch the lively performance of lights in the sky.
Marina del Rey: 4th of July Fireworks Celebration
Address: 13650 Mindanao Way Marina del Rey, CA 90292 United States
Hours: 9 pm - 9:20 pm (fireworks); venue is open all day
Access: 30-minute drive (19.5 miles / 31 kilometers) from downtown LA
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4. Grand Park
The only other free 4th of July fireworks viewing spot on this list, Grand Park is a great place to celebrate this special day with music and food without having to spend any money. A 4th of July Block Party is hosted annually on this day from 2 pm to 9:30 pm, which includes a fireworks display at the end of the night to conclude the event.
Even though food stalls are available at Grand Park, feel free to bring your own food and drinks for a cozy picnic with your loved ones. You will not only save money, but also be rewarded by the warm feeling that you can only get from homemade food. But do note that no alcohol is allowed on the premises, so leave the booze at home!
Tip: the Civic Center / Grand Park station located right in the park will be closed on the 4th of July for the event. If you are planning to get there by metro, get off at Pershing Square instead. It’s only a 15-minute walk (0.7 miles / 1.2 kilometers) from the park.
Grand Park: 4th of July Block Party
Address: 200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States
Hours: 2 pm - 9:30 pm
Access: Located in the heart of downtown LA
Website: Grand Park: 4th of July Block Party
5. Queen Mary Cruise (Long Beach)
Since its creation, the annual All-American 4th of July celebration aboard The Queen Mary has become a Long Beach tradition. Departing from the Pacific coast of California, this cruise provides guests with a unique experience of watching fireworks. Floating out in the water, you are guaranteed a clear view of fireworks without having to squeeze with the crowds on land.
The cruise starts off early in the afternoon at 2 pm, featuring a virtual journey through the US to honor its independence. Following a patriotic opening ceremony, head towards a Coney Island-style Carnival and Circus, with acrobatic performances, carnival games, and delicious treats. Continue your journey through the nation with a Nashville Tailgate line dance, a Las Vegas area of casino games, a New Orleans marching band showcase, a Hollywood-influenced live DJ performance, and finally, a Hawaiian hula-dancing party.
However, do note that the fireworks do not go off until 9 pm. If you’ve already decided that a Queen Mary Cruise is the right venue for you, remember to pre-book your tickets online for cheaper prices. But don’t worry, tickets are also sold at the door for just a couple of bucks more.
The Queen Mary: All-American 4th of July
Address: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802, United States
Hours: 2 pm - 11 pm; fireworks at 9 pm
Price: 44 USD (adults), 24 USD (kids) *Admission will costs 5 USD more for both adults and kids if purchased at the door
Access: 30-minute drive (24 miles / 39 kilometers) from downtown LA
Paint Los Angeles red, white, and blue
The 4th of July is right around the corner, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on celebrating one of the most significant days in US history. Citizens and foreigners alike are welcome to rejoice on Independence Day. Even though you should understand the importance of this day, part of it is just to cut loose and have fun. It is the perfect time to hang out with people you don’t get to see on a regular basis. But if you could only choose one activity to do on the 4th of July, watching fireworks is definitely the main highlight. There is nothing quite as celebratory as seeing a dazzling sky above you.
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