Things to Do in San Diego 4th of July 2016 Weekend

San Diego, “America’s finest city”, has some of the best 4th of July events throughout the city and surrounding area.

Whether you’re looking to spend the day at a nearby theme park or lounging on the beach with a picnic and friends, there are lots of great things to do to choose from during July 4th weekend.

If you’re looking for things to do in San Diego 4th of July 2016, check out our list of the best local activities and attractions, including…

  • Annual “Big Bay Boom” Fireworks Show
  • Red, White, and Boom! at LEGOLAND® California
  • SeaWorld® San Diego’s Summer Nights
  • Fourth of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove
  • and more…

Save on Attraction Admission

Regular admission to a number of the below festive San Diego attractions are included on the Go San Diego® Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

Please note, the special events taking place at these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go San Diego Card.

Annual “Big Bay Boom” Fireworks Show

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Scott Taylor [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Scott Taylor [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

No matter where you are in San Diego, be sure you don’t miss out on the largest display of fireworks in the city.

Fireworks are launched simultaneously from four barges strategically located throughout San Diego’s North Bay starting just after 9 PM.

Orchestrated to originally produced music selections, broadcast by The Walrus 105.7FM, the fireworks show can be seen and heard from anywhere along the waterfront.

Pack a picnic, grab your lounge chairs, and head over to one of these top places to watch the show:

  • Shelter Island: This intimate spot, located on the small strip on land on Point Loma’s bay front, offers excellent views. Be sure to get there before 1:00 pm, when it typically reaches capacity (get there earlier to scope out the best spot!). It’s strongly advised that you walk or take the free shuttle, and make sure to have your lawn chair and a picnic basket in tow.
  • Harbor Island: This peninsula situations between downtown San Diego and Shelter Island offers a stunning view of the fireworks with the skyline in the background. The small “island” has limited parking, so you may want to take advantage of the free shuttle service offered by the Port of San Diego, which departs from the Port Administration building on Pacific Highway.
  • North Embarcadero and the Marina District: On the east side of the San Diego Bay, provide a hassle-free way to see the show (but you’ll still want to secure your spot early). Parking is available in various lots and on many streets, but you’ll still want to secure your spot early. Gourmet seafood restaurants and fish markets line the coast in this neighborhood that hosts many of the top San Diego attractions.
  • Seaport Village/ South Embarcadero: This waterfront shopping and dining complex on the southern end of the Embarcadero, is another popular spot to watch the fireworks. Head there for dinner and drink at a restaurant with a bay view and then stay for the show.
  • Coronado Ferry Landing: Head over to Coronado for unique views of the Big Bay Boom fireworks. Coronado Island also has a 4th of July celebration of its own, including a parade, a concert, and fireworks over Glorietta Bay.

Parking availability and prices vary by location, be sure to check the event site for the most up-to-date information and to learn about free shuttles and parking.

Insider tip: Listen to the musical simulcast on THE MIGHT 1090 AM and MAX FM 105.7

  • When: July 4, 2016 from 9:00 pm to 9:20 pm
  • Where: Fireworks will launch from four barges in San Diego Bay

Red, White, and Boom! at LEGOLAND® California


The LEGOLAND® California star-spangled 4th of July celebration is one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday with your kids.

Don’t miss the impressive firework display timed to patriotic music. Throughout the day, kids of all ages can enjoy live music performances and participate in classic, family-friendly games, like water balloon toss, burlap sack races, LEGO® Hamburger relay, a family build challenge, and more.

  • When: July 4, 2016 from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (fireworks are at 8:30 pm)
  • Where: LEGOLAND California, 1 LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008

SeaWorld® San Diego’s Summer Nights

PrintCelebrate Independence Day with SeaWorld San Diego’s Summer Nights extended park hours, nighttime shows, and ‘Celebrate the Wonder’ fireworks spectacular on select dates.

Visitors on July 4th will be able to catch three spectacular shows in addition to the usual scheduled programs:

  • Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up the Night show
  • Sea Lions Tonite
  • Celebrate the Wonder Fireworks – which is set to a patriotic musical score.

Insider tip: Check the daily schedule when you get to the park and plan your day around which shows and activities you want to see.

Please note, SeaWorld San Diego’s Summer Nights shows are separately ticketed and not included with the Go San Diego Card, as they are not included with regular park admission.

  • When: July 4, 2016 (fireworks will be at 10:30 pm, check the daily schedule for show times)
  • Where: SeaWorld San Diego, 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, CA 92109

USS Midway Museum 4th Annual 4th of July Celebration

USS-Midway-Museum-5The 4th of July in San Diego doesn’t get much more patriotic than watching the spectacular Big Bay Fireworks show from the flight deck of the USS Midway, one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers and the closest venue to the four barge locations from where the fireworks launch.

The USS Midway Museum event will feature lots of fun for all with family activities and and live entertainment. Guests are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and small coolers.

Insider tip: Buy tickets now, as this event sells out every year!

Please note, this event is seperately ticketed and not included with the Go San Diego Card, as this event is not included with regular admission.

  • When: July 4, 2016 from 6:00 pm, take a tour of the USS Midway beforehand from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. (fireworks at at 9:00 pm)
  • Where: USS Midway Museum, 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

Coronado Island Independence Day Celebration

Coronado Island takes Independence Day Celebrations very seriously (with lots of fun and patriotic things to do).

The town puts on a road race, an art in the park show, rough water swim competition, Independence Day Parade, live entertainment, fireworks over Glorietta Bay, and more.

Insider tip: Take the ferry over so you don’t have to worry about parking and make the most of your time on the island by going on a bike tour or kayaking in the bay.

Old Town Celebrations


For the perfect day of traditional 4th of July San Diego celebrations (we’re talking 1800s-style), head to Old Town Historic Park for a classic parade, crafts, and kid-friendly activities such as wagon rides, period games, music, a pie-eating contest, and more.

  • When: July 4, 2016 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (you’ll have time to find a spot to watch the Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show!)
  • Where: Historic Old Town, 2754 Calhoun Street, San Diego, CA 92110

Ocean Beach

Strictly called “OB” by the locals, Ocean Beach offers a fun-filled day of 4th of July fun with a spectacular fireworks display right off the OB Pier.

Pack a picnic and head to the beach for a day of swimming, lounging, playing in the sand, and shopping along Newport Ave. Bring a radio to tune into the fireworks soundtrack.

Insider tip: Main Beach Parking Lot and Pier Parking Lot will have free parking all day.

  • When: July 4, 2016 from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm (fireworks are at 9:00 pm)
  • Where: Ocean Beach, 5091 Niagara Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107

Fourth of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove

Celebrate the 4th of July in the beautiful La Jolla. Pack a picnic and bring a blanket to Ellen Browning Scripps Park for the best views of the 4th of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove.

Make the most of your day in La Jolla and hop in a kayak or throw on some snorkel gear to explore the coastal caves and popular sea lion spot and check out the sea life in La Jolla.

Grab a bite to eat with a view at one of the seaside restaurants and then see what’s new in contemporary art at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Insider tip: head to the park early to get one of the best views in the city of the sunset and to scope out a good spot for the fireworks show.

  • When: July 4, 2016 (fireworks at 9:00 pm)
  • Where: Ellen Browning Scripps Park, 1180 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla, CA 92037

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than to visit a new part of our esteemed nation? Spend the day sightseeing and then stake out the ultimate vantage point to enjoy world-class fireworks in San Diego!

Remember, regular admission to many of these great attraction options are included on the Go San Diego Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Please note, the 4th of July events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go San Diego Card.

Consider adding a few of these fun options to your summer vacation itinerary.

Go San Diego Card

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