San Diego 4th of July Weekend 2018 – 10+ Fun Things to Do in July

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 San Diego 4th of July Weekend 2017 ideas, check out some of these local activities and fun things do in San Diego in July, including…

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

Save on Admission to Popular Attractions

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

Choose as you go from dozens of San Diego attractions & activities and save up to 55% off combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available passes and San Diego attractions – Learn more.

Please note, some of these special July and 4th of July weekend events 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 in the annual Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Boom Independence Day Spectacular.

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 MAX FM 105.7 and THE MIGHTY 1090 AM, 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 MIGHTY 1090 AM and MAX FM 105.7

  • When: July 4, 2018 from 9:00 pm to 9:20 pm
  • Where: Fireworks will launch from four barges in San Diego Bay

Getting In: Admission to the fireworks is free.

Red, White, and Boom! at LEGOLAND® California

LEGOLAND-California-1

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.

New for 2018! a patriotic costume parade – come dressed in your best red, white and blue to join in on the fun.

All events are included with regular admission to LEGOLAND California.

  • When: July 4, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm (fireworks are at 8:30 pm)
  • Where: LEGOLAND California, 1 LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Getting In: LEGOLAND California tickets are included with the Go San Diego Card.

SeaWorld® San Diego’s Electric Ocean & Fireworks Spectacular Show

Electric-Ocean-LogoCelebrate Independence Day with SeaWorld San Diego’s “Electric Ocean,” with extended park hours, nighttime shows, and fireworks spectacular on select dates (Wednesday, July 4-Saturday, July 7. 2018).

Enjoy 8 totally energizing experiences, including 2 animal shows, a dance club with a DJ, live performances, and your favorite SeaWorld experiences lit up in the glow of the dazzling lights.

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.

  • When: Electric Ocean will run June 16, 2018-September 3, 2018. Fireworks can be enjoyed July 4, 2018- July 7, 2018 at 10:30 pm, check the daily schedule for show times.
  • Where: SeaWorld San Diego, 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, CA 92109

Getting In: SeaWorld San Diego tickets are available as a premium attraction option with the 3-, 5-, and 7-Day Go San Diego Cards; Electric Ocean events are separately ticketed and are not included.

USS Midway Museum 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 live entertainment, including live entertainment by one of San Diego’s most popular bands. Guests are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and small coolers.

If you want to take a tour of the Midway beforehand, pop by during the day and use your Go San Diego Card for general admission.

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

  • When: July 4, 2018 from 6:00 pm. Fireworks at 9:00 pm.
  • Where: USS Midway Museum, 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting In: USS Midway Museum tickets are included with the Go San Diego Card; 4th of July celebrations are separately ticketed and are not included with the pass.

San Diego Zoo Africa Rocks, Summer Safari, & Nighttime Zoo

San Diego Zoo Nighttime ZooThis summer, enjoy exploring the many wonders of Africa with a visit to the San Diego Zoo. This brand new area of the park — the Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks — spotlights several amazing creatures to promote awareness, education, and conservation efforts.

Plus, you get to roam six all-new habitats and see creatures and plants entirely new to the San Diego Zoo!

Animals include those from regions of Africa like Cape Fynbos, Madagascar Forest, the Ethiopian Highlands, and more. Look out for everything from playful penguins to majestic big cats.

Finally, back for more summer fun are the Nighttime Zoo events at the San Diego Zoo! This includes extended park hours, music and dance performances, drink specials, and more.

  • When: June 17-September 3, 2018

Getting In: San Diego Zoo tickets are included with the Go San Diego Card. Please note: guests must arrive before 5:30 pm for admission, once in the park, visitors are allowed to stay until the park closes.

Check out the newest exhibit at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

walkabout australia ta the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

New for 2018! Check out the newest exhibit, open May 25, 2018, Walkabout Australia, where you can walk along a path that winds through where kangaroos, wallabies, cassowaries, and more animals like to roam. You’ll get to see lots of animals and plants indigenous to Australia that are totally new to the San Diego Zoo.

Getting In: San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets are included with the Go San Diego Card.

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. Want even more ideas of fun family stuff to do in San Diego? Check out this overview of the Go San Diego Card pass here.

Activities start early in the day. If you plan to watch the parade, people head out there before 5:00 am to claim spots for the 10:00 am parade!

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.

  • When: July 4, 2018.
  • Where: Coronado Island

Getting In: Coronado Island 4th of July celebrations are free.

Historic 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, 2018 starting at 11:00 am (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

Getting In: Old Town celebrations are free.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach FireworksStrictly called “OB” by the locals, Ocean Beach offers a fun-filled day of 4th of July magic 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, 2018 from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. Fireworks are at 9:00 pm.
  • Where: Ocean Beach, 5091 Niagara Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107

Getting In: Ocean Beach 4th of July events are free.

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 stroll the neighborhood.

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, 2018. Fireworks at 9:00 pm.
  • Where: Ellen Browning Scripps Park, 1180 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla, CA 9203

Getting In:  La Jolla Cove Fireworks are free to watch.

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

There you go – plenty of fun ideas for things to do in San Diego in July to help you plan your 4th of July weekend itinerary.

Spend the day sightseeing and then stake out the ultimate vantage point to enjoy world-class fireworks in San Diego!

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

We really hope you consider adding a few of these popular options to your upcoming plans. Enjoy!

Go San Diego Card

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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