6 Great Ways to See July 4 Fireworks in L.A.

The Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl

If you just can't wait until July 4 for fireworks, Thursday is your night. First, it's the Port of Los Angeles' seventh annual Cars and Stripes Forever, with live music on multiple stages, classic cars, a beer garden and fireworks galore. At the Hollywood Bowl, Smokey Robinson and the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform the hits of The Miracles and other songs of patriotism at the July 4 Fireworks Spectacular. Harbor Boulevard & the Vincent Thomas Bridge, San Pedro; Thu., July 2; 5-10 p.m., fireworks 9:15 p.m.; free. (323) 732-7678, portoflosangeles.org. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 Highland Ave., Hollywood; Thu., July 2, 7:30 p.m.; $13-$256. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com. —David Cotner

The ’Murrica celebrations continue at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, aka tonight’s honorary Danger Zone, where Top Gun, fireworks and other forms of patriotic revelry are being hosted by Cinespia. Curiously popular even now, some three decades after its initial release, the Tom Cruise vehicle led to a spike in sales of flight jackets and aviator sunglasses (thanks for that). It’s a movie about dudes in the Air Force battling for supremacy of the sky, maybe? I don’t know, I haven’t actually seen it since I was a kid. Regardless, there are few better ways to celebrate one’s independence than by watching an over-the-top classic, so go for it. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., July 4, gates 7:15, movie 9 p.m.; $25. (323) 221-3343, cinespia.org. —Michael Nordine

What better way to celebrate what unites America than with bikers, explosions and Elvis? The 89th annual Americafest features a daylong extravaganza of TNT Action Sportsmen performing death- and doctor-defying motorcycle stunts, as well as music to commemorate the fateful 50th anniversary of Elvis meeting The Beatles in Los Angeles. Ushering you further into the exciting evening, PyroSpectaculars by Souza will thrill/wow/jazz (circle one or more) you with the largest fireworks show in all of Southern California, just before a screening of Despicable Me 2. The Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena; Sat., July 4, 2-10 p.m.; $13 & $25. (626) 577-3100, rosebowlstadium.com. —David Cotner

Grand Park’s Fourth of July Block Party is just like the suburban block parties of your youth — except it stretches for eight blocks in the middle of downtown and features more than 30 food vendors, live music, KCRW DJs and mural painting. In keeping with the block-party theme, two stages — the Front Yard and the Backyard — will provide continuous live entertainment culminating with a (legal!) rooftop firework display that will put your uncle’s to shame. You can sprawl out on one of the many lawns with a picnic. Just don’t try to bring any booze to the party — this is a dry event. Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Sat., July 4, 3-9:30 p.m.; free. grandparkla.org. —Sascha Bos

Launched in 1934, the RMS Queen Mary made her maiden voyage in 1936 and transported passengers across the North Atlantic before becoming a troop ship during World War II. She returned to passenger service after the war but in 1967 docked in Long Beach Harbor for good, due to the rise of the jet age. Given her history and landmark status, the stately ship is an appropriate venue for the Queen Mary’s 2015 All-American July Fourth Celebration. The jubilee features entertainment spanning a full century, from a traveling circus and a Gatsby-esque garden party to a Prohibition-era speakeasy and WWII-themed live entertainment such as Peter Jacobs Wartime Revue, the USO Dollz and the Swingin’ Hollywood Hot Shots. The occasion also marks the Queen Mary’s public unveiling of the world’s largest Lego brick ship model — plus fireworks, of course. The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; Sat., July 4, 2 p.m.; $44 online/$49 walk-up adult, $25 online/$29 walk-up kids; $99 VIP. (877) 342-0738, queenmary.com/events/july-fourth. —Tanja M. Laden

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