Despite the U.S.A.'s devastating World Cup loss, you shouldn't lose your American pride just yet. The Fourth comes this year at the end of a four-day work week, and if that isn't enough reason to celebrate, there are cookouts, parades and, yes, fireworks.
Regardless of whether you prefer your neighborhood light show or are looking for a more extravagant scene, Fourth of July fireworks begin around dusk Friday evening, so grab your friends and a blanket and head out. Whether you hate crowds and loud noises, you're a cheap skate, or your tastes are too snobbish for the hoi polloi, there's a fireworks show for you. You just have know where to look.
For the Active: Paseo Del Sol Fire Road
Feeling adventurous this Fourth? Take a hike along the Paseo Del Sol fire road to the Via Campesina peak for an 180-degree view of L.A. Located in the Palos Verdes Estates, this South Bay find showcases the fireworks from Redondo Beach, Torrance Beach and about as far as the eye can see. But remember, it's a residential area, so be respectful of the community and be careful where you park. Paseo Del Sol, Palos Verdes Estates.
For the Whole Shebang: Topanga Overlook
If you can’t quite decide on which fireworks display you’d like to see this year, Topanga Overlook is your best bet for catching a whole slew of them. The public-park parking lot that sits atop the Topanga Canyon ridges, as well as each nook and cranny along the shoulder heading down the north side of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, sets the scene for 200 or more viewers anxiously awaiting the holiday show. With the San Fernando Valley spread out below, this view includes the fireworks shows in Calabasas, Glendale and about 15 neighborhoods in between. Oooh and aaah at the sparks flying from the Warner Center business groups’ display about three miles north, or put your geography skills to the test by trying to guess which part of the Valley the bright lights are coming from. 3400 North Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga.
For the Classy: Bona Vista Lounge
If a picnic basket, blanket and Bruce Springsteen's "Born In the U.S.A." don’t meet your Fourth of July standards, then head to the 34th floor of the Westin Bonaventure for a more posh scene. There you’ll find the Bona Vista Lounge, where you can treat yourself to a fancy cocktail and nibble, all while contemplating which is the best fireworks display within a ten-mile radius — the floor of the lounge rotates exposing 360 degree views. 34th floor of the Westin Bonaventure, 404 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles.
For the Family: Levitt Pavilion
If you can’t handle another year of the motorcycle stunt-ridden, inflatable ride-packed, daylong marathon at The Rose Bowl, the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena may be a better bet. This Fourth, the Pavilion inside Memorial Park is celebrating with a free concert by Night Train Music Club, and all of the food and kids' fun you’d find at Americafest. You’ll still experience the incredible fireworks display put on by Zambelli at The Rose Bowl without paying to get in. The festival and food vendors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8. In Memorial Park, Pasadena between Walnut and Holly on Raymond Ave.-85 E. Holly Street (conveniently an exit of the Metro Gold Line).
For the Spiritual: Flattop
Even if you’re not a member of the Church of the Foursquare Gospel, that doesn’t mean you can’t praise the fireworks from this great view. Located between Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights, the area owned by the church is known as Flattop and has become a known for its incredible views, perfect for watching an array of different firework shows. It's almost certainly out of the way of crowds, so if you're looking for a peaceful, serene or even romantic evening, put Flattop first on your list. 1040 Montecito Drive, Los Angeles.
Up next, an idea for the budget-conscious...
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For the Thrifty: Mimi's Cafe outside Disneyland
Looking for a way to watch the impressive fireworks display put on by Disneyland without paying the outlandish $96 entrance fee? No problem. Although the Mickey & Friends parking structure is probably too well-known to accommodate your hunt for a parking spot, you can still claim your space elsewhere. Mimi’s Café, on Harbor Boulevard, is said to be one of the best viewpoints from outside the park. Snag your spot early, before the 9:25 p.m. show time, and spend that extra cash on a Triple Chocolate Brownie from the café. Now that’s magic. 1400 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim.
For the Low-Key: Granada Beach
If you’re in Orange County, Granada Beach is an excellent spot to admire the Queen Mary’s fireworks extravaganza. Do your best to beat the rest of the Long Beach madness and hangout here for a less crowded, more enjoyable end to the holiday. After all, why bother boarding the ship when you can watch the fireworks, on the beach, from afar? 4020 Olympic Plaza, Belmont Shore.
For the Big Guns: Hollywood Bowl
If you’ve given up your hunt for the most ingenious and unknown fireworks watching spot, purchasing a ticket for the Hollywood Bowl’s Spectacular is hardly settling. No need to sit front row for these so-called breathtaking fireworks. Buy a $13 ticket and chill in the back while Steve Martin, The Steep Canyon Rangers and more join in on a very American evening. 2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles. Tickets available on Ticketmaster.