Top 5 Ways to Celebrate 4th of July in Long Beach

fireworks

Tired of wandering aimlessly between July 4th BBQs waiting for the beer to kick in and the fireworks to go off? Reel in the chaos of the summer holiday that brings all of Long Beach to the streets with our pick of five local events that are providing everything from entertainment and food to animals and wine. And of course, a place to check out fireworks shows, which erupt up and down the coastline starting at 9PM. 

5. California Gardens 4th of July Concert
Bring your picnic baskets, chairs and blankets and enjoy patriotic, boogie-woogie and rockabilly tunes from atop the highest accessible peak in Long Beach. Also get a sneak peek of the four-acre hilltop park at California Gardens—also known as the Willow Gulch—which provides breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. FREE. Starts at 7PM, 2745 Orange Ave.

4. Aquarium of the Pacific July 4th BBQ
Enjoy the fishes at night (the red, white and blue ones, of course) at this Independence Day-themed event. Grab your fresh grilled food outside, then head inside for a fish-eye view of the City of Long Beach fireworks display. $37 per adult (12+) and $29 per child. 6PM-10PM, 100 Aquarium Way. www.aquariumofpacific.org

3. Bluff Heights Block Party
This all-day block party takes over Vista Street starting at 12:30PM and is chock full of games, contests and America-themed favorites such as the Patriotic Pooch Parade and the Bike Rodeo. If you live in the neighborhood, then your name might already be on the potluck list (which assigns main course, salads or beverage items to families base don last name). If not, stop by and toss water balloons, nail whoever’s in the dunk tank and walk down to the bluff to check out the fireworks when it’s all over. FREE. 12:30PM-6PM, Vista St. between Obisbo and Orizaba. www.bluffheights.org

2. Sky Room’s 4th of July Celebration
View fireworks as they go off across Los Angeles and Orange Counties with city and Oceanside vantage points in the historic Sky Room atop the Breakers building. Dinner will be served in the restaurant starting at 5:30PM and the rooftop bar opens at 6PM. Happy hour goes all night, too, so why not celebrate Independence Day in style? Opens at 5:30PM, call for reservations, 40 Locust Ave. www.theskyroom.com

1. 4th of July along Queensway
Instead of hanging out on the mainland this year, drive over the Queensway Bridge and get a fresh persective on the fireworks show from the opposite side of Rainbow Harbor. The Queen Mary, Hotel Maya Doubletree by Hilton and the former Spruce Goose Dome are all offering ways to celebrate the 4th of July, perfect for watching the waterfront’s fireworks show, which is set off from the Queen Mary parking lot. Check each locations individual websites–or our story about the Freedome–for details.

EDITORS NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the Queen Mary’s fireworks as being operated by the City of Long Beach when it is actually a private show. The City of Long Beach is not funding any fireworks shows this year. 

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.
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