Fourth of July parties are plentiful across Southern California, from the major over-the-water sky shows to the hot-dogs-and-hamburgers block parties. Where will you spend Independence Day? Here are a few traditional and offbeat routes to feeling the red, white, and blue:
AMERICAFEST: Plenty of local Fourth festivities have several decades under their stars-and-stripey belts, but few can claim the longevity of this Rose Bowl spectacular, which is presented by Honda. It's year 87 for Americafest, which means it isn't quite as old as the Rose Bowl, but, still, its centennial is on the way. Fireworks, Kenny G, and mariachi tunes fill the day.
QUEEN MARY: It's a time travel kind of day on the Long Beach-based ocean liner. A '20s to '40s theme, complete with period music, reigns early in the day, with each progressive decade marching on as night falls. The party starts at noon and the Pacific-reflected fireworks kick in near the end of the night, which wraps at 11 p.m.
MORE WATER-CLOSE SHOWS: Our neighbor ocean is put to excellent use every Fourth of July, when several waterside communities beyond Long Beach go the fireworks route. It makes for an extra nice sight, all of those lights reflected in the vast H20. Wanna go? Try Redondo Beach, Marina del Rey, and Huntington Beach.
EXPOSITION PARK: Spots around the nation will go the pyrotechnics route on Thursday, July 4, but few places can claim that a Space Shuttle is in the thick of things. Yep, Endeavour will be indoors at the fireworks party, but surely you can feel the icon's presence as you look up. The fireworks are free, though parking is ten bucks. (We're pretty sure it cost a bit more to park Endeavour, so don't sweat it.)
GRAND PARK: Downtown's newest green space -- well, that's not quite true -- holler, Spring Street Park -- is doing it up with a block party and fireworks. DJs will be there, dogs are welcome, alcohol is not, and picnicking is encouraged. It's a full day thing, as block parties are, so arrive whenever. Bonus: City Hall's nearness lends a civic-flavored pomp to the park, which is always welcome on the Fourth.
16 MM POTLUCK: If you don't require fireworks to make your Fourth shine, but do love a bit of quirk, Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre has you covered. They'll be screening a bunch of short "Lost & Found" flicks of the industrial and offbeat 16 MM type. Oh, there's a potluck bbq, too, so attendees are asked to arrive with "grillables." Ten bucks, July 4, 2 p.m.
"YANKEE DOODLE DANDY": The James Cagney patriotic classic will not screen on July 4, note, but Old Town Music Hall will run it throughout the rest of the holiday weekend. Meaning you can hear some stirring songs, watch a moving flick, and see it all in one of El Segundo's, and SoCal's, old-timey landmarks. July 5-7