Few sights can equal the perfect firework, the one that garners the largest oohs and aahs from onlookers, the pyrotechnic flourish that's colorful, sparkly, and very how'd-they-do-that.
But Independence Day isn't all about the sky show. A number of spots around Southern California'll get things started earlier on July 4, during daylight hours, forgoing the above-us spectacular that always falls after sundown.
Tempted to get Independence Day going well before dark? Then pedal for...
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The 4th of July Kids' Bike Parade: It's a sweet, streamer-filled, flag-bedecked Long Beach favorite that just passed its half-decade marker last year. Some 500 kids are expected to show at 1 Granada Avenue at Long Beach Boulevard at 10 a.m. for the old-fashioned, pedal-sweet parade. Bikes shall be decorated and red, white, and blue clothing out in full force. There's even the occasional Abe Lincoln and Betsy Ross on a bike, too.
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Ports O' Fun: For sure the U.S.S. Iowa, which is based in San Pedro, has a fine view of some of the over-the-water fireworks shows. But the daytimes -- yep, we said "daytimes" there, plural, so hang tight -- are all about barbecue, kid activities, a beer garden, vintage military vehicles, and history. And it isn't just on the Fourth of July, either. Head for the battleship from July 4 through 6 to join in the Independence Day spirit.
'Merica Fest: Does a backyard barbecue technically need a backyard? Not always. Make for Angel City Brewery downtown and prepare for live tunes, brews, and mini apple pies. Firecracker pops from Si Paletas will stand in for real firecrackers and lawn games shall abound during the afternoon-early evening holiday high jinks. Some of the beer garden sales, note, go to helping local arts causes. It's a great country, indeed.