Despite the fact that fireworks are banned in Los Angeles and many of its sister cities, they really know how to do the Fourth of July right.
My wife loves firework displays. In LA alone, we've seen fireworks from the Colorado St. bridge in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl show and from the deck of a home in the Palos Verdes hills watching the panorama from Carson's Home Depot to San Pedro's Queen Mary. We watched the Culver City show with neighbors from a bridge over Ballona Creek.
Nothing beats laying back on a blanket in Christmas Tree Lane outside the Coliseum and seeing that spectacular show go off directly above my head. But the shows at the Hollywood Bowl come real close.
Last year we celebrated Independence Day watching the show over the Ohio River in Louisville, Ky., the city of my birth.
One of the best shows we ever saw was when we hiked to the top of the Aztec Pyramid like steps of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook for a 360 degree view of fireworks from Redondo Beach to Century City to the Coliseum and at eye level the Culver City display (and all the illegal home shows in between).
The Culver City show and festival originates at Culver City High School. Gates and can be seen for miles around. Gates open at 5:00 pm, and the fireworks begin at 9:00 pm. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 per person and $5.00 parking fee (so ride your bike!)
Celebrate Independence Day at Culver City High School. Purchase hotdogs, soda, and Kettle Corn. You can also get tickets for the Exchange Club's raffle, which features grand prizes of an LCD flat screen TV and $100 gift certificates good at Westfield Fox Hills Mall. There will be great live music for entertainment.
Bring a blanket, chair and picnic to watch the fireworks while laying on the grass just outside the LA Coliseum. The show starts at 9 and features "contemporary" music. Free parking at the King and Hoover entrance to the Coliseum.
But first don't forget the 4th of July Jazz and Blues Festival in Leimert Park at the Vision Theatre. The music is from 1 to 7 p.m. and ends just in time to get a good spot at the Coliseum. Info: 213-202-5500, www.culturela.org
San Pedro Live music, U.S. military exhibits, tours of a Navy frigate, armed forces, and U.S. Coast Guard demonstrations, displays by the LA City Fire Department’s firefighting boat, and the Washington Artillery Reenactment group followed by fireworks. When: July 4, noon – 10 pm Where: Cabrillo Beach, 3720 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro Cost: Free Info: 310-548-7401, www.laparks.org
Long Beach The Queen Mary
When: Noon to 10 p.m.
• Strolling performers, Balloon Artists, Face Painters and Uncle Sam! • GRAMMY Nominated, Lisa Haley and the Zydekats, 4:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. • Dance the night away on the Verandah Deck located on the stern of the ship.