People love Fourth of July fireworks -- the big boom followed by a glitter of color lighting up the sky. Paying the price of admission to a professional show will guarantee you a seat and let you hear a soundtrack synchronized to the blasts.
Not into big crowds and traffic? Have no fear: You don't have to abandon your patriotic viewing. We've put together a list of "secret" vantage points where you can catch some of L.A. and the Inland Empire's fireworks shows while (hopefully) dodging some of the masses.
The annual Torrance Beach firework show has been confirmed for this year. You'll be able to see the show from anywhere along the coast up to the Redondo Beach Pier. The traffic can be quite a deterrent, but luckily the Palos Verdes Peninsula has some great vantage points.
The bluffs in Malaga Cove look down on the beach, offering a great spot to catch the fireworks. All along Paseo del Mar there is great visibility of the show, and there are baseball fields at the old Malaga Cove School that offer grassy seating. You'll still need to get there early and deal with some traffic at these locations, but your best bet is to drive the long way around the peninsula (arriving at the destination from the south) or take Hawthorne Boulevard to Palos Verdes Drive North.
At the end of Via Pinzon in Palos Verdes Estates, you can walk out onto the hill and get a 180 degree view of Los Angeles. From the street level, you can see the Redondo Beach firework show and, from a distance, fireworks shows all throughout Los Angeles. You can also see Torrance Beach fireworks, but for the best view of those you'd want to hike up the hill. The best way to get to this location is to take Hawthorne Boulevard to Via Valmonte, take a left on Via Paro and another left on Via Pinzon. Keep in mind this is a residential neighborhood and parking is limited.
It's not easy to avoid the masses at the Queen Mary's fireworks show but there are some recommended spots such as Harry Bridges Memorial Park, Shoreline Aquatic Park, Rainbow Lagoon Park and Marina Green.
If you're truly looking to avoid the Long Beach crowds, try Big Bang on the Bay, a fireworks show that takes place July 3. It's only in its second year so it's still relatively unknown.
For this show, there are great vantage points throughout the bay and Naples Island, or for $40 you can attend the Block Party at McKenna's on the Bay, with barbecue ribs, chicken and sausage catered by Naples Rib Company and live music by the Emperors.
San Fernando Valley
To see the fireworks show at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, head over to Pierce College. Next to the college there's an area known to residents as "The Farm" which contains livestock and horticulture, but behind it there's a hill that offers a great vantage point. Get there using a hiking trail accessible off the south side of Stadium Way.
Top of Topanga Overlook has a beautiful view of the Valley's west side. Though there's not necessarily a fireworks show close by, you can still see the show at Warner Center Park and, in the distance, Porter Ranch. The overlook is at 3400 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. with plenty of parking available.
For an alternative view of the fireworks show at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank, head over to the Castaway Restaurant and Special Events Center. For $40 you can get a table on the patio with a view of the fireworks and food from the buffet. Or for $60, you can get a table in the parking lot that offers an even better view of the show, and in addition to the buffet you also get unlimited beer.
San Gabriel Valley
On a clear night you can see the lights of Catalina Island from Glendora Ridge Road in Glendora, so this spot gives you a view of all the fireworks in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond.
Glendora Ridge Road is accessed by one of three routes: 1) The road departs from Mt. Baldy Road in Baldy Village; 2) From the city of Glendora, via Valley Center Avenue, then taking Glendora Mountain Road to Glendora Ridge Road; 3) Via the interior of San Gabriel Canyon, taking East Fork Road off Route 39, to Glendora Mountain Road, which then leads to Glendora Ridge Road.
Or, the equestrian trail off Turnbull Canyon Road offers a view of all the fireworks Los Angeles County has to offer. (On nights with a full moon, you can even see the Channel Islands shadowed against the Pacific Ocean, but you'll have to wait until July 22 for that.) Turnbull Canyon Road is accessed from either Hacienda Heights or Whittier. Drive to the road's crest. Find the gated trail on the south side of the road, just short of the road crest. Follow this trail 1/4 mile to the hill crest, at 1200' above sea level.
The Angeles National Forest isn't just good for hiking. Take Angeles Crest Highway in La Canada-Flintridge up to Angeles Crest and stop at the first or second turnout in the forest to find a great view of Downtown Los Angeles, Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley.
If you're not up for a hike, the parking lot at Pasadena Art Center College of Design offers a nice view of fireworks displays in the valley below and beyond. It's address is 1700 Lida St.
This next spot may not necessarily be a secret, but Colorado Street Bridge is a great spot to see the Rose Bowl display. The bridge is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.
Mentone residents who live on Nice Avenue between Agate and Crafton avenues bring out their lawnchairs for an easy and beautiful view of the fireworks show at the University of Redlands. You can join them, but remember it's a residential area.
Rio Hondo Community College is a suggested location to park and watch fireworks in Whittier. Take the 605 Freeway, exit Peck Road and go south. The entrance is right where Peck meets Workman Mills Road. There's also a side entrance from Workman Mills, just north of the intersection.