It would not be Independence Day in America without plenty of fireworks, and if you have been following our Twitter @SurvivingLA, you already knew the numerous venues throughout Los Angeles hosting fireworks. We managed to visit two of these locations, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on July 3rd and Marina del Rey on July 4th.
Cinespia in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of several outdoor movie screenings available during the summer, which you can read about here. This year on July 3rd, they screened the original “Jurassic Park” by Steven Spielberg. Unlike most other places hosting fireworks, Cinespia has a $10 mandatory donation to help fund the event. For the price of a movie ticket, you’re paying for a movie AND fireworks. In addition, there’s a limit to the number of attendees due to the cemetery being enclosed, which might be in the 3000-4000 range according to one staff member. It’s more pleasurable to everyone when the crowd is a controllable size. Since the movie is popular with the masses and Cinespia also included a firework celebration afterwards, tickets were immediately sold out online. As a result, we showed up over two hours in advance in order to guarantee our spots. Probably to prevent ticket scalping, physical tickets weren’t handed out onsite. Instead, patrons paid individually as they entered the cemetery. We showed up at 5pm. The gates opened at 7:30pm; the movie started at 9pm.
To make the wait between 7:30pm and 9pm more bearable and the movie experience afterwards more enjoyable, I brought a picnic blanket, some “Ménage à Trois” wine, and some disposable wine glasses. Golda brought snacks and beer while Holly from “The Social Bug” purchased two $5 pizzas from Little Caesars nearby. As the t-rex roars during the finale and the “Dinosaurs of the Earth” banner falls, the first fireworks shoot into the sky. They definitely enhanced the scene, and it made me excited about the firework display to follow. As the credits roll, fireworks engulfed the Hollywood sky to a rock rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The following evening, we attended the firework display in Marina del Rey. For food and drinks, Washington Blvd. had the best options. The atmosphere on that street reminded me of Venice’s Windward Ave, which was where Venice Beach Art Crawl and the Del Monte Speakeasy were located. I ended up ordering a chicken shawarma pita with fries to go from Gaby’s Mediterranean on 20 Washington Blvd. The pita was filling, and it was very convenient to carry around. It took around 20 minutes for them to prepare the food, which was to be expected on such a busy holiday. The cashier also gave us prior warning on the wait.
Those who wished to camp on the beaches of Marina del Rey needed to show up early. For others like me who decided to stand, the Venice Fishing Pier off of Washington Blvd. was a much preferable location. There were ample space on the pier, and in addition to getting the perfect view of the Marina del Rey fireworks, I was also able to view commercial fireworks from Malibu Beach and South Bay as well as amateur fireworks shot by patrons. In my opinion, the firework showcases in LA would have been better if they had at least a pair of them shooting together in sync like in San Francisco and New York. However, the fireworks were spectacular, and they definitely heightened the American spirit.
Cinespia and Marina del Rey were both great choices in watching fireworks. Cinespia is located in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. Because I showed up two hours early for Cinespia, I was able to find free street parking on the side streets. If you don’t want to waste time searching for parking, you can also pay $10 to park in the cemetery or the Paramount lot next door. Buses 4, 10, and 48 also pass by Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and it’s a half hour walk from the Hollywood and Vine metro station. Parking on July 4th seem impossible at best not just in Marina del Rey but all over Los Angeles due to traffic and street closures. Parking lots in Fisherman’s Village or Venice Beach may be your best choice for close proximity, but the high parking fees and frustration of traffic when leaving may outweigh the benefits. Instead, I recommend people to park on any side streets east of Lincoln Blvd and then take buses 33 or 733 on Venice Blvd or bus 1 on Washington Blvd, get a taxi, or just enjoy the walking scenery for an hour with friends.
So how did you spend the Fourth of July?
Until next time,