Each year, you only get one Fourth of July. To help you spend it right, we've compiled some of the hottest Independence Day celebrations around.
Tuesday, July 3
Rancho Cordova's Fourth of July
Where: Hagan Park
When: 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to start of fireworks show at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday
What: This two-day carnival-concert combo commemorates both our nation's independence and Rancho Cordova's 15 years as a city. Special events include an "extreme trampoline show," a cornhole tournament and "the only fireworks show in North America synced to LED wristbands," according to a news release.
How Much: Admission is $2, parking is $10.
Fireworks & Freedom Concert
Where: El Dorado Hills Town Center
When: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
What: Apple Z and Lost in Suburbia perform live. Plus, your kids can prepare for their July 4 face-painting plans with even more face painting in the Kids Zone, which also has bounce houses and a DJ.
How Much: Admission to the shindig is free.
Fireworks & Beach Party
Where: Kings Beach State Recreation Area on Lake Tahoe
When: 7 p.m. to fireworks show after dark
What: The only thing better than one night of fireworks is two nights of fireworks. Recline by the water to watch the light show in style.
How Much: If you want preferred seating for the celebration, make sure to buy a $25 ticket soon; otherwise, admission is free.
Wednesday, July 4
4th of July 5-miler
Where: The starting line is in Sacramento's Glenn Hall Park.
When: Sign-in opens at 7:15 a.m., the race begins at 8 am.
What: The 42nd iteration of the longest-running annual run in Sacramento Glenn Hall Park might help you justify the hamburgers and hot dogs to come. Donation boxes raise money for Women Escaping a Violent Environment (WEAVE) and the American River Parkway Association. Kids get a half-mile race to themselves.
How Much: Running is free, but donations are encouraged.
Carmichael 4th of July
Where: La Sierra Community Center
When: 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
What: Eat some flapjacks at the morning pancake breakfast, watch floats and antique cars drive down Fair Oaks Boulevard in the Elk's Club Parade, blow bubbles on the lawn of the La Sierra Community Center, then ooh and aah at a fireworks show to crown the night.
How Much: General admission is free. The pancake breakfast costs $5.
Hornblower River Cruises
Where: The cruises depart from the L Street Dock.
When: The first cruise leaves at 1 p.m., the last at 9 p.m.
What: These hour-long yacht rides up and down the American River are a rare combination of tranquil and pedagogical: a narrated historical tour complements gentle rocking and a pretty cityscape. Also included are balloon animals and face-painting.
How Much: $20. For double the price, the last ride of the night features sparkling wine and the chance to see fireworks.
Annual Fourth of July Family Blast
Where: El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville
When: 4 p.m. to fireworks after dark
What: You bring the pigskin and propane BBQs, El Dorado County Fairgrounds will supply live music and a hay maze. Before the nighttime fireworks show, celebrators are encouraged to "pause for a moment to thank the American farmers and ranchers who made your picnic possible," per the website.
How Much: Carnival wristbands are $10, parking is $6, general admission $3.
Davis Fourth of July
Where: Community Park in Davis
When: 4 p.m. to fireworks after 9:30 p.m.
What: Indie rock from The Family Crest and a softball tournament will make the evening one to remember. And that's not to mention the Little League Pancake Breakfast, Kiwanis Kiddie Parade and Criterium bike race.
How Much: The entertainment is free.
Salute to the Red, White and Blue
Where: Elk Grove Regional Park
When: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
What: Elk Grove's afternoon line-up includes a "Let Freedom Ride" parade and a pie-eating contest. Food vendors, a performance by The Cheeseballs, and a firework spectacular cap off the event.
How Much: The evening is free of charge.
July 4th at Cal Expo
Where: Cal Expo
When: Doors open at 4:30 p.m., fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
What: Party-goers at the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand Lip can sync hits to the Bruno Mars tribute act, wipe away tears during Rachel Steele's country crooning, and rock out to National Lines' alt-pop bops. You can also get your firework fix at the end of the night.
How Much: General admission is free, reserved seating in the Grandstand is $10.
Auburn 4th of July Parade & Celebration
When: The parade starts at 7 p.m.
What: Auburn's parade starts on Harrison Street and finishes at the Gold County Fairgrounds. From there, admire the city's firework display.
How Much: Registering in the parade costs $25, attendance is free.
Fourth on the Field
Where: Raley Field in West Sacramento
When: Gates open at 6 p.m.
What: The theme of this year's Independence Day celebration at Raley Field is alliteration: come for the "food trucks, fireworks, and family fun," stay for the face painting and fortune tellers.
How Much: Field tickets cost $7 for kids, $12 for adults, $20 for boozy adults planning to beeline to the 21+ Legacy and Solon Club, and $500 for an exclusive air conditioned suite with a bird's eye view of the festivities.
Lights on the Lake Fireworks
Where: At various look-outs around Lake Tahoe
When: The firework display begins at 9:45 p.m.
What: For one night, Lake Tahoe reflects not just the moon and stars but a sky full of fire. Onlookers can paddle onto the lake, relax on the Nevada Beach, or take a helicopter ride to see the light show, among other options.
How Much: Price varies depending on viewing location.