Best local San Diego Fourth of July Ideas, Activities and Fireworks views

Marshmallow fights, fun on the sea, 16 passenger bicycles…

in San Diego the possiblities are endless.

Here are some good unique ideas from a San Diego local:

1) Join the largest Marshmallow fight in the West.

It’s an Ocean Beach tradition that after the Fireworks display on Fourth of July, a huge display of hurtling marshmallows follows by the OB pier. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since 1985 which started with two rival families who hosted 4th of July parties. One year one of the families decided to take the marshmallows they were about to roast over the BBQ and go Rambo on the other family’s party. The next year, the other family got revenge and every year afterwards its become a huger and huger marshmallow fight.

Read more about the origins of the fight…

2) Rent a boat.

The best fireworks show I ever saw was the year my family and I decided to rent a 12 passenger boat for four hours to watch the fireworks. We paid probably around $50 each. You don’t need any special license to drive it, just a drivers license. We picked up the boat from Seaport Village around 4pm and cruised around the bay for awhile and ate the pizza and drinks we brought on board. Around 9pm, the sky lit up around us with a 360 degree view of fireworks since we were simultaneously watching fireworks from the San Diego Harbor to the east, Coronado to the west, Imperial Beach in the South and SeaWorld from the North. It was spectacular! We tuned in our portable radio to FM channel 105.7 to catch the patriotic music synchronized to the Big Bay Boom Fireworks show.

You can also rent boats at Mission Bay, Coronado and La Jolla Shores.


Book now.

Bring food onboard. Driver of boat cannot drink alcohol. It is considered a DUI.

Dress warmly.

Mind the wake zones (we didn’t know what they were and we sped by making large waves and people on the houseboats got really mad at us..)

Park away from Seaport Village and take the trolley in.

Get there early. The area is jammed with people, parking is difficult and public transportation is packed.

3) Take a Cruise / (Booze) Cruise

There are several cruises around town. Some with alcohol and some without.

  • The Hornblower hosts the “Rock the Boat Independence Day Cruise” which is pretty pricey but includes:

– Open Bar
– Complimentary Champagne
– Complimentary snacks
– A gorgeous sunset
– Top 40/House music DJ
– Dance floor
– Impeccable view of Firework show
– Perfect for Couples or friends alike.

  • My favorite is the Bahia Belle Sternwheeler on Mission Bay. It costs $15 and you can get on and off at it’s two ports at either the Bahia Hotel near Mission Beach or the Catamaran near Pacific Beach. From the top deck, you get an amazing view of the Sea World fireworks. There’s a bar and live music on the second deck. All ages welcome except on the second floor…
  • At the Bahia Hotel, there is a more formal cruise aboard the William D Evans sternwheeler kicking off at 8 p.m and ends at midnight. $30 will get you 2 DJs, cash bars, two dance floors, and three decks from which to view the night’s fireworks. 21+ only. Living social has a deal right now for half off.

4) Rent a bike

Social Cycle San Diego  has really cool 16 passenger bikes where you can do a bike tour and drink beer together. Read the next blog entry for a better idea of  what the social cycle is like..

5) Find a great view:

  • Porto Vista Hotel’s rooftop and also their restaurant The Glass Door have great views of the Harbor.
  • Fiesta Island
  • All along Crown Point are great views of Mission Bay fireworks
  • Bird Rock Park
  • All the hotels around Seaport Village and Gaslamp are good bets: Hard Rock, IVY, Stingaree all have rooftop areas. The Hyatt and Marriott Convention Center also have good viewing.
  • Tidelands Park Coronado
  • Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Point Loma, Spanish Landing, Embarcadero Marina Parks North and South,with free shuttles to and from parking lots

Most crowded places:

All the Beaches, Seaport Village, Coronado.

San Diego Fourth of July Fireworks schedule and locations:


Family Friendly activities|62|64|68|70/july-4th-celebration-in-pioneer-park.html

Old Town $5 Family Jazz BBQ

Don’t forget:

No alcohol is permitted on any beaches. Don’t try to hide them in other containers, the police have a scanner that they can use to detect if there is alcohol in the container.

Have a great time with your loved ones celebrating our freedom!!

Top 5 Outdoor Bachelorette Parties in San Diego

The sun is shining and the smell of summer is in the why not do a non-traditional affair for the bride’s last hurrah?

Here are the top five Bachelorette Party ideas for a bride who likes the outdoors…

1.  A Day on the Waves

Don’t be fooled. The hottest guys are out on the waves.

Pictures by Beach Shoot San Diego

Imagine a day of bonding, laughing and mastering the surfboard. There’s a cool little Women’s Surf School in beautiful La Jolla, CA called Surf Diva that offers a day of surf or paddle board lessons, professional photos on picturesque La Jolla Shores, and a mouth-watering picnic right on the beach after your fun on the waves. All skill levels are welcome and you can request women surf instructors if you like.You can glam it up and also request private cabanas w/private cabana boy serving up delectable chocolates and chilled drinks.

This is a great idea for a co-ed bachelor/bachelorette activity too! Mention BFF and get free party favors for your group…

Afterwards, you can rent a room at the La Jolla Shores hotel right on the beach and jump right into their jacuzzi to rest up before a night on the town. Party bus anyone?

2. Sunset Kayaking

Photo by Beach Shoot San Diego

I would highly recommend the… (Bride’s don’t read this * Spoiler alert* )… ok now that it’s safe.. Message in a Bottle package through Beach Shoot San Diego. They take you out for an unforgettable sunset kayak ride (you don’t need to have experience kayaking.)

They take you through the sea caves (weather permitting) and you get to see amazing wildlife. Then the photographer will strategically toss a message in a bottle onto the waves for the bride to find. The message will be from you and the other bridesmaids, of course, full of tear evoking well wishes. The photographer captures it all on photo and video. It’s a pretty awesome keepsake which can be played at the wedding.

3.  Moonlight Horseback Riding and BBQ Dinner

A day of hiking, camping or moonlight horseback riding may just be up her alley if the bride is stressed out and really wants to get away. Check out Happy Trails San Diego

4. Sports, competitive or teambuilding games

How about a day playing Dodgeball, Sloshball or Kickball or renting tandem bikes? San Diego also has tons of charity events like the San Diego Mud Run or the ROC Race (Ridiculous Obstacle Course-Think WipeOut). Give back to the community while bonding and doing something healthy and fun!

5. Boating, Boating or more Boating

The best part of San Diego is the beautiful ocean. Renting a boat is relatively inexpensive and you don’t need any special license if it’s a small boat. Just a drivers license! We took a boat out on Fourth of July to get a 360 degree view of the fireworks in the San Diego Bay and it was the best fireworks show I have experienced in my life. We each paid about $30 and brought on board some pizza and drinks-the driver of course can’t have any alcohol ;) In Mission Bay you can also rent jet ski’s etc.

It’s a barbecue, a picnic table, and a boat all in one… it’s the BBQ Donut!

If you want to do it a bit more upscale you can rent a small yacht which includes a personal sushi chef from Sushi on a Roll who can cater or even give you a Sushi cooking class while you enjoy sake or wine. Or you can take a traditional dinner cruise.

The best of the boat experiences has to be renting a private Gondola. They can seat up to 16 passengers and a sunset cruise can include wine, cheese, chocolates and even massages :) Wow!

Mention BFFbridesmaid or contact us to see if we can get you any discounts for any of these bachelorette party ideas!

Interesting Wedding customs from around the World: The Korean Squid Facemask

No you’re not imagining things. He is wearing a dried squid on his face.

I’ve been blessed to have taught English internationally and that for the past 9 years I’ve taught at a local San Diego international ESL school. I’m always amazed at the awesome, kirky and sometimes, downright hilarious customs that my students have shared with me over the years.

The Haam ceremony in Korea takes the cake for the best photo ops.

The Groom and his male family, close friends and/or groomsmen get dressed up in their best suits and strap on dried squid masks to their faces. They form a procession to the brides home to announce the grooms intention to marry her through the gift of the ham or gift box with important symbolic items inside like silk and jewelry. The ham or gift box can never touch the floor and must be carried by one of the participants, called the hamjinabi, on their back.

The group would shout merrily and jokingly through the streets to highlight the Groom’s approach, “Buy some Ham” or “Ham for sale.” Some traditions state that money was thrown at their feet in the path of the brides home to encourage them to keep walking

One tradition states that the brides’ family must pay money to the group per step, sing a song for them upon arrival or do a favor for the group members in return for their travel. Then they must be treated to a feast or dinner where the brides’ family will open the ham and examine the gifts.

Weekday Wedding Workshops: Money Saving Tips and WeddingTax Deductions

Our first informational workshop was a night of delicious food, fun games, great info and of course, sushi rolling..

One of our great couples enjoying a sushi bonding experience!Sushi on a Roll graciously hosted our free event for a very small group of brides, grooms and members of the wedding party. It was intimate and we all enjoyed lots of conversation, advice, commiserating and games.

Our guest speaker, Wedding Planner Carmin from, was her usual bubbly self and gave us awesome tips on how to save money and get tax deductions on wedding expenses. The brides really appreciated the one one one Q + A with her and all the free advice, tips and tricks she gave. She stayed well past our end time to answer all questions and to give one particular couple lots of design advice since she is not only a planner but a florist by trade.

Jeff from Sushi on a Roll and Andy from served up some serious sushi, braised short ribs and more. Jeff offered our workshop attendents 15% off of his already affordable catering service or venue booking. Sushi on a Roll is not a restaurant, but a private event venue which is awesome because there aren’t any restrictions like at a normal restaurant. So, you can have your bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner here and it’s completely private with private parking even. You can customize your menu, bring in a cigar bar and even set up the Wii and/or karaoke for the kids so they can enjoy too.

Bachelor Party? They can even get the “Sushi Models” to serve sushi on.

My friend had her bridesmaid/groomsmen luncheon (a thank you to their bridal party) on their yacht which you can rent along with a sushi chef for a day out on the ocean. They can even do the sushi-cooking class on board for you.

SD Street Eats gourmet food truck gave us great ideas for bringing in a private food truck for bachelor parties, for the very end of weddings when everyone who liquored up needs some food in their bellies before going home. They will pretty much travel anywhere and come at all hours of the night. They customize your menu and can do as casual as street tacos to as gourmet as lobster.

Our big prize winner of the night, Khristina, won a beautiful necklace by our sponsor Cocoon Jewelry.Their Facebook contest ends tomorrow May 15th. The winner will receive a customized set of jewelry in the brides wedding colors for the bridal party and cufflinks for the groomsmen.

Enter at

I’m so thankful to our wonderful sponsors and our guest speaker. I had a great time meeting each couple personally and being able to answer all of the questions that have been plaguing them. I cannot recommend Sushi on a Roll enough as a venue. They are such an unknown gem in San Diego.

I’m going to bring my husband there for a sushi rolling class for Father’s Day.. I heard there is a GroupOn for it. Shhh!You didn’t hear that!

Who I Am

I’ve struggled with the tone of my posts on the BFFbridesmaid blog because I wanted to be professional as well as informative. However, looking back on my posts I feel like there isn’t as much of the real me as I’d like. Watching a good friend of mine who is a wedding planner, be able to keep her crazy, quirky, kooky personality and still maintain her professionalism and high level of customer satisfaction convinces me that I can still be who I am while providing you with the best resources for brides and bridesmaids alike.

So from here on out you’ll here my thoughts, my recommendations, my advice and of course, awesome and practical resources…Feel free to agree, disagree, add or just let me know what you think..There will be people reading who are at various stages of wedding or event planning (bridal showers, bachelorette parties) who need to hear what mistakes you’ve made (so they can avoid it), tricks you’ve learned and just how it went in general if you are at the end of your journey. Let them hear you. I know I’m not the only one whose goal is to make this the beautiful bonding experience it should be. Let’s all contribute to getting rid of the stress, uncertainty and just plain drama that can come from wedding or pre-wedding event planning!

Timeline for Pre-Wedding events: Engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party… Oh My!

BFF Bridesmaid Checklist Download

Click on the photo for a sample timeline or schedule for Pre wedding events

One of the first questions Bridesmaids and Maids of Honor ask me is

“What do I do and When do I need to do it?”

When it comes to weddings, most people forget that there are numerous events leading up to the BIG event. Think about it..

  • Engagement party (Usually done within 2-3 months of the engagement- sometimes thrown by the Maid of Honor)
  • Bridal or Couple’s showers (Usually done a few months before the wedding- thrown by the Bridesmaids and Maid of Honor)
  • Bachelorette parties (Usually done 2-6 weeks before the wedding- thrown by the Bridesmaids and Maid of Honor)
  • Bachelor parties (Usually done 2-6 weeks before the wedding- thrown by the Groomsmen and Best Man)
  • Bridesmaids Luncheon or Thank you Dinner (Usually, the week of the wedding- thrown by the Bride for her bridal party)
  • Welcome or Rehearsal Dinner (The day before the wedding-thrown by the bride and groom)

Here is a handy timeline to organize your Pre-Wedding events and important appointments. to help you create a good flow for Pre-Wedding events. Spacing the events out adequately will avoid people feeling annoyed with yet “another” wedding event to attend. Remember none of these events are mandatory. Brides- go with your gut on what events you want to have. Bridesmaids- check with the bride what she expects you to organize. Use your resources and have fun with it!

The Bridesmaids Revolution


For those who’ve been a bridesmaid before or (gasp) a Maid of Honor, being asked by another bride incites a host of muffled internal groans and shivers accompanied by ill-forgotten memories of the drama they went through before.

Bridesmaid has become a dirty word and I think we need to take it back.

It was an honor that dates back to Roman times when laws required ten witnesses so a marriage could be legal. The bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed identically to the bride and groom to confuse any evil spirits looking to do harm to the happy couple. Nowadays, it has often become a contest for who loves the bride most and a sometimes a heavy burden of being “the bride’s bitch.”

Can being a bridesmaid ever return to its place of honor so that being asked to accompany a girl on her bridal journey can be a fun, bonding experience instead of a possible drain of time, money and patience. Is there anything we can do to make the change? In the words of our president, YES WE CAN…

So follow me as we chant our Bridesmaids Manifesto…

We WILL NOT be the bride’s slave but rather her guide and right-hand gal.

We WILL NOT go broke but rather plan, save and organize so that every penny is managed and spent well.

We WILL NOT shell out hundreds of dollars on a dress we’ll probably never wear again, that we didn’t have any say in and whose color does not become us. Rather, we will let the bride know what our budget is in advance and ask the bride if she can keep us in mind during the process of choosing so that we can all make an adult decision about what we will look like.

We WILL NOT drop everything when we are called out-of-the-blue to run errands and go on appointments with the bride. The bride can schedule in advance and communicate her calendar with me and let me volunteer to be there when I can.

We WILL NOT allow the brides manifesto “But it’s my day!” manipulate us.

We WILL NOT perpetuate the stereotypical cat-fighting women. We will work together, communicate and be direct and honest with the other bridesmaids.


We WILL rise to the position of honor that has been bestowed on us by the bride.

We WILL do everything in our power to strengthen and maintain the bonds of friendship between the bridal party.

We WILL shine on her wedding day, but NEVER outshine her.

Bridesmaids of the World … Unite!!


Reviews: Pretty-Is? San Diego Boutique

Have you ever looked in your closet and thought, “All these clothes and I have nothing to wear?” Well, I’ve got the low down on the best kept secret in San Diego for extending your wardrobe without hurting your wallet …

Pretty-Is Boutique located in East Village, San Diego

What is awesome about them:
  • An entire room of clothing, dresses, accessories and yes… even an entire room of shoes built to look like your closet. Looks vary from professional to dressy, casual to nightclub attire.
  • Rent outfits for the weekend. Items start at $2. I rented an entire outfit and accessories for $25!
  • Free fashion stylist consultation. She helps you with outfits you never imagined would look good on you.
  • Makeup and Hair makeovers available onsite to complete your look and make you ready for a night out on the town.
  • If you don’t want to take advantage of their makeovers, they still allow you to bring your own makeup and hair equipment and get ready there at their makeup and hair stations.
  • Cute patio available in the back for parties: Sweet 16, birthdays, graduations, girls night out, Bachelorette party, etc. complete with two stripper poles!
  • Clothing items are professionally cleaned for only $5.

I came here for my best friends bachelorette party and I’ve been hooked ever since. I felt like a teenager again, giggling with my girlfriends trying on outfits, diva heels and amazing accessories. At the end of the night, I ended up in a Chanel dress, heels and accessories and the entire outfit cost me $25! They did an amazing job on the bride’s hair and makeup and we enjoyed a fun striptease class by Ebyresa and toy party compliments of Nikki Nites. Then we headed over to the Hard Rock hotel for her final fling before the ring!

A few months later, I had a crisis because I had nothing to wear for a huge business presentation. No problem! I went to Pretty-Is and they hooked me up with a professional outfit that left me full of confidence walking into the boardroom.

Pretty-Is Boutique
418 3rd Ave
(between Island Ave & J St)
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 702-2005