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Fourth of July weekend: 10 things to do if you're staying in town

It's Independence Day weekend! Time to light up the sky with "safe and sane" fireworks, barbecue and swim — or go to an anime convention. We've got the details.

1. Anime Expo

Celebrate all things anime at this massive convention in DTLA. Get a chance to watch your favorite anime, show off your cosplay, catch special events like the Cowboy Bebop Jazz Cat Experience, enjoy song and dance shows performed by maids and butlers — and more fun pop celebration. Pro tip: Passes range from $55 for one day to $90 for the whole weekend, but there are supplemental events that require a separate ticket. 

When: Friday, July 1-Monday, July 4; times vary

Where: Los Angeles Convention Center, DTLA | MAP

Price: Prices vary | Get tickets

2. 626 Night Market

Visit 626 Night Market to get a taste of what hundreds of local food vendors have to offer. There will also be small business and arts and crafts vendors. Pro tip: For some particularly noteworthy sweets, swing by Ice Cream Garden, the Dirty Cookie or the Naughty Churro

When: Friday, July 1–Sunday, July 3, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.  

Where: Santa Anita Park | MAP

Price: Tickets are $3 at the gate

3. Corg of July

So Cal Corgi Beach Day via Facebook

This weekend will be one of those times where you'll really wish you had a dog to spend the day with. This pre-Independence Day celebration will convert the beach into a paw-triotic display of furry friends. Complete with a talent and costume contest — one category is best corgi/human duo, so make sure to sport that red, white and blue — it's really hard to go wrong with a million paw prints in the sand. Pro tips: Make sure your best friend has a light breakfast to make room for the watermelon eating contest. We're not really sure if other breeds of dogs are welcome, but hey, it is a dog park.

When: Saturday, July 2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Where: Rosie's Dog Beach, Long Beach | MAP

Price: Free

4. Drum Corps at the Rose Bowl

Adam P. Schweigert via Flickr Creative Commons

This is for Angelenos who prefer a drum line rhythm over a traditional outdoor summer pop concert. March in place to the beats of 12 drum corps groups — with or without your own conductor's hat. Pro tip: Parking is $5 and doors will be opening a little early so you can squeeze in a picnic at the stadium. 

When: Saturday, July 2, 5:45-10 p.m. 

Where: Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena | MAP

Price: $30 advance tickets, $40 at the door | Get tickets

5. Summer concert at Union Station

If you've ever hustled through the busy transit hub, paused, looked around and thought, "This would make a perfect concert venue," you aren't alone. For the first time ever, the station's beautiful exterior gardens and architecture will serve as a backdrop for live music, featuring headliners Michael Leier, Figs Vision and a DJ set on the south patio garden. Pro tip: An outdoor concert wouldn't be complete without a roster of the city's most prominent food trucks. 

When: Saturday, July 2, 7-9 p.m. 

Where: Union Station, DTLA | MAP

Price: Free | RSVP

6. USO show at Clifton's Canteen

Celebrate the U.S. of A. with a tribute to a 1940s USO show. The night will transport you to a different era, where the jazz is hot and the dancing is swing. Pro tip: Listen to the vintage musical performance while dressed in your best 1940s attire. 

When: Saturday, July 2-Sunday, July 3, 7-10 p.m.

Where: Clifton's Canteen, DTLA | MAP 

Price: General admission is $10 | Get Tickets 

7. 'Merica Fest

Nothing unites people quite like a cold brew — and nothing says 'Merica more than a backyard barbeque. Live music from Calvin Winbush and L.A. River Swim Team, among others, will play in the background as you chow down on treats from Si Paletas and Peaches' Smokehouse & Southern Kitchen. Pro tip: Whoever wears the best tribute outfit to Uncle Sam scores some sweet prizes.

When: Sunday, July 3, 1-9 p.m.

Where: Angel City Brewery, Arts District | MAP

Price: Free 

8. The Highland Park Comic Con

This neighborhood’s rise to becoming one of the hippest spots in the city only seems to be gaining more momentum. An alternative to its bigger and badder counterparts — normally held in giant convention centers — this inaugural event will showcase the work of comic artists and publishers like Carlos Saldana and Grasiela Rodriguez, to name a couple, in a modestly-sized studio.

When: Sunday, July 3, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: Avenue 50 Studios, Highland Park | MAP

Price: Free

9. Visit Walt Disney’s Barn 

Carlos via Flickr Creative Commons

Before Disneyland became a cultural landmark in Southern California, Walt’s creative think tank was a barn he built in his backyard. It has since moved from its original location in Holmby Hills to a cozy nook in Griffith Park, where Disney fanatics can visit and learn about the man behind the mouse for a much lower price than a theme park ticket. 

When: Sunday, July 3, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Griffith Park | MAP   

Price: Free

10. Fireworks Extravaganzas 

File photo of July 4th fireworks.
brownpau via Flickr
File photo of July 4th fireworks.

Instead of accidentally starting a wildfire or putting yourself in danger, watching a professional fireworks show is always a viable option for safety. There are dozens to choose from in L.A. and Orange counties. Click pins on the map to find the fireworks displays in your area. For more Fourth of July tips and tricks, see KPCC's roundup on how to stay "safe and sane" this holiday weekend

When: Monday, July 4

Where: Click the map for addresses

What'd we miss? Let us know on Twitter @kellie_gal, @lizmoonyoz or @LeoHasACat.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified the dates for the "Corg of July" and "Drum Corps at the Rose Bowl" events.