Free summer 2014 concerts in San Diego


The weather is warming up, and that means one thing: Summer is here. What better way to cool down during the dog days ahead than to take family and friends to a free concert, alfresco.

Music of all genres — classic rock, blues, country, military marches — will be performed by local artists at venues throughout the county.

So “amp up” your summertime fun and take advantage of the multitude of concert choices we’ve rounded up below for your musical pleasure.

Editor’s note: All schedules are subject to change, and some of the schedules were not available at press time, so for the most up-to-date information, please visit the respective websites.


Alpine Community Center Park, 1830 Alpine Blvd. (619) 445-7330

See website for updated band lineup.


Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. (619) 239-0512 or

June 17: Japanese Navy Band

June 18: Stars on the Water

June 19: Graceland (Elvis Presley Tribute)

June 24: Bayou Brothers

June 25: Cool Fever

June 26: Navy Wind Ensemble

July 1: Lance Dicekmann Band

July 2: Chula Vista Mariachi

July 3: 145th Street Band

July 8: Moon Light Serenade Orchestra

July 9: Breez’n

July 10: Bi-Nacional de Mambo Orchestra

July 15: Marine Band

July 16: San Diego Jazz Quintet

July 17: Local Folk Music Night, with Nathan Welden, Jim Earp, Rickey Ruiz, Megan Fisher, Sammy Carini

July 22: San Diego Youth Symphony

July 23: Michele Lunde

July 24: San Diego Civic Dance

July 29: Coronado Big Band

July 30: SantanaWays (Carlos Santana tribute band)

July 31: Afrotruka

Aug. 5: San Diego Concert Band

Aug. 6: Uncle Bob & The Earth Movers

Aug. 7: Dixie Express

Aug. 12: Working Cowboy

Aug. 13: Sidewinders

Aug. 14: El Cajon German Band

Aug. 19: Real Jazz Big Band

Aug. 20: A Tribute Band to the Supremes

Aug. 21: Coronado Concert Band

Aug. 26: Hillcrest Wind Ensemble

Aug. 27: Navy Show Band West

Aug. 28: The Legends


Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park. Mondays, 7:30 p.m. (619) 702-8138 or

June 23: Anthony Newman

June 30: Monte Maxwell and the Navy Band Southwest

July 7: R. Jelani Eddington

July 14: Wyatt Smith, with Priti Gandhi

July 21: Robert Plimpton, with Marco Labastida

July 28: Sven Ingvart-Mikkelsen, with Jens Roemer

Aug. 4: Stewart Wayne Foster

Aug. 11: Kimberly Marshall

Aug. 18: Silent Movie Night: Donald MacKenzie

Aug. 25: “Come Dancing” — Carol Williams and the Moonlight Serenade Orchestra

Aug. 31: Rock ’n’ Roll Organ (7 p.m.)


Three locations. Fridays, 6 to 8 p.m. (760) 434-2904

Stagecoach Park, 3420 Camino de los Coches

June 27: Kelly Rae Band

July 4: Vaud & The Villains

Alga Norte Park, 6565 Alicante Road at Poinsettia Lane

July 11: Mingo Fishtrap

July 18: Susie Hansen Latin Band

Poinsettia Community Park, 6600 Hidden Valley Road

July 25: Liquid Blue

Aug. 1: Nikki Hill

Aug. 8: Lost Dog Found


Spreckels Park, Orange Avenue, between Sixth and Seventh streets. Sundays, 6 p.m., unless otherwise noted. (619) 437-8788

Sunday: Cool Fever

June 15: Desperado

June 22: The Lonesome Georges

June 29: Betamaxx

July 6: Crown Town featuring Matt Heinecke

July 13: ABBA Fab

July 20: PopVinyl

July 27: The Mighty Untouchables

Aug. 3: Iliana Rose Cuban Band

Aug. 10: Rockola

Aug. 17: Navy Showband Southwest

Aug. 24: Todo Mundo & Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista

Aug. 31: Velvet Cafe

Sept. 7: Ron’s Garage


Coronado Ferry Landing, Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m., unless otherwise noted. (619) 435-8895 or

Saturday: Breez’n

Sunday: Blue Frog Band

June 14: Nadro John

June 15: Cool Fever

June 21: Velvet Cafe

June 22: Dixie Jazz Katz

June 28: Blue Frog Band

June 29: Nadro John

July 4: Coronado Big Band (1 p.m.)

July 5: Velvet Cafe

July 6: Cool Fever

July 12: Breez’n

July 13: Blue Frog Band

July 19: Nadro John

July 20: Blue Frog Band

July 26: Dixie Jazz Katz

July 27: Teagan Taylor Trio


Powerhouse Park, 1600 Coast Blvd. Tuesdays, 6 p.m., unless otherwise noted. (858) 635-1363 or

June 17: Rockola & the Magical Youth Orchestra

July 1: Back to the Garden, with Eve Selis

July 22: The Heroes

Aug. 12: Haute Chile

Sept. 7: Sully and the Blue Eyed Soul Band (4 p.m.)


Prescott Promenade, downtown El Cajon, 200 block of Main Street, El Cajon. Fridays, (except June 12 and July 3), 6 to 8 p.m. (619) 441-1737 or

Friday: Next Generation

June 12: The Heroes

June 20: Danielle Tucker Band

June 27: Jones Revival

July 3: The Jack Straws Surf Band

July 11: 80’s All Stars

July 18: Scott Bruce (Elvis Presley tribute)

July 25: Soul Persuaders

Aug. 1: Help (Beatles tribute)

Aug. 8: Back to the Garden

Aug. 15: Lightning Train

Aug. 22: Atomic Groove

Aug. 29: Upstream

Sept. 5: The Petty Breakers

Sept. 12: Eve Selis

Sept. 19: Sirens Crush

Sept. 26: Caliber


Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas. Wednesdays at noon. (760) 633-2746 or

June 18: Jazz concert with Peter Pupping and Jeff Basile

June 25: Michael Sanders


Moonlight Beach, Encinitas Boulevard. Every other Sunday, 3 to 5 p.m. (760) 633-2756 or

July 6: The Routine

July 20: Journeymen (Journey tribute)

Aug. 3: Betamaxx

Aug. 17: The Devastators


House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Ave., San Diego.

Saturday: Perry Elementary School and Youth Arts Academy at Boys and Girls Club of San Diego (10:30 a.m. to noon)


Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove, 1133 Coast Blvd. Sundays, 2 to 4 p.m. (858) 454-1600 or

July 13: Rockola

July 20: Theo & the Zydeco Patrol

July 27: Bill Magee Blues Band

Aug. 3: The Mighty Untouchables

Aug. 10: Scott Martin Band

Aug. 17: Todo Mundo

Aug. 24: Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra


Harry Griffen Park, 9550 Milden St. Sundays, 6 to 7 p.m. (619) 667-1300 or

June 15: Navy Band Southwest 32nd Street Brass Band

June 22: San Diego Concert Band

June 29: Trails and Rails

July 13: Pine Creek Posse

July 20: Sonic Epidemic

July 27: Jazz West


Berry Street Park, 7071 Mt. Vernon St. Thursdays, 6:30 to 8 p.m. (619) 825-3815 or

June 26: We Kinda Music

July 3: Vinyl Pirates

July 10: Cat-illacs

July 17: Three Chord Justice

July 24: Left 4 Dead

July 31: West of 5

Aug. 7: The Players

Aug. 14: Bayou Brothers


North Coast Highway 101, Leucadia. (760) 436-2320 or or

June 27: The Village Squares, Eyelid Kid, The Daffodil Show, Darius Degher, Cleopatra Degher, Muscle Beech, Glen & the Boys, Friend of a Friend, Triceratropical, Amerikan Bear, and more (4 to 10 p.m.; various sites along North Coast Highway 101)

June 28: Jack Tempchin, Mattson 2, Nena Anderson, Montalban Quintet, The Blue Moonies, Second Cousins, Lotus, Tropical Breeze, Glen & the Boys, Don’t Tell Mom, DJ Mancat (noon to 8 p.m.; Leucadia Roadside Park, 860 N. Coast Highway 101)


Pioneer Park, Randolph Street and Washington Place. Fridays, 6 to 8 p.m.

June 20: Hullabaloo

June 27: High Society Jazz Band

July 4: Dr. Elvis

July 11: Breez’n

July 18: Balladmongers

July 25: Y3K The Dance Band

Aug. 1: Hot August Nights (Neil Diamond tribute)

Aug. 8: Dazed and Confused

Aug. 15: Jackstraws

Aug. 22: Gone Tomorrow


Bird Park, Upas Street at 28th Street. Saturdays, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (619) 284-0156 or

June 14: Bill Magee Blues Band

June 28: The Craig Ingraham Band

July 12: The Ballad Mongers

July 26: Mark Jackson Band

Aug. 9: Bayou Brothers, with Robin Henkel


Kate Sessions Park, Lamont Street just north of Beryl Street/Soledad Road. Sundays, 4 to 6:30 p.m.

July 20: The Jackstones

July 27: Three Chord Justice

Aug. 3: The Siers Bros

Aug. 10: Theo & The Zydeco Patrol


Infinity Showroom, 11154 state Route 76. Fridays, 9 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, 1 p.m. 21 and older.

June 10: Chris Nolan as Nat King Cole

June 14: Mick Adams and The Stones — A Tribute to the Rolling Stones

June 17: James “King” Kruk — A Tribute to Elvis

June 19: Club Infinite (10 p.m.)

June 21: Turn the Page — Tribute to Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band

June 24: Surfin’ Safari — The Ultimate Tribute to the Beach Boys

July 5: Motley 2 — Tribute to Motley Crue

July 12: HeartBeat City — A Tribute to the Cars

July 19: David Brighton — A Tribute to David Bowie

July 26: Help! A Tribute to the Beatles


Point Loma Park, 1049 Catalina Blvd. Fridays, 5:30 to 8:30

July 11: The Mighty Untouchables (Main Stage); Fate by Friday (Junior Stage)

July 18: Liquid Blue (Main Stage); California Sirens (Junior Stage)

July 25: Help! — “The” Beatles Tribute Band (Main Stage); First Friday Music Club (Junior Stage)

Aug. 1: Hot August Night — A Tribute to Neil Diamond (Main Stage); Sahara Grim Quartet (Junior Stage)

Aug. 8: Detroit Underground (Main Stage); The Non Prophets, also Sahara Grim and Crystal Rose singing the national anthem (Junior Stage)


Various locations and times.

June 11: Gabriela Aparicio (6 p.m., Encinitas Branch Library)

June 14: Jeffrey Joe (2 p.m., Poway Branch Library)

June 15: Peter Bolland (1:30 p.m., Vista Branch Library)

June 17: Peter Bolland (6:30 p.m., Lemon Grove Branch Library)

June 18: Yes Team (6 p.m., San Marcos Branch Library)

June 18: Peggy Watson, Dave Beldock (6:30 p.m., Del Mar Branch Library)

June 21: MohaviSoul (2 p.m., El Cajon Branch Library)

June 25: Erika Davies (6:30 p.m., Valley Center Branch Library)

July 6: Plow (2 p.m., Fallbrook Branch Library)

July 12: Bill Hartwell (2 p.m. Poway Branch Library)

July 13: Mari Black (1 p.m., Fallbrook Branch Library)

July 14: Mari Black (6:30 p.m., Encinitas Branch Library

July 15: The Lovebirds (6:30 p.m., Lemon Grove Library)

July 16: Suzanne Harper (6 p.m., Encinitas Branch Library)

July 16: Jim Hinton (6 p.m., San Marcos Branch Library)

July 20: Joe Rathburn (1:30 p.m., Vista Branch Library)

July 26: Joe Rathburn (1 p.m., Bonita Branch Library)

July 30: Virtual Strangers (6:30 p.m., Valley Center Branch Library)

Aug. 3: Peter Bolland (2 p.m., Fallbrook Branch Library)

Aug. 5: Ross Moore (6:30 p.m., Rancho San Diego Branch Library)

Aug. 9: Stuart and Beasley (2 p.m., Poway Branch Library)

Aug. 13: Robin Adler & Dave Blackburn (6 p.m., Encinitas Branch Library)

Aug. 17: Mair Rathburn (1:30 p.m., Vista Branch Library)

Aug. 19: Nathan James (6:30 p.m., Lemon Grove Branch Library)

Aug. 20: Ricky Ruis (6 p.m., San Marcos Branch Library)


Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Drive. Thursdays, (except July 3) 6:30 to 8 p.m., unless otherwise noted. (619) 258-4100, ext. 201, or

June 19: The Cat-illacs

June 26: The Highwayman Show, featuring Tony Suraci

July 10: Caliber

July 17: Blues & BBQ Night, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Mercedes Moore Band, The Bayou Brothers, with Bill Magee

July 24: Ramshackle

July 31: Help!

Aug. 7: Upstream

Aug. 14: Wingstock, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Back to the Garden, with Eve Selis

Aug. 21: Clay Colton Band

Aug. 28: James Kruk and The Big Boss Men


Hoyt Park, Scripps Ranch Boulevard and Aviary Drive. Sundays, 6 to 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Sunday: Caliber

July 13: The Heroes

Aug. 10: Gary Seiler & The Coast Riders

Sept. 7: Rockola


East Plaza Gazebo at Seaport Village, 849 W. Harbor Drive. Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. (619) 235-4014 or (also live music daily from noon to 4 p.m. in food court)

Sunday: Blue Rockit

June 15: The Cat-illacs

June 22: Windy City

June 29: The Ballad Mongers

July 4: Midnight Heat

July 6: Nova

July 13: Indian Joe & The Chiefs

July 20: The Cat-illacs

July 27: Bayou Brothers

Aug. 3: The Ballad Mongers

Aug. 10: North Park Rock n’ Blues

Aug. 17: The Cat-illacs

Aug. 24: Windy City

Aug. 31: Blue Rockit

Sept. 1: Bill Magee Blues Band

Sept. 7: Island Breeze

Sept. 14: Breez’n

Sept. 21: The Cat-illacs

Sept. 28: Windy City


Two locations. Sundays, 5:30 p.m.

Lake Poway, 14644 Lake Poway Road. (858) 668-4770 or

June 22: The Fabulous Ultratones

July 6: Help!

July 20: CoastRiders

Aug. 3: Classic Chrome Revue

Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Road. (858) 668-4576

July 13: The Lacemakers

July 27: Benedetti Trio

Aug. 10: Pomerado Community Band


Fletcher Cove Park, 140 S. Sierra Ave. Thursdays, 6 to 7:45 p.m. (858) 720-2453 or

June 19: Luke Williams

June 26: 1st Marine Division Jazz Combo

July 3: Michael Tiernan

July 10: Billy Watson Band

July 17: Symphony Brass Quintet

July 24: Aloha Radio

July 31: Mike Myrdal Trio

Aug. 7: Nate Donnis Trio

Aug. 14: Hullabaloo Band

Aug. 21: Steve Gold Band


3585 Governor Drive. Fridays, 6 to 8 p.m. and Sundays, 5 to 7 p.m. (858) 552-1652 or

July 13: Bayou Brothers

July 20: The Generations Jazz Concert, with Roadhouse and University City High School Jazz Combo

July 27: Forecast, with Greg Pardue

Aug. 3: Relative Minors & Friends, with Greg Pardue

Aug. 10: 3 Chord Justice

Aug. 17: Old Skool, with Bob Bishop

Aug. 22: Teaser, with Rick Kern

Aug. 29: Legends, with Rick Kern


Trolley Barn Park, Adams Avenue and Florida Street. Fridays, 6 to 8 p.m. (619) 297-3166 or

July 4: Rhythm and the Method

July 11: The Swamp Critters

July 18: The Peripherals

July 25: Caliber

Aug. 1: Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra


878 Eastlake Parkway, Chula Vista. Sundays, 5 to 7

Sunday: Joe Rathburn’s ISLAND

June 15: Navy Band Southwest Destroyers

June 22: Y3K Band

June 29: Graceland, “An Elvis Presley Tribute”

July 6: The Earthmovers, featuring Lady J

Source: Carolina Gusman


San Diego 4th of July 2014 Fireworks and Celebrations



Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, San Diego is everyone’s first choice for 4th of July celebrations. Even locals can’t think of anything better than relaxing with loved ones on a long stretch of sand and watching an extraordinary show of lights in the sky. Below is a list of our favorite stretches of sand, spectacular fireworks shows around and places to watch the fireworks in San Diego.

Please note, firework displays and events are subject to change and cancellation.

San Diego

  • Annual Big Bay Boom July 4 Fireworks Show
    Location: Multiple Locations along San Diego Bay
    Time: 9:00 PM
    Take in the largest display in the county, with fireworks launched from four barges strategically placed around North San Diego Bay, they can be seen from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the Embarcadero area and Seaport Village/Coronado Landing. Just find a place along the bay and you will not be disappointed. Music from 105.7 “The Walrus” FM radio.
  • Sea to Shining Sea 4th of July Firework
     SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
    Time: Fireworks at 10:10 PM
    SeaWorld San Diego is excited to light up the sky with an amazing fireworks extravaganza to celebrate the 4th of July.
  • Ocean Beach
    Location: Ocean Beach Pier at the end of Newport Ave.
    Time: 9:00 PM
    Spend the day picnicking, swimming in the ocean, walking and playing in the sand and shopping along Newport Ave. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a blanket for a really spectacular fireworks show launched from the OB Pier.
  • Old Town 4th of July
    Location: Old Town State Historic Park
    Time: 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM
    Parade, crafts and activities of early San Diego recreate an old fashioned Independence Day celebrated on the frontier. (no fireworks)


  • 4th of July Celebration in Coronado
     Various Locations on Coronado
    Time: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
    Celebrate the 4th of July in the Crown City with a parade down Orange Avenue at 10:00 AM, a concert in Spreckels Park at 4:00 PM and fireworks over Glorietta Bay at 9:00 PM.

North County Coastal

  • San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebration
     Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar
    Date: July 4, 2014
    Time: Starts at 9:30 AM, Fireworks at 9:00 PM
    Start off the day at the Fair with a patriotic opening ceremony at 9:30 AM, then enjoy the Hometown Heroes Parade at 7:00 PM, a concert provided by the Navy Band Southwest followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
  • Red, White and BOOM!
     LEGOLAND California – One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad
    Time: Fireworks at 8:30 PM
    Take the whole family and spend the day enjoying over 60 rides, shows and attractions along with some all-American picnic games like burlap races and water-balloon tosses and then top it off with an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to patriotic music.
  • Oceanside’s Independence Day Parade
    Location: North on N Coast Hwy 101 from Wisconsin Ave to Civic Center Drive (just past City Hall)
    Date: June 28, 2014
    Time: 10:00 AM
    Come see floats, bands, walking groups, cool cars and much more. The theme this year is “The Spirit of Freedom.” (no fireworks)
  • Oceanside Fireworks Show
    Location: El Corazon Site at Rancho Del Oro Road
    Date: July 3, 2014
    Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
    Bring a beach chair and enjoy Oceanside Fireworks Show with music by El Camino High School and Oceanside High School bands along with bites from amazing food trucks.
  • Camp Pendelton Beach Bash
    Location: Del Mar Beach on Camp Pendelton
    Date: July 4, 2014
    Military members and their families enjoy an explosive fireworks show, live bands, a video tribute, sun, surf, patriotism and Esprit de Corps all in one day at the 4th of July Beach Bash!

North County Inland

  • Independence Day Celebration
     Grape Day Park, 321 North Broadway, Escondido
    Time: Starts at 4:00 PM, Fireworks at 9:00 PM
    Pack a picnic, and grab a blanket to enjoy an afternoon full of music, food, kid-friendly activities, contests and fireworks with the 1st Marine Division Band.
  • Grand Tradition July 4th
     Grand Tradition, 1602 South Mission Road, Fallbrook
    Time: Starts at 4:00 PM, Fireworks at 8:45 PM
    Enjoy a day of live entertainment, dancing, kid friendly activities, Quack-Up Suck Race, Rubber Raft Regatta, food and drink, and fireworks! Tickets include admission and tickets which can be used for food, beverages and activities.
  • Mira Mesa Fourth of July Celebration
     Mira Mesa Community Park, Mira Mesa Boulevard and New Salem Street, Mira Mesa
    Time: Fireworks at 9:00 PM
    Come early for the parade and family friendly activities and stay late for the fireworks.
  • An Old Fashioned Fourth of July and Fireworks
     Poway High School Stadium, 15500 Espola Road, Poway
    Time: 7:00 to 10:00 PM
    Following the Poway Old-Fashioned Fourth of July celebration at Old Poway Park (10:00 AM to 4:00 PM), head to Poway High School for music, more food, glow sticks and fireworks.
  • Rancho Bernardo’s The Spirit of the Fourth
    Location: Webb Park
    Time: 7:00 AM to 9:30 PM
    It’s a whole day of fun in Rancho Bernardo with a pancake breakfast; a festival with food, music and games; a parade; and fireworks!
  • Rancho Santa Fe’s 33rd Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic
     16948 Avenida De Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091
    Time: 1:00 PM
    Pack a few blankets and chairs for a free patriotic parade followed by a concert performed by the Coastal Communities Concert Band. (no fireworks)
  • San Marcos 4th of July Celebration
     Bradley Park, Rancho Sante Fe Road and Linda Vista Drive, San Marcos
    Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
    Carnival games, jumpers, food and fireworks!
  • Scripps Ranch 4th of July Parade and Festival
     Scripps Ranch Hoyt Park (Festival)
    Time: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
    After the community parade, enjoy fun, food, music and games at the free festival. (no fireworks)
  • Independence Day Celebration: Honor our Heroes, Celebrate our Freedom
     Moonlight Amphitheatre, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista
    Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
    Celebrate Independence Day Vista Style with live music, the Light up the Night Dinner and fireworks.

East County

  • El Cajon 4th of July Picnic and Fireworks
     Kennedy Park – 1675 East Madison Avenue
    Time: 12:00 to 10:00 PM
    Enjoy a picnic in sunny San Diego East County and stay for a spectacular fireworks show.
  • Julian 4th of July Parade
    Location: Along Main Street from Julian High School to Frank Lane Park
    Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    Julian presents a homegrown event that celebrates the town’s gold rush era history, the dedication of veterans and active duty military who serve our country, and local residents who cherish the special qualities of the little town tucked into the Cuyamaca Mountains east of San Diego.
  • Ramona Rotary Community Fireworks and Family Picnic
     Olive Pierce Middle School – 1521 Hanson Lane, Ramona
    Time: 5:30 to 10:00 PM
    Join the Romana Kiwanis and Rotary clubs for food, fun and fireworks.
  • Santee Salutes
     Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Drive, Santee
    Time: 3:30 to 9:30 PM
    Rock out with 80z All Stars playing hits from the 80s, a patriotic ceremony by the HMH-462 Color Guard, inflatable zone, food trucks and fireworks.

South Bay

  • Independence Day at the Border
     Larsen Field – 4061 Camino de la Plaza, San Ysidro, CA 92173
    Date: June 28, 2014
    Time: 3:00 to 4:00 PM
    Come and enjoy an Independence Day Celebration in San Ysidro complete with family activities, live music, drinks, food and fireworks!
  • National City’s 4th of July Carnival
     Kimball Park – D Ave & E 12th St, National City, CA 91950
    Dates: July 2-6, 2014
    The National City Host Lions Club invite you to celebrate the 4th of July with a weekend long carnival complete with rides, games, food, fun and fireworks on the 4th of July at 9:00 PM!

> Find more 4th of July fun on the event calendar

Please note, firework displays and events are subject to change and cancellation.



The Ultimate Homeowner’s Insurance Guide

Insurance requires you to think about bad occurrences … medical problems, car accidents, emergency home repairs. But although it may sound pessimistic to dwell on what could happen (carpe diem, anyone?), it’s important to protect yourself from some of life’s biggest surprises.

When it comes to protecting your home, it’s not just about safeguarding against structural damage or theft—it’s just as much about feeling secure in where you live. If disaster strikes, your focus should be on reclaiming your sense of stability. The last thing you should worry about is money.

Here are the top 11 things you should know about homeowner’s insurance.

1. What It Covers

A typical policy will pay for damage to your property and your possessions in the event of certain storms, fire, theft or vandalism. Like renter’s insurance, it also provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt on your property and decides to sue. Homeowner’s insurance also covers shelter costs, so you don’t have to face crazy hotel bills if you’re temporarily displaced from your house.

Homeowner’s insurance can protect belongings outside the home, too. If something is stolen from your car, auto insurance won’t cover it—but your homeowners policy likely will. “Most policies will cover your belongings when they are traveling with you,” Derrick says. “If you have a $1,200 laptop and it gets lost by the airline, call your insurance agent—right after you file the claim with the airline, of course.”

RELATED: How Much Home Insurance Is Enough?

2. What It Doesn’t Cover

A standard policy has exclusions, including earth movements (landslides, earthquakes, sinkholes), power failure, war, nuclear hazard, government action, faulty zoning, bad repair or workmanship, defective maintenance and flooding. Windstorms are typically covered, including tornadoes, although insurance companies exclude tornadoes or hurricanes in some high-risk areas.

Water damage is tricky. As a rule of thumb, water from above (rainwater or a burst pipe in an upstairs apartment) is usually covered, but water from below (backed-up sewers or ground flooding) generally isn’t. If your region is prone to floods and earthquakes, you should consider supplemental coverage.

RELATED: Waterfront Housing: Is the Risk Worth It?

3. Why You Should Shop Around

Before committing to a policy, take the time to research an agent whom you trust—preferably one with good reviews online or via a personal recommendation. It’s certainly something that Ramzy Ayyad, who struggled to receive benefits following a house fire in November 2008, recommends that prospective homeowners do. “I had to deal with a rude adjuster,” he says. After complaining assertively to the adjuster’s boss, Ayyad finally received a check for the damages—but the process was exhausting.

By contrast, Terri Corcoran has nothing but glowing reviews for her adjuster. After a snowstorm caused a major leak in Corcoran’s laundry room, an insurance agent came to her home to assess the damage—and promptly determined that the entire room needed to be redone. “They wrote me a check on the spot for what it should cost,” Corcoran says. “I was really impressed by how the company responded!”

Bottom line? Don’t just shop for a policy. Make sure you also select the best agent.

RELATED: Save Thousands on Insurance With This Year-End Step

4. Which Preventive Actions Can Reduce Premiums

It may sound like common sense to have a working smoke detector, but did you know that it might also help you land a lower insurance quote? The same goes for a burglar alarm. According to, you can reduce your premium by about 5% if you install something as a simple as a deadbolt, and up 15-20% for a burglar alarm system.

Insurance companies price your premium based on how much risk they foresee, so you can reduce the premium by reducing your liability risk, thanks to some smart preventive measures. For example, if you have a pool, you may be able to reduce the likelihood of a claim—and thus, possibly lower your premium—by installing a fence and a pool cover to minimize the risk of a neighborhood kid wandering onto your property and falling in.

5. How Replacement Coverage Differs From Market Value

There are two key distinctions that every homeowner should know: “replacement cost” versus “market value.” Replacement cost covers repairing or replacing your entire home. Market value is how much someone would pay to buy your home and accompanying land in its current downtrodden condition.

When you’re considering the type of coverage to take out, a policy that’s based on market value is typically less expensive but, as State Farm puts it, “for a cash-strapped homeowner, buying a policy based on market value offers the best chance to recoup at least partial expenses after a loss.” In other words, you won’t recoup as much in the event of a serious disaster.

RELATED: 3 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Natural Disaster

For those who have a good emergency fund in place, Derrick says that there is a way to possibly get more substantial coverage and still pay lower premiums: “You might consider getting a policy that covers more in terms of replacing or rebuilding your property, but with a higher deductible.”

6. Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File a Claim

When buying a policy, make sure to ask about time limits to report a claim, and then abide by them! If you wait too long, you may not be eligible for benefits—especially if waiting has made the problem worse. David Baxter works for a residential and commercial restoration company in Florida, and he remembers a customer with water damage who waited almost a month to do anything about it. “When the mold set in, and he decided to call, his insurance didn’t cover him because it was outside of the 14-day window required for reporting the problem,” Baxter says.

RELATED: 7 Times Renter’s Insurance Will Seriously Save You

7. Why You Should Write Everything Down

Senen Garcia, a lawyer in Coconut Grove, Fla., represents homeowners against insurance companies that fail to pay out on valid claims. He’s seen many denied claims because people don’t keep good enough records. “Homeowners must document everything that occurs during a loss, do as much as possible to mitigate [the loss]—and document such mitigation,” Garcia says.

In addition to saving receipts, contracts and appraisals, document phone calls by writing down who you spoke to and when. And be sure to stow it in a secure place! Don’t want to invest in a safe? Consider keeping digital copies online using a program like Dropbox.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Hone Your Homeownership Skills

8. How Jewelry Is Covered

When David Cohen lost his wife’s rings, he was relieved that his homeowner’s policy covered jewelry—but it was only up to a maximum of $3,000. “My wife gave me her rings to hold,” he says. “So I promptly put them in my jacket pocket … and then forgot about the rings when I took the jacket to the cleaners. As you can imagine, they were gone.”

Within three weeks, the Cohens received a check from their insurance company, but they were still out a good deal of money because his wife’s engagement ring was worth $6,000 alone. The lesson? When signing up for homeowner’s insurance, note the limits on jewelry. “Most people don’t realize that things like wedding rings aren’t usually covered by the basic limits in their policies,” Derrick says. “You can get an appraisal at your jeweler, and then consider buying a supplemental policy to cover it.”

9. Why Good Maintenance Matters

Insurance companies would rather pay as little as possible to repair damage, so they prize early detection and prevention. Deacon Hayes and his wife paid for a routine checkup on their air conditioner because they live in Arizona and wanted to make sure that the system was ready for summer. “The specialist told us that the unit was on its last legs because of a hail storm,” Hayes recalls. Thanks to his diligence, Hayes’s insurance policy ended up paying for a new $4,000 A/C unit.

According to Derrick, one very important thing to keep an eye on is your water bill. “If you notice an unusual spike or trend upward (and it’s not just because it’s 100 degrees outside, and you’re watering your lawn more), you could have a leak somewhere,” she says. “Finding the source early could save you from dealing with a bigger headache when a major pipe bursts.”

10. How to Save by Bundling

One way to save money is to bundle your homeowner’s insurance with other policies that you already own. “But don’t just buy a bunch of policies in order to ‘save’ money,” Derrick cautions. “For example, it makes a lot of sense to have your car and homeowner’s policies with the same company because you’ll usually get some kind of discount. However, if you don’t have a need for life insurance, don’t buy a policy just because the agent says you’ll save money on other policies.” After all, if you’re spending money on something that you don’t need, where are the savings?

RELATED: Life and Disability Insurance 101: What You Need to Know

11. When to File a Claim

A large section of Richard Clayman’s wooden backyard fence came down in a storm. “I didn’t think there was any way my homeowner’s policy would cover it—and my neighbors assured me that it wouldn’t,” he says. But he called his insurance company, just in case. “The agent asked how high (the fence was), what kind of wood it was and how much of it needed replacing. Next thing you know, I get a $700 check in the mail!”

Theresa Roma has a similar story: A bad windstorm took roof shingles off her house, and she almost didn’t file a claim because it didn’t feel worthwhile. In the end, she received over $25,000 for a new roof.

The obvious mishaps aside (fire, major flood, etc.), it can be beneficial to file a claim when in doubt, but Derrick cautions restraint. “Don’t file a bunch of frivolous claims,” she says. “The claims history for your property is also what determines your rates, so it’s better not to cry wolf, unless you have a real claim.” The repercussion if you file needlessly? A possible uptick in your premium.

Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Please consult a financial advisor for advice specific to your financial situation.

Source: Allison Kade

7 Signs of An Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

Live in a town large enough for a time long enough, and you’ll undoubtedly be made privy to a story of the one that got away. The neighborhood that got away, that is – the neighborhood that all the locals saw as down for the count, pshawing away little sprouts of area upturn, until one day the formerly downtrodden district was teeming with new businesses, new residents, new life – and newly high property values, to the advantage of those few brave souls who decided to go all in before the place actually arrived.

Maybe you’re a first-time buyer trying to squeeze every iota of value out of your precious house hunting dollars, or you just love the prospect of being an early settler in your city’s Next Big Neighborhood. In any event, it can be daunting and even scary to try to figure out whether a neighborhood is up-and-coming or down-and-out. Home value increases are an obvious indicator, but by the time values are up it’s often too late to get in on the early advantage of buying in a neighborhood before it’s potential has been realized.

If you’re ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of buying in a diamond-in-the-rough type neighborhood, here are some signs to look for before property values shoot through the roof.

1. On-trend businesses are moving in. In my neck of the woods, when a co-working space, a Whole Foods or a Blue Bottle coffee moves into the neighborhood, it’s a sign that the nature of things might be changing. This is just as true for small, local businesses that attract people with disposable income as it is for businesses that sell the basics with flair. In fact, most larger businesses do a fair amount of economic research and projections on the neighborhood before moving in. Watching big industry and business moves can be a great way to spot emerging areas with strong fundamentals way before you might otherwise be able to see them yourself.

2. Uber-convenient location in a land-impacted metro. If you live in a densely populated metro area – especially one that is coastal – or an urban setting with intense governmental restrictions on building, demand for homes will continue to grow as the population does, but the supply will remain somewhat limited. In many of these situations, neighborhoods that have been downtrodden but have very convenient proximity to employment centers, public transportation, freeways and bridges tend to be prime for whole-neighborhood remodeling in times of population growth or rapid real estate price rises in already-prime areas.

3. Downsides have an expiration date. If there’s one major issue that has caused an area to be less desirable for decades, and that issue is being eliminated or ameliorated, it could set the neighborhood up for a turnaround. For example, striking crime decreases or a major employer moving into the area where none were before can spark a serious real estate renaissance in an area which has some of the other desirable features on this list.

Also, keep in mind that a new generation of home buyers has a new set of values, and might simply not be concerned or deterred by things their parents might have viewed as turn-offs. Living above a commercial unit might have been a deal-killer for my parents, but my son thinks it’s cool – even desirable, depending on the business on the ground floor. Similarly, gritty and urban might not be the descriptors of your dream home, but some twenty-something first-time buyers in major metros are seeking exactly that feel.

4. Architectural themes with a following. Many up-and-coming neighborhoods find themselves pulled by aficionados of the particular type of architecture that characterizes the neighborhood. Often, down-at-the-heels neighborhoods that are riddled with Tudors, Victorians, Spanish-style homes or even Mid-Century Moderns will see a surge of revitalization when a fresh generation of frugal home buyers falls in love with the style and realizes the deals that can be had there vs. other, already prime areas in town.

5. At least one major economic development is brewing. Never underestimate the power of a major economic development to overhaul a neighborhood’s fate. From Google and Microsoft building cloud storage data centers in Des Moines to a new light rail station going live in Denver, one large-scale employer or infrastructure development can be a very early, very strong sign that an area will see it’s real estate fortunes rise. (That said, areas dependent on one near-obsolete employer or industry can see their fates decline rapidly. Look for industry-wide investment in an area, vs. a single company’s investment.)

6. Fixing is in the air. When you see that an area long known for its rundown homes has a number of homes being renovated and rehabbed from the inside out, this can be a sign of fledgling neighborhood turnaround. If you spot these sorts of projects visually, it might be worth taking a trip down to the City Building Permit counter to see whether the staff has seen the same uptick in individual owners’ investment in the area, and if so, what they think the story of the neighborhood might be – or might become. City staffers often have a wealth of information at the ready, everything from pending commercial development applications that could change the whole landscape of an area to projects the city itself has funded or will prioritize due to its own development initiatives.

7. Slow but steady decrease in DOM. Ten years ago, I listed a charming, pristine home on a not-so-charming, less-than pristine street – the location was its fatal flaw, and the place just lagged on the market as a result. Now, Millennials buying their first homes are salivating over that precise location, for its mix of urban feel; new trendy restaurants and yoga studios; and complete convenience to both the subway and the Bay Bridge. In between now and then, though, those who were watching carefully would have noticed how homes that once took 90 days to sell gradually were selling in 45, then in a couple of weeks – and would have noticed that this decline in the number of days an average listing stayed on the market (DOM) occurred way before the home prices themselves increased. A slow, steady decrease in DOM is a smart, early sign that a neighborhood might be poised on the precipice of up-and-coming status. Ask your agent to help clue you in as to where precisely those areas might be, in your town.


Super Bowl Marketing


It is amazing how resilient the Real Estate market is! It never fails to surprise how quickly it can take a turn for the better. When it’s time it’s time. It is very clear to us that 2014 is going to be an awesome year for real estate. There are a few rough patches that we will face in 2014: Mortgage interest rates are at least one percentage point higher than they were a year ago. Interested rates combined with rising home prices make owning a little less affordable this year, especially since incomes have not risen (in real terms)in years. That’s good news, and not so good news for sellers. It’s great news that home prices are on the rise again. Foreclosures and short sales have finally closed and that has paved the road for prices to rise. The not so good news is that rising interest rates (depending on how high they go), mean fewer buyers can afford to pay those higher prices.

We are currently at 4.75 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. (If you’re wondering, we think these rates are still great from a historical perspective. So with low inventory, still low mortgage interest rates, and modestly rising prices, here’s what you need to do to get your home in selling shape for 2014 exceedexpectations #1 Exceed the buyer’s expectations When buyers visit your home they are always on the prowl either for a reason not to buy your home or for an excuse to make an offer lower than your asking price.  Your job as a seller is to eradicate any potential hang ups that would prevent a buyer from making a solid offer. If you really want to sell quickly, you have to exceed the buyer’s expectation of your home. If your home is competitively priced, and your home’s condition exceeds a buyer’s expectations based on other homes in the neighborhood, you’ll get an offer guaranteed. getinshape #2 Whip your home into shape Cleaning your home is a must! Talk with your real estate agent about how to stage your home. You want your home to feel warm and inviting but not over cluttered with personal effects. Balance is key. You want to offer the buyer a clean slate. When they walk through your home they should be able to imagine their furniture and personal affects in the home. If staged properly, buyers will leave with some kind of emotional attachment to your home and be compelled to make an offer! To get step by step instructions on how to showcase your home like a pro see our other blog posts. studythecomp #3 Understand what it’s going to take to sell your home Price and timing are extremely important when selling your home.  If you live in an area littered with foreclosures, you may have to compete with those prices in order to sell. Is it worth it? Probably not.  Really take time and sit down with your real estate professional to evaluate price and timing in order to get the most out of your property. Homes are beginning to appreciate so you might be pleasantly surprised but again a good comparative market analysis is incredibly valuable. berealistic #4 Be realistic about the market Do some research on what types of properties are selling in your area and how many days on average they are up for sale. Accept the reality of your local market and make sure you price your home realistically. Don’t blame your broker if you don’t get 3 offers over your list price within 24 hours of putting your home on the market. Sellers who set sky-high (or even pretty high) prices could wait months or years for an offer. In this real estate market, one of the worst things you can do is overprice your home from the start. The more realistic you are, the better off you’ll be. dontgetgreedy #5 Don’t be greedy A big mistake I have seen sellers make is getting greedy, particularly if the first offer is above the minimum acceptable price that was set. You don’t want the negotiation to become a game of “how much juice can I squeeze from this buyer” A successful sale means everyone walks away content. Some sellers get too greedy and they turn away great opportunities to sell their home at great prices. The last thing you want to do is turn away the best offer you are going to get. Be reasonable when you negotiate not greedy. There are limited buyers out there so if you turn one away it might be awhile before you find another

Showcase Like a Pro: Hire an Expert


Even though you read every single one of our articles and you have memorized every YouTube video on real estate you should really rethink trying to sell your home without a real estate professional. Placing a home on the market and advertising it properly is a full time job and requires specific knowledge and experience. Studies have shown that two-thirds of people who have sold their homes themselves say they would not do so again!

Why you ask? Money!!

Having a Real Estate Professional sell your home gets you more money. Sure you have to pay them a portion but that is nothing compared to the stress and time and potential reduction of price that will undoubtedly occur. A Real Estate Professional knows what the market is doing and know what buyers are looking for. Also, selling your home can be an emotional time. You don’t want to be arguing over the value of your home when you have so many memories wrapped up in it. A good real estate agent and do the tough negotiation for you and get you what your home is worth!

A great place to start is with us Mission Realty Group. We are a team of professionals with years of experience under our belt and have proven year after year and client after client that we know how to get the job done! Please contact us if you have any questions or visit our Facebook page to see some of the things that we are doing and some of the families we are helping.

Showcase Like a Pro: Stay Neutral


Everyone loves color! The problem is not everyone loves that crimson red you used to paint your whole house! When you are getting ready to sell it is necessary to adjust the color of your home. Remember the key is to provide a fresh canvas on which the buyer can visualize his or her dream home.  Keep the colors neutral allows the buyer to imagine their belongings in the home and helps them develop an attachment that compels them to make an offer. Here are some inexpensive ways to adjust the color and feel of your home…

  • Walk through your home and make note of the different colors and how many walls are painted. You want to choose a tan or off white color so you want to get an idea of how much you are going to have to buy. Remember you will need primer and paint! If the cost to paint your whole home is too great then focus on the main rooms like the living room, dining room and master bedroom.
  • Remove all wallpaper! Wallpaper is a huge roadblock for buyers because rarely will they like someone else’s taste and it is a huge pain to remove it! With that said if you are going to remove wallpaper consider hiring a professional so that you don’t destroy all the drywall. Remember the cost to hire a professional is small in the long run. People will pay top dollar for a home that is in top shape.
  • Use paint to accent different features in your home. If you paint your crown molding white it will stand out on a tan wall and will attract the eye of a buyer to the feature. Same goes for above a fireplace. Change the color up just a little from the rest of the wall and buyers will notice the detail of your beautiful fireplace. Interior designers call this “making a focal point in the room” and good real estate professionals understand the value of this.
  • Pay attention to smaller rooms. Often they don’t have a lot of detail so the best thing you can do is make it feel clean and open. Paint your smaller bedrooms light colors so that the room looks larger. Dark colors can make a room feel small and cramped.

Showcase Like a Pro: Ambiance


Preparing for an open house or private showing is a lot like preparing for your first date! You want to set the mood and put out a cool and relaxed vibe. First impressions are absolutely vital when trying to sell your home.  You have to remember every little detail to entice buyers to fall in love with your home.  Put these tips into play when showing your home…

  • Entice their sense of smell in all the rooms of your home. Candles are ok but they can stain the walls and irritate someone that has a sensitivity. A better option is lightly scented potpourri or some cinnamon sticks. If you are feeling extra creative you can bake some cookies to give off that comfortable home feeling.  Studies show that memory is actually stimulated by our sense of smell. Inspiring thoughts of home or childhood can be a great thing and the buyer will remember it! Just don’t get crazy and overpower them with scents!  That will certainly drive them away.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, make sure there are no unpleasant odors anywhere!  Put Whisker’s litter box in the garage and maybe think about keeping her out there too. Open windows whenever you can to air out spaces where odors seem to linger. Don’t go crazy with the Febreze because that can just bring more attention to the problem.
  • Music is a great way to create a welcoming and fun environment. Play some soft smooth music. Maybe some light jazz to set the mood. Place a small radio in every room or at least the main ones and keep it at a low volume. Music can positively affect the perception of your home.
  • If you really want to go all out then you can hire a professional stager.  A stager knows what buyers are looking for and this can definitely give you the edge in a competitive market. If a stager is not in the budget then a good real estate professional is more than enough.

Showcase Like a Pro: Clutter Control


So you swept the kitchen, vacuumed the carpet, wiped the counter top, dusted the whole house and even cleaned behind the refrigerator for the first time since 97’! There is still one problem! Your home still looks like a mess!! Often time’s sellers focus so much on cleaning that they forget that their things are everywhere and the home looks cluttered. After years of accumulating trinkets and pictures and clothing it can be hard to visualize the home you first fell in love with. If your home is cluttered buyers are going to notice and they are going to assume the home is unkempt. Even worse you are going to give the impression that there is insufficient storage space and the home will feel small and cramped. Remember, it is vital that the home be open, fresh and inviting. You want buyers to be able to visualize their things in the home not yours! Here are some super easy ways to showcase your home so it looks its very best.

  • Don’t try to pack different pieces of furniture into one room. We know that you have a very special attachment to Grandma Betty’s nightstand from the 30’s but it doesn’t belong in the living room and it’s clogging up the space. You want the buyer to feel like there is enough space for their furniture. It is also important that there is room to move around and clear pathways to walk about. It is not going to be attractive and inviting if you have to climb end tables to sit on the couch. Your best bet is renting a storage unit and storing your ten antique chairs and end tables there.

It can also be equally uninviting if there is no furniture at all. The home will feel cold and eerie and it will be harder for the buyers to visualize what it will look like when they move in. So if at all possible leave a few pieces behind. Consult your real estate professional to find that perfect balance.

  • Clean out clothing that you don’t wear on a regular basis. You don’t want your closets to look stuffed with cloths. You want the buyer to see that there is plenty of space for their things. If you can’t part with the clothing by donating it or selling it then get some wardrobe boxes and store them neatly in the garage of a storage unit.
  • Keep all the kid’s toys and dog toys in storage bins or tucked away in a cabinet somewhere. You don’t want the buyers feeling claustrophobic and you certainly don’t want them stepping and tripping over toys. The more little things you can tuck away the better
  • While you are cleaning your house freshen up things that look old and beat up. This is important in the bathrooms and kitchen. If there are water stains or mold or calcium build up on the faucets then clean it up and make it sparkle! Replace old knobs and handles and clean out any rust. You don’t want to give the buyer any excuse to drive down your asking price. It is inexpensive to grab a few cleaning products from the hardware store and restore the bright work in your home. Another great tip is to remove and replace the grout in any tile that you have in the home. This is inexpensive and easy and can make all the difference to a buyer.

Showcase Like a Pro: Remove Yourself


We are not asking you to move out! When you are showcasing your home it’s important to remember that you are giving someone a clean slate. You want to have the home staged but you also want balance. Avoid large amounts of family photos and years of personal touches all over the house. You want to create a warm inviting environment in which the buyer can imagine how it look if it was their home. So take your personality out of it and leave the buyer with a fresh canvas. Here are some quick and inexpensive ways to do so

  • Remove all of your family photos and store them neatly out of sight. It’s ok to leave a few up here and there but again you want your home to be a clean slate to a potential buyer. You might love that row of old family portraits in the stairwell but it can be a road block for many buyers. Having a lot of sentiment and personal touches makes a buyer feel like they are intruding in your personal space and makes them feel unwelcome.  You don’t want them to see your home. You want them to be envisioning their next home. If you are unclear and need more specific direction ask your real estate professional but remember the goal is blank canvas and fresh start.
  • Don’t crowd the potential buyers that visit the home. During an open house or private showing give buyers space. If at all possible don’t be there. Buyers often like to share their opinions with family members or their agent and they won’t feel comfortable doing so if you are lingering in every doorway. You want them to feel comfortable and welcome. Watching them and following them around is comfortable or welcoming for anyone. Remember the goal is to allow them to envision what it would be like if it were their home and your presence can hinder that. If you must be in the home step outside and stay out of sight during the viewing.
  • Keep the kids and your French bulldog Knuckles out of the way. You want the potential buyers to form a bond with the home not with your cute puppy. Any major distractions can throw the entire viewing off.  It is important that the buyers remember how gorgeous the home was and not how friendly your children are. If your family must be in the home keep them in a room until the potential buyers leave.