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The 10 Best Bay Area Spots To Celebrate 4th of July
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The 10 Best Bay Area Spots To Celebrate 4th of July

Picture of Alexandra Brown
Updated: 24 April 2017
The Bay Area is one of the greatest places in the entire country to celebrate Independence Day – from the bustling city, to little vineyard towns or even ferries, here are the 10 best places around the Bay to get festive. These cities have some of the best parades, fairs, entertainment, and, of course, fireworks to celebrate this holiday.
Sonoma 4th of July Parade | ©RichRobinson/flickr
Sonoma 4th of July Parade | © RichRobinson/Flickrcommons
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Sonoma 4th of July Parade

Located about an hour north of San Francisco, the historic winemaking town of Sonoma hosts a small-town, old-fashioned 4th of July festival. Beginning at 10am, a patriotic parade that goes through the historic Sonoma Plaza, and finishes with an old-fashioned carnival. The theme of the parade this year is ‘Celebrating Through the Decades.’ Throughout the day, the town square is filled with picnic-goers, who eventually make their way over to a large field a few blocks away, where a spectacular fireworks show begins at 9:30. Since Sonoma is in a valley, the fireworks create a tremendous boom and echo effect that shakes the entire audience.

Sonoma Plaza, 400 West Spain Street, Sonoma, CA, USA +1 707 996 1090

SF Waterfront Fireworks | ©DavidYu/flickr
SF Waterfront Fireworks | © DavidYu/Flickrcommons
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SF Waterfront Fireworks

For those who will be in the city this 4th of July, Pier 39 along the San Francisco waterfront will be offering an array of patriotic events, and a prime location to watch the annual San Francisco fireworks show. Beginning at noon on the 4th, there will be musical entertainment and activities all along the waterfront. After night falls around 9:30pm, two sets of synched firework shows will begin, allowing good views from all around the area. Large crowds are expected, so use public transportation and get a spot early.

Beach Street and The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 705 5500

Berkeley Marina Fireworks | ©MatthewDillon/flickr
Berkeley Marina Fireworks | ©MatthewDillon/flickr
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Berkeley Marina Fireworks

The marina area in Berkeley is another Bay Area spot on the 4th of July that is filled with activities during the day and offers a firework show at dark. A carnival during the day will feature magic shows and juggling acts, in addition to kite flying, Afro-Cuban drum and steel drum performances, and free dragon boat rowing in the marina. The day will be filled with great music, and already has a full lineup of bands. The busy day at the marina concludes with an impressive firework show at the end of the Berkeley Pier.

Berkely Marine, 21 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 981 6740

Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Fireworks | ©ColleenProppe/flickr
Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Fireworks | © ColleenProppe/Flickrcommons
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Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Fireworks

Reputedly the best view of all the fireworks in the Bay can be found aboard the Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry that goes around the San Francisco waterfront during the fireworks show. The boat leaves the Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry dock at 8:40 pm (boarding will begin at 8:00pm), and will return at approximately 10:30 pm after the show. Fireworks cruises are offered on two different ferries – ‘The Tamalpais,’ which is geared towards adults with its full bar and lounge on the upper deck, and the regular charter vessel, which is more family-oriented. Tickets can be accessed here.

Angel Island-Tiburon, 21 Main Street, Tiburon, CA, USA +1 415 435 2131

Angel Island Fireworks | ©garymorgret/flickr
Angel Island Fireworks | © Garymorgret/Flickrcommons

Angel Island Fireworks

The Angel Island Ferry Company also offers a cruise option that stops at Angel Island for a fireworks viewing party. Tickets for this event can be purchased here, and include round trip ferry service to the island and a round trip tram ride from the dock to the batteries at the top of the hill, for the best views possible. Check-in for this event is by 4:45pm, and the ferry will be leaving the Tiburon ferry terminal at 5pm. After a short ride, the ferry will arrive at Ayala Cove, where there will be live music as well as food and drink.

Angel Island Fireworks, 21 Main Street, Tiburon, CA, USA +1 415 435 2131

Bodega Bay Fireworks | ©TracyMartin/flickr
Bodega Bay Fireworks | ©TracyMartin/Flickrcommons

Bodega Bay Fireworks

Independence Day celebrations start a day early in Bodega Bay – the annual fireworks show is on July 3rd. This small town is located about an hour and a half north of San Francisco and nights can get very chilly (even in the summer) so warm clothes are recommended. As this show is on the smaller side, it’s also worth planning an entire day in Bodega Bay and not just going for the show. Fireworks are shot off from Westside Park and can be seen from all around Bodega Bay.

Bodega Bay Fireworks, 2000 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, CA, USA, +1 707 347 9645

Treasure Island Fireworks | ©SankarSalvadyPhotography/flickr
Treasure Island Fireworks | © SankarSalvadyPhotography/Flickrcommons
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Treasure Island Fireworks

A great spot to see the San Francisco fireworks is Treasure Island. Spectators make themselves comfortable on the Great Lawn and await the fireworks, which usually start around 9:30pm. This year, The Winery, San Francisco’s wine event center, tasting room, and home to acclaimed Napa Valley and Sonoma winemakers, will be hosting its 5th annual ‘Red, White, and Rosé’ wine tasting event. The $15 tickets include a tasting flight of Winery SF’s winning wines and free parking. After dark, walk down to the waterfront for great views.

Treasure Island, 200 California Avenue #180, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 735 8423

Marin Fair Fireworks | ©LarryNienkark/flickr
Marin Fair Fireworks | © LarryNienkark/Flickrcommons

Marin Fair Fireworks

To get the most festive 4th of July experience, check out the Marin County Fair, from July 1-5. This event takes place at the Marin County Fairgrounds at Civic Center Drive in San Rafael, and tickets range between $15-$17. The theme of the fair this year is ‘On With The Show,’ and includes carnival rides, patriotic exhibits, music, food and much more. Each night at 9:30 pm, there will be a dazzling fireworks display put on by ‘Pyro Spectaculars,’ who have designed firework shows for the Olympics, Super Bowls, and the Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary.

Marin Fair, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, CA, USA +1 415 499 6400

Sausalito Fireworks | ©NocturnalBob/flickr
Sausalito Fireworks | © NocturnalBob/Flickrcommons
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Sausalito Fireworks

The city of Sausalito, about half an hour north of San Francisco, is planning a full day of festivities this 4th of July. Between 10 m and noon at Second and Main streets, there will be a parade featuring floats, classic cars, and bands, all of which finally ends up at Dunphy Park. Once people get to the park, there will be food and entertainment consisting of tug of war, an egg toss and dancing. Around 6:30pm, people make their way over to Gabrielson Park, where there will be more live music until the fireworks begin at 9:20pm. This years’ show is set to music, which can be accessed on 1610 AM radio or Comcast Cable Channel 30.

Sausalito Fireworks, 100 Spinnaker Drive, Sausalito, CA, USA, +1 415 289 4152

Oakland A's Fireworks | ©PistolsDrawn/flickr
Oakland A’s Fireworks | © PistolsDrawn/Flickrcommons

Oakland A’s Fireworks

This year, there will be no fireworks along the Oakland waterfront this year, but activities and entertainment for families can be found at Jack London Square. There will be food, music and much more. For those in Oakland on July 3rd, think about getting tickets to the A’s vs. Mariners game, which will include a salute to the armed forces. Tickets can be found here. After the game, fans will be invited to sit on the outfield grass and watch the fireworks above, celebrating a day early.

Oakland Waterfront, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 569 2121