The San Francisco Bay area does July 4 up brown with two major and simultaneous fireworks displays, parades, cruises, live music and lots of old-fashioned family fun. Check out this guide to fireworks displays and some of the best activities and offerings in and around San Francisco on Independence Day 2017, from morning parades to nighttime fireworks shows. This all-American holiday gets the star treatment in the City by the Bay.
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San Francisco sets off fireworks from two locations—the end of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39. The shows start at about 9:30 p.m. The best places to watch from land are Aquatic Park at Jefferson and Hyde streets, the Cannery, Ghirardelli Square, other waterfront spots at Fisherman’s Wharf and Coit Tower.
If you'd like to avoid huge crowds, the Crissy Field Overlook and Inspiration Point in the Presidio offer great views. Bernal Heights Park is also a favorite among locals; you can put down a blanket and watch the fireworks from afar with the glittering lights of downtown to complete the San Francisco portrait.
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Sausalito begins its three-part Fourth of July celebration with what else but a parade from 10 a.m to noon that includes floats, bands, clowns, classic cars and balloons. The parade starts at Second and Main streets and ends at Caledonia and Bee streets. Starting at noon at Dunphy Park, after the parade, there will be live music, dancing, food and old-fashioned games like tug-of-war and an egg toss. The finale from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Gabrielson Park has more live music and food trucks, topped off with the city’s fireworks show at 9 p.m.
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One of the best views of San Francisco's two fireworks displays over San Francisco Bay is from the water. Take your choice of packages that offer snacks and drinks, a full-course meal or no food served. Ticket prices vary.
- Red and White Fleet offers four cruises that leave from Pier 43 1/2 in Fisherman's Wharf.
- Hornblower's Premier Dinner Cruise serves up a four-course meal, has an open bar that includes Champagne, and live entertainment.
- The Blue & Gold Fleet Fireworks Cruise has six boats that leave between 8 and 8:40 p.m.; this option is all about the fireworks and includes family packages.
- Commodore Dinner & Fireworks Cruise sets off from Alameda in a luxury yacht where you'll be wined and dined and treated to dancing as you watch the fireworks over the bay from a prime location.
- If sailing's your thing, you'll like Adventurecat's Fourth of July offering. You'll take off from Pier 39 at 8:45 p.m. to get in position. Have some drinks and... hors d'oeuvres as you watch the fireworks with the sails flapping in the breeze as a soundtrack.