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June 19, 2017
Fireworks illuminate San Francisco's waterfront on Fourth of July.

What to Do in San Francisco on Fourth of July

Fireworks, picnics in the park, hot dogs on the grill — well, OK, maybe a veggie burger, or two. Still, San Francisco will be right in step with the rest of the nation for the Fourth of July, despite her reputation for being a bit of a maverick. Outdoor concerts and cruises on the bay to watch the fireworks are just part of the Independence Day fun.

Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike or take public transit to all events. Muni has posted detailed information on their Fourth of July transit services here and is offering special express service after the show. This is one of the busiest days along San Francisco’s northern waterfront and Fisherman’s Wharf. Allow ample time to make boat departures for fireworks cruises.

To make the most out of your July 4th weekend, find the perfect hotel near your favorite activities and interests.

For regional transit information, call 511 within the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties or call 888-500-4636. For information on public transit within San Francisco, call 311 or visit

June 30, 2017

San Francisco Opera Presents Opera at the Ballpark, a free simulcast of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” at 7:30 p.m. in AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza. Transmitted live from the War Memorial Opera House, this dazzling opera will be shown on AT&T Park's state-of-the-art high definition scoreboard. This year's selection, “Don Giovanni,” is Mozart's acclaimed mix of comedy and tragedy in his take on the tale of Don Juan, and a perennial favorite of opera-goers. Gates open at 6 p.m. for pre-registered fans. For more information, please visit Opera at the Ballpark online.

July 1, 2017

Planning for a Fourth of July picnic should begin with a visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Top picks for your shopping basket include plums, peaches, and nectarines. Figs and melons are plentiful as are all the herbs your heart desires. Need meat for a barbecue? The market offers ground lamb and beef, tri-tip, London broil, and ribs.

July 1-2, 2017

Celebrating more than 30 years of bringing jazz to the streets of San Francisco, the 33rd annual Fillmore Jazz Festival returns July 1-2, 2017 to Fillmore Street, between Jackson and Eddy. Blending art and soul in one of the country’s most unique neighborhoods, the Fillmore Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast, spilling out along 12 blocks with multiple stages and areas dedicated to fine arts and crafts, gourmet food and beverages.  The theme for this year’s Fillmore Jazz Festival is “Summer of Love Revisited.” Performers will sing songs from this period, confirming that jazz embraces other musical genres with surprising results.

July 4, 2017

PIER 39 celebrates Independence Day with fun for the whole family, featuring musical entertainment and activities in the Entrance Plaza. The fun begins at noon and ramps up at 5 p.m. At approximately 9:30 p.m., the City of San Francisco will treat spectators to an elaborate fireworks display over San Francisco Bay. Best viewing areas are on the northeast waterfront from Aquatic Park down to PIER 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Street closures in the area may impact traffic; public transportation is strongly advised.Activities are weather permitting and subject to change without notice.

The Golden Gate Park Band honors Independence Day at 1 p.m. with all-American, patriotic “musical fireworks” at the Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park.

The City and County of San Francisco’s Fireworks display will illuminate the offshore skies at approximately 9:30 p.m. Best viewing areas are on the northeast waterfront from Aquatic Park down to PIER 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Street closures in the area may impact traffic; public transportation is strongly advised.

Fourth of July Cruises

The following companies offer Fourth of July cruises. They often sell out early so advance reservations are strongly recommended.

Adventure Cat Sailing Charters Departing from PIER 39, spacious catamarans offer guests a stable, yet exhilarating ride.

Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Departing from Tiburon, the ferry takes in the San Francisco waterfront and the city’s exciting fireworks show. 

Bay Adventures Sail San Francisco Bay aboard the Schooner Freda B, departing at 6:30 p.m. from downtown Sausalito. Secure tickets early.

Bay Voyager Departing from PIER 39 at 8:30 p.m., Bay Voyager is limited to 12 passengers. They are able to get very close to the barge where the fireworks launch. $105 per person includes photography, video and snacks.

Blue & Gold Fleet For information call 415-705-8200 (no phone reservations), purchase tickets online or at Pier 41 or PIER 39 box offices. Blue & Gold Fleet offers several options for Independence Day:

  • 5:40 p.m. cruise departing for Angel Island. Flashlights, headlamps, as well as seating and/or blankets are recommended for Angel Island excursions. Packages for sale include one tram ticket per person and round-trip ferry transportation. This special package must be purchased as such; park rangers will sweep the island at the end of the day to ensure that only guests who have purchased the package remain on the island.
  • Take a quick sail around San Francisco. Cruises depart from PIER 39 at 8:15 p.m. (no-alcohol cruise for families) and 8:30 p.m.; from Pier 41 at 8 p.m., 8:20 and 8:40; from Tiburon Ferry Terminal at 8:30 p.m. Family pack pricing is available.

Check back for additional sailings.

City Kayak Their Fourth of July excursion takes you along the waterfront and offers stellar views. Check the website for additional outings.

Commodore Cruises & Events Based in Alameda in the East Bay, the Cabernet Sauvignon Commodore will offer dinner, dancing and first class seats to watch San Francisco’s spectacular fireworks show. Boarding begins at 6 p.m. and the boat will dock at approximately 10:30 p.m. Visit website for menu details and tickets. Yachts are berthed at Mariner Square, 2394 Mariner Square Dr.

Hornblower Cruises & Events offers two Fourth of July dinner cruises from San Francisco starting at starting at $154. Military, senior and children’s discounts available. All cruises begin boarding at 6 p.m. prior to departure from Pier 3.

Red and White Fleet offers a brief sail along San Francisco’s stunning evening skyline, before stopping to view the fireworks. Sailings depart from Pier 43½ at 7:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $92 per person. Snacks and beverages available for purchase on board. No outside food or drink permitted. Advance reservations recommended. Boarding is 20 minutes before departure.

Alternative options include special charters and excursions available through ACSailing SF, and Alcatraz Excursions.

Around the Bay

June 30-July 4, 2017

Marin County Fair in San Rafael includes free concerts, 28 free rides, a carnival, farm animals, art and, of course, fireworks every night.

July 1-4, 2017

California’s Great America will celebrate the July 4th holiday weekend with fireworks set to patriotic music each night from July 1-4. Additionally, current and past military men and women will be honored with free park admission (with valid ID) July 1-4 and can bring up to six guests for just $22.99 each. Coca-Cola will also be at Great America on July 4, offering guests tastes of product samples, a photo booth, prize wheel and inflatable interactive obstacle course. Save time to enjoy the new Patriot coaster, family rides, Boomerang Bay water park and an exciting show lineup. 

July 2-4, 2017

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. There are fireworks all weekend long, not to mention the new Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth, Discovery Kingdom’s new extreme pendulum that takes riders as high as 140-plus feet.

July 4, 2017

Docked at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 at the former Naval Air Station in Alameda, the USS Hornet Museum will celebrate Independence Day from 2-10 p.m. There will be live entertainment, family activities including a flight simulator, jump house and a Kids’ Zone with crafts and hands-on science. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 and $15 for youth 6-17, free for Children 5 and under with paying adult and active military.

Head to the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View for the San Francisco Symphony’s Fourth of July concert at 8 p.m. Epic music from the movies and American symphonic favorites lead up to an exhilarating fireworks show accompanied by the Orchestra.

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