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June 1, 2018
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 www.sfmta.org.

June 30, 2018

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.

June 30-July 1, 2018

Celebrating more than 30 years of bringing jazz to the streets of San Francisco, the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival returns June 30-July 1, 2018 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.

July 4, 2018

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, 2018

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

June 30-July 4, 2018

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. There are fireworks all weekend long, not to mention the wildest new ride, Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster, The Joker, a hybrid wood and steel coaster full of twists and inversions, or, the extreme pendulum ride Woner Woman Lasso of Truth.

July 4, 2018

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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