Fireworks on the Embarcadero

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May 1, 2017
Fireworks at the Embarcadero

5 Chances to See Fireworks by the Bay

While San Francisco has its traditional annual fireworks celebration on the Fourth of July, there are other times of the year to enjoy these dazzling bursts of light and color. Here are a couple of best bets for bedazzled nights by San Francisco Bay.

San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants will launch fireworks from their home field at AT&T Park on May 26, 2017. Pro tip: If you don’t have a ticket for the game, you can watch from the promenade behind AT&T Park or cross Lefty O’Doul Bridge on Third Street and watch from the opposite shore of McCovey Cove.

Marin County Fair

It’s all about the Summer of Love this year at the Marin County Fair, June 30-July 4, 2017. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the fair will feature 28 carnival rides, including a 10-story giant Ferris wheel; a short film and video festival; more than 12,000 exhibits, including arts and crafts, baked goods, gardens and flowers; farm animals; and nightly fireworks at 9:30 p.m. over the lagoon. Pro tip: Fair admission, which includes concerts, is cheaper if you purchase online in advance.

Fourth of July

The Fisherman’s Wharf area is where spectators gather for San Francisco’s annual fireworks show. PIER 39 offers non-stop entertainment until 9:30 p.m. when the show gets started. There are also a number of special cruises departing from the area, including Blue & Gold Fleet, Red and White Fleet, Hornblower Cruises & Events, Adventure Cat, as well as special charters. The SS Jeremiah O’Brien also hosts an onboard viewing party.

In addition to the festivities at Fisherman’ Wharf, the San Francisco Symphony has a long-standing tradition at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre. This year, there will be a special tribute to the Summer of Love at the 8 p.m. concert, as well as film scores by John Williams and patriotic American favorites capped by a special fireworks celebration.


As part of its 39-week-long celebration of its 39th anniversary, PIER 39’s birthday bash on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 will end with a dazzling fireworks display over San Francisco Bay. Pro tip: The evening includes fun, music and discounts at PIER 39 merchants.

New Year’s Eve

According to an account in the Jan. 1, 1876 Daily Chronicle, San Francisco opened its centennial year with New Year’s Eve pyrotechnics and bell-ringing. Buildings were illuminated and “showers of rockets and candle stars were shot in the air.” In modern history, this New Year's tradition dates back to 1999 on the eve of the millennium. The fireworks are usually launched from a barge anchored slightly south of the Ferry Building near Pier 14 and the event draws up to 200,000 people annually. Pro tip: Arrive early (around 8 p.m.) to stake out a spot along the Embarcadero, and bring a blanket. Temperatures can be in the 50s and wind from the bay is brisk. Use public transit and remember that this is an alcohol-free event.

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