4 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 few of best bets for bedazzled nights by San Francisco Bay.
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants will launch fireworks for special events games like Opening Night and Fireworks Night. Pro tip: If you don’t have a ticket for the game, you can watch from the promenade behind Oracle 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 art, food, and music at the Marin County Fair, taking place on Fourth of July weekend. The fair will feature spectacular 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 over the lagoon. Pro tip: Fair admission, which includes concerts, is cheaper if you purchase online in advance.
Fourth of July
Fisherman’s Wharf 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, and 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. Celebrate Independence Day with a festive outdoor performance featuring exhilarating music from the San Francisco Symphony and a grand finale of fireworks. These are the best areas to stay for the Fourth of July.
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.