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 posts detailed information on their Fourth of July transit services here. 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. 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.
To make the most out of your Fourth of July, find the perfect hotel near your favorite activities and interests.
June 29, 2019
Planning for a Fourth of July picnic should begin with a visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. The market is open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays, 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 a wide variety.
July 4, 2019
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.
Barbecue is synonymous with Fourth of July and Anchor Public Taps has the perfect answer. Enjoy 19 Anchor beers on tap, including classic brews and limited releases. They’ll be running specials on Anchor Steam and Liberty Ale, celebrating these two historic American beers. Participate in the Cornhole Tournament to get cool Anchor prizes. Teams enter onsite day of the event; no pre-registration required.
“Treasure Island,” the latest offering from the Tony Award-Winning San Francisco Mime Troupe, debuts at Dolores Park on July 4. The story of Hawkins, a civil servant in San Francisco, accidentally stumbles upon the plans of a developer, L.J. Silver. Throughbribery, Silver overrides the health, safty, and human concerns regarding Treasure Island for his own greed. The performance kicks off at 2 p.m.
PIER 39 celebrates Independence Day with fun for the whole family, featuring musical entertainment and activities in the Entrance Plaza. The fun begins at 3 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.
July 6-7, 2019
Celebrating more than 30 years of bringing jazz to the streets of San Francisco, the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival returns July 6-7, 2019 on Fillmore Street, between Jackson and Eddy streets. 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.
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. The Fourth of July fireworks cruise is already sold-out. The regular sunset sail available; however, the boat returns before fireworks begin.
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.
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 6:30 p.m. and the boat will dock at approximately 11 p.m. Visit website for menu details and tickets. Yachts are berthed at Mariner Square, 2394 Mariner Square Dr.
Hornblower Cruises & Events offers three Fourth of July dinner cruises from San Francisco’s Pier 3. Military, senior and children’s discounts available.
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; boarding begins 20 minutes before departure. Advance reservations recommended as cruises usually sell out.
Around the Bay
July 2-4, 2019
There are fireworks all weekend long at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, not to mention the wildest ride, Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster; The Joker, a hybrid wood and steel coaster full of twists and inversions; and the extreme pendulum ride, Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth.
July 3-7, 2019
The Marin County Fair in San Rafael includes free concerts, 28 free rides, a carnival, farm animals, art and, of course, fireworks every night.
July 4-7, 2019
California’s Great America will celebrate Fourth of July with their biggest fireworks show of the year at 9:45 p.m. Current and past military members can enjoy free admission, July 4-7. Be sure to check out the new ride, RailBlazer, the first coaster of its kind on the West Coast, featuring a single rail track throughout. The design requires the rider to straddle the rail, creating an extremely low center of gravity that amplifies every move.
July 4, 2019
Oakland’s Jack London Square will hold its annual block party, featuring live music, activities for kids, local vendors, and eats with BBQ specials and a beer garden. The festivities begin at 11:00 a.m. Jack London Square is accessible via the San Francisco Bay Ferry.
Docked at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 at the former Naval Air Station in Alameda, the USS Hornet Museum will celebrate Independence Day, 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 beverage will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25, $15 for youth 7-17, 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.
Located in the heart of the Napa Valley, Calistoga draws thousands of spectators every year to watch a patriotic procession of floats, marching bands, mounted horse units and vintage treasures. The "Star-Spangled Social" and Fourth of July parade festivities will begin at 11 a.m.
An engaging experience that echoes the glory days of train travel, the Napa Valley Wine Train will offer a unique way to celebrate the Fourth of July with a journey through wine country and a spectacular view of the Yountville fireworks from the historic train. Passengers can choose the Gourmet Express, which features dining and lounge service in a relaxed setting, or upgrade to the Vista Dome Car, which offers a more private dining experience with panoramic views from the domed railcar. The train will then stop in Yountville to allow guests to enjoy the annual fireworks celebration. Departure time is 6:30 p.m.