(Courtesy of David Yu)

Where to Catch Fourth of July Fireworks in the Bay Area

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Whatever you may think about the current state of affairs in America, it's time to don your red, white, and blue and celebrate the land of the free.

Love a good fireworks show? Here's what's booming in the Bay Area.


(If you're kind of over the whole fighting-the-crowd-to-see-yet-another-fireworks-show-in-the-fog thing, here are some less expected ways to celebrate the Fourth—think hot-dog-eating contest, bar crawl, beach tug-of-war and more.)

San Francisco

  • Fireworks Cruise: Onboard the Blue & Gold Fleet you'll find music, dancing, booze, and front-row seats to the fireworks over the Bay. Sailings from Pier 39 begin at 8:30pm, Pier 41 at 8:40 and from Tiburon at 8:30 pm. // blueandgoldfleet.com
  • Fisherman's Wharf: For the classic crowded touristy vibe, park yourself in Aquatic Park, Pier 39, or Ghirardelli Square for viewing the 9:30pm show. Oh, and Tainted Love will perform their Best of the 80's Live! Pier 39. // fishermanswharf.org
  • Angel Island and Treasure Island: If you feel brave enough to battle the bridge traffic, the panoramic views of the fireworks from Treasure Island are worth it. Or, put yourself on a ferry early in the day and head to Angel Island for more Insta-worthy lookout spots.
  • Bernal Heights Park, Twin Peaks, Tank Hill, and Coit Tower: As long as the fog doesn't roll in, finding a hilltop view of the fireworks is one way to avoid the Fisherman's Wharf mosh pit.


East Bay

  • Berkeley Marina: Live entertainment, food, face painting and dragon boat rowing are all part of the festivities, which start at noon; the fireworks begin at 9:30pm. // 201 University Ave. (Berkeley), ci.berkeley.ca.us
  • USS Hornet: Pop onto this aircraft carrier permanently moored at Alameda. Enjoy live music like jazz and blues, tour the ship, try a flight simulator and more activities, and then take in the fireworks at 9:15pm. // 707 West Hornet Ave. (Alameda), uss-hornet.org
  • Richmond Waterfront: Bring your blankets and chairs to the Craneway Pavilion on Independence Day eve for musical performances by the Oakland Symphony beginning at 8pm, and then a fireworks symphony with musical accompaniment. // Tuesday, July 3, 1414 Harbour Way South (Richmond), oaklandsymphony.org
  • Concord: This fourth annual festival includes a 5k run, parade, carnival, and fireworks at 9pm. // Mt. Diablo High School, 2450 Grant St. (Concord), concordjuly4th.com


(Courtesy of SF Cruises)

South Bay

  • Mountain View: The San Francisco Symphony will host its annual Fourth of July Spectacular at Shoreline Ampitheatre with no fewer than three Star Wars themes as well as pop by Broadway vocalist Capathia Jenkins, hit Pixar songs, and an Armed Forces salute. The grand finale will be a dazzling display of fireworks. // Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Ampitheater Parkway (Mountain View), sfsymphony.org
  • Milpitas: The annual Red White & Boom is happening all afternoon—starting with a pool party at 1pm and finishing with a concert at 7pm and fireworks at 9pm. // Milpitas Sports Center Complex, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd. (Milpitas), ci.milpitas.ca.gov
  • San Jose: This year's Rose, White and Blue Parade is all about bicycles. Wind your way along The Alameda, have a picnic and enjoy live music. Just ten minutes away, fireworks will boom at Discovery Meadow at 9:30pm. // rwbsj.org, rotaryfireworks.org
  • Redwood City: This town doesn't brag about hosting the largest Fourth of July parade in Northern California for nothing—its festival gets going at 10am and doesn't stop until fireworks have fizzled out. Enjoy a Battle of the Bands, food, arts and crafts, and other festival fun in all the hours in between. // parade.org
  • San Mateo: Catch the Highlands Fireworks Show a day early on July 3; treat yourself at the community bake sale while you're at it. // 2320 Newport St. (San Mateo), highlandscommunity.org
  • Morgan Hill: An all day celebration takes over Morgan Hill with a parade, street dance, 5k run, car show, and fireworks at 9:30pm. // Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center, 16500 Condit Rd. (Morgan Hill), morganhillfreedomfest.com


Marin

  • Sausalito: Trek all over Sausalito with a morning parade, and enjoy a picnic and games in Dunphy Park in the afternoon. Live music (6:30pm) will be followed by a solid half-hour of fireworks at Gabrielson Park (9pm). // sausalito.gov
  • Marin County Fair: If one day to celebrate our nation's independence isn't enough, head to the Marin County Fair as early as June 30 for their five-day festival with—yes—fireworks every night. You're bound to witness a spectacular show of elaborate lights and colors. // 10 Avenue of the Flags (San Rafael), marinfair.org
  • Petaluma: Starting at 5pm, listen to music from brands curated by the Petaluma Music Festival, nosh on tasty eats from local vendors, and then catch fireworks around 9pm. // Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds & Event Center, 175 Fairgrounds Dr. (Petaluma), visitpetaluma.com
*This article has been updated since it was originally published on July 3, 2017.

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