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It's time to don your red, white, and blue for the land of the free. Here's what's booming in the Bay Area.

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 41 begin at 8pm, and from Tiburon at 8:30 pm. A booze-free cruise leaves at 8:15pm at Pier 39. // 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.
  • 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 and Twin Peaks: 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

  • Alameda County Fairgrounds: Starting at 9:30 pm, the fireworks here will be set to a soundtrack performed by the Oakland Symphony. Head to the horse racing track for the best views. // Gates close at 6pm; 4501 Pleasanton Ave. (Pleasanton), annual.alamedacountyfair.com
  • 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
  • Richmond Waterfront: Bring your blankets and chairs to the Craneway Pavilion on Independence Day eve for movie sing-a-longs and other musical performances by the Oakland Symphony beginning at 8pm. // Sunday, 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 San Francisco Symphony)

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 a Summer of Love–themed program. The fireworks go off at 9:40pm. // Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Ampitheater Parkway (Mountain View), sfsymphony.org
  • Stanford: Head to Stanford Stadium and catch a soccer match and post-game fireworks on Saturday, July 1. San Jose Earthquakes will be hitting the field against the LA Galaxy at 7:15pm. Even if you don't go to the game, you can catch the early Independence Day fireworks show from outside the stadium for free. // 625 Nelson Rd. (Stanford), www1.ticketmaster.com
  • 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 9:15 pm. // 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, an antique car show, and more. Fireworks boom at 9:30pm. // sanjose.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


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. // ci.sausalito.ca.us
  • 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
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