Whether you're braving the crowds, huddling on a hill or getting rowdy with your own, here's your Fourth of July game plan for fireworks.
The Most Obvious Spots
With the fireworks taking off from Pier 39, the most obvious viewing spots are downtown and on high ground. To refresh your memory, that means...
The Embarcadero: If you can secure a spot amongst the sea of fireworks fans, the Embarcadero promises a front row seat. Camp out early for prime locations.
Aquatic Park: To the left of Pier 39, Aquatic Park will offer decent views. It gets bonus points because of its proximity to tummy-warming Ghirardelli hot chocolate.
Nob Hill and Russian Hill: If you have friends in these 'hoods, persuade them to have a rooftop party immediately. You'll be sure to see the sights without being at the mercy of weather and crowds.
The Balcony Seats
Sure, the go-to firework viewing spots may offer the best views and loudest boom, but if you can brave the weather and don’t mind a distance, try taking advantage of some of San Francisco’s most scenic hills. (Or have a hilltop-housed friend throw a party).
Corona Heights and Randall Park: Located right next to each other, these rocky hilltop parks boast some of the best views of the city, and firework-height and fog depending, might just be the perfect spot to celebrate the nation. Not for the faint of heart.
Twin Peaks: Although certainly not front row, Twin Peaks does offer a near birds eye view of San Francisco, and at such great heights you’ll be able to catch the fireworks in Oakland, Alameda, Marin and more. Thermos and windbreaker required. Cross your fingers for no fog.
Inspiration Point: Shrouded in trees, this Presidio lookout lives up to its name, and is sure to offer a spectacular show, despite its distance. Be sure to check out Andy Goldsworthy’s work across the street.
Where to Get the Goods
Unfortunately, fireworks are illegal in San Francisco. And despite whispers of Chinatown and Mission black markets, the crack down from police on sales leaves us relatively empty handed. But there is hope: fireworks are legal in Pacifica. There are plenty of firework shacks close to the freeway—and you can pick some up in South San Francisco too. Just be sure to light the fuse outside city limits. Sigh, what did Sparkers ever do to deserve such a banning?