Big fireworks and bold American BBQ never get old. Celebrate the USA's 238th birthday this Friday with the best food, drink, and fiery festivities the Bay Area has to offer.
If you insist on partying smack dab in the thick of it, and you're ready to brave heady crowds, head to the biggest 4th of July party in the City at Pier 39. This all-day event boasts live music, food, and prime seating for the city's annual fireworks show. From 12 to 3 p.m., the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West will perform, followed by '80s cover band Tainted Love from 5 to 8 p.m. Be sure to wear layers, since the weather can get pretty chilly after the sun drops—you'll want to be comfortably clothed when the fireworks pop off.
Jack London Square
Can't stand the thought of braving the crowds at Pier 39? Part by the water on the other side of the Bay. Jack London Square is hosting an all-day festival with dazzling performances by Uncle Sam stilt walker, jugglers, magicians, hula hoopers, clowns, and puppeteers. For the toddler totting (and the young at heart), there will be interactive river environments of Riveropolis, a special petting zoo, sidewalk chalk art, and a mobile craft workshop to keep the wee ones entertained.
If feasting is the way you celebrate holidays, Chef Rocky Maselli of A16 Rockridge has crafted a 4th of July menu that's as fun as it is festive. Noted dishes include a 4505 Bacon Hotdog Pizza with mozzarella, basil, and corn; House Made Fennel Sausage Corndog with cherry mostarda and spicy tomato sauce; and Spicy Chicken Wings Agrodolce with cucumber and yogurt. The acclaimed restaurant will be open from 2 to 8 p.m., 5356 College Ave., Oakland.
The Berkeley Marina remains an Independence Day tradition in the East Bay. The pier plays host to a bunch of tactile events including free dragon boat rowing, massages, and pony rides. Also of note: mini-train rides, giant slides, water bubble ball rides, as well as food and sweets galore. Live music, care of Bang Data (from Breaking Bad), prefaces the grand fireworks spectacular at 9:30 p.m.
Celebrate Independence Day with an ode to Americana mixed with a little south-of-the-border flair by enjoying the limited edition Cherry Margarita at Copita Tequileria y Comida. This summertime crowd-pleaser piles 12 fresh cherries into a tall glass with 100% agave tequila, housemade maraschino liqueur, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice. Mmm, delicious. Joanne Weir's restaurant will be open 11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., 739 Bridgeway, Sausalito
Golden Gate Park
Provided this week's glorious weather holds out, Golden Gate Park will be as good a place as any to sit back, picnic, and enjoy your Friday off. Plus, the Golden Gate Park Band will honor Independence Day at 1 p.m. with all-American, patriotic “musical fireworks” at the Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park.
Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio
Alas, 4th of July came and went, but you're still feeling patriotic (and you haven't gotten enough wear out of your American flag gear). Spend Sunday at Off the Grid, where the outdoor party will still be going strong from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The weekly gathering on the Main Post Lawn in the Presidio is offering two festive 4th of July packages for groups to enjoy. Adults can toast with patriotic drink kits while kids enjoy some bubbly fun. Each $100 package includes a specialty alcoholic punch kit, beer basket, Off the Grid blanket, and a bubble activity kit. Cheers to you, America. Make reservations here.