Things to Do on the Fourth of July in the Bay


Independence Day is upon us again. Deck yourself out in some stars and stripes and enjoy some of these awesome events around the Bay Area.

Patriotic Concert in Golden Gate Park
The Golden Gate Park Band have been playing for 130 years and in celebration the 30-piece, all clad in bright red suits, are playing free concerts in the park. Their special Independence Day performance will feature patriotic music and marches. Grab a picnic rug, some food, and come down and watch these veterans of the local music scene. They’re playing from 1-3 p.m. @ Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive & Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park.

Pardee Patriotic Picnic
This historic Pardee Home Museum in downtown Oakland is hosting a costumed patriotic picnic to celebrate the 4th. Dress up in your best 1912 garb and join other revellers in listening to live patriotic songs on the piano while enjoying the beautiful Pardee gardens. There will also be picnic food, activities like badminton and croquet, as well as a craft table for children. The event costs $15 for adults and $5 for children and includes a free picnic lunch. All proceeds go toward the upkeep of the Pardee home and gardens. 12-4 p.m. @ Pardee Home Museum672 11th Street, Oakland.

Pier 39 Celebrations and Fireworks
Get your patriotism with a full day of Americana and celebrations at Pier 39. There will be live music from 2 p.m. with the Air Force band taking the stage, before Tainted Love play a range of 80s hits. Then at 9:30 p.m. the city of San Francisco will put on a spectacular fireworks display over the Bay. Other good viewing spots for the fireworks are all along the waterfront, Coit Tower, Aquatic Park, the Cannery, and Ghirardelli Square. Pier 39, San Francisco.

Picnic at Shoreline Lake
If you are feeling a bit more mellow, head down Highway 101 to Mountain View and enjoy a day on the beautiful grass or in the water at the Shoreline Lake and Aquatic Center. Along with a barbecue, a great view of the Shoreline Amphitheatre fireworks, and beautiful lake to play in, they also have a range of special Independence Day packages. Grab a pre-made gourmet picnic basket and pedal, kayak, or canoe around the lake for only $15 all day. From 11 a.m. @ Shoreline Aquatic Center, 3160 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View.

Buddhist Potluck and Mountain Pilgrimage
Looking for a change of pace this Fourth of July? The Buddha Gate Monastery is celebrating Independence Day with a vegetarian potluck, relaxation, serenity, and enlightenment. Along with live entertainment as the sun starts to set, there will also be a pilgrimage climb up the hill to to enjoy the panoramic view of the Bay Area fireworks. Buddha Gate Monastery. From 6 p.m. @ 3254 Gloria Terrace, Lafayette.

Napa County Fair
Head out over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Napa County Fair for a day jam packed full of quintessential American activities. The day kicks off with a parade (expect floats, flags, and live marching bands) before fairgoers can head over to the showgrounds for a day full of games, fun, and fireworks. There will be pie and watermelon eating contests as well as a plethora of other wholesome activities such as an egg toss and bubblegum blowing. At 9:30 p.m. the sky will erupt with fireworks. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. @ 1435 North Oak Street, Calistoga.

Run San Ramon
Feeling fit? Begin this year’s Independence Day with a run. The San Ramon run has 10k, 5k, and 3k courses, so there is a run for almost everyone. Bring your dog (on a leash) and walk the course, or battle it out to win and get your results posted on the concrete pillars in City Plaza. The race costs $40 with all proceeds benefitting San Ramon community programs. Refreshments including ice cream, Gatorade, muffins, bagels, oranges and bananas will be on hand. The race kicks off at 8:15 a.m. San Ramon Central Park, 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon.

AAA Tipsy Tow
Planning on overindulging this Independence Day? AAA have you covered with their Tipsy Tow service. The Tipsy Tow program offers a free tow for all  drinking drivers in Northern California from 6 p.m. onwards. For Tipsy Tow, call (800) 222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and tell the operator “I need a Tipsy Tow” for a free tow of up to ten miles. Service is restricted to a one-way ride for the driver and his or her vehicle to the driver’s home.

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