Best 4th of July Fireworks & Festivals SF Bay Area 2019
Insider tips on what to do around the San Franciso Bay area this 4th of July weekend. Note: July 4th is on Thursday and some of the events below happen on the following Saturday and Sunday, 7/6/19-7/7/19. Below are some of the best 4th of July festivals and fireworks we’ve personally enjoyed. Also, see here and here for more general guides to festivities around the entire Bay area.
Admission is free to most of the events listed below but expect parking problems whichever one you select. They are all good (except for the horrible crowds) and thus very popular.
San Francisco Fourth of July Waterfront Celebration
Fireworks begin over San Francisco Bay at 9:30 pm, Thursday July 4, and continue for about 20-30 minutes. The fireworks barges will be located in SF Bay just north of Aquatic Park and Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Marina Green, Ghirardelli Square and Crissy Field, are also favorite places to watch the action.
Get there early, due to the crowds, otherwise you will miss the show. Live music will be played at Pier 39, Aquatic Park and Ghirardelli Square during the day.
When living on Russian Hill we went to these SF fireworks for many years. Since then it has become even more crowded. For example, a few years ago friends got stuck in the traffic leaving Fisherman’s Wharf until 3 am in the morning. The message is “plan a good escape route” if you want to watch the fireworks on SF Bay.
While the fireworks are usually great the actual explosions tend to be further away then at smaller events such as Foster City. Another potential problem is fog. You can never tell when it will set in. By the way, it can also get cold so bring a jacket.
More Festivals & Events in San Francisco proper
Many San Francisco neighborhoods have local festivals. For example, the Fillmore Jazz Festival, on Fillmore Street between Jackson and Eddy streets, from 10 am-6 pm, July 6-7, 2019. Or you might try the free concert at Stern Grove starting 2 pm on Sunday July 1st, 2018. Also check out other regular weekly events shown on our Events Page.
This free concert celebrating our country’s birth will play from 1 pm-2:30 pm, July 7, 2019, at the Spreckles Temple of Music in the music concourse in Golden Gate Park. If you can’t make this particular concert they also play most other Sundays (e.g., 6/30/19) during the summer as well. See more.
The Hollister Motorcycle Rally used to be one of the biggest Bike Rallies in California but was cancelled in 2018 and 2019 by the Hollister City Council. It celebrates “the birth of the American biker” which happened in Hollister on July 4, 1947. This year it has been resurrected as the Hollister Rebel Rally 7/4/19-7/7/19 at Bolado Park on Hwy 25 south of Hollister. See more.
This Foster City festival opens at 9 am, Thursday, July 4th, 2019 with a pancake breakfast and goes on all day. There will be a Family and Dog Parade at 11:05 am starting at the VIBE Teen Center on Shell Boulevard and ending at the amphitheater. Foster City is readily accessible from most of the Bay area and there is usually plenty of paid parking ($10), at least until later afternoon before the fireworks show starts at 9:30 pm sharp (warning: get there hours early to find seating).
Foster City has one of the best fireworks displays on the Peninsula. It starts at exactly 9:30 pm, July 4th. Get there early because it’s quite crowded. See more.
Thursday, July 4, 2019, 2 pm-10 pm. View from the ship deck San Francisco fireworks displays which begin around 9:15 pm across the Bay. This is a special fundraiser event where you can enjoy live music bands, classic car show, food & beverages, entertainment, carnival games, Flight Simulator, jump house, interactive Games, ship exploration and more. Tickets for adults are $25, while kids (7-17) are $15. 707 W. Hornet Ave, Alameda, CA 94501. See more ship details and more July 4th event information.
Downtown Half Moon Bay Parade
This big “small town” parade features an array of floats, marching bands, equine groups, classic cars, decorated trikes and bikes, nonprofits, youth sports teams, dance and theater troupes and local dignitaries. This parade runs along Main Street in downtown Half Moon. It starts at 12 noon at the south end of Main Street and finishes about 1 pm near the north end of downtown at Mill Street. See more details.
There are many other good events on the 4th of July weekend but we find ourselves returning to those listed above. They are certainly some of the best.
- Best SF Bay Area Events & Festivals
- Foster City 4th of July Festival & Fireworks – one of the best on the Peninsula.
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