Things to Do in San Francisco 4th of July 2016 Weekend

Spending the 4th of July in San Francisco is one of the best times to visit the city.

From bay cruises to bus tours and scavenger hunts, there are lots of fun and festive activities in the City by the Bay.

If you’re looking for things to do in San Francisco 4th of July 2016, check out our list of the best local activities and attractions, including…

  • Watch the fireworks from Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Explore SoMA & the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
  • Red, White, and Bluegrass!
  • Visit the always fun PIER 39
  • and more…

Save on Attraction Admission

Regular admission to a number of the below fun San Francisco attractions are included on the Go San Francisco® Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

Please note, the special events taking place at these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Get a great view of the fireworks show

By Jay Huang from Pleasanton, USA (Happy New Year 2016) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jay Huang from Pleasanton, USA (Happy New Year 2016) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Everyone’s favorite 4th of July activity is watching the fireworks. San Francisco will be setting off fireworks from two locations: from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from the barges north of Pier 39.

You’ll be able to see both sets of fireworks from most central locations, and the synched performance is an impressive sight, but for the best views of the firework display, head to one of the following areas (be sure to go early in the day to secure a good spot!):

  • Aquatic Park
  • Ghiradelli Square
  • The Cannery
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Coit Tower
  • Angel Island
  • When: fireworks are scheduled to begin at 9:30 pm

Insider tip: consider taking public transportation to the area, as surrounding streets will be closed to cars for several hours in advance of the fireworks (a 1-Day MUNI Visitor Passport is included as an option of  the San Francisco Explorer Pass).

Watch the fireworks from Angel Island

Head over to Angel Island for live music, dancing, delicious food, beer and wine, and unbeatable views of the fireworks over the bay.

Book your ferry tickets in advance online (this event sells out!) for round trip transportation plus, a round trip Tram ride from the Cover to Battery Ledyard for the best views of the fireworks.

  • When: Monday, July 4, 2016 (be sure to make your ferry reservations in advance)
  • Where: Ayala Cove, Angel Island

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival & SoMA

Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco

Photo credit: San Francisco Travel Association/ Scott Chernis

Celebrate pride and patriotism on Independence Day with San Francisco’s Official Band, the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, founded in 1978 as the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Ban and Twirling Corps, was the first openly gay musical group in the world.

  • When: Sunday, July 3, 2016 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
  • Where: Yerba Buena Gardens, 760 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Spend the day exploring the SoMa neighborhood (South of Market), a trendy, artsy space with lots to explore.

Stop by the newly reopened SFMOMA, a truly delightful artistic and architectural experience all around. There’s a nice little cafe there, too, for some light snacks.

Learn about Jewish history and heritage at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, or learn about California’s diverse history at the California Historical Society.

4th of July with The Golden Gate Park Band

Head to the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse to catch The Golden Gate Park Band present a music concourse of patriotic music by American composers and musical fireworks in the afternoon. This event is a great way to spend the day and enjoy San Francisco with the whole family!

Make a day of it in Golden Gate Park. In addition to the number of beautiful biking and walking trails, you can browse through American art at the world-class de Young Museum, explore a variety of flora from over 50 countries at the Conservatory of Flowers, or check out one of the ‘New Wonders of the World’, according to Conde Nast Traveler, the California Academy of Sciences.

  • When: Monday, July 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm
  • Where: Golden Gate Park Music Concourse, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

Red, White, and Bluegrass!

Celebrate Independence Day “bluegrass style” at Red, White, and Bluegrass featuring local artists the Mountain Men Collective.

  • When: Saturday, July 2, 2016 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 am
  • Where: The Plough and Stars, 116 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

4th of July Celebration at PIER 39

Pier 39; photograph by J. O'Neill

Pier 39; photograph by J. O’Neill

Head to PIER 39 for Independence Day fun for the whole family featuring musical entertainment and activities in the PIER 39 Entrance Plaza.

Television’s most anticipated summer event, Shark Week, will be hitting PIER 39 with shark-filled fun for the whole family. Get your picture taken in the official Shark Week photo booth and be on the lookout for lots of sharky activities and prizes.

Stop by the Aquarium of the Bay to catch special shark presentations at Shark Lab and a shark selfie scavenger hunt.

Make it a full day of Pier 39 fun and see what’s new and weird at Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, explore the bay on a narrated Golden Gate Bay cruise, or take a ride out around Alcatraz and learn all about the notorious prison and its infamous inhabitants.

Be sure to stay for the dazzling fireworks display over the San Francisco Bay at 9:30 pm.

  • When:  Monday, July 4, 2016 from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm (fireworks are at 9:30 pm)
  • Where: PIER 39, Beach Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

San Francisco really shines in the summer, and this 4th of July weekend is a great time to visit and see why everyone falls in love with the City by the Bay.

Remember, many of these great attraction options are included on the Go San Francisco Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Please note, the 4th of July events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go San Francisco Card.

Consider adding a few of these fun options to your summer vacation itinerary.

Go San Francisco Explorer Pass

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