The fourth of July in San Francisco is one of the best times to visit the city. From cruises and bike rides to bus tours and scavenger hunts, there are lots of fun and festive things to do on 4th of July weekend in the City by the Bay.
Get a great view of the fireworks show
Everyone’s favorite 4th of July attraction is 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
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 (pick up a 1-Day MUNI Visitor Passport for the most value).
- When: fireworks are scheduled to begin at 9:30 pm
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: Saturday, July 4, 2015 (be sure to make your ferry reservations in advance)
- Where: Ayala Cove, Angel Island
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
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: Saturday, July 4, 2015 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. Learn about Jewish history and heritage at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, let the kids explore their creativity at the Children’s Creativity Museum, learn all about graphic novels and comic books at the Cartoon Art Museum, or learn about California’s diverse history at the California Historical Society.
Fourth of July with The Golden Gate Park Band
Head to the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse to catch The Golden Gate Park Band, under the direction of Michael L. Wirgler, 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, and check out one of the ‘New Wonders of the World’, according to Conde Nast Traveler, the California Academy of Sciences.
- When: Saturday, July 4, 2015 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 with Emily Bonn & the Vivants, and The Creak.
- When: Saturday, July 4, 2015 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 am
- Where: The Plough and Stars, 116 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
- Cost: $15, to purchase tickets, visit their event site.
4th of July Celebration at PIER 39
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 cruise, or take a ride out to 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: Saturday, July 4, 2015 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
San Francisco really shines in the summer, and this 4th of July weekend is the perfect time to visit and see why everyone falls in love with the City by the Bay. Come to California this July 4th weekend and check out a few festive San Francisco attractions!