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Where to watch Fourth of July fireworks in the Bay Area

Want to see fireworks? Here’s where to go.

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Get ready to celebrate the Declaration of Independence's approval by the Continental Congress the way we do every year: grilling meats, waving the flag, and watching colorful explosions in the sky.

San Francisco's fireworks show will get under way tonight at 9:30 p.m. or thereabouts from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf.

If you’re okay doing a little hiking and carting around a blanket and provisions, San Francisco's numerous hills offer vantage points sans the body crush at Pier 39. You could also see non-sanctioned fireworks displays in the Mission. (Shhh.) And Angel Island or Treasure Island offer great views as well, if you have the stamina for a ferry trip.

Below, a map of where we think you should plop down a lawn chair and ogle the fireworks. Fingers crossed Karl doesn’t show up for yet another annual lighting of the fog.

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1. Pier 7

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520 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

This isn't the type of spot where you plop down a couple of lawn chairs and crack open a beer, but it will have an amazing view of the fireworks that are set off from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39.

2. Indian Rock Park

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950 Indian Rock Ave
Berkeley, CA

There's a volcanic rock that's approximately 11 million years old in the middle of a residential neighborhood in the Berkeley Hills. When you climb to the top of it, you get an unobstructed view of the Bay Area and the fireworks in the sky.

3. West Bluffs Picnic Center

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1199 E Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129

This Crissy Field picnic area is great for large groups who want to make a day of it. There are picnic tables and a large lawn to sprawl out on for the show. From here the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and Angel Island is breathtaking.

4. California Hornblower

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If you want to get dolled up and not have to worry about scoring a comfortable seat, we suggest checking out Hornblower's Fourth of July cruise on the San Francisco Belle. For $191 per adult (plus tax, service charge, and landing fee), you get a three-and-a-half-hour cruise, a dinner buffet, a hosted wine and beer bar (cash bar for cocktails), live DJ entertainment, and an up-close and awesome view of the fireworks show.

5. Twin Peaks Summit

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100 Christmas Tree Point Rd
San Francisco, CA
(415) 831-6331
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If you're looking to get your romance on, drive up to the top of Twin Peaks. Bring a blanket. The location will provide (Karl permitting) views of not just San Francisco's fireworks, but also Berkeley's and Sausalito's bombastic fiery displays.

6. Shoreline Park

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This small patch of grass in Tiburon will provide choice views of the fireworks. Grab a blanket and a cooler, and head over early—this particular spot fills up fast.

7. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

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Beach St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 447-5000
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Stake out a spot on the grassy area next to the Aquatic Park. Since this is a tourist destination, we suggest showing up early if you want to nab a sweet view.

8. Cavallo Point

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Fort Baker
Sausalito, CA
(415) 339-4700

Spectacular views of the bay and ample parking make this spot, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, ideal for watching the fireworks. Again, be sure to bring blankets in case of chill. Also, flashlights are a good idea for hiking back.

9. Berkeley Marina

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From noon to 10 p.m., the Berkeley Marina throws an all-day event with a giant slide, dragon boat rowing, pony rides, a bounce house, crafts, face painting, and food trucks. Mini-train rides and water bubble balls will also be on hand. At 9:35, fireworks will go off from a barge south of the Berkeley Pier.

10. Coit Tower

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1 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, CA
(415) 362-0808
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If hiking is your thing, we suggest making the trek up to Coit Tower for the fireworks show, as we're sure the parking lot will be filled up well before dusk.

11. Treasure Island

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(415) 274-0660
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If you can stomach some bridge traffic and some powerful night winds, head over to Treasure Island. The island's west side has plenty of lawn for you to cozy up on and watch the fireworks from afar.

Ferries depart from Tiburon and SF. Tickets are $73 for adults and $52 for kids (ages 5-11).

12. Pier 39

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Beach St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 705-5500
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Fisherman's Wharf is the ultimate tourist destination, so if you're one of the few brave locals who are set on the wharf as your place to view the show, we suggest showing up as early as possible to stake out a spot.

13. San Francisco Art Institute

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800 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA

Panoramic views of the bay make SFAI the perfect place to chill out and watch the fireworks this 4th of July. As some of you may know, winds on the roof terrace can be strong, so make sure to layer up.

14. Bernal Heights Park

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10 Bernal Heights Blvd
San Francisco, CA

If you want a low-key outing and don't mind a faraway, zoomed-out view of the action, head on up to Bernal Heights Park. The crowd will be more neighborhoody and chill than anything happening on the waterfront. All the usual advice about blankets and flashlights applies—and be careful picking your way down those narrow paths if you've had a few.

15. USS Hornet

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707 W Hornet Ave
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-8448
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Alameda’s own floating arsenal of Americana has a view of San Francisco like no other from its deck. In fact, the celebration on board begins at 2 p.m. this year and lasts well into the night, making the fireworks a captivating finale to the festivities.

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1. Pier 7

520 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

This isn't the type of spot where you plop down a couple of lawn chairs and crack open a beer, but it will have an amazing view of the fireworks that are set off from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39.

520 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

2. Indian Rock Park

950 Indian Rock Ave, Berkeley, CA

There's a volcanic rock that's approximately 11 million years old in the middle of a residential neighborhood in the Berkeley Hills. When you climb to the top of it, you get an unobstructed view of the Bay Area and the fireworks in the sky.

950 Indian Rock Ave
Berkeley, CA

3. West Bluffs Picnic Center

1199 E Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129

This Crissy Field picnic area is great for large groups who want to make a day of it. There are picnic tables and a large lawn to sprawl out on for the show. From here the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and Angel Island is breathtaking.

1199 E Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129

4. California Hornblower

California

If you want to get dolled up and not have to worry about scoring a comfortable seat, we suggest checking out Hornblower's Fourth of July cruise on the San Francisco Belle. For $191 per adult (plus tax, service charge, and landing fee), you get a three-and-a-half-hour cruise, a dinner buffet, a hosted wine and beer bar (cash bar for cocktails), live DJ entertainment, and an up-close and awesome view of the fireworks show.

5. Twin Peaks Summit

100 Christmas Tree Point Rd, San Francisco, CA

If you're looking to get your romance on, drive up to the top of Twin Peaks. Bring a blanket. The location will provide (Karl permitting) views of not just San Francisco's fireworks, but also Berkeley's and Sausalito's bombastic fiery displays.

100 Christmas Tree Point Rd
San Francisco, CA

6. Shoreline Park

Tiburon, CA

This small patch of grass in Tiburon will provide choice views of the fireworks. Grab a blanket and a cooler, and head over early—this particular spot fills up fast.

7. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Beach St, San Francisco, CA

Stake out a spot on the grassy area next to the Aquatic Park. Since this is a tourist destination, we suggest showing up early if you want to nab a sweet view.

Beach St
San Francisco, CA

8. Cavallo Point

Fort Baker, Sausalito, CA

Spectacular views of the bay and ample parking make this spot, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, ideal for watching the fireworks. Again, be sure to bring blankets in case of chill. Also, flashlights are a good idea for hiking back.

Fort Baker
Sausalito, CA

9. Berkeley Marina

Berkeley, CA

From noon to 10 p.m., the Berkeley Marina throws an all-day event with a giant slide, dragon boat rowing, pony rides, a bounce house, crafts, face painting, and food trucks. Mini-train rides and water bubble balls will also be on hand. At 9:35, fireworks will go off from a barge south of the Berkeley Pier.

10. Coit Tower

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA

If hiking is your thing, we suggest making the trek up to Coit Tower for the fireworks show, as we're sure the parking lot will be filled up well before dusk.

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, CA

11. Treasure Island

San Francisco, CA

If you can stomach some bridge traffic and some powerful night winds, head over to Treasure Island. The island's west side has plenty of lawn for you to cozy up on and watch the fireworks from afar.

Ferries depart from Tiburon and SF. Tickets are $73 for adults and $52 for kids (ages 5-11).

12. Pier 39

Beach St, San Francisco, CA

Fisherman's Wharf is the ultimate tourist destination, so if you're one of the few brave locals who are set on the wharf as your place to view the show, we suggest showing up as early as possible to stake out a spot.

Beach St
San Francisco, CA

13. San Francisco Art Institute

800 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA

Panoramic views of the bay make SFAI the perfect place to chill out and watch the fireworks this 4th of July. As some of you may know, winds on the roof terrace can be strong, so make sure to layer up.

800 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA

14. Bernal Heights Park

10 Bernal Heights Blvd, San Francisco, CA

If you want a low-key outing and don't mind a faraway, zoomed-out view of the action, head on up to Bernal Heights Park. The crowd will be more neighborhoody and chill than anything happening on the waterfront. All the usual advice about blankets and flashlights applies—and be careful picking your way down those narrow paths if you've had a few.

10 Bernal Heights Blvd
San Francisco, CA

15. USS Hornet

707 W Hornet Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

Alameda’s own floating arsenal of Americana has a view of San Francisco like no other from its deck. In fact, the celebration on board begins at 2 p.m. this year and lasts well into the night, making the fireworks a captivating finale to the festivities.

707 W Hornet Ave
Alameda, CA 94501