It doesn’t get much better than celebrating a beautiful country in a beautiful city! San Francisco is a great place to be for America’s birthday with a lot of local attractions and getaways that serve as a fantastic adventure for Independence Day. Come celebrate freedom in ‘Frisco!
Great Spots for Fireworks:
On the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge lies Baker Beach, which is just outside of the Presidio. With the fantastic ocean and Bay views, including that spectacular golden bridge, you will find more of the classic beach atmosphere here. Bring all the typical goods; blankets, towels, sunscreen, Frisbees, lunch, magazines and then relax and soak up the rays!
There are also some great hiking options nearby, grills for BBQs and if you are feeling extra spicy or daring, a clothing optional beach nearby. (Talk about freedom!)
It is quite popular so plan ahead for parking and get there early. There is a parking lot (and portable bathrooms) nearby but those spots go like wildfire so be prepared. This is an especially great option if the sky is clear.
Fort Mason is also a fun, laid back option. There you will find cornhole (aka Tailgate, bean bag toss), picnics, wine (only bring covered in plastic or you will get fined!) and a generally large crowd of friends and dogs all drinking, laughing and eating. It’s a very young environment, but the views are phenomenal and the Safeway across the street makes it a very convenient option to grab and go! If you are looking to have fun in a more party-oriented environment, this is the place for you!
BBQ by Marina Greens:
With one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marina Green is the perfect spot to visit. Not only that, there is a fantastic area for a BBQ complete with picnic tables and an area for games. It is also along a path leading straight to the bridge if you wanted to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
The beach there is very dog and kid friendly and a great spot to watch any boating activity that is going on in the Bay. There is a huge parking lot nearby and the Palace of Fine Arts is in walking distance. Again, plan ahead and go early to claim a good picnic table and parking spot!
4th of July Activities:
The Fillmore Jazz Festival:
The Fillmore Jazz Festival will be going on in the city July 4th and 5th.
Walk along famed Fillmore Street, do some shopping, pop into some restaurants, grab some food and drink at the various vendor’s booths, look at the craft stalls and enjoy some jazz music. It is one of the many wonderful festivals that is happening in the city throughout the summer.
For parking, find street parking in the surrounding neighborhood and be prepared to walk a little. Comfortable shoes are always a must for San Francisco since the rumors are true, the hills can be very steep. (On the bright side, you get a mini workout in all the time!) The festival will happen rain or shine, but odds are with the current drought California is facing, you will most likely be able to leave your umbrella at home.
The famed Pier 39 in San Francisco, surrounded by restaurants, ferry tours and various attractions and shopping has a large celebration on the Fourth of July. It’s very family friendly which is always a wonderful option for those of you out there with kiddos. WJM and Tainted Love are expected to perform this year and a variety of activities will be available to participate in, keeping the kids interested and the parents relaxed. Later that night, you can expect a gorgeous firework display over the Bay with stunning scenery surrounding including a clear view of Alcatraz.
Keep in mind, Pier 39 is an extremely touristy area with major attractions including Ghiradelli Square nearby. My best suggestion is to plan ahead and walk or to take an Uber. Parking can be a bit tricky.
Golden Gate Park Band Performance:
Golden Gate Park Band will be performing at the Spreckels Temple of Music in the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park. The performance will start 1:00 PM and lasts for about an hour and a half to an hour and fifteen minutes.
Golden Gate Park offers a wonderful area for activities and picnics and this band’s performance is the cherry on top of a relaxing day. They will be performing the 4th and the 5th this year.
The San Francisco Bay is breathtaking and a trip out on a boat during a warm day is the best way to celebrate America, and summer itself. There are so many fabulous tours to take. Wine tasting (my personal favorite), an Alcatraz Cruise or a Sunset Cruise are some fantastic options.
Cruises around the Bay are some of the most fun options in the city, but it’s best to be prepared. If sea sickness happens to you often, definitely take some Dramamine. Also, it can get cold or windy, even on warm days so it is always best to bring a coat or scarf. And always wear sunscreen!
Up for a road trip?
If you are visiting the Bay Area for a while and are up for a road trip, a popular getaway during the 4th of July weekend is a trip to Lake Tahoe. A short three and a half hour drive is popular with the locals during this holiday weekend.
Careful of traffic, best to go a couple days before the fourth and leave later to avoid it but either way, it is worth it. Tahoe provides an amazingly fun beach atmosphere along the gorgeous, famous lake and a variety of activities including jet skiing and boating.
Zephyr Cove is where you will find a pretty young atmosphere attracting a beach party scene for the weekend. Also, if clubs or gambling is of interest, just take a quick trot over to Nevada and check out the casinos. (Lake Tahoe is on the Nevada and California border).
And not to worry, you won’t go hungry, there are quite a bit of amazing places to eat and drink with phenomenal views and atmosphere.
The Best Tip!
It is highly suggested that if you are trying to stay in San Francisco during the holiday weekend to rent an Airbnb instead of the typical hotel. However, only look for an apartment to rent with rooftop access. Choose a location either downtown, near Fisherman’s Wharf or most especially, the Marina district. You will be able just take a quick trip to the local grocery stores, set up a picnic and enjoy some breathtaking views of the Bay. Not to mention, at night, there will be an awesome firework display. You really can’t go wrong.
This would be my best recommended, take-it-easy approach that could work for a romantic day for two or, if the roof is big enough, a fun party for a close group of friends. Keep the drinking to a minimum though! Some rooftops in the city do not have sturdy railings. Safety first always!