Fourth of July San Francisco

Top Activities & Events for 4th of July 2014

Plan for a crazy Fourth of July in San Francisco again this year. In 2014, this popular holiday lands on a Friday!

Since it falls on a weekend, I expect even more events and people coming to the city to celebrate this special holiday.

On this day, you can enjoy fireworks along the waterfront, activities all day at Pier 39 and a ferry ride around the bay.

Other popular activities this day include theater performances of Once, wine tasting tours and several other fun activities throughout the city. You can also join one of the SF Public Library's free walking tours during the day.

The weekend is also full of fun activities with the annual Fillmore Street Festival, a free concert in Stern Grove Park and Oakland Athletics baseball just across the bay.

fireworks sf bay
Beautiful fireworks over Pier 39 in SF's Fisherman's Wharf

Watch the Fireworks Display

fireworks displayEvery year, San Francisco holds a large fireworks display over the bay. There are two sets of fireworks, synced, to allow you to get a glimpse from all around the area.

One set is near the Marina Green. The other one is closer to Fishermans Wharf.

Your best options to see the fireworks display are along the northern side of the city. Crissy Field, the Marina Green and Aquatic Park are some of my favorite options.

Large parts of the SF waterfront are closed to cars due to crowds for the fireworks display. I recommend heading down early and using public transit to get to and from this area of town for the fireworks display. Visit the Fisherman's Wharf page or the Marina district pages for tips on public transportation to and from the waterfront.

One of the best ways to avoid the crowded buses and street cars after the event is to book your hotel right in Fishermans Wharf. Many are just a few blocks from the waterfront and all of the Fourth of July action. Here you can find a list of my top recommendations from this neighborhood.

The fireworks display starts shortly before 9:30pm (or once it's dark enough to start) and lasts around 30 minutes. I recommend getting to your viewing spot no later than 9pm.

In addition to San Francisco, there are a number of other cities planning large fireworks displays and festivals in the Bay Area. Click these links to find out more: North Bay & Wine Country | South Bay & Peninsula | East Bay

Grab a Seat on a Fireworks Cruise

blue and goldThe best views of the fireworks are from a cruise on the bay. Several local ferry and boat companies offer cruises for fourth of July San Francisco.

The cruises leave the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood about an hour or more before the fireworks start. This gives the boats a chance to get to the perfect viewing point before they start.

Here are the ferries scheduled for 2014. All cruises sell out quickly, so buy yours today!

Blue & Gold Fleet: 3 Cruises

Red and White Fleet: 4 Cruises

  • All depart from SF's Pier 43 1/2 in Fisherman's Wharf
  • Enjoy a complimentary beverage on board (beer, wine or soda)
  • Additional snacks and beverages available for purchase during the cruise
  • Boats #1 and #2 leave at 7:45pm
  • Boats #3 and #4 leave at 8:15pm
  • Boarding starts 30 minutes before departure so arrive early to secure your spot on the cruise
  • No outside food and drink allowed
  • $70 general admission tickets per person
  • Buy tickets for any of these four cruises on the Red and White Fleet

Hornblower's Buffet Dinner Cruise

  • Three and a half hour cruise, boards at 6pm and leaves at 7pm
  • Buffet dinner with cruise style tables, where you can share the fun with 8 to 18 other people
  • Hosted wine and beer bar
  • Cocktails available at the cash bar
  • DJ will spin tracks including a special mix during the fireworks show
  • Full Price: $185.71 | Goldstar Price: $111.42*
  • Buy your tickets today!

Hornblower's Premier Fourth of July Dinner Cruise

  • Four hour cruise, boards at 6:30pm and leaves at 7:00pm
  • Four-course seated meal
  • Premium cocktail bar with Champagne and after dinner liquors
  • Live entertainment
  • Business casual attire recommended
  • Tickets start at $248.50 per person (includes taxes, service charge & landing fees)
  • Buy tickets for this dinner cruise on Hornblower

IndepenDANCE Family Fireworks Cruise: Food & Fun Included

  • Hop aboard The San Francisco Spirit for a night of food and fun
  • Four hour family cruise with amazing views of the fireworks
  • Full seated buffet dinner
  • Open bar for adults
  • Live DJ with music and dancing
  • Open-air deck and a climate controlled interior, so you can choose how you would like to enjoy the show
  • Leaves Pier 3 at 8pm
  • Full Price: $161.50 | Goldstar Price: $80.75*
  • Find tickets on Goldstar today!

*A small additional fee applies

Celebrate the Day on Pier 39

pier 39 san franciscoPier 39 will again host a large fourth of July celebration. All afternoon you can listen to live music and enjoy other family friendly activities.

This is the full schedule for 2014.

Time: 12pm to 11pm

Schedule of Events:

  • 12pm - 3pm: "Mobility" from the USAF Band of the Golden West on the Entrance Plaza Stage
  • 5pm - 8pm: Tainted Love on the Entrance Plaza Stage
  • 9:30pm: Look to the sky as The City of San Francisco presents a spectacular fireworks display over the SF Bay

Learn More: Other Top Activities & Attractions on Pier 39

Enjoy Music & Fun at Aquatic Park

aquatic parkHead down to Aquatic Park to experience Super Huey live along the waterfront. This 7-piece band offers you the chance to step back in time and remember the best of the 80s.

Starting at 6pm, you get the chance to listen to the top hits of the time including "The Power of Love." Get there early to grab your place on the Aquatic Park lawn.

Also, stay all evening for additional fun and to see one of the best fireworks displays in the Bay Area!

Admission is free. You will find the excitement at 499 Jefferson Street!

Other Activities on Fourth of July San Francisco 2014

Every year, there are dozens of other fun events on Fourth of July. Here are some of the activities planned already for Fourth of July San Francisco 2014.

Fourth of July 2-Hour Beer Lunch Cruise

Listen to relaxing live music as you sip on free-flowing beer and champagne on Independence Day. As you cruise around the bay, you can enjoy a variety of dishes from their traditional BBQ buffet lunch. It includes BBQ baby back ribs, sirloin skewers and Southern fried chicken. It also includes a number of side dishes such as corn on the cob, macaroni salad and roasted potatoes as well as some sweet treats.

Tickets: On Sale Now on Goldstar for Up to Half-Off

Free SF Library Walking Tours

The Public Library offers a number of free walking tours each day in San Francisco. So far, many of their Friday tours are still planned for Fourth of July. Here is the schedule so far:

  • 9:30am: Japanese Tea Garden/Stow Lake
  • 10:00am: City Scapes and Public Spaces
  • 10:00am: South of Market Architecture Stroll
  • 11:00am: Hidden Fisherman's Wharf History
  • 1:00pm: Japanese Tea Garden (need to pay admission into the gardens)
  • 1:00pm: Presidio: From Earthquake Refugee to National Park
  • 1:30pm: City Scapes and Public Spaces
  • 1:30pm: Gold Rush City

Click here for details and where to meet for the start of the walk.

Mime Troupe Performances

The SF Mime Troupe kicks off their summer performance this weekend in SF. This crazy group of performers creates their own shows each year that discuss socially relevant topics. It's funny, fun and not your typical silent mime performance.

The Fourth of July show starts at 2pm in Dolores Park. You will find a second show on Saturday, July 5 at 2pm in the same location.

Learn More: Fourth of July Weekend Performance Details

Attractions Open in SF on July 4th

Most SF attractions stay open for their regular hours on Fourth of July. However, a few have extended hours and a couple close.

Click here for a detailed look on the hours for all of SF's top attractions on Fourth of July.

Hotel Recommendations

Are you not sure where to stay in SF? Here are several recommendations based on budget, SF district and amenities.

If you are looking for some great hotel deals, then I recommend checking out this month's specials on TripAdvisor. You can save on the cost of your hotel room, get free parking and more. Click here for a list of current special deals and save today!

Other Activities for Fourth of July Weekend 2014

Since many of these organizations plan far in advance, this list include events for 2014. However, more events will be scheduled in a couple of months and I'll continue to add to this list as details become available.

2-Hour Champagne Cruise

On Saturday or Sunday morning, head out on a morning Champagne and Mimosa cruise. Sit back, relax and enjoy your cocktails as you cruise around the SF Bay. You will pass by popular sights such as the Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz, and Sausalito. You will also raise your glass right at 11am as you cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Find Tickets: Up to Half-Off on

Oakland A's Baseball

Celebrate Independence weekend with the American past time - baseball! The Oakland A's host the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend at the Oakland Coliseum. You can catch a game on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Find Tickets: On Sale Now

Broadway & Theater Performances

You can also catch a theater performance this weekend. One of the most popular shows is Once at The Curran Theater. This fun musical follows the story of a Dublin street musician that needs just one thing for his music - a special woman. This 'adult' themed performance is best for older teenagers and no kids under 5 are allowed.

Find Tickets: On Sale Now

Full Calendar: July 2014 Theater Calendar

Fillmore Jazz Festival

One of my favorite street fairs every year is the Fillmore Jazz Festival. This free, jazz music festival is the largest of its kind on the west coast. It's held in the Pacific Heights neighborhood on Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 6. Head over for some great music, gourmet eats and locally produced arts and crafts.

Learn More: 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival

Other Festivals: 2014 Festivals and Street Fairs

Stern Grove Park

Catch a free performance of the SF Symphony in Stern Grove Park. On Sunday, July 6, head over to Stern Grove for this live event that starts at 2pm. You'll want to get there early to find the perfect seat on the lawn.

Find Directions & More Details: Stern Grove Summer Concert Series

Visit Wine country

You can also take a trip up north for some wine tasting. During this weekend, is offering one-day tours at up to half-off! Napa and Sonoma are beautiful this time of year and it is the perfect way to spend the day!

Find Tickets: Up to Half-Off on Goldstar

Weather in July & What to Wear

What will the weather be like during your visit for Fourth of July San Francisco? Some visitors think it is hot and sunny in San Francisco during the summer. However, the cool ocean breezes and late day fog keeps it nice and cool.

Although it is usually nice and sunny during the day, you will want to bring along a light jacket or sweater for the fireworks display. As the sun sets, the cool breezes bring the temperatures down all around the city. Discover even more tips about what to wear in San Francisco in July.

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