Bay Area 4th of July activities include fireworks, festivals, and parades. You will find a variety of things to do in San Francisco, Oakland, Marin, and along the Peninsula.
Read on for ideas on the best places to have fun and a list of where you can see fireworks to celebrate America's birthday.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
The biggest Bay Area 4th of July activities are along the northern waterfront in San Francisco. On July 4, you will find a variety of things to do in Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and venues all around the district.
You can listen to live music, enjoy family friendly activities, take a cruise, and save with food and drink specials all day long. The event ends with a large fireworks display over the water. It starts at around 9:30 pm and lasts for about 30 minutes.
The event draws hundreds of thousands of people, so make sure you arrive early for the best spot!
Several cities in the East Bay will host Bay Area 4th of July celebrations. The biggest are in Berkeley, Oakland, and Pleasant Hill.
Antioch: This year's Antioch celebration offers a full day of fun with a parade which starts at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast in the City Hall parking lot. You can also enjoy family fun, live entertainment, a car show, and a parade. The fireworks start at around 9:20 p.m. Most events will be at the riverfront in downtown Antioch.
Concord: This year's events include a 5k run at 8 am followed by a parade at 10 am. The day ends with fireworks at 9 pm.
Danville: This year's annual parade in Danville is from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The route starts at Hartz and Railroad Avenues and ends at San Ramon Valley Blvd. and Sycamore Valley Road. The parade includes over 150 entries, including bands and floats, and attracts more than 40,000 attendees each year. This year's theme is "Celebrating our local Olympians."
El Cerrito: Their annual World~One Festival is on Monday, July 4 from 11 am to 5 pm. It includes food, a classic car show, and entertainment. It's at Cerrito Vista Park.
Fairfield: The annual Independence Day Parade in Fairfield starts at 10 am and travels down Texas Street from Taylor to Union. All activities last until around 12 p.m.
Fremont: You will find both a live parade and porch parade this year in Fremont. The parade theme is "Moving Forward!" The live parade starts at 10 am sharp on Monday, July 4th. It starts near the Fremont Main Library on Paseo Padre Parkway. It ends at Capitol Avenue and Liberty Street. This year's porch parade starts on June 20th and runs through July 4. Residents and businesses will decorate their porches, front yards, and storefronts.
Martinez: This year's Fourth of July celebrations in Martinez will take place on July 4. The annual parade starts at 10 a.m. from Court and Main Streets and makes its way to Alhambra Avenue and Main Street.
Moraga: You will find communities activities throughout the day including a parade, family friendly events, and fireworks.
Orinda: The day starts with a Pancake Breakfast (7:30 am), flag raising (7:55 am), a fun run (8 am), book sale (9 am), a parade (10 am) and music in the park (11:30 am).
Pleasant Hill: The Annual July 4th Celebration in Pleasant Hill includes a firecracker run (7:45 am), downtown parade (9:30 am), party in the park (10:30 am to 1:30 am), and fireworks display (~8:45 pm), and a House Decorating Contest.
Richmond: This city of Richmond celebrates early again this year on July 3rd. Head down to Marina Bay Park from 5 pm to 10 pm to enjoy live blues music, food vendors, and the interactive Fun Zone for kids. Fireworks begin around 9:15 pm with a display that last around 20 minutes.
San Pablo: Fourth of July activities include live entertainment, kids games, and food & drinks. All events start at 4 pm at the El Portal Soccer Field on Moraga Road. Admission is free, but there is a cost for the games and activities. It runs until 8 pm. No fireworks this year.
San Ramon: Celebration kicks off with a morning fun run. The concert features Pride & Joy and runs from 5 pm to 8 pm at the San Ramon Central Park Amphitheater.
The South Bay and Peninsula areas will also have a variety of Bay Area 4th of July activities. You will find the World's Shortest Parade in Aptos, Red, White & Boom in Milpitas, and a Fourth of July celebration with the SF Symphony at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View.
Aptos: They will once again host the "World's Shortest Parade" this Independence Day. It starts at 10 am and ends around 2 pm.
Carmel-By-The-Sea: This year's celebration is a traditional, family-friendly event at Devendorf Park on Ocean Avenue across from Carmel Plaza. From noon to 3:30 pm, enjoy entertainment including the Monterey County Pops!
Cupertino: This all day event includes a parade, a pancake breakfast, and fireworks. The day starts with a pancake breakfast at the Quinlan Community Center (7:30 am to 11 am), children's activities at Memorial Park (9 am to 11:30 am), flag raising at Memorial Park (9:30 am), and a children's parade (10 am). You can also enjoy swimming at Blackberry Farm (10 am to 5 pm), a concert at Memorial Park Amphitheatre (10:30 am to noon), and fireworks at 9:30 pm.
Milpitas: The "Red, White & Boom" celebration in Milpitas is at the Milpitas Sports Center Complex (1325 E. Calaveras Blvd). It includes a pool party during the day (Noon to 3 pm) and a concert with fireworks at night (6 pm to 9 pm). The evening event includes food trucks, a kids area, and other activities. Pre-sale ticket holders can enter at 5 pm and 6 pm for general admission. Fireworks close out the evening.
Morgan Hill: The annual Freedom Fest kicks off at year on July 3 with the popular Family Street Dance, an evening filled with live music and dancing, food and drinks. Everything starts at 6pm and ends around 10pm. The Freedom Festival continues all day on the 4th too. This year's parade starts at 10 am It ends with a concert and fireworks at dark. The Freedom Fest also includes a 5K run and a car cruise. This event started in 1876 and continues to be one of the best in the Bay Area.
Mountain View: The place to be in Mountain View on Thursday, the Fourth of July is the Shoreline Amphitheater. This annual concert by the SF Symphony with an amazing fireworks display is the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day. Doors open at 5 pm with games and events and then the music starts at 8 pm with the fireworks starting shortly after dark. The entire program lasts about two hours.
Pacific Grove: Head to downtown Pacific Grove for their annual Fourth of July celebration. Festivities last from 11 am to 3 pm at Jewell Park and include live entertainment and with food available from local restaurants. They will read the Declaration of Independence which will be followed by the Monterey Peninsula Voices choir. You can then enjoy other entertainment and kids activities.
Palo Alto: This free event is at Mitchell Park from 11 am to 3 pm. You can enjoy live music, food trucks, and entertainment for the kids. Bring along chairs or something to sit on during the festival.
Redwood City: Redwood City will once again host the largest Fourth of July Parade in Northern California. It starts at 10 am in downtown Redwood City on Broadway, Marshall, Main and other downtown streets. This year's festival takes place on the streets near the San Mateo County History Museum from 9 am to 5 pm. You will find food, beverages, arts and crafts, and more. The Battle of the Bands competition starts at 1 pm on Hamilton Street. The day ends with fireworks at 9:30 pm.
San Jose: This year's Rose, White and Blue Parade is begins at 9:45 am, winding through the Rose Garden and ending on the grand avenue known as The Alameda. On The Alameda, you can enjoy a picnic featuring local food and drink, along with live music, an antique and classic car show, and dozens of arts and crafts booths until 3 pm. The fun continues with a fireworks display downtown starting at dark.
Santa Cruz: The only event in Santa Cruz this year is their annual Firecracker Race. It starts at 8 am and is a 5k.
Saratoga: Annual, old fashioned Fourth of July with patriotic music, the Color Guard presenting the flag, and actors in costume as American historical characters. There is a family-friendly parade and a chance to write letters to our troops. Runs from 9:30 am to 11 am.
If you plan to be in the North Bay or Wine Country during this annual holiday, you will also find plenty of things to do. You will find a full day of activities in American Canyon, the Napa County Fair and Fireworks event in Calistoga, and the Marin County Fair in San Rafael.
American Canyon: Enjoy a parade, concert in the park, and fireworks. Runs from 3 pm to 10 pm at Community Park 2 at 20 Benton Way.
Calistoga: This year's event will run throughout the weekend. On Saturday, you can stroll through the shops and neighborhoods and enjoy the Annual Patriotic Décor. On Sunday, there is a corn-hole tournament, carinal games, food, drink, and entertainment. On Monday, the annual parade returns. It starts at 11 am.
Corte Madera: This year's parade and festival is themed "We're Back." The parade starts at 10:30 am. You will find other festivities from 9 am to 5 pm at the Corte Madera Town Park.
Healdsburg: This year's Annual July 4th Community Celebration, Kids' Parade and Duck Dash will be in Healdsburg historic town square. Activities start at 10:00 am with face painting, free food/drinks, a foot race around the plaza and the annual parade that starts at 11 am. Events wrap up around 1:00 p.m.
Novato: The Novato Fourth of July Parade is in the Old Town District on Grant Avenue between Reichert and 7th Avenue, and has over 100 entries making it one of the largest in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Rohnert Park: This year's festivities at Rohnert Park's Weill Hall and Lawn begin with a kids zone starting at 4:30 pm, complete with carnival games, bounce houses, food, music, and more. Then, at 7:30 pm, the Santa Rosa Symphony takes the stage along with the Transcendence Theatre Company. It ends with a fireworks spectacular.
San Rafael: One of the largest North Bay Celebrations is in San Rafael at the Marin County Fair. From June 30 - July 4, catch live music and fireworks each night at 9:30 p.m. and more than 35 hands-on games for the entire family during the day.
Sonoma: Sonoma's Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade and Celebration includes festivities at the plaza, including food, games, and informational booths from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual parade starts at 10 a.m. at 1st Street East and Spain Street.