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Fourth of July in San Francisco

Best Fireworks, Festivals and Fun Ways to Celebrate Independence Day

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Best places to watch the twin fireworks displays, one of the USA's biggest Fourth of July parades

San Francisco Fireworks Over the Golden Gate Bridge

David Paul Morris/Getty Images
San Francisco is the only city we know of in California that sets off twin 4th of July fireworks displays: They're launched from Aquatic Pier just below Ghirardelli Square and from a barge near Pier 39. Two of the best places to watch are atop parking garages: at the Anchorage shopping center and the Pier 39 garage.

For a vantage point that lets you see fireworks all around the Bay, try Treasure Island. Or go up into the Marin Headlands north of the Golden Gate Bridge for a bird's-eye view, but get there early - we hear that these prime spots fill up hours in advance. You can also see the fireworks while on a dinner cruise - how cool is that?

During the day, head across the Bay to the tiny town of Alameda, which holds one of the country's biggest Fourth of July parades, so big that locals joke that half the town turns out to watch the other half marching past. Get this year's details.

There's nothing more American than baseball. Check if the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland Athletics are playing at home. Independence Day evening games often include a fireworks show, giving you two-for-one entertainment.

If you're from out of town and don't know this, forget everything you've heard about California sunshine. Fouth of July in San Francisco can be foggy and cold, and I've worn as many as four layers to keep warm while watching the fireworks.

If you're looking for something else to do over the holiday, try this guide.

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