The American tradition of launching fireworks on Independence Day is a festive event on the San Francisco Bay. If we have a Fourth of July when the skies are clear it is especially spectacular, but the ubiquitous San Francisco fog is also enjoyable.
These are photos from the past two Julys: 2018 was clear, 2019 had fog.
Many of the surrounding cities also set off fireworks, like Oakland and Sausalito. Here you can see Sausalito’s fireworks in the background.
San Francisco hosts two synchronized sets of fireworks, one near Pier 39 and the other from a barge in the Bay. With so many steep hills, there are many perches for watching the fireworks, restaurants, rooftops. Pier 39 is a party all day long. No pedestrians on the Golden Gate Bridge, however, after 9:00 p.m.
My favorite is taking a boat cruise on the Bay.
The fireworks begin at dark, approximately 9:30 p.m., so boats start cruising the Bay around sunset.
Whether it’s foggy or clear, it is always cold on the Bay. Locals know to dress in winter clothes. We wear our parkas to watch the explosive extravaganza, without a regret for the days of summery fireworks in shorts and flip-flops.
As the sun inches lower, cruise boats and private vessels move to the center of the Bay and drop anchor; the excitement builds.
Police boats with red and blue lights circle the fireworks barge, to keep others at a safe distance.
The fireworks are always fantastic. State-of-the-art pyrotechnics, firing off in rapid succession.
The water reflects the colors for miles…the rockets’ red glare.
The fog reflects a massive glow.
Whether it’s foggy or sunny, cold or dark, there’s never a bad time cruising on the San Francisco Bay.
Written by Jet Eliot.
Photos by Athena Alexander.