It’s the 4th of July weekend so along with the bevy of brilliant fireworks displays (and yes, that could mean colored fog) there’s a whole bunch of awesome activities for the whole family. From outdoor opera to old fashioned parades to a trip to a goat farm we’ve got the best ways to celebrate the weekend with your little sparks.

babyfloat_daniellehampton_kiddieparade_fourthofjuly_national_redtricyclePhoto credit: Danielle Hampton

San Francisco

Opera in the Ballpark: The Marriage of Figaro
Head to the home of the Giants for a simulcast of the Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro by the SF Opera. Sit right on the field or choose a stadium seat. If you register you can arrive for early entry at 6 p.m. General entry begins at 6:30. Pack your picnic dinner and bring a blanket. Just keep in mind the opera begins at 7:30 p.m. and is over 3 hours long, so you might want to pack PJs for the little ones! Fri., 7:30 p.m. South Beach. Free. All ages. Event details.

4th of July at Pier 39
One of the Bay’s best spots for fireworks, Pier 39, starts the party at noon with a concert from the WJM, the world’s youngest band with a social cause and continues on throughout the day including a performance by Tainted Love at 5 p.m. and the big boom at 9:30 p.m. Sat., noon-10 p.m. Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39. Free. All ages. Event details.

4th of July Beer Lunch Cruise
Hornblower Cruises & Events is featuring a special 4th cruise perfect for family and friends to celebrate the day San Francisco-style. An All-American lunch buffet with BBQ, champagne, and beer is yours to enjoy while you pass the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, and Angel Islands, and take in the scenic SF skyline. Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Embarcadero. $75/adult; $45/child 4-12; children 3 and under are free. All ages. Event details.

Stern Grove Festival
The series continues this Sunday with Randy Newman and Hot Club of San Francisco.Pack up a picnic lunch and head out to the grove early to score your spot and head over to the Kidstage area from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. for nature crafts, instrument exploration station, and a dance workshop. Concerts begin at 2 p.m. Sun., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Stern Grove. Free. All ages. Event details.

East Bay

Jack London Square 4th of July Family Fest
Join an Uncle Sam stilt walker, jugglers, magicians, hula hoopers, clowns and puppeteers at Jack London Square for the 4th. Enjoy a petting zoo, interactive river environments of Riveropolis, sidewalk chart art, a mobile craft workshop, an airstream photo booth, food, drink, and more! Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Jack London Square. Free. All ages. Event details.

Oakland East Bay Symphony’s Independence Eve Celebration
An evening of entertainment, food, and fireworks awaits you at the historic Ford Point Building in Richmond. The Oakland East Bay Symphony will perform a line up of patriotic tunes as well as some hits the kids will love: music from The Sound of Music and Frozen is in their repertoire. Galavant about the 25 waterfront acres, check out the amazing view from the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows or kick it on the 20,000 sq. ft patio. The fireworks end the show! Fri., 7-10 p.m. Richmond. Free. All ages. Event details.

4th of July at the Berkeley Marina
The line-up at the Berkeley Marina’s July 4th fete has it all: pony rides, giant slides, water bubble ball rides, carousels, face painting, and of course, access to the only playground around where the kids can use hammers, nails, saws and paint to transform the place any way they want (the whimsical Adventure Playground is open until 8 p.m.). Moms and dads can have a few wishes of their own granted and sneak in a quickie massage while the little ones are being tossed around on the Tilt-a-Whirl. This event also boasts its very own fireworks display at 9:35 p.m., so it’s a 4th of July one-stop shop. Sat., noon-10 p.m. Berkeley. Free. All ages. Event details.


4th of July at Harley Goat Farms
Get your city kids out of town for a day and head to Pescadero’s Harley Farms Goat Dairy for a two-hour farm tour and lunch for the whole family. Get to know the resident baby goats at this beautiful seaside farm, enjoy a delicious meal and be home in time for the fireworks. Book now, as space is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance. Sat., 10 a.m. or noon. Pescadero. $55/adult; $25/child 3-12; children 2 and under are free. All ages. Event details.

34th Annual Chili Cook-Off
Celebrate 4th of July with family and friends at the 34th Annual Chili Cook-Off. Teams recruited from restaurants, local business, community groups as well as police and fire departments battle for the Best Chili Award! Live music, kids activities and a variety of great food make for a wonderful 4th of July celebration. Activities start at noon, tastings at 1:30 p.m. Sat., noon-5 p.m. Palo Alto. Free. All ages. Event details.

South Bay

Red, White and Blue Parade
Enjoy an old fashioned family-style parade as it winds through the Rose Garden neighborhood ending on the grand avenue of the The Alameda. This homespun parade features live bands, dance groups, homemade floats, kids on bikes, antique cars, and more. Following the parade attendees can enjoy a picnic featuring food and drink from local restaurants under the shade of the trees on The Alameda. Sat., 10 a.m. San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

San Jose Giants Fireworks Game
The San Jose Giants, our local minor league baseball team, is an awesome and affordable way to take the kids out to the ballgame. Watch them take on the Visalia Rawhide and enjoy lots of awesome kid’s activities around the ballpark, plus a fireworks display after the game. Sat., 6:30 p.m. San Jose. $12-$30. All ages. Event details.

Saratoga’s Independence Day Party
Beautiful downtown Saratoga shows its red, white, and blue colors at this old-fashioned 4th of July celebration. Dress in your patriotic best and head down to spend the morning checking out artwork, live music, a parade, a patriotic song sing-along and much more at this community event. All kids get free popsicles and mini-American flags! Sat., 9:30-11 a.m. Saratoga. Free. All ages. Event details.

Rotary Club Centennial Fireworks
Head to Discovery Meadow in downtown San Jose to celebrate our nation’s independence! The fireworks show will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m., after dusk. Home of the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, you can spend the day there before the fireworks. Sat., 9:30 p.m. San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

Marin County

Creekside Fridays at the Cabin
Head down to The Cabin and take part in the 10th year of the Musical Festival by the Creek to enjoy a jumpee, face painting, other crafts and games, food and drink, and a different band each week. This Friday: Mojo Rising. Fri., 5:30 p.m. Mill Valley. Free. All ages. Event details.

8th Annual Firecracker Race
Start off Independence Day with a bang! The Firecracker 4-miler runs through the heart of revitalized downtown Novato and then traverses the back side of the city over hills and dales. There is also the Mayors One Mile if that’s more your style. Sat., 8-11 a.m. Novato. $25-$40. All ages. Event details.

Sausalito 4th of July Celebrations
Join the parade through town at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Second and Main Street. Then at noon, there will be live music along with food, dancing, family games, tug-of-war and famous traditional egg toss. At 6:30, head to Gabrielson Park for more music and the fireworks. If you’re feeling fancy you can splurge on a reserved table ($120-$130, seats 6) to watch the display from. Sat., 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sausalito. Free. All ages. Event details.

Marin County Fair
You’ll be happy to hear that the price of admission includes 28 free carnival rides along with all the concerts, exhibits, puppet theater, the Rawhide Express Train, a STEAM carnival and nightly fireworks. This year performers include Judy Collins and Aaron Neville, so you can really show your kids what it was like in the days before internet. Fri., Sat., & Sun., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. San Rafael. $20/adults; $15/child 4-12; children 3 and under are free. All ages. Event details.

Visit us on Instagram and let us know how you #rockedtheweekend. 

–Amber Guetebier