By Annie Loewen

Summer has officially begun and the Fourth of July is upon us! If you’re looking to see parades, fireworks, food and music, Caltrain and SamTrans have you covered. Here’s a guide to some of the activities happening around the Bay!

Keep in mind that Caltrain will be operating under a holiday schedule, and SamTrans will be operating on a Sunday schedule.

San Francisco

Fourth at the Wharf: Want to head to the City for a spectacular fireworks show? Head on over to Fisherman’s Wharf, Aquatic Park’s beach, and Ghirardelli Square for live music, street performers, picnicking and even some firework viewing cruises! Festivities begin as early 9:30 a.m., and the fireworks show will start around 9:30 p.m.

If you want to enjoy a drink, avoid traffic, and not have to pay $30 for parking, take Caltrain to the San Francisco Station and connect to Muni’s Route 30 or 47, or the E Embarcadero Light Rail for service to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Caltrain will operate a holiday schedule in addition to extra post-event late night southbound service following the July 4th fireworks show. Post-event trains will make all local weekend stops from San Francisco to San Jose. The last train departs San Francisco station at 12:05 a.m.


Pacifica’s Fourth of July Celebration in the Park – Do you like running? Firstly, good for you if you do, and secondly, consider kicking off your Independence Day with the 2019 Rocket Run at 9 a.m. in Pacifica! The 5-mile race starts in front of the Community Center, and medals are awarded to the top six finishers in each division.  After your run, cool down and make your way over to Frontierland Park for a Family Celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. because you’ve earned it!

Take the SamTrans 110 or 112, which will put you right in front of the Community Center and the Pacific Ocean for a beautiful Fourth of July.

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay Fourth of July Parade & Pancake Breakfast – Can you think of a better way to start your day than pancakes in Half Moon Bay? Join the Half Moon Bay Lions Club in the City Hall Parking Lot for a Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Then at noon, watch the hometown parade march down Main Street featuring floats, community service groups, decked-out bikes, a Color Guard, dogs, youth sports teams and more. Then make your way to the Red, White and Blue Community BBQ in the City Hall Parking Lot from noon to 3 p.m. where they have music, activities for kids and drinks for adults.

Take the SamTrans 112 and get off at the Linda Mar Park ‘n’ Ride, Pacifica stop, then hop on the SamTrans 17 and get off at Main Street & Lewis Foster Drive for a short half-mile walk to City Hall.

Foster City

Foster City Fourth of July Festival – Music, potato sack races, a watermelon eating contest, fireworks, family parade, and a dog show? Independence Day can’t get any better in Foster City – bring your family and your pup over to Leo Ryan Park, where festivities kick off with a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. and end with a bang during the fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

Take Caltrain or SamTrans’ ECR to the Hillsdale Station and to the 251 or 256, which will put you right near the park.

Redwood City

Redwood City’s Fourth of July Parade, Festival & Fireworks – Redwood City is pulling out all the stops for their Fourth of July celebration – pancakes with the Fire Department in the morning, a 5K at 8 a.m., a parade at 10 a.m., a festival, a battle of the bands featuring Stanford Marching Band at 1 p.m. and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. What more could you ask for? Get on over to Broadway and Hamilton Streets for the all-day festivities!

Take Caltrain or the ECR to Redwood City Station or take the SamTrans 276 or 296, and then it’ll be a short walk to the park.

Old-Fashioned Fourth and Ice Cream Making Party – Head over to the San Mateo County History Museum for “An Old-Fashioned Fourth” celebration, where children can make their own vanilla ice cream and do some Independence-Day themed crafts. Admission is half off and the event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Take Caltrain or the ECR to the Redwood City station or take the SamTrans 276 or 296 routes which will get you near the museum.

Menlo Park

Menlo Park’s Fourth of July Parade & Festival – Enjoy a good old fashioned small-town parade in Menlo Park! The parade begins at 11:45 a.m. on Chestnut Street and Santa Cruz Avenue. If you want to participate, deck yourself (and your bike or wagon if you have one) out in red, white and blue and join the procession! From 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. there will be live music, games, food, face painting, a rock wall and more in Burgess Park.

Take Caltrain, the ECR, or the SamTrans 296 to the Menlo Park Station and then you’ll have a short walk to the start of the parade.

Palo Alto

Palo Alto Summer Festival and Chili Cook-Off – Have you ever wanted to be a food critic or one of those judges on the Food Network? Live out your dream and go judge some chili. Purchase your ticket online for $5, which will get you five tastings and a ballot. There will also be food trucks, a kids’ area, music and bounce houses!  Festivities will take place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Mitchell Park.

Take Caltrain to the San Antonio Station and hop on the VTA 35.  So go ahead and live out those Food Network dreams and judge the texture, spice usage and consistency of the chili – we’ll all pretend you know what you’re talking about.

Mountain View

Fourth of July Spectacular with the SF Symphony – Do you like your firework shows set to music? How about live music played by the San Francisco Symphony? Head over to Shoreline Amphitheatre to hear the San Francisco Symphony along with Broadway vocalist Capathia Jenkins and American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis perform some of your pop and film score favorites. If that wasn’t mind-blowing enough, the performance will end with fireworks!

Take Caltrain to the Mountain View Station and take the VTA 35, getting off at California & Rengstorff. From there, take the VTA 40 to Shoreline & Charleston and end your Fourth on a high note.

 San Jose

San Jose Giants Game and Fireworks – Watch America’s favorite pastime on America’s favorite day as the San Jose Giants take on the Visalia Rawhide at Excite Ballpark. Gates open at 5:15 p.m. to the general public and the first 1,000 fans receive patriotic-themed sunglasses. First pitch is at 6:45 p.m. and the fireworks show will follow the game.

Take Caltrain to San Jose Diridon Station, and then take the VTA 64 from San Jose Diridon Station (Bay 8) to San Fernando & 5th, and then take the VTA 73 to Senter and Alma which will drop you off right at the yard. Play ball!

San Jose’s Rose, White and Blue Parade – Come to the Rose Garden area of San Jose and watch classic cars, marching bands, dancers, bagpipers, fire trucks, horses, high wheel cyclists and more march down The Alameda in the Rose, White, and Blue Parade. The 12th annual parade begins at 10 a.m. across the street from Lincoln High School and ends near Shasta Avenue. A festival will be held until 3 p.m. after the parade closes, offering food, music, and shade.

If you want to go to the festival and see the conclusion of the parade, take Caltrain to San Jose Diridon Station walk to the Santa Clara & Cahill stop and take the VTA 22 and hop off at The Alameda & Hester.

With all of these amazing activities going on in the Bay Area, your Fourth of July will definitely be entertaining! Be sure to take public transportation to get you there, and Happy Fourth of July!


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