By JASON CAMPBELL
There are fireworks shows, and then there’s the Oakland and Berkeley Hills above the Bay Area on Fourth of July.
Why watch one when you can see four or five all at the same time from a vantage point better suited for a postcard or a desktop screen saver?
While the Bay Area has plenty of beautiful places to see from up high – from the Marin Headlands to Twin Peaks – very few come close to Grizzly Peak in Berkeley on Fourth of July when fireworks shows on the Bay and as far away as San Jose are visible.
Here are a few that are taking place on Independence Day:
*Fisherman’s Wharf – At Aquatic Park at 9:30 p.m. near Ghirardelli Square, you’re likely to catch the most tourist-infested fireworks show in the entire city. But you’ll also be treated to Tainted Love performing the best hits of the 1980’s and 90’s, so that ought to make the crowds a little more bearable.
*Berkeley Marina – This is an all-day festival that starts at noon leading up to the 9:30 p.m. show that features live entertainment, Dragon Boat Races, face-painting and food. If you’re viewing from a vantage point in the hills, this will likely be the point of closest reference, and all of other shows will be backdrops.
*Mountain View – If you’re looking to go out, the San Francisco Symphony will be performing three Star Wars Themes as well as a Summer of Love program at the Shoreline Amphitheater, and the fireworks are set to go off at 9:40 p.m. It’s kind of hard to turn down both Star Wars theme music, even if John Williams isn’t present, and fireworks in the same location.
*San Jose – The city’s annual Rose, White and Blue Parade is always down The Alameda, and daytime activities include live entertainment, an antique car show and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
If you don’t want to limit yourself to just one fireworks show, try and find a place up in the Berkeley Hills that allows you to see multiples. The Lawrence Hall of Science, perched high above the University of California, is a wonderful place to start, and even better vantages can be found on Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Just make sure you arrive early to find a legal parking space – cars blocking driveways will be promptly towed – and give yourself time to settle into one of the best fireworks shows you’re ever likely to see.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.