Who doesn’t like to bring in the New Year with a bang? Lots of cities set off fireworks for the New Year, but it’s really something special in a city as iconic as San Francisco. Fireworks that light up the silhouette of the Bay Bridge are an unforgettable sight, from any vantage point. Here are some suggestions for the very best places to watch the show.
291 Ave. of the Palms
San Francisco, CA 94130
Treasure Island, located in the middle of the Bay, halfway across the Bay Bridge, boasts one of the most stunning views of the city imaginable and is an ideal place to view the New Year’s fireworks. The island was built by engineers for the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition and was subsequently used as a navy base. Today, it is home to a few lucky renters living in the old navy barracks, and is slated for development. In the meantime, it is the home for some of San Francisco’s most elegant parties, including the famous Treasure Island Music Festival and New Year’s By The Bay. There is no better place from which to view the fireworks. Joining the party is a big ticket item ($225), but this could be a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, featuring multiple restaurants and bands and an after party that continues until 5 a.m.
Pier 43 1/2 at Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Another relatively high-ticket choice is a cruise around San Francisco Bay, including close views of major landmarks such as Alcatraz Island and The Golden Gate Bridge. Several companies offer such tours, but The Royal Prince is exceptional in being family focused and relatively inexpensive. If you have family visiting for the holidays, and wish to include teenagers and children, this would be a memorable occasion. The ticket price includes a full bar for the adults and a buffet dinner for all.
Related: Best Rooftop Bars In The Bay Area
The Embarcadero and Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Just off Pier 14 is where the fireworks will be set off. The best non-ticketed viewing places are in the immediate vicinity along both sides of the Embarcadero between Mission and Howard Streets. This area will be family friendly with a no-alcohol policy strictly enforced. While waiting for the fireworks, you can visit many excellent restaurants and tourist attractions. The website listed above is the official local government source for city-sponsored events and tourist information.
Twin Peaks Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94114
If you want to avoid the crowds, consider driving up to the park originally known as “Los Pechos de la Choca” (Breasts of the Maiden) but now, less salaciously, referred to as Twin Peaks. The second most elevated point in San Francisco, this locale offers a spectacular view of the city and the bay. The fireworks from here will be distant, but colorful. If it’s just the two of you, wanting to enjoy a romantic moment in your car, this would be a fine place to smooch and celebrate.
Moraga St. and 14th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122
Some locals swear that the view from Turtle Hill (another name for Grandview Park) is superior to that from Twin Peaks, and this locale is likely to be even less crowded. If you have out-o- town guests on New Year’s Eve, you can impress them with your knowledge of local secrets by taking them to this special spot in the Sunset District. Pack a picnic, dress warmly and enjoy!
Charles Kruger is well known in the Bay area as “The Storming Bohemian” ever since he entered the Bay Area cultural scene in the summer of 2009, attending 90 cultural events in 90 days and blogging about it. This project was successful enough to warrant a mention in The New York Times. His coverage of Bay area theatre can be found at Examiner.com.