From the extra space on Muni this morning to the empty chair where your boss usually sits, the signs of the annual 4th of July exodus are all over San Francisco.
But whether you're staying local, or heading to the lake, chances are you're going to want to watch stuff explode. Here's how to catch the four best fireworks displays in Northern California, wherever your weekend may take you.
Fancy Fireworks: Pier 39
Every year you bundle up, fill your flask, and head to Marina Green. May we suggest an alternate plan: stake out a space at Coqueta's bar (first come first served) and enjoy the show from within their sheltered waterfront patio. Genius, yes?
Thu, July 4 9:30p. Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf (415-705-5500)
An Old Fashioned Good Time: Berkeley Marina
Little-known fact: girls think carnival rides are cute and romantic. So take her on the Tilt-A-Whirl, treat her to a handmade corn dog (this is, after all, Berkeley), and make your move as the sky explodes over the East Bay.
Thu, July 4 Noon-10p. Fireworks 9:35p.
Plenty of Wining: Sonoma
Pack a picnic dinner to enjoy on what used to be General Vallejo's front lawn before the show begins. Don't forget the red Solo cups!
Thu, July 4 9:30p. 363 3rd St. W., Sonoma
Smoke on the Water: Tahoe City
Commandeer a vessel and tie off at one of 30 complimentary buoys so you can tie one on at the West Shore Cafe's all-day 4th of July deck party. Then head back to your boat to catch Tahoe City's offshore action from the best possible vantage point: right underneath it.
Thu, July 4 9p. Commons Beach, Tahoe City