July 4 Sausalito Fireworks, Picnic & Parade
FIREWORKS WILL START AT ABOUT 9:15 PM
Sausalito’s fireworks headline the best 4th of July event in Marin County. Since the ferries don’t run late (illogically) you can drive or take Golden Gate Transit buses.
Insiders Tip: We have Sausalito parking tips below… and if you’re not a local you’re gonna need ’em!
Sausalito Fireworks, Picnic & Parade 2023
Date: Thursday, July 4, 2024
10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon — 4th of July Town Parade. As in years past, the parade begins at 2nd and Main St. (Old Town, and goes down Bridgeway and then Caledonia all the way to the recently-renovated Dunphy Park. Classic cars, bands and floats with everything from jazz to rock performers will travel down the route. The signups are different every year, but as we’ve watched from balconies, the sidewalk or a restaurant we typically see (in addition to the musicians) Floats, Politicians, Clowns, Acrobats, Flowers, Balloons and Fun. (We leave you to make up your own jokes based on the juxtaposition of words in the prior sentence!)
12:00 Noon – 6:30 PM — 4th of July Picnic in Dunphy Park
A band (name TBD) will perform 12:30-4:30.
Picnic Food and Drink: There will be food booths at the picnic, organized by non-profits like the Sausalito Rotary Club and the Galilee Harbor Community Association. Margaritas, wine, beer, soft drinks, water and snowcones will be available to buy (not to mention T-shirts!).
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM — 4th of July Dinner and Fireworks in Gabrielson Park
FIREWORKS WILL START AT ABOUT 9:15 PM
A band (name TBD) will perform 6:30 – 9:00 PM
Evening Food and Drink Before Fireworks: Last year Moroccan and Mediterranean food was available; we don’t yet have the details for this year. Margaritas, wine, beer, soft drinks, water and popcorn will also be on sale (and, yes, the T-shirts).
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation toward the cost of the Sausalito fireworks, which are 100% funded by donors in the community.
Location: Bridgeway and Caledonia St. (parade) from Old Town to the lawn area at Dunphy Park (picnic) and Gabrielson Park (fireworks). Bring your blankets, low-rise beach chairs, and plenty of sunscreen! Scroll down for music schedule and band links.
To reserve a table for 6 people you can click here for $120 (residents) or $130 (non-residents) call the City at 415-289-4152.
Hubris Corner: We Sausalitans, as small town folks, are proud that many years our Sausalito fireworks shows come off while San Francisco’s are swallowed by Karl the Fog. Just sayin’.
Price: All events other than the tables at the dinner in Gabrielson Park are free to attend — you only pay for food.
Note: The Sausalito Ferry and the Golden Gate Transit and Marin Transit buses will both run on their Holiday schedules on July 4. Bridgeway (our main thoroughfare) will be closed for the parade from 10 AM until after 1:00 PM (from the southern end of town up to Napa St.), and sections of the road may not be cleared and reopened until as late as 4:00 PM.
Questions about this year’s July 4 event: Sausalito Parks and Recreation, 415-289-4126.
Volunteering to Help With Sausalito July 4 Fireworks
Sausalito Parks and Recreation is short on volunteers to help with setup and/or cleanup of the parade, picnic, and fireworks event. Volunteer shifts on Monday, July 4 are:
Picnic setup: 8:00 to 10:00 AM
Parade cleanup: 10:30 AM to Noon
Fireworks setup: 3:00 to 5:00 PM
Picnic cleanup: 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Fireworks cleanup: 9:30 to 11:30 PM
To volunteer, please contact Recreation Supervisor Bryan Vitale at email@example.com. They will be super grateful for whatever you may be able to do.
How and Where to Park and See the Sausalito Fireworks
Step One: Parking in Sausalito
If you’re driving to Sausalito from outside the city for the Fourth of July fireworks be sure to get here at least three hours early. Yes, we really said three hours… and that’s if you’re OK with walking a ways or taking the bus from northern Sausalito. To park normally downtown, plan on spending much of the day here. You can read our Sausalito Parking Guide here.
Every year as the first explosions light up the sky a long line of would-be watchers trails down Bridgeway, with zero chance of parking before the show is over. Please arrive early so you’re not one of them!
Where can you park without coming to town before noon? The office building lots (those where there are no stores or restaurants that need the spaces) in the southern Marinship area near the Bay Model and the northern Marinship area near the Post Office are a popular choice, though please stay away from spots with “Reserved” signs, even on a holiday, to avoid being towed. Golden Gate Transit buses regularly run both ways on Bridgeway from this area to downtown Sausalito, and the walk to downtown Sausalito may take 20 to 40 minutes, depending on where you park and your pace. It’s a nice way to work off some of those extra holiday calories!
Whatever you do, don’t park in restricted residential areas. A lot of parking tickets get written on July 4 in Sausalito when late arrivals panic and park where visitor parking is not permitted, so read posted signs carefully. All of the Sausalito residential neighbors have restricted parking laws for visitors. If you’re in a residential neighborhood and the sign says “residential permit required” it is very likely that you’ll get a ticket for parking there on the 4th of July — read everything on each sign so you know where 2 hour parking is OK and where it’s not.
One year we saw a late-arriving visitor who’d decided to just block the driveway of one of our editors’ neighbors in Old Town…. with the homeowner’s car still in the driveway! Sausalito PD was already there as we walked by after the fireworks, and that must have been an expensive ticket.
Step Two: Watching the Sausalito Fireworks
Gabrielson Park, where the official City events take place.
Sidewalks anywhere with a view of the Bay in Downtown Sausalito and the Bridgeway Promenade. There are some places to stand on the boardwalk in Old Town. We like going to a good restaurant for a leisurely dinner, then walking a few blocks to see the fireworks.
As you go farther north in Sausalito the fireworks views get unpredictable: some places you’ll see them clearly, other places they’ll be hidden behind one of the ridges that separate the valleys of Sausalito.
Most of the same spots that work great for our fireworks also allow you to see the San Francisco fireworks at Fisherman’s Wharf, though many (OK, most) years they are shrouded in fog.
Finally, some folks park in the pay lot in downtown Tiburon (across the Bay from Sausalito), climb up the hill in Belvedere or Tiburon and find spots where they can watch our fireworks from across the Bay. The problem is that the Tiburon lots can also fill up, since the area also draws fans for the San Francisco fireworks that can be seen from the southern .
A subscriber asked us which hotels in Sausalito offer a view of the Sausalito Fireworks. Casa Madrona has a perfect location if you have a Bay-view room, as does the balcony of any room at Inn Above Tide. We believe that some rooms at the Gables Inn and Hotel Sausalito also will have an excellent viewing angle, but there may be trees blocking some or all of the view in some cases. Cavallo Point has no view of the Sausalito Fireworks, but many rooms will be able to see the San Francisco fireworks across the Bay… if Karl the Fog allows!
Yes, it takes a while for the traffic to clear in Sausalito, but it’s far faster than the post-celebration exodus from San Francisco or the post-County-Fair traffic in San Rafael.
Some people try to cut up to Highway 101 via the narrow Spencer Ave., but this usually backfires since that route can back up and be slower than Bridgeway in the north and the Sausalito Lateral through Fort Baker in the south.
We always advise friends to hang out and have a glass of wine (unless you’re the designated driver!) at a good view restaurant after the show, which is way more fun than fighting the traffic.
Parade Route Map
The Google Map below shows the morning parade route from Old Town up to Dunphy Park. I can think of a couple of years when I decided to sleep in very late on July 4 and woke up to the sounds of the parade going by at the base of the hill!
Watching the Fireworks from a Restaurant
Better yet, get a reservation for a late dinner at a restaurant and then take a short walk to watch the Fourth of July Sausalito fireworks spectacular. Our page on Sausalito restaurant rankings will give you some ideas on where to go.