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New Year’s Eve fireworks in San Francisco: Best places to watch

Fireworks illuminate the sky during the New Year celebrations in San Francisco, CA, USA on January 01, 2018. | Getty Images
Fireworks illuminate the sky during San Francisco's New Year in 2018. | Source: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Although San Francisco doesn't have a New Year's Eve ball drop, one of the city's long-standing New Year's traditions is the fireworks show along the waterfront.

San Franciscans and those in parts of the East and North Bay will be able to catch the 15-minute spectacle when the clock strikes midnight on the West Coast.

According to the National Weather Service, the Bay Area should get a break Sunday from rain, though clouds are in the forecast, which may affect the visibility of fireworks.

Here's where spectators can catch the best views of the extravaganza.

San Francisco

The fireworks are shot off from barges in the San Francisco Bay south of the Ferry Building near Pier 14, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. For the best up-close views of the event, the Port of San Francisco recommends visitors watch the show in the Embarcadero area around the Ferry Building and along the promenade.

The fireworks are set to go off at exactly midnight, so spectators are encouraged to arrive in the area before 11:30 p.m. in order to get a good spot for viewing.

The pyrotechnics are often accompanied by music played on speakers set up along the promenade from Pier 14 to near the Bay Bridge.

Outside of the Embarcadero area, those hoping to get a more aerial view of the fireworks should head to Twin Peaks or Telegraph Hill.

Those going to Twin Peaks can get really good views around Coit Tower, but parking can be scarce, so be prepared.

In the Telegraph Hill neighborhood, Alta Street, just off of Montgomery, and the end of Calhoun Terrace near Union Street can both showcase epic views of the event with the East Bay as a backdrop.

The mostly residential stretch can get packed quickly, so getting there a few hours before midnight to guarantee a spot is recommended.

East Bay

East Bay residents who are hoping to catch a glimpse of the display have a few options ranging from marinas to beaches along the edge of the bay.

Crown Beach in Alameda can often provide a nice free view of Downtown San Francisco and the Embarcadero. Those hoping for a more classy affair can buy tickets to board the USS Hornet for the annual New Year's Eve Gala, where the fireworks can be seen from the ship's deck.

Other shoreline locations in the East Bay include Emeryville's Marina Park, the Berkeley Marina and Point Isabel in Richmond. Each space provides unique vantage points of Downtown San Francisco.

If the clouds lift, the Oakland Hills and Berkeley's Grizzly Peak are also great options for those looking to take in the fireworks with a view of the San Francisco skyline.

North Bay

If you find yourself in the North Bay, don't fret. You can also take in San Francisco's fireworks show in a few places on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

For those looking to explore nature while also catching the fireworks, the Marin Headlands has the Golden Gate View Point, where spectators can view the glow from the illuminations rising just above the bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

The Sausalito Boardwalk, which sits just south of Downtown Sausalito, provides various bar and restaurant options, like Barrel House Tavern and Scoma's Restaurant, for those looking to have a drink or indulge in seafood.

Tiburon's Shoreline Park also boasts some beautiful waterfront views of San Francisco from the park's shoreline path.