This Independence Day, enjoy parades, fireworks, artistic displays, live music and much more on the Peninsula. Palo Alto has brought back its popular chili cook-off after several years' hiatus, while Redwood City is hosting a wide range of festivities, from a pancake breakfast and parade to a chalk art festival. And in Mountain View, the San Francisco Symphony's annual Fourth of July concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre is capped off by fireworks. Here’s your guide to Independence Day 2023:
4th of July Summer Festival and Chili Cook-Off: The City of Palo Alto Recreation Division will once again host the annual 4th of July Summer Festival and Chili Cook-Off at Mitchell Park. Cash prizes will be awarded for best spirit, best decorated booth, best overall chili and people’s choice chili. In addition to the celebrated chili-making competition, the event will feature live music, food trucks and child-friendly games and activities.
July 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive, Palo Alto. 4th of July Summer Festival and Chili Cook-Off.
Los Altos Hills
4th of July Parade: The city of Los Altos Hills will host its 12th annual 4th of July Parade. A new addition to the parade this year will be riders from the Los Altos Hills Horsemen’s Association. The parade concludes with a refreshing beverage and fresh watermelon for all.
July 4, 9:30-11 a.m. at the Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road, Los Altos Hills. 4th of July Parade
Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at Shoreline: The San Francisco Symphony returns for its annual Independence Day celebration at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Featuring a diverse musical repertoire, the concert will include works by John Williams and George Gershwin, as well as a tribute to Aretha Franklin featuring vocalist Capathia Jenkins. The evening of music will culminate in a spectacular fireworks display after dark.
July 4, 8 p.m. at Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View. Tickets are $18-$168.50. Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.
4th of July celebration and parade: The City of Menlo Park hosts a parade in honor of Independence Day down Santa Cruz Avenue for the first time since 2019. The parade will be followed by activities including live music, games and food at the end of the parade route in Fremont Park.
July 4, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Parade participants gather at 10:45 a.m. in the Maloney Street parking lot behind Cheeky Monkey. Parade concludes at Fremont Park, Santa Cruz Avenue and University Drive, Menlo Park. Menlo Park 4th of July.
Ice Cream and Brass Band Celebration: Brassworks Quintet performs standards and patriotic-themed tunes and the dancers of Stanford Quad teach square dancing steps at this event hosted by Ladera Community Church, which also features an ice cream social. Guests are encouraged to bring their favorite ice cream topping to share.
July 2, 6-7 p.m., Ladera Community Church, 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. Brass Band and Ice Cream Celebration.
The Annual Independence Day Parade, Festival and Fireworks: The Peninsula Celebration Association will once again host its annual 4th of July parade in Redwood City this year, hailed as the largest independence day parade in northern California, according to the event’s website. Since 1939, the celebratory procession has marched through Redwood City’s historic downtown. Redwood City-born actress Linda Cardellini will be the grand marshal. A pancake breakfast in support of local firefighters kicks off the day. The Peninsula Celebration Association also hosts a festival with arts and crafts booths, food, drinks and kid-friendly activities at Courthouse Square. End the day with a bang at the Port of Redwood City with a fireworks show.
All events take place on July 4. Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Brewster Avenue and Winslow Street, Redwood City. Pancake breakfast 8-11 a.m. at Fire Station 9, 755 Marshall St., Redwood City. Breakfast is $10. The festival takes place 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. at at the Port of Redwood City, 675 Seaport Blvd., Redwood City. Redwood City Independence Day.
Chalk Full of Fun: Watch local chalk artists create temporary masterpieces in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square on July 3 and 4. Organized by the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation, this annual event promises to delight art connoisseurs and families alike, as participants can sign up for a square to create their own works of art.
July 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and July 4, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Chalk Full of Fun.
An Old-Fashioned Fourth: Take a trip back in time at the San Mateo County History Museum on July 4. The museum’s patriotic programs include workshops in craft-making styles from the 1880s, as well as a film screening of “A Beautiful Place To Live,” highlighting films from the museum's archives that look at life on the Peninsula during the 1930s. Bring the little ones along to create pinwheels and paper parachutes.
July 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with film screening at 1 p.m. at the San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets are $3 for adults, $2 for students and seniors and free for children 5 and under. San Mateo County History Museum.
71st Annual Woodside Junior Rodeo
This local tradition features rodeo events such as barrel racing and pole-bending. Guests can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, vendors and a barbecue. A pre-rodeo dinner takes place the evening before the rodeo.
July 3, 6 p.m. pre-rodeo dinner; tickets are $20-$30; July 4, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. rodeo. Tickets are $10-$15. Both dinner and rodeo take place at Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County, 521 Kings Mountain Road; Woodside Junior Rodeo.
Foster City Fourth of July Celebration: Start off the day with a pancake breakfast at Leo Ryan Park, or with all-day food trucks on Shell Boulevard. For entertainment Andy Z, Fog City Swampers and Township are all performing at the park’s amphitheater. A kids play zone, family and dog parade offer other ways to celebrate. And at night, all ages can enjoy scenic fireworks over the lagoon.
July 4 from 9 a.m.-9:45 p.m. at Leo Ryan Park, 650 Shell Blvd., Foster City. Attendance is free. Foster City Fourth of July Celebration.
South Bay and Coastside
Autism on Tap: Independence Day Edition: The Autism Society of the San Francisco Bay Area hosts a festive gathering with food, drinks and live music for families who have children with autism or special needs at Old Greenwood BBQ at Sunken Gardens Golf Course in Sunnyvale. Appetizers will be provided, but guests can also order full meals.
July 2, 3:30-6:30 p.m. at Sunken Gardens Golf Course, 1010 S. Wolfe Road, Sunnyvale. The event is free but online registration is required. Autism on Tap: Independence Day Edition.
Cupertino Independence Day Celebration: The city of Cupertino offers a packed Independence Day celebration. Savor a pancake breakfast at the Quinlan Community Center, watch a Boy Scout-led flag-raising ceremony at Memorial Park and dance along to tunes at a concert featuring the Arena band. End your celebration with a fireworks display at Hyde Middle School.
July 4, 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Breakfast is at the Quinlan Community Center at 10185 North Stelling Road, flag raising is at Memorial Park, 21251 Stevens Creek Blvd., and fireworks are at Hyde Middle School, 19325 Bollinger Road, all in Cupertino. Breakfast tickets are $13 for adults and $9 for children 12 and under, and the other events are free. Cupertino Independence Day Celebration.
Great America Fourth of July Celebration: Celebrate Independence Day like a daredevil at Great America: ride roller coasters for hours, dine on smoked barbecue meats, esquites street corn and churros at the theme park’s backyard cookout and enjoy fireworks at the Pavilion.
July 4, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at 4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara. Cookout is $24.95 for children 12 and under and $49.95 for adults. Park admission starts at $49.99. Great America Fourth of July Celebration.
Los Gatos Symphony in the Park: Grab food from local food trucks and spend time in the park with friends and family while listening to the San Jose Wind Symphony. Family-friendly activities, including bounce houses and the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and Carousel, also offered during the event.
July 4 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Oak Meadow Park, 233 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos. Attendance is free. 4th of July Symphony in the Park.
Santa Clara Fourth of July All City Picnic: Relax and picnic on the lush green fields of Santa Clara’s Central Park, surrounded by friends, and family. Play carnival games, enjoy live entertainment, swimming, and plenty of food from La Burbuja Taco Truck, Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos and seven other food trucks and stands.
==I July 4 noon-5 p.m. at Central Park, 909 Kiely Blvd., Santa Clara. Kids’ zone is $15, pool is $5 per person. Attendance is free. Santa Clara Fourth of July All City Picnic.
Half Moon Bay Ol’ Fashioned Fourth of July Parade: Start the day on the coast with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. Attendees can gather on Main Street at noon to see floats, classic cars, horses and more march along the parade route. Stick around for the 40-member Sitting Marching Band’s performance and a block party.
July 4 starting at noon on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Attendance is free. Half Moon Bay Ol' Fashioned 4th of July Parade & Block Party.
Pacifica Rocket Run: Start your festivities early with Pacifica’s annual 5-mile Rocket Run race. All ages and abilities are welcome. Medals will be awarded to the top six participants in each division.
July 4. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m. at the Pacifica Community Center, 540 Crespi Drive. The registration fee is $25. Pacifica Rocket Run.