San Francisco Fireworks on New Year’s Eve: Ferry Building

We were able to watch the fireworks show for New Year’s Eve at San Francisco. I’ll share to you tips about where the great views are, where to park your car and where to eat while waiting. There are things you need to consider before going to a crowded city event, and for this post, I’ll be sharing how we managed to get to the fireworks show on time (and also our mistakes).

When using Google Maps or any navigation tool, always, ALWAYS, encode complete addresses. For example, searching for PIER 14 without emphasizing the streets involved gave us wrong results. Pier 14 San Francisco (which is at Mission Street and Embacardero street) is different from 14 Pier (which is at Townsend St. and Embarcadero street, which is also Pier 40, Apple Maps guessed wrong). Navigation tool will try to guess what you’re searching for and might give you the wrong place. Don’t be too dependent on technology, trust your gut too when you sense you’re walking on long-winded route. 😉

The Best View
There are many spots as to where we could watch the fireworks, but knowing that SFO weather can get foggy, we wanted to make sure that we get the closest and clear view as possible, even when there’s fog. Which means we needed to get to the bay area to where the fireworks are going to be launched.

These are the best places to watch:

IMG_1542.JPG Read more about this picture at: http://www.sftourismtips.com/new-years-eve-fireworks-in-san-francisco.html
Another great information for other spots that are away from the bay area: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-places-to-see-new-years-eve-fireworks-around-san-francisco/

Our View
In our case, we picked the first topmost blue star, which is the Ferry Building near Sinbad Restaurant. We took a spot right next to the Ferry Building, south side which is the side nearest to Mission Street and Embarcadero Street. However, you should take a spot near the waterfront, unfortunately for us we were sitting on the sides of the Ferry Building for the comfort of being able to lean on the walls. We could see the fireworks but the view was a bit obstructed by the roof of the ferry building. This is fine if you just want to watch, but if you want to take a video or take long exposure shots, the best place to do this is at the waterfront. Click on this link to view the spot on the map: Dropped Pin near 141 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105 http://goo.gl/maps/W82p3 or 37.794743574709074,-122.39242371171713 http://goo.gl/maps/Mmeaa the links should show the same spot, Google maps just gave me different links.

Here’s a screenshot of the map where I “tried” to point out where we were at and where the best view should be.

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Here’s a picture from our view, you can see the roof of the ferry building.

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Where To Park (24-hours open)
It’s difficult to park near the bay area and certainly difficult to find ones that are open past midnight. We parked our car at the Fifth and Missions Street Parking Garage located at 833 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Click here for the map: SFMTA Fifth & Mission Parking Garage 833 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 http://goo.gl/maps/nJjSq. It’s a paid parking garage of course and it’s open for 24 hours. Here are the rates, just scroll down and look for Fifth and Mission Street Parking Garage: http://www.unionsquareshop.com/parking.html.

Parking Garage to Ferry Building, WALK!
We chose Fifth and Mission Street parking garage because it’s 24 hours open and we’re confident
that our car will be safe. Although it’s long walk (about 20-30 minutes at most) from there to the Ferry Building or to the Embacadero Street generally. Here is our route, simple, just follow Mission street until you intersect with Embarcadero street, just look for Sinbad’s Restaurant, opposite of that is the Ferry Building:

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Food inside Ferry Building and Starbucks Nearby
If you’re hungry or craving for something warm to drink. Head on to Starbucks. If I remember correctly, it is located at a separate building after Port of San Francisco (next building from the Ferry Building). Note at this time, Starbucks will be crowded and most of the people staying inside won’t be giving up their seats until 1 hour before the fireworks start. There are tables and benches outside instead, also public restrooms. Unfortunately, the restroom inside Starbucks needed some fixing while we were there! Boo!

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There are also restaurants inside the Ferry Building. They close at 9PM, so you might want to check this place out before heading to other restaurants. We didn’t know at first so we went on walking until we saw Starbucks or any fastfood chain we see first.

That’s it folks!
So that was what we’ve experienced, it was a challenge, adventurous and rewarding, trying to figure out and analyze all the maps and directions we could find in the Internet. We could have done better but we’ll reserve that for next year 2016. We will probably do some big changes:

Book a hotel reservation near the area.
Reserve a table in a restaurant near the area (if possible.)
Bring snacks while waiting.
Bring a portable chair.
Bring blanket.
Sit. Wait. Take a few selfies.
And celebrate with hundreds of strangers welcoming the new year with a happy heart!

Good luck!

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