4th of July Event at the Berkeley Marina - CANCELLED FOR 2021 - 510 Families
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4th of July Event at the Berkeley Marina – CANCELLED FOR 2021

{510} Families is pleased to be a media sponsor for the 4th of July at the Berkeley Marina event

On the evening of July 4, there is really only one official fireworks show in the Oakland/Berkeley area, and that’s at the Berkeley Marina. It’s much more than just an evening fireworks show with a 9:30 pm start; it’s an all-day festival with so many kid-friendly activities, you’ll have to pace yourself if you want to last until the fireworks start.

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Fireworks over the Bay, viewed from University Ave in Berkeley | Photo: Sally Mason
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Live music at Berkeley July 4 Festival | Photo: Sally Mason
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Kid Zone at Berkeley July 4 event | Photo: Sally Mason

We’ve got insider tips from event organizer Lisa Bullwinkel, who has put together this massive July Fourth event every year for as long as I’ve been in Berkeley.

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Petting Zoo at 4th of July Festival in Berkeley | photo: Sally Mason

Fun things for kids to do at the July 4 Berkeley festival

The Berkeley Marina has many family-friendly features PLUS all the cool festival activities happening!

Adventure playground
Berkeley’s Adventure Playground
  • Adventure Playground. Ride the zip line at Adventure Playground or use hammers, nails, saws, and paint to contribute to this kid-made playground. Adventure Playground is free and open until 8 PM on July 4.
  • Beach time. Splash in the Bay or build a sand castle. There is a protected beach right near the festival, which is great for kids.
  • Photo booth. Snap pics at the free photo booth where red, white, and blue costumes are waiting for you to take a July 4-themed photo.
  • Boats! Take a free Dragon Boat ride, courtesy of Berkeley Canoe Racing Club, between 12-5 PM, although you might just find that you have to do a bit of the rowing. OK for kids!
  • Kites. Bring your own kite and let it fly over the northern area of the marina in Cesar Chavez Kite Park.
  • Performances. Visit the Food Court Performing Area to enjoy the Merry Mary Show (2 PM and 4 PM) which features comedy, juggling, pantomime, and magic and Frisco Fred (5 pm and 7 PM) when he ends the evening with juggling, magic, and crazy stunts.
  • Animals. Ride a pony, a mini-train, or one of the other carnival-style rides.
  • Bouncers. Hop around inside an inflatable jumping area — or roll around in those bubble balls that sit on water.
  • Lots more! Get your face painted, a henna tattoo, or a balloon animal.
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Dragon Boat rides on the Bay | photo credit Tim Volz

Food and beverages at the Berkeley Fourth of July event

There will be tons of food vendors, including kid favorites like mac ‘n cheese, burritos, corn dogs, and empanadas. Bring your own water bottle and refill it at the free water stations located around the event. Pack a picnic if you like, but note that BBQing will not be permitted and only non-alcoholic beverages will be sold.


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What about the Berkeley fireworks?

The day culminates in the grand fireworks over the water near the end of the Berkeley Pier at 9:35 PM presented by the City of Berkeley. Viewing is best along Frontage Drive south of the Pier or from Hs Lordship’s parking lot. Be sure to get some light-up swag on your way to the viewing area so you, too, can sparkle.

If your family cannot get down to the Frontage Road during the fireworks, find a street where you have a view of the Bay, like the top of Cedar Street, or any rooftop that allows you to see the water. From the Lawrence Hall of Science Parking Lot or other locations in the Berkeley Hills, you’ll be able to see, but the fireworks will be quite small. You can estimate that however large you can see the triangles of the Bay Bridge, the fireworks will be roughly the same size.

Fireworks in Berkeley
Fireworks in Berkeley | Photo Credit: Tim Volz

Advice about getting to the Berkeley Marina July 4th festival or fireworks with kids

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Biking to the Berkeley Marina (recommended)

Decorate your bike and join the fun. Ride over the Berkeley Pedestrian Bridge and onto the newly-paved portion of the East Bay Trail that will take you right into the festival.

FREE VALET BIKE PARKING 12 Noon to 10 PM near Adventure Playground at University Ave.


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Walking to the Berkeley Marina (from North Berkeley or West Berkeley)

It is a mile and three-quarters from North Berkeley BART station to the Berkeley Marina. Or take AC Transit bus 51B from either the North Berkeley or Rockridge BART stations. It is less than a mile from the Fourth Street Shopping Area. Walk in any time of day over the Berkeley Pedestrian Bridge and the East Bay Trail. When the road closes to vehicles, around 6 PM, you may walk in over the University overpass. At 5th Street, you will be able to take a bus. How often do you get to walk over the freeway overpass in a streaming parade of people? Bring a stroller or a wagon for your soon-to-be-tired kiddies and join the fun. Become part of the pedestrian parade!

Driving to the Berkeley Fourth of July Festival

Vehicle parking in the marina is $20 for the day ($50 for large vehicles). Take AC Transit #51B from the
Downtown Berkeley BART station and into the marina until 6 PM only.

The address of the festival entrance is 201 University Avenue, if you are using a rideshare service like Lyft.

Related: Other 4th of July events for East Bay families

Thanks to Another Bullwinkel Show for producing this annual Fourth of July event!

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