7 fun ways to watch Bay Area fireworks this Fourth of July

Sure, you can ooh and ahh over Fourth of July fireworks from a blanket set out on the lawn at your local park or civic center. But what if you’d like a different vantage point this year? Check out these options for Bay Area viewing locations. (And find our big roundup of fireworks, festivals and parades at www.mercurynews.com/entertainment.)

From the ballpark: Not only are stadium fireworks shows terrific, but they also give you a patriotic dose of America’s National Pastime before the star-spangled salute. The Oakland A’s will shoot off fireworks one night early, Wednesday, July 3, after their 6:07 p.m. game against the Minnesota Twins. In the South Bay, the San Jose Giants will hold their annual fireworks show on the Fourth itself, after their 6:45 p.m. game with the Visalia Rawhide. Tickets: www.mlb.com/athletics; www.milb.com/san-jose/.

From the bay: The three big outfits that take tourists and locals cruising on San Francisco Bay year-round — Blue & Gold Fleet, Hornblower Cruises and Red and White Fleet Cruises — offer specialty trips for viewing the city’s fireworks. Hornblower offers a dinner buffet and a DJ, and the Blue & Gold cruises to Angel Island for the viewing. Bonus: If fog interferes with the show, you’ll still have a nice voyage. Advance bookings are crucial; check the websites, www.blueandgoldfleet.com, www.hornblower.com and www.redandwhite.com. (Note: The historic USS Potomac’s sailing out of Oakland is already sold out.)

While screaming upside-down: How do the pyrotechnics look when you’re riding the stomach-churning RailBlazer, with its coils, loops and — gulp — 90-degree drop? The July 4 fireworks view from this roller coaster at Great America in Santa Clara could be the wildest one around. Details: www.cagreatamerica.com

With a symphony: How about a full orchestral experience to cap off the patriotic day? The annual holiday gigs by the Oakland and San Francisco symphonies provide an Americana soundtrack as the fireworks explode overhead. On July 3, the Oakland Symphony’s 8 p.m. Independence Eve concert (free) will feature rousing Sousa marches, plus jazz classics and movie themes at the Richmond waterfront. Free; details on www.oaklandsymphony.org. On the Fourth, at Shoreline in Mountain View, the San Francisco Symphony will perform a tribute to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing (“Rocket Man,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and more) along with patriotic selections. Tickets at www.sfsymphony.org.

While rowing a kayak: Shoreline Lake, a hidden gem in Silicon Valley, will offer Independence Day celebrants the chance to watch the nearby Shoreline Amphitheatre fireworks from a rowboat, canoe, kayak or pedal boat. It’s the only day of the year that watercraft are allowed on the lake after sunset. The folks at the Mountain View lake’s cafe will even pack a picnic basket for you. Rental reservations are a must; call 650-965-7474 or check www.shorelinelake.com.

From the deck of a Liberty Ship: The SS Jeremiah O’Brien, moored at San Francisco’s Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf, morphs from a living history museum to a fireworks viewing party on the Fourth of July. Gates open at 8 p.m. for the 9:30 show. Tickets include hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks. Find family, adult and youth admission prices at www.ssjeremiahobrien.org.

On the 3rd of July (or the 5th or the 6th): If you really want to beat the Fourth crowds, don’t go on the Fourth. Catch one of the many fireworks shows scheduled on the nights before or after. As noted above, every year the city of Richmond celebrates on July 3. In Vallejo, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will go all out and set off fireworks on four nights, July 3-6, with the pyrotechnics choreographed to a patriotic soundtrack. And Santa Clara’s Great America will have fireworks on the Fifth of July too. Details: www.sixflags.com/discoverykingdom; www.cagreatamerica.com