You’ll have to battle bridge traffic, but if you want a great view of the fireworks with less intense crowds than at Fisherman’s Wharf, Treasure Island is a great option. The official spot to watch is the Great Lawn, but anywhere along the south side will be good. Get there early and check out some of the wine tasting rooms or grab a drink and some food at Mersea. It is closing at 9pm right before the show, but is going to have live music all day, plus its usual tasty food, putting green, bocce ball, and amazing views.
The parking is going to be gone in two seconds at Coit Tower, so you’ll likely need to hike up the scenic Filbert Street stairs to get there, but the panoramic views are worth the huffing and puffing. The spot to sit is on the retaining wall, but you’ll absolutely need to get there early to snag one.
Heading to Angel Island is probably the best way to watch the fireworks, but it’s definitely a big commitment simply because you have to travel by land and sea -- and the entire experience is about six hours. You’ll take a round-trip ferry ($73) from either Tiburon or Pier 41/39 and then a round-trip shuttle to Battery Ledyard for the fireworks. There will also be a live band at the Cove Café from 6 to 8pm and you can buy a box dinner with fried chicken, potato salad, a biscuit, and a brownie for another $20. The good news is that if you leave from SF, by the time you get back to Pier 39 (11:15pm or so), the crowds will have dispersed.
Ghirardelli Square is exactly in between the two places where the fireworks are set off, which makes it a great location to watch the show and avoid the crazy crowds by the water. We’re not saying it won’t be a little crowded, but you should be able to show up right before the show starts and get a good position. SF Brewing Co. has an outdoor beer garden with a full bar and fire pits, but it’s first-come, first-served, so you’ll probably have to get there pretty early and set up camp. No matter what, sine you’re there, you should definitely get a Ghirardelli ice cream sundae. (Pro tip: The line at the Marketplace is always shorter than the one at the Original shop).