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Fleet Week San Francisco

2017 Schedule of Events & Pictures from Previous Years

Fleet Week San Francisco is an annual event that draws thousands of people into the city. It began in 1981 to honor the US Armed Forces and to educate civilians and military personnel about best practices in humanitarian assistance. It's held every year in San Francisco on the first or second weekend in October.

This year, Fleet Week is October 2 - 9, 2017. Most activities and the large air show are over the weekend of October 6 - 8. You will find additional ship tours throughout the week.

The US Navy Blue Angels are set to perform on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 4pm. They will do some practice runs on Thursday also.

Other air show performers include the Navy Leap Frogs, Team Oracle, United Airlines, RCAF, USCG, Lucas Oil Air Shows, Air Force F16, and the Canadian Snowbirds.

Fleet Week in San Francisco

You can also enjoy the Parade of Ships on Friday or head out on a cruise to watch the Blue Angels perform from the water.

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San Francisco Fleet Week 2017 Schedule

Here is the schedule of this year's Fleet Week activities:

Tuesday, October 3

Wednesday, October 4

Thursday, October 5

Friday, October 6

  • 10am - 5pm: Festival Center at Marina Green
  • 11am - 12pm: Parade of Ships
  • 12pm - 4pm: Air Show (Blue Angels: 3pm - 4pm)

Saturday, October 7

  • 9am - 4pm: Ship Tours (find more details below)
  • 10am - 5pm: Festival Center at Marina Green
  • 12pm - 4pm: Air Show (Blue Angels: 3pm - 4pm)

Sunday, October 8

  • 9am - 4pm: Ship Tours (find more details below)
  • 10am - 5pm: Festival Center at Marina Green
  • 12pm - 4pm: Air Show (Blue Angels: 3pm - 4pm)

Monday, October 9

*Schedule of events is subject to change at anytime.

Cruises During Fleet Week San Francisco

Red & White Fleet 2.5-Hour Fleet Week Cruise

  • 2.5-hour afternoon cruise to see the Blue Angels
  • Offered Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Fleet Week
  • Cruise leaves at 1:30pm (please arrive at least 30 minutes before departure)
  • Outdoor decks with incredible views of the performance
  • Enjoy a light appetizer buffet of sandwiches, salads, antipasti, fruit, and dessert
  • Leaves from Pier 43 1/2 in Fisherman's Wharf
  • $80 for Adults (18+), $56 for Youth (5-17)
  • Book tickets

Blue & Gold 2-Hour Cruise

  • Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 4pm (please arrive at least 45 minutes in advance)
  • Includes a buffet lunch with items such as clam chowder, spring salad, spinach dip, sandwiches, desserts, and more
  • Cruise also includes an open house bar with cocktails, house beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Tickets start at $90 for adults and $60 for children
  • Click here to buy your tickets today

Cruise on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien

  • Saturday, October 7 from 10am to 5pm (boards at 9am)
  • Cruise around the bay in the morning and get front row seats for the air show in the afternoon
  • Catch the air show from 12:30pm to 4pm (with the Blue Angels performing from 3pm to 4pm)
  • Complimentary continental breakfast and coffee once you are aboard
  • Yummy hot dog lunch provided by Annie's Hot Dogs (plus It's-It Ice Cream!), though you are also welcome to bring your own lunch
  • Complimentary water, soft drinks, wine, and beer
  • Tickets are $140 for adults (age 17+) and $85 for children (age 5-16)
  • There is also a $330 family group option for up to 2 adults and 2 youth
  • Click here to learn more and book your tickets today

Fleet Week Float

  • Leave from one of three locations: Berkeley, Tiburon, or San Francisco
  • Leaves Berkeley Marina at 11:30am
  • Leaves from Tiburon at 12pm
  • Leaves from SF at 12:30pm
  • 4 to 5 hour cruise depending on departure location
  • Book your tickets here

More Places to Watch the Air Show & the Blue Angels

The northern side of San Francisco along the bay is CROWDED during the air show. If you want to sit down, you will need to arrive at least an hour before the Blue Angels perform.

Most of the Air Show takes place over the bay, around Fort Mason. You can find a place to watch on either side.

blue angels fleet week san francisco

The view of the Blue Angels from the bottom deck at Pier 39.

Here are a few places to watch the Air Show with some additional notes to think about for each option:

  • Pier 39: You will be close to the action, but it gets really crowded here. However, it's a great place to see most of the show. Try to find a spot with a clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Aquatic Park: There is a small stadium here with seats facing out over the bay. You will get a great view of the Fleet Week San Francisco Air Show from here, although the maneuvers over the Golden Gate Bridge will be harder to see.

  • Crissy Field: There will be fewer people on this side, which makes it a nicer viewing area. This is a great place to see the Blue Angels' maneuvers near the bridge. It is a little further away from the main action though, so the trees may block out a little bit of the show.

  • Marina Green: Just to the east of Crissy Field is the Marina Green. This large green space offers a great look at the air show. You can also buy premium tickets for this area so you don't have to fight for a place to watch the fun. Tickets for the premium section are already on sale.

Half-Priced Tour & Event Tickets for this Weekend

Here are a few event and tour tickets for this weekend at up to 50% off on Goldstar.

  • 60-Minute Bay Cruise: Cruises around the bay, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf, several cruises a day, Full price $31, Goldstar price $15.50*

  • Segway by Night, Discover SF's Ghostly Past: Cruise around SF's top districts on a Segway as you hear spooky stories about SF's history, runs nightly through Halloween, Full price $75, Goldstar $37.50*

  • California Sunset Cruise: 2-hour sunset cruise around the SF Bay, includes a light appetizer buffet, offers spectacular views of the city of San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and more, Full price $68, Goldstar $40*

*Small service fee at checkout.

*Small additional fee added at checkout.

Military: Free Admission to the California Academy of Sciences

As part of the Fleet Week celebrations, between October 1 - 9, the California Academy of Sciences is offering free admission to all active, reserve, retired and veteran military personnel. This museum is located in Golden Gate Park on the western side of San Francisco.

To get in for free, please provide them with your military ID or proof of service.

>> More on what you will see at the California Academy of Sciences

More Things to Do this Weekend in San Francisco

These are some of the other fun things to do during Fleet Week San Francisco.

San Francisco Theater

Catch a theater performance during your time in San Francisco. Every year, the Golden Gate and Orpheum Theaters welcome hit Broadway musicals like Hamilton to the stage. In addition, smaller theater companies perform at a variety of venues all over town.

More: Find a full list of theater performances this weekend in San Francisco


Litquake

If you love literature, you will love Litquake. This two-week event focuses on literature and features presentations, panel discussions, and other events. You will find several events during Fleet Week San Francisco.

More: Find more details here


Free Walking Tours

Every day of the week, SF City Guides offers free walking tours in different districts all over town. Learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square, the Palace of Fine Arts, and more.

Details: More details on SF's free walking tours


Concerts in San Francisco

If you love to listen to live music, then you will find plenty of options this weekend in SF. We have venues large and small with everything from well known artists to popular local bands.

Calendar: Click here for a full schedule of concerts this weekend

Hotel Options in San Francisco

Since thousands of people attend Fleet Week each year, I highly recommend booking early.

I also recommend checking out the special deals on TripAdvisor.com. They offer discounts on dozens of hotels throughout San Francisco. You can get a special price on your room, receive free parking, and more. Click here to check out their current offers so you can save on your room today!

Ship Tours: Details on Ships You Can Tour

The tours of the ships are wildly popular. All tours are free and they encourage you to interact with the sailors on board. I recommend showing up well before they open their doors, as it's first come, first served and the lines get long fast.

  • Tuesday, October 3: 10am - 2pm
    • Pier 30/32, USS ESSEX LHD 2

  • Wednesday, October 4: 10am - 2pm
    • Pier 30/32, USS ESSEX LHD 2

  • Thursday, October 5: 10am - 2pm
    • Pier 15/17: HMCS WINNIPEG FFH 338

  • Saturday, October 7: 9am - 4pm
    • Pier15/17: HMCS WINNIPEG FFH 338
    • Pier 35: USCGC MIDGETT WHEC 726
    • Pier 35: USS DEWEY DDG 105
    • Pier 30/32: USS ESSEX LHD 2

  • Sunday, October 8: 9am - 4pm
    • Pier 15/17: HMCS WINNIPEG FFH 338 (9am to 12pm only)
    • Pier 35: USCGC MIDGETT WHEC 726
    • Pier 35: USS DEWEY DDG 105
    • Pier 30/32: USS ESSEX LHD 2

  • Monday, October 9: 9am - 4pm
    • Pier 15/17: HMCS WINNIPEG FFH 338
    • Pier 35: USCGC MIDGETT WHEC 726
    • Pier 35: USS DEWEY DDG 105
    • Pier 30/32: USS ESSEX LHD 2 (9am to 12pm only)

More Pictures and What to Expect in 2017

Below are a few of my photos from previous years for each activity. They will give you an idea of what to expect this year.

Parade of Ships 2017: Friday, October 6 from 11am to 12pm

The Parade of Ships is the official start of the Fleet Week celebrations in San Francisco. All of the ships for the event come in under the Golden Gate Bridge and head to their designated pier in San Francisco. You can tour all of these ships during the three-day celebration.

A couple of years ago, my mom, sister, and I were on Alcatraz Island during the Parade of Ships, which is one of the best places to be for this event. Here are just some of my pictures from that day.

parade of ships for fleet week san francisco

The Parade of Ships is about ready to begin. The boats at the bottom of the picture are all waiting for the parade to start. In the background is the Golden Gate Bridge, which is where all the boats enter the San Francisco Bay for the event.

san francisco fleet week parade of ships

This is one of the first boats coming in for Fleet Week San Francisco. You can see the downtown San Francisco skyline in the background.

fleet week san francisco aircraft carrier

This is one of the largest ships that come into San Francisco for Fleet Week. It's an aircraft carrier and is open for tours all weekend. In the background are the Presidio and the Palace of Fine Arts.

fleet week aircraft carrier in the san francisco bay

This is a second look at the aircraft carrier heading into San Francisco. It's close to Alcatraz Island and making its way to its pier to set up for tours. You can again see downtown San Francisco including the Transamerica building in the background.


Fleet Week Air Show: Friday, Saturday & Sunday

The event that most people come out for is the air show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. There are several performances during the four-hour show.

All three days, the air show finishes with an amazing performance by the Blue Angels. They always start their performance a little after 3pm. Even if you have watched them before, you will never get tired of seeing their performance over the San Francisco Bay.

Here are just a few of my Blue Angel photos from previous Fleet Week San Francisco performances. This is a shot of just four of the six Blue Angels doing a maneuver. This is another shot from Pier 39.

fleet week san francisco blue angels

This is another shot of the Blue Angels, in the distance, performing over the San Francisco Bay. In front is a crowd of people and the sea lions near Pier 39.

blue angels over the san francisco bay

The smoke trailing the Blue Angels as they perform another maneuver.

Single Blue Angles jet over the San Francisco Bay

The Blue Angels get daringly close during their performance. My camera does not have a great zoom, so this shows just how close you will feel from the viewing area!

You can also head out to catch some of the practice sessions on Thursday, October 5 between 12pm and 4pm and on Friday, October 6 between 12:30pm and 4pm. There are fewer people around and they don't perform their entire show. However, it's a great way to catch the action if you are not going to be around on Saturday or Sunday.

Save this year's Fleet Week San Francisco details to your Pinterest board.

Blue Angels at Fleet Week Over Golden Gate Bridge

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