Fleet Week San Francisco

2015 Schedule of Events & Pictures from Previous Years

Fleet Week San Francisco is an annual event that draws thousands of people into the city. It's held every year in San Francisco on the first or second weekend in October.

The 2015 dates are October 8 - 12, 2015. Most activities and the large air show are over the weekend on Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11. You will also find additional ship tours on Monday, October 12.

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

Pictures and What to Expect in 2015

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

Are you just interested in checking out this year's schedule? If so, click here to jump down to the detailed schedule by day for 2015.

Parade of Ships 2015: Friday Morning at from 10am to 11am

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 the comes into San Francisco for Fleet Week. It's an aircraft carrier and is open for tours all weekend. In the background is 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: Saturday & Sunday

The event that most people come out for is the air show on Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 to 4pm. There are several performances during the three and a half hour show.

Both 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 forget 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.

blue angels fleet week san francisco

This is a shot of just four of the six Blue Angels doing a maneuver. This shot is 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 Angles as they perform another maneuver.

Single Blue Angles jet over the San Francisco Bay

This shows you how close they get during their performance. My camera does not have a great zoom, so this shows just how close they get to the viewing area!

You can also head out for the practice sessions on Thursday, October 8 between 12pm and 5pm and on Friday, October 9 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 around on Saturday and Sunday.

San Francisco Fleet Week 2015 Schedule

Here is the schedule so far for this year's Fleet Week.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

  • 12pm to 5pm: Blue Angels Arrive in SF begin Rehersal

Friday, October 9, 2015

  • 10am to 11am: Parade of Ships
  • 12:30pm to 3pm: Air Show Rehearsal
  • 3pm to 4pm: Full Blue Angels Practice

Saturday, October 10, 2015

  • 10am to 4:30pm: Marina Green Festival & Humanitarian Village
  • 12pm to 1:30pm: Ship Tours (find more details below)
  • 12:30pm to 3pm: Air Show
  • 3pm to 4pm: US Navy Blue Angels
  • 8:30pm: Fireworks Near Pier 39

Sunday, October 11, 2015

  • 10am to 4:30pm: Marina Green Festival & Humanitarian Village
  • 10am to 1:30pm: Ship Tours (find more details below)
  • 12:30pm to 3pm: Air Show
  • 3pm to 4pm: US Navy Blue Angels

Monday, October 12, 2015

  • 10am to 11am: High School Band Challenge
  • 10am to 11am: Ship Tours

Hotel Options in San Francisco

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!

Where 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.

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 manu vers 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 manu vers near the bridge from the Blue Angels. It is a little further away from the main action though, so the trees 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 for 2014.

Another great way to enjoy some of the Fleet Week San Francisco shows is from the water. There are several cruises to choose from both Saturday and Sunday.

Cruises (2014 Details)

Red & White Fleet 2.5 Hour Fleet Week Cruise

  • 2.5-hour afternoon cruise to see the Blue Angels
  • Outdoor decks with incredible views of the performance
  • Enjoy a buffet with sandwiches, salads, antipasti, fruit and dessert
  • Leaves from Pier 43 1/2 at 1:30pm on Saturday and Sunday
  • Tickets start at $68 per person

Cruise on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien

  • Saturday, October 11 from 9am to 5pm
  • Cruise around the bay in the morning with front row seats to the air show i n the afternoon
  • Air show from 12:30pm to 4pm with the Blue Angels performing from 3pm to 4pm
  • Complimentary continental breakfast and coffee once you arrive on board
  • Yummy hot dog lunch provided by Annie's Hot Dogs, you are also welcome to bring your own lunch
  • Water, soft drinks, wine and beer are complementary
  • Tickets start at $150 per person

Blue & Gold 2-Hour Cruise

  • Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 4pm (boarding starts at 1:45pm)
  • Includes a buffet lunch with items such as clam chowder, spring salad, spinach dig, sandwiches, desserts and more.
  • Cruise also includes an open house bar with cocktails, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Tickets start at $80 per person

Ship Tours: Details on Ships You can Tour (2014 Details)

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.

In 2015, the ship tour schedule is very limited. You will want to arrive early and make sure you get your spot. Once we know which ships will be on hand for 2015, I will update this list. However, here are the ships that were available for tours in 2014.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

  • USS Chosin
    • Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser
    • Pier 35 South

  • USCGC Active
    • Coast Guard medium endurance cutter
    • Pier 35 South

  • USS Kidd
    • Fletcher-class destroyer
    • Pier 35 South

  • HMCS Calgary
    • Halifax-class frigate
    • Pier 15/17 

  • HMCSYellowknife
    • Kingston-class coastal defence vessel
    • Pier 19

  • HMCS Brandon
    • Kingston-class coastal defence vessel
    • Pier 19

Sunday, October 12, 2014

  • USS America
    • Kitty Hawk-class supercarrier, aircraft carrier
    • Piers 30-32 

  • USS Chosin
    • Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser
    • Pier 35 South

  • USCGC Active
    • Coast Guard medium endurance cutter
    • Pier 35 South

  • USS Kidd
    • Fletcher-class destroyer
    • Pier 35 South

  • HMCS Calgary
    • Halifax-class frigate
    • Piers 15-17 

  • HMCSYellowknife
    • Kingston-class coastal defence vessel
    • Pier 19

  • HMCS Brandon
    • Kingston-class coastal defence vessel
    • Pier 19

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