Fleet Week San Francisco

2014 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 2014 dates are October 9 - 13, 2014. Most activities and the large air show are over the weekend on Saturday, October 11 and Sunday, October 12. They will also do some additional ship tours on the final day, Monday, October 13.

With the air show cancelled in 2013, this turned into a small, emergency rescue event. However, everything is back on track for 2014. This year, you can expect the large air show, ship tours and more.

Previous Year's Events and What to Expect in 2014

Most of the details for 2014 are confirmed. However, they are still working on the details for the Parade of Ships.

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 2014.

Parade of Ships: Friday Morning at 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!

San Francisco Fleet Week 2014 Schedule

Here is the detailed schedule so far for 2014:

Thursday, October 9, 2014:

  • 12pm to 2pm: Blue Angels Circle & Arrival
  • 3pm to 5pm: Full Blue Angel Practice

Friday, October 10, 2014:

  • 8am: Softball tournament at Moscone Field
  • 11am: Parade of Ships
  • 11am: Powell Street Band Concert
  • 12:30pm to 3pm: Air Show Rehearsal
  • 3pm to 4pm: Full Blue Angels Practice

Saturday, October 11, 2014:

  • 11am: Pier 39 Concerts
  • 12:30pm to 3pm: Air Show
  • 1pm: Chestnut Street Band Concert
  • 3pm to 4pm: US Navy Blue Angels
  • TBD: Ship Tours

Sunday, October 12, 2014

  • 10am: Italian Heritage Parade
  • 12:30pm to 3pm: Air Show
  • 3pm to 4pm: US Navy Blue Angels
  • TBD: Ship Tours

Monday, October 13, 2014

  • TBD: Ship Tours
  • TBD: Band Challenge

Hotel Options in San Francisco

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. Click here to learn more.

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.


Red & White Fleet 2.5 Hour Fleet Week Cruise

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
  • Buy your tickets today!

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
  • Buy your tickets online today!

Ship Tours: Saturday, Sunday & Monday

The tours of the ships are wildly popular. There are usually around four or five ships that you can tour on these three days.

The tours are all free, which means the lines get really, really long. I recommend picking one ship a day to tour and head over as early as you can each morning. This will put you near the front of the line and you won't have to wait for hours for your tour.

Additional Fleet Week Celebrations Along the Bay

Here are a few other things to check out during the 2014 Fleet Week celebrations.

Pier 39

Stop by Pier 39 as they join in on the Fleet Week celebrations. Here you can listen to live military band performances, enjoy their interactive exhibits, and see military vehicles and displays.

The festivities on Pier 39 are on both Saturday, October 11 and Sunday, October 12. Stop by between 12 pm to 7 pm both days!

Ghirardelli Square

On Saturday and Sunday, Ghirardelli Square will also have several Fleet Week events. Here is their detailed list of events for both days from 2012. I will update these once they release their schedule for 2014:

Saturday, October 6

  • 11:30am-1:30pm: Travis Air Force Base Jazz Band
  • 1pm-3pm: Rubber Ducky Capture - Mermaid Fountain
  • 4pm-8pm: Alta Rockers

Sunday, October 7

  • 11:30am-1:30pm:59th Army Jazz Band
  • 1pm-3pm: Rubber Ducky Capture - Mermaid Fountain
  • 1pm-5pm: Sunny Moon Face Painting - Center Fountain
  • 4pm-7pm: Drew James

Many shops and restaurants in Ghirardelli Square also have special discounts all weekend long!

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