Memorial Day is a great time to visit San Francisco. Many events are planned throughout the weekend including one of the largest events at the National Cemetery in the Presidio.
This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 30.
Here you will discover a list of the top events and other things to do during Memorial Day Weekend in San Francisco for 2016.
One of the largest events on Memorial Day in San Francisco is held in the Presidio. Starting at 10:30am on Memorial Day, military members, family and friends will honor those who died for our country. The event is held in the National Cemetery and will last until around 1:30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Learn More: Details for this year's event
In addition to the National Cemetery, San Francisco is home to a number of other military attractions. These include two World War II vessels that are now floating museums and the Fort Point National Historic Site. Click the link below to discover additional details on these and what to expect during your visit.
Learn More: Top military history spots in San Francisco
One of the best ways to relax this weekend is on a two-hour sunset cruise around the bay. This fun cruise offers you the chance to unwind as you cruise past famous SF landmarks, such as the Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz Island, and Angel Island. You also get the chance to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge - twice! Your ticket also includes a hearty appetizer buffet and a cocktail (you can buy more at the cash bar). Cruises are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights at 7pm.
Tickets: On sale now
The San Francisco public library has several free walking tours scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend. They range from informative walks around the colorful Mission District to one about the movies Alfred Hitchcock made here. No registration or tickets are required. Simply show up at the designated time for the chance to learn more about this beautiful city by the bay.
Hop aboard the Fume Blanc Commodore for a fun night out on the water. This midnight party cruise offers you gorgeous views of the SF Skyline, Treasure Island, Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also enjoy music from two DJs on three decks. The cash bar will be fully stocked. This three hour party cruise leaves on Saturday, May 28 from Pier 40 at 9:30pm (boarding starts at 9pm).
Spend some time in the Mission District on Memorial Day Weekend for their 36th Annual Carnaval Celebration. This two-day street fair starts on Saturday morning and lasts until Sunday afternoon. It includes live music, food and a large parade on Sunday, May 29, 2016. The festival is free and a fun way to mingle with locals.
Learn More: Details about Carnaval on Memorial Day Weekend
Carmen opens at the San Francisco Opera on Memorial Day Weekend. This classic production tells the story of love, lust, and murder. It will be sung in French with English supertitles. The first performance is on Friday night, May 27 at 7:30pm. Other shows this weekend are on Saturday night at 7:30pm and Sunday afternoon at 2pm.
Tickets: On sale now
Savings Tip: Are you looking for the perfect place to stay during the Memorial Day Weekend? If so, then check out the great hotel deals on TripAdvisor.com. Each month, they offer a variety of deals for hotels throughout the city. You can save on your hotel room or even find a place to park your car for free! Click here for all the details on this weekend's top hotel special offers.
The top theater performance this weekend is Red Velvet, the story of a young man attempting to be the first black man to perform on stage in London. Two other top theater performances this weekend are The Last Five Years and Chester Bailey. The Last Five Years is a story about finding "the one" and takes place in New York. Chester Bailey is the story of two men from different backgrounds who are injured in war, taking you on a journey through their lives and how they cope after the war.
You will find a variety of concerts on Memorial Day Weekend in San Francisco. The hottest show this weekend is Macklemore (w/Ryan Lewis) at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The show starts at 8pm. Click the link below for additional concerts this holiday weekend.
Tickets: Macklemore tickets on sale now
Learn More: Find all concerts this weekend in SF
Over the weekend, you have the chance to catch an excellent performance from the SF Symphony. On Saturday or Sunday, head over to Davies Symphony Hall to catch Bernstein's On the Town: A Semi-Staged Event. It is at 8pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.
Head over to the Yerba Buena Gardens in the SOMA district for a free performance at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. This fun event offers live music over the Memorial Day weekend as well as several other performances from May to October.
Learn More: Find the full Yerba Buena Festival schedule
Head across the bay to Oakland on Monday for an afternoon of baseball and fun. The Oakland A's take on the Minnesota Twins at the Oakland Coliseum at 1:05pm.
Tickets: Buy your tickets today
Are you looking for some fun this Memorial Day weekend? How about heading out on a combined white water rafting and wine tasting day tour from San Francisco? This all-day tour includes a morning of white water rafting in the Sierra Nevada mountains, followed by a BBQ by the river. Your day will end with a glass of wine at a nearby winery. The tour will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel in San Francisco. This tour runs on Friday and Sunday.
Tickets: Book your tickets today
If you plan to visit Alcatraz Island this Memorial Day Weekend, buy your tickets as soon as you can. During this busy weekend, tickets sell out early and will be almost impossible to buy once you arrive. This weekend, they offer both the day and evening tours. The day tour is a more self-guided visit, while the evening tour is more personalized with fewer people on the island during your visit.
The Academy of Sciences is one of the most popular SF attractions. Memorial Day weekend is a busy time to visit, and it's listed on their "Peak Pricing" list. This means they will charge an additional $5 for tickets purchased at the door. If you plan on visiting the Academy this weekend, buy your tickets in advance online to avoid this additional fee. Advanced tickets also include skip-the-line benefits, so you can jump ahead in the entrance line.
Learn More: Pictures & what to expect during your visit
Another fun way to spend the weekend is by enjoying all of SF's best free attractions and activities. They range from walking over the Golden Gate Bridge to visiting some of SF's hidden gems. It's a great way to save a little money and still enjoy your weekend in San Francisco.
Learn More: Discover 50 free attractions & activities
Are you traveling with kids this holiday weekend? If so, check out my 25 fun things to do with kids in San Francisco. This list includes ideas that are entertaining for the entire family. You can head out on a bay cruise adventure, check out the 7D Experience, or do a scavenger hunt as a family.
Save money with the San Francisco CityPass. If you plan to visit the California Academy of Sciences, the Aquarium of the Bay, and the Exploratorium during your visit, then make sure to check out the discounts through the CityPass. This discount card offers you admission to these attractions, as well as a ticket for an SF Bay Cruise and a 7-day unlimited ride Muni Pass at a fraction of the cost.
The Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to visit this time of year. With more than 50,000 exotic plants, there is always something in bloom. During the late spring, you can see the California poppies, irises and several wild flowers in bloom.
The popular Fisherman's Wharf area is also full of action on Memorial Day in San Francisco. There are dozens of things to do here from shopping to Alcatraz cruises. Check out the full list of attractions and activities to you can plan ahead for your visit!
If you love to explore on your own, then check out my free, self-guided walking tours. You will find some that cover the entire city in just a few days and others that give you tips on visiting the best of everything in each district. You will also find free, downloadable itineraries that you can take with you.
Learn More: Check out my self-guided tours
Benicia (2015 Details)
This year's event starts at 10am and is hosted by the Benicia Historical Society. The event will include guest speakers, military fly-over, color guard, and much more. The event is at 735 Buchanan St. Benicia, CA.
This year's celebration in Danville will be at Oak Hill Park. American flags will line the road leading up to the park and the celebration. It begins at 10:30am and features live music, guest speakers, tributes, and more. The event will wrap up around 11:30am.
Head to Oakland for the annual Memorial Day Celebration at the Mountain View Cemetery on Monday, May 30. It starts at 10am at the second fountain on the Main Avenue of the cemetery. Complimentary refreshments will follow the ceremony. There will also be a guided tour of the Civil War plot and notables who are buried in the cemetery.
Pleasant Hill (2015 Details)
This year's event in Pleasant Hill will be at Soldier's Monument (2611 Contra Costa Boulevard) from 1pm to 2:30pm. It will include guest speakers and a firing salute. It will also include a tent with chairs for comfort. Refreshments will be served after the event.
On Saturday, find Sidewalk Sales in downtown Mill Valley, and on Sunday, take a 'Walk Into History' tour at The Outdoor Art Club. The Memorial Day celebration on Monday, May 30 starts with a Pancake Breakfast from 7am to 11am outside City Hall. It's followed by a parade that starts at 10:30am at Old Mill Park, winding its way through downtown Mill Valley and Miller Ave., and ending at Tam High School.
Novato (2015 Details)
An annual event will be held at the Valley Memorial Park Cemetery. The event starts at 7am with the placing of flags on the graves. The guests will be seated at 8am and the program will end with taps at 9am.
Point Reyes (2015 Details)
The event in Point Reyes is on Friday, May 22. The event starts at 8am with the flag ceremony. From 9 to 9:15am, they will offer a brief history of the lifesaving service and biography of some of those buried here. It will conclude with a benediction at 9:35am. The event will be held at the Historic Life-Saving Service Cemetery located at G Ranch.
Rohnert Park (2015 Details)
The commemoration event in Rohnert Park is at the Rohnert Park Community Center. It starts at 9:45am and is free to the public.
Santa Rosa (2015 Details)
You will also find a large holiday celebration in Santa Rosa at the Santa Rosa Memorial Park. It includes guest speakers, live music, face painting for the kids, and more. The event is from 10am to 1pm.
The event starts with the ringing of the bell in the World War I Memorial Arch (Ocean Avenue & San Carlos Street). It continues with speeches from local officials and military veterans in Devendorf Park. It starts at 11am and is on Monday, May 30.
Clayton (2015 Details)
Annual program hosted by the local VFW Post 125. At the flagpole in downtown Clayton. Starts at 10am.
Gilroy (2015 Details)
Memorial Day Parade is from 11am to 12:30pm. The parade is in downtown Gilroy.
The 7th Annual Hillsborough Memorial Day Parade, Carnival & Music Festival is on May 30, 2016. The parade starts at 10:30am, followed by the observance ceremony and music festival at 11:40am. The carnival includes all sorts of traditional games, arts and crafts, and a duck tank and petting zoo. All activities end around 2:30pm.
Milpitas (2015 Details)
This year's Milpitas Memorial Day Celebration is on Monday, May 25 at 9am. The celebration is at the Veterans Memorial Plaza at 455 Calaveras Boulevard.
This year, Redwood City will host a special Memorial Day event at the Historic Union Cemetery. All activities start at 10am.
This year, Saratoga's annual celebration will once again take place at 10am in the Madronia Cemetery. It will include a flag raising, speeches, music from local school groups, and laying of the wreaths.