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Memorial Day in San Francisco

Top Things to See & Do this Weekend in SF 2016

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.

Grave Stone in SF

Here you will discover a list of the top events and other things to do during Memorial Day Weekend in San Francisco for 2016.

Memorial Day: A Day of Honor & Remembrance

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 that 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

Learn More: More Information About the Cemetery & Tips to Get Here

Top Military Attractions in San Francisco

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

SF Bay Sunset Cruise

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 top SF attractions 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! Cruises are Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6:30pm.

Afternoon Beer & Wine Sailing on a Yacht

On Sunday and Monday afternoon, enjoy a 90-minute sailing tour around the SF Bay. This classic yacht, The Privateer, holds just 28 people, so you will have plenty of space to see SF's top attractions from the deck. Cruise past the Palace of Fine Arts, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and around Alcatraz. During the cruise, you can also enjoy two drinks (beer or wine) with your ticket. The cruise runs on Sunday at 12:30pm, 2pm, and 4:30pm. On Monday, you can enjoy this cruise at 12:30pm, 2pm, and 4:30pm.

Free Walking Tours

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.

Learn More: SF Public Library Walking Tours

Carnaval Celebration & Parade

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.

More Details: Carnaval Memorial Day Weekend

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 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.

SF Theater: Red Velvet, The Last Five Years & Chester Bailey

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 the story about finding "the one" and takes place in New York. Chester Bailey is the story of two men, from different backgrounds, injured in the war. It takes you on the journey thorugh their lives and how they cope after the war.

Learn More: Additional Details & Other Performances this Month

SF Symphony Performances

Over the weekend, you can catch one 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.

Learn More: Full May 2016 Schedule & Tips to Attend a Performance

Yerba Buena Festival

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 weekend as well as several other performances from May - October.

Learn More: Find the Full Yerba Buena Festival Schedule

Oakland A's Baseball

Head over 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

White Water Rafting & Wine Tour

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. It's followed by a BBQ by the river. Your day will end with a glass of wine at a local winery nearby. The tour will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel in San Francisco. This tour runs on Friday and Sunday.

Union Square Live (2015 Details)

Head over to Union Square on Sunday for Union Square Live. Starting at 1pm, the famous Taiko Dojo group will perform. This group has been active in San Francisco for more than 45 years and their performances are very popular with locals. The show is free and lasts until 2pm.

Learn More: Full Summer Union Square Live Festival

Other Fun Things to See & Do

Alcatraz Island

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.

Learn More: Find Additional Details About Booking Tickets for Alcatraz

California Academy of Sciences

The Academy of Sciences is one of the most popular SF attractions. During Memorial Weekend, the Academy will be busy 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 of anyone purchasing at the door.

Learn More: Pictures & What to Expect During Your Visit

50 Free Activities & Attractions

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: 50 Free Attractions & Activities

SF With Kids

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.

Learn More: 25 Fun Things to Do with Kids

Botanical Gardens

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.

Learn More: See Pics & Find Out What to Expect During Your Visit

Fisherman's Wharf Attractions

The 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. Discover a full list of attractions and activities, so you can plan ahead for your visit!

Learn More: All Fisherman's Wharf Attractions

Self-Guided Tours

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, so you can take it with you.

Learn More: Check Out My Self-Guided Tours

Memorial Day Celebrations Around the SF Bay (2015 Details)

Click on the links to jump ahead to a specific area of the SF Bay. The list below is from 2015. I'll update it with 2016 details once they are announced.

East Bay | North Bay | South Bay

East Bay


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 10am and features live music, guest speakers, and more. The event will wrap up around 12pm.


Head to Oakland for the annual Memorial Day Celebration at the Mountain View Cemetery. It starts at 10am at the second fountain on the Main Avenue of the cemetery. Complimentary beverage will follow the ceremony.

Pleasant Hill

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.

North Bay

Mill Valley

The celebration in Mill Valley starts with a Pancake Breakfast from 7am to 10am outside City Hall. It's followed by a parade that starts at 10:30am at Old Mill Park.


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

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

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

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.

South Bay


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 25.


Annual program hosted by the local VFW Post 125. At the flagpole in downtown Clayton. Starts at 10am.


Memorial Day Parade is from 11am to 12:30pm. The parade is in downtown Gilroy.


The 6th Annual Hillsborough Memorial Day Weekend Event includes a parade, music festival, and carnival. The parade starts at 10:30am and its followed by the music festival and carnival. All activities end around 2:30pm.


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.

Redwood City

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 be at the Madronia Cemetery. It will include speeches, bands, and laying of the wreaths.

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