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Memorial Day in San Francisco

Top Things to Do & See 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 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

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 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

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: Get the full list and meeting locations/times for free SF Public Library walking tours

Midnight Party Cruise Around the SF 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).

Tickets: On sale now at up to 50% off on Goldstar

Other Half-Priced Tickets for this Weekend

In addition to some of the discounts mentioned above, you will also find tickets at up to 50% off on the followin cruises, tours, and events.

*All tickets have a small service fee.

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.

Learn More: Details about Carnaval on Memorial Day Weekend

SF Opera: Carmen

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

Learn More: Find out more details about attending the opera in SF

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 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.

Learn More: Additional details & other theater performances this month


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

SF Symphony Performances

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.

Learn More: Get the full May 2016 SF Symphony 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 Memorial Day weekend as well as several other performances from May to October.

Learn More: Find the full Yerba Buena Festival schedule

Oakland A's Baseball

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 at up to 50% off on Goldstar

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, 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

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. Memorial Day weekend is a busy time to visit. If you plan on visiting the Academy this weekend, buy your tickets in advance online to avoid waiting in line! It's a fun place to visit and a must see during your stay in San Francisco!

Tickets: Buy your tickets in advance to avoid the ticketing line

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: Discover 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: Find out the top 25 fun things to do with kids in SF


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.

Learn More: Click here to find out how you can save up to 46% today!

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 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!

Learn More: Get the details on 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 that you can take with you.

Learn More: Check out my self-guided tours

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Memorial Day Celebrations Around the SF Bay

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 the Benicia Arsenal Post Cemetery in 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

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

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.


An annual event will be held at the Valley Memorial Park Cemetery. The event starts at 8am with the placing of flags on the graves. Once the guests are seated the program will begin. It will end with taps.

Point Reyes

The event in Point Reyes is on Monday, May 30. The event starts at 1:30pm. and is at the Historic Life-Saving Service Cemetery located at G Ranch. After the ceremony, there is an open house from 3pm to 5pm at the Point Reyes Coast Guard Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock.

Santa Rosa

A community tradition, Santa Rosa will once again host the 45th Annual Avenue of the Flags, a Memorial Day celebration, at Santa Rosa Memorial Park. It includes guest speakers, band music, refreshments, and more. The event begins at 10am.

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 30.


The annual program hosted by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars is at the flagpole monument in downtown Clayton (Oak and Main Streets) at 10am on Monday, May 30. This year is in special remembrance of those who have given their lives on the battlefields of the Global War on Terror since September 11, 2001.


The annual Memorial Day Parade is on May 30 from 11am to 12:30pm 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.


This year's Memorial Day Ceremony will take place on Monday, May 30 at 9am at Milpitas City Hall, 455 E Calaveras Boulevard. The event features a Presentation of Colors by Knights of Columbus, 21-Gun Salute, and the Remembrance Chair.

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 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.

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