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San Francisco Americas Cup 2013

Schedule of Events & Tips for Attending in SF

This year, San Francisco was home to one of the largest sailing racing in the world, the America's Cup. This prestigious race included several high profile events, many of them held on the San Francisco Bay.

The first event was in February and the season wrapped up with the San Francisco Americas Cup 2013 Finals in September. It's was one of the best times to get a glimpse at this historical competition.

oracle on sf bay

The Oracle USA boat practicing in the waters near the Golden Gate Bridge.

The event drew hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year.

America's Cup Finals

This year's finals took place in September. They drew a large crowd as Oracle Team USA tried to defend their title against Emirates Team New Zealand.

Emirates Team New Zealand pulled out an early lead and had just one more race to win to capture the title. In a historic effort, Oracle Team USA came from behind to win this year's 34th America's Cup.

It was a best of 17 series and the first team to 9 wins. However, due to penalties, the Oracle Team USA had to win 11 races in order to reclaim the title.

The final results were Oracle Team USA 9 and Emirates Team New Zealand 8.

oracle boat americas cup

The Oracle USA boat cruising past Alcatraz Island during another practice run.

Best Places to Watch the Race

Because the entire race is being held on the San Francisco Bay, there are several ways to catch the action live. You can watch the race aboard a bay cruise or catch it for free from several spots around the bay.

Boat Cruises on the Bay

Get close to the action on one of these Hornblower America's Cup Cruises. This is THE best way to see the race. All the tickets for these cruises are currently selling for up to half price their full retail value. Here are the cruises available and what you can expect from each one.

  • America's Cup Finals
    • Available for September 14
    • Watch Team Oracle defend their America's Cup Title against the winner of the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup Finals
    • Lunch buffet and hosted bar
    • On board screens, so you can always see the action and keep up to date with the status of the race
    • Full Price: $546.35 | Goldstar Price: $327.80*

*Additional fees may apply

Viewing Spots Around the SF Bay

Here are just a few recommendations on where you can catch the America's Cup races this year. The arrows on the map below outline the main racing area.

The numbers on the map highlight some great places to catch the action. Below the map, you will find details on each one of these options.

americas cup viewing area

  • Marina Green (#1): One of the best spots to watch these races is along the Marina Green. This area sits right along the waterfront with unobstructed views of the races. It's one of the best spots, so this area will be CROWDED.

  • Crissy Field (#2): Just to the west of the Marina Green is Crissy Field. This is another great vantage point for the races. There is plenty of room to stretch out, but you should also expect huge crowds in this area.

  • Aquatic Park (#3): There are several places within Aquatic Park that are the perfect place to catch these races. There are bleacher seats here (I'm pretty sure they will sell these seats for most events) and a large pier that jets out over the water (again, this might be reserved/paid only seating for the larger events).

  • Pier 39 (#4): The back balcony on Pier 39 is another great place with unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay. Again, it will probably be pretty crowded, but a great place to watch the competition if you can squeeze your way into the front.

  • Golden Gate Bridge (#5): The walkway along the Golden Gate Bridge has amazing views high above the competition. This is where I took the photo above. The views are unobstructed and you can get a clear view of the entire race from here.

  • Alcatraz Island (#6): You will be able to get some of the best views from Alcatraz Island. You can take a tour of Alcatraz in the morning and watch the competition until the last ferry leaves in the late afternoon. At times, the back courtyard on Alcatraz is open, which is the perfect spot to watch the race.

  • Hills Near the Golden Gate Bridge (#7): Right before you reach the Golden Gate Bridge, there are several cliffs that overlook the SF Bay. This is a great spot to see the action and you might even be able to find an area that isn't as crowded.

  • Fort Point National Historical Site (#8): The top floor of the Fort Point National Historical Site also has amazing views of the bay. There is no place to sit, but it's another spot along the bay with unobstructed views of the race.

Finish Line Tickets

You can also grab a premium seat at the finish line at the America's Cup Pavilion. These tickets are pricey, but available for several of the finals days in September.

This is another great place to get a look at the winner of this year's America's Cup.

Hotels for Your Stay

I highly recommend booking your hotel as early as possible if you are visiting San Francisco in July, August or September. Rates will skyrocket for the San Francisco Americas Cup 2013 Finals in September and rooms will sell out quickly.

There aren't many hotels where you can directly see the race. The only one that would have some great views is the Fairmont Heritage Place in Fishermans Wharf. It's right up the hill from Aquatic Park.

Each room has a balcony in the back with views of the bay. If you are set on booking this hotel for the San Francisco Americas Cup 2013, then I'd call to confirm your room placement to ensure you can see it from your balcony.

Other great places to stay in the city for easy access to this event are Fishermans Wharf and the Marina. If you are only able to book in another neighborhood, you can easily use public transportation to get to the waterfront.

Here are several hotel recommendations by budget, location and amenities.

Concert Series at America's Cup Pavilion

To add even more excitement to this year's event, you will find more than a dozen outdoor concerts this summer at the America's Cup Pavilion. The series kicks off on Friday, May 31 with Imagine Dragons. The final concerts will take place in September during the final racing days.

Several bands have already been announced, but more will be added soon. Here is the current list of outdoor concerts planned here this summer.

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