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 airshow 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 airshow 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 airshow, ship tours and more.
I'll update this page once the 2014 event schedule is released. Bookmark this page and check back often for updates!
Although they have confirmed the dates, the specific details for 2014 are still being finalized. Here is the schedule from previous years and what you can expect from this year's Fleet Week San Francisco.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the past, the Parade of Ships was on Friday around noon. This year, the schedule shows that the Parade of Ships is on Saturday instead.
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.
This is a shot of just four of the six Blue Angels doing a maneuver. This shot is from Pier 39.
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.
The smoke trailing the Blue Angles as they perform another maneuver.
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!
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 - just knowing that the main action is around this area.
Here are a few places to watch the Air Show with some additional notes to think about for each option:
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. These tickets usually go on sale a month or so before the event.
I'll update you once they are available.
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.
Since this event was very different in 2013, here is the 2012 schedule. This is similar to what you can expect for 2014.
Thursday, October 4, 2012: Blue Angels Circle and Arrival Maneuvers practice 1-5pm
Friday, October 5, 2012; Fleet Week Air Show Practice 12:30pm to 4pm
Saturday, October 6, 2012: Parade of Ships All ships will berth along the northern San Francisco waterfront
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
Here are a few other things to check out during the Fleet Week celebrations. These are also from 2012, so you can expect all of these celebrations again in 2014.
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 start on Friday, October 5 and last until Sunday, October 7. Stop by between 12 pm to 7 pm all three days!
On Saturday and Sunday, Ghirardelli Square also has several Fleet Week events scheduled. Here is their detailed list of events for both days:
Saturday, October 6
Sunday, October 7
Many shops and restaurants in Ghirardelli Square also have special discounts all weekend long!
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