20 Ideas For 2020: How to Ring in New Year's Eve in San Francisco
While San Francisco's nightlife is not to be missed, we understand that not every visitor wants to spend the last hours of the year in the club. That's why we've compiled this list of other options for ringing in the new year. Reservations are strongly recommended, so make your plans now!
Ice Skate Under the Winter Sky
Each of San Francisco's seasonal outdoor ice skating rinks will be open on New Year's Eve. Civic Center's Winter Park will be open until 9:15 p.m. Skate at the Union Square ice rink until 11:30 p.m. daily. The Embarcadero Center rink is scheduled to stay open until 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and until 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, but hours may change as fireworks and other New Year's Eve activities along the waterfront are announced.
Fireworks by the Bay
When the clock strikes twelve, one of the best places to be is right on the Embarcadero waterfront. You'll be front and center of the spectacular fireworks show amidst hundreds of others to welcome in the new year. Get there early to stake your spot!
The Japanese New Year's Bell-Ringing Ceremony
Head over to the Asian Art Museum between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Dec. 31 for your chance to take a swing at a 2,100-pound, 16th century Japanese temple bell. This Buddhist ritual is meant to welcome the new year with a clean slate. The bell is rung 108 times to represent the 108 "mortal desires that torment humanity." Get there early to make sure you get to be one of the lucky few to strike the bell!
More Museum Fun
You may think a lot of San Francisco's attractions are closed for New Year's Eve, but it's just the opposite. Spend the last day of 2019 exploring the one-of-a-kind exhibitions at Aquarium of the Bay, California Academy of Sciences, Contemporary Jewish Museum, de Young Museum, the Exploratorium, and SFMOMA. Each of these museums are open until 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve
Fireworks aren't the only thing that will be lighting up the city. See 40+ light art installations that are part of San Francisco's festival of light. Explore different neighborhoods on this light art trail to capture instagrammable shots for your feed.
Dinner with a view? Yes, please! One Market will be offering two seatings, 6-7:30 p.m. and 8:30-10 p.m., both featuring a four-course prix fixe dinner. The second seating includes a midnight champagne toast, party favors and a stunning view of the Embarcadero fireworks right outside the restaurant.
Looking for a great (and filling) last meal of 2019? You'll want to be at International Smoke to taste the dishes on their special New Year's Eve menu, all of which are not part of the regular menu. Just a short walk away from the Embarcadero, you'll be in the center of some of the city's epic New Year's Eve parties and the fireworks show on the waterfront.
Hard Rock Cafe's New Year's Eve Party
Celebrate the new year with the original rockers at Hard Rock Cafe. Included with your ticket is a three-course meal, champagne, complimentary party favors, live entertainment, and a prime spot on PIER 39 to view the fireworks.
Celebrate the New Year with La Mar
Indulge in an evening of flavor and live music at La Mar, located on the Embarcadero. In addition to their prime location for waterfront fireworks, their six-course dining experience will include classic Peruvian dishes such as cebiche, tiradito with Dungeness crab, chimichurri, and more. There will also be a specially-curated vegetarian menu and champagne toast.
Toast the new year with amazing views from Cityscape Lounge. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m, enjoy small bites and a complimentary midnigt champagne toast. Located on the 46th floor of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, you'll be able to see jaw-dropping views of fireworks over the Bay Bridge.
Cruise the Bay
Dinner, dancing and fireworks await aboard the Cabernet Sauvignon Commodore. Enjoy a gourmet dinner buffet, hosted standard bar, and live music as you cruise across San Francisco Bay. Boarding begins at 8:30 p.m. and there is free parking available at their Alameda dock.
Board the Freda B in Sausalito at 10:30 p.m. and take a delightful trip around San Francisco Bay before the clock strikes midnight. Keep cozy with a mug of hot chocolate or make a toast with a glass of sparkling wine. A cash bar will be open during the cruise, serving California craft beer and Napa Valley wine.
Party in style aboard the Hornblower. Their premier New Year's Eve Dinner Cruise departs at 9 p.m. and returns to the dock at 1 a.m., giving plenty of time for celebrating. Start with a seated gourmet dinner and open top shelf bar, then dance the night away on the Bay. Also included in this four-hour yacht cruise are party favors and one keepsake Hornblower boarding photograph.
Red and White Fleet's New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise is their most anticipated event of the year. With multiple levels for dancing, a premium open bar, live DJ, photo booth and more, you won't want to miss it!
Be transported back to the Roaring '20s aboard the Fume Blanc. Blackjack tables, live music, and four hours of open bar are just some of the happenings on board. You'll be surrounded by movers and shakers, so be sure to wear your bonnets and fur coats and dress to impress!
Parties and Performances
Dillon Francis at Fort Mason Center
The 11th Annual Eye Heart NYE party will take place inside the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center. The one and only Dillon Francis will be spinning his top hits all night long and there will be an open bar until 2 a.m.
New Year's Gaiety with the San Francisco Symphony
Ring in the new year with the perfect combination of San Francisco's classic style and sophistication at this concert that promises to be anything but typical. Conductor Edwin Outwater and the Grammy Award-nominated singer, actor and director Seth MacFarlane will be taking the stage at 8:00 p.m.
New Bohemia at the San Francisco Mint
Back for its seventh year is the New Bohemia NYE at the Mint. This party is an entire experience, with 22 different areas within the Mint that will host dozens of performers, dancers and characters. There will be performances from musicians like Just Emma, Syd Gris, Kerry Bo Berry and many others.
Spencer Day at Feinstein's at the Nikko
No. 1 Billboard jazz/pop singer/songwriter, Spencer Day will help ring in 2020 at Feinstein's at the Nikko. He'll bring "Swinging in the New Year", a performance of his pop hits with surprise musical guests and Spencer's dazzling Jazz quartet. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for you to take advantage of their excellent food and drink menu.
Beach Blanket Babylon's Final Shows
The wild and wacky "Beach Blanket Babylon" revue will have two final performances before the curtains close on New Year's Eve, at 7 and 10:15 p.m. Seats are filling up quickly, so be sure to get your tickets now. There's no better way to say goodbye to 2019 and welcome 2020 than at this beloved San Francisco institution.