Best Areas to Stay for Fleet Week
Since 1981, San Francisco Fleet Week has grown into one of the most popular annual events in San Francisco, attracting more than one million attendees every year. Residents take great pride in the history that the United States Armed Forces have had in San Francisco, and Fleet Week is a prime example of that. If you can fit Fleet Week into your schedule, we promise you won't be disappointed.
What Is Fleet Week?
Fleet Week is a celebration of the United States Armed Forces, specifically the United States Navy. The event itself is about a week long and consists of numerous activities that are appropriate for any age group.
Perhaps the most exciting part of Fleet Week is the air show. This feat of aerial expertise involves some of the Navy's most skilled fighter pilots performing a number of aerial acrobatics and simulated dogfights that will have everyone's jaws dropping.
The Parade of Ships is another popular event, involving some of the U.S. Navy's most impressive vessels. Each of these ships move in formation under the Golden Gate Bridge, providing an excellent view for anyone lucky enough to be on the bridge during the event.
Since this is San Francisco, there are also lots of musical events, as well as food and drink options for children and adults alike. Visitors can even buy a burger for a sailor—just one way to show your gratitude for the hard work and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform!
Where to Watch
Getting a great view during Fleet Week will help ensure that you get the most out of your trip. These are a few of the best places to watch Fleet Week events.
If you want to be right in the heart of Fleet Week action, Crissy Field is the place to be. Crissy Field used to be a U.S. Army airfield, but today it offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and easy access to all Fleet Week events. For most of the year, Crissy Field is a fairly quiet and laid-back public park. During Fleet Week, however, the area comes alive with attractions and activities.
On the water
Hornblower Cruises & Events presents Fleet Week Fireworks Show on the Bay. On Oct. 12, cruise on the San Francisco Belle for the Fireworks Buffet Dinner (3-hour yacht cruise with a buffet-style dinner), or go on the Fireworks Rock the Yacht cruise (2-hour yacht cruise with small bites and beverages available for purchase).
Where to Stay During Fleet Week
Fleet Week is one of the most popular times to visit San Francisco, which means you'll want to choose the neighborhood you stay in as early as possible. Fortunately, there are three neighborhoods with great proximity to Fleet Week activities that also have attractions of their own.
If you want to have some distance between you and the Fleet Week action, Fisherman's Wharf is an excellent place to stay. It has plenty of attractions in its own right. Located in the northeast part of the city, Fisherman's Wharf is perhaps best known for PIER 39 and Ghirardelli Square. You'll find plenty of restaurants and shops to fill your time.
If you want to stick with the theme of Fleet Week, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located nearby, as well. You can learn about the history of the United States Navy and even get a look at the USS Pampanito, a submarine in service during World War II. PIER 39 will host a number of Fleet Week events and celebrations, including special vantage points for the Blue Angels airshow.
Fisherman's Wharf is also well-known for an abundance of excellent hotels. While there are plenty to choose from, two that stand out are the Hotel Zoe and Pier 2620. The Hotel Zoe is a European-style, upscale hotel and is widely regarded as one of the best places to stay in San Francisco. Pier 2620 is a recently renovated, modern hotel with excellent views of the wharf.
One of the most exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco, Nob Hill has some of the best hotels with an elevated view of Fleet Week activities, including the air show. Popular Nob Hill hotels include The Scarlet Huntington, The Fairmont, and Stanford Court.
Pacific Heights offers close proximity to the activities while still putting a few blocks between you and the crowds. Both the recently remodeled Hotel Drisco and The Laurel Inn are in Pacific Heights and are popular choices during Fleet Week.
If you're planning to visit San Francisco for Fleet Week, make sure to make the most of your trip by choosing the neighborhood that best suits you.