Best Areas to Stay for Fleet Week
Since it first began in 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. After a year away, the Fleet Week festivities are back, which means that it's time to plan your visit.
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 that will have everyone's jaws dropping. The entire show lasts for hours (Friday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.), with a variety of stunt planes, military aircraft, and parachute teams all taking to the skies. There are many different vantage points around the city, so choose yours and start planning!
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.
Where to Stay During Fleet Week
There are three neighborhoods with great proximity to Fleet Week activities that also have attractions of their own.
Located in the northeast part of the city, Fisherman's Wharf is perhaps best known for PIER 39 and Ghirardelli Square. It's also home to ferries to Alcatraz, Madame Tussaud's and the San Francisco Dungeon, and dozens of restaurants serving the finest, freshest seafood.
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.
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 the Argonaut Hotel. The Hotel Zoe is a European-style, upscale hotel and is widely regarded as one of the best places to stay in San Francisco. The Argonaut Hotel goes all in on its nautical theme and puts you just steps from all the action of the neighborhood.
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 Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, 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 Hotel Drisco and The Laurel Inn 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.