Blue Angels over the Golden Gate Bridge
Fleet Week began in 1981 to honor the US Armed Forces and to educate civilians and military personnel about best practices in humanitarian assistance.

Where You Need to Watch the Blue Angels Fly Over San Francisco During Fleet Week

Every October, San Francisco gives the Blue Angels permission to buzz the (Coit) tower during Fleet Week. Here are the best views to see them flying overhead.

One of San Francisco's most popular annual events, Fleet Week, is returning, Oct. 3-11, 2022. This annual celebration of the brave men and women who have served our country includes a parade of ships, live music, and a breathtaking air show that features the most famous aerial acrobats in the nation, the Blue Angels. Read more about Fleet Week and how to best experience its signature event.

History of Fleet Week

The Fleet Week celebration began as a natural extension of the annual arrival of U.S. Navy ships that would dock in San Francisco each October. In 1981, by order of San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, it became an official event. Today, more than one million people attend Fleet Week each year. 

What Are the Blue Angels?

The Blue Angels are the longest-running flight demonstration squadron in the United States and the second-oldest in the world. The Blue Angels were first formed in 1946 and consist of some of the most elite pilots from the Navy and the Marines. They typically perform about 70 shows per year and are seen by millions of people.

Best Time of Day to View the Blue Angels

The 2022 Air Show will be held over three days, Oct. 7-9. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the other two days. Historically, the Blue Angels have flown toward the show's end, but that may not be the case each day. Even if you aren't in your preferred viewing spot by the afternoon, there's a good chance you'll see them flying over the city earlier in the day and in the days before, practicing their incredible maneuvers.

Best Place to View the Blue Angels

There are a number of places in San Francisco where you can score a great view.

PIER 39

PIER 39 is located far enough east of the air show that you'll be able to see most of the flying formations. It is also home to a large number of dining and entertainment options. You can get to PIER 39 directly on the F Line streetcar. 

Bay Cruise

What better way to see the fireworks show then right on the bay? Book a bay cruise during Fleet Week and watch the airshow from a unique perspective.

Marina Green

If you'd rather be a little farther away from the main action of Fleet Week but still want to see the Blue Angels do their thing, Marina Green is a great option. To get to Marina Green, take the 22 Muni bus to its last stop at Fillmore and Bay Streets.

Crissy Field

To be right in the heart of Fleet Week and to watch the Blue Angels fly directly overhead, Crissy Field is the place to go. Make sure to get there early, since most people arrive well before the performance begins. The 30 Muni bus terminates at Crissy Field, making for an easy ride.

Marin Headlands

The Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula on the northern side of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. You'll encounter smaller crowds here, but you can still expect an excellent view of the Blue Angels. To get to the Marin Headlands, you'll have to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Aquatic Park

Located near Ghirardelli Square, Aquatic Park has grassy fields where spectators can gather. The elevated terrain makes it easy to see the planes in the air. To get there, take the Powell-Hyde cable car to its final stop between Beach and Jefferson Streets.

Top of the Mark

Top of the Mark is a rooftop bar at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill. It offers an elevated view that puts you almost parallel with the Blue Angels themselves. Take the 1 Muni bus line or the California Street cable car to get there. 

Treasure Island

Treasure Island offers an interesting perspective. Although it is farther away than most other locations, it provides an unobstructed view of the bay. To get to Treasure Island, take the 25 Muni bus.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower not only offers a wonderful view of the Blue Angels, but it also provides an impressive view of the city below. To get to Coit Tower, you can take the 39 Muni bus—or, if you're feeling brave, take the stairs.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks puts you 1,000 feet above sea level, giving you a full view of the Blue Angels, as well as the entire city. Arrive at Twin Peaks by taking the 33 or 37 Muni bus lines.

The Blue Angels put on a show you should not miss. Finding the best vantage point will ensure you create an indelible memory at Fleet Week.

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Tyler Cohn headshot
Tyler Cohn

Tyler is the Sr. Manager of Global Content & Communications at San Francisco Travel. He has lived in San Francisco since 2015 and has been part of the San Francisco Travel team for just as long. He enjoys splashy production numbers and outdoor sporting events equally, which means you can usually find him at one of San Francisco’s many great theaters or at Oracle Park, cheering on the Giants. 

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