2023 San Francisco Fleet Week – The Best Views For The Air Show

2023 fleet weekSan Francisco fleet week is a weeklong event beginning on October 2, 2023, and running through October 10, 2023. Fleet Week honors the men and women (and canine heroes!) of the United States Navy-Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Blue Angels, the specialty of the Fleet Week Air Show,  are set to perform on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (October 6, 7, & 8).  The Blue Angels also practice on Thursday afternoon, so this is a great time to check them out without any crowds. The other air show performers include the Marine F-35B Demo, United 777, Ace Maker T 33, Patriots Jet Team, Coast Guard Dual Demo – Helos and C-27, Navy Parachute Team: The Leap Frogs, and more. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are full days of aerial excitement. 

Besides showing gratitude to those who serve, the San Francisco Fleet Week event offers a wide range of events everyone can enjoy. These include seeing these great ships out on the water and the ability to get on board and tour some of these visiting ships. There are free concerts, and perhaps most exciting of all and the events that draw the biggest crowds, are the awe-inspiring air shows. San Francisco Fleet Week is an excellent opportunity to see the incredible Blue Angels, some of the best pilots in the world, perform death-defying stunts and awe-inspiring feats of skill. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels headline the waterfront event, and San Francisco Fleet Week is the only air show in the United States with a commercial airliner, the United 777, to perform a fully choreographed act. The schedule still needs to be published, so keep checking the website for fleet week to get the event times. 

History Of Fleet Week

The first official fleet week began in New York City in the early 1980s. However, naval vessels would arrive at the harbor in afleet week celebratory manner dating back to 1898 in the aftermath of the Spanish-American war. Fleet week first came to the bay area in 1981 when then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein led the nation in celebrating America’s sea services to celebrate Navy sailors, Marines, the Coast Guard, and their families, bringing with it ship parades, spectacular airshows, and various local events. The United States Department of Defense recognizes San Francisco Fleet Week as the model for fleet weeks nationwide. It has been a yearly Bay Area staple ever since, attracting tourists and locals alike to participate in the festivities and impressive shows.

Best Places to Watch the Blue Angels Air Show 

Most of the Air Show takes place over the Bay around Fisherman’s Wharf and Fort Mason. You can also head out to catch the practice session on Thursday. There are fewer people around, and even though they don’t perform their entire show, it’s a great way to see the best part of the show without the crowds. And especially if you will not be around on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. 

Here are suggestions for watching the show, but be forewarned, the northern side of San Francisco along the Bay is very crowded during the air show. If you want to sit down, you must arrive at any viewing location well in advance to secure a good viewing spot hours before the Blue Angels perform.

Here are a few places to watch the Air Show and some notes to think about for each option:

pier 39 fleet weekPier 39: You’ll be close to the action, but so will the thousands of people with you – it gets crowded here. Find a spot with a clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge, where you will see most of the Blue Angel show.

Aquatic Park: There is a small stadium with seats facing out over the Bay. You get a great view of the Fleet Week San Francisco Air Show from here, although any maneuvers over the Golden Gate Bridge will be out of site to you. 

Crissy Field: This is a popular spot for people and is an excellent viewing area, but it’s a little further away from the main action, and the trees may block out a little bit of the show. 

Marina Green: Just east of Crissy Field is Marina Green. This area offers a great look at the air show. You buy premium tickets for this area.  

The Very Best Way To See The Fleet Week Air Show

passage nautical skippered charterFrom The Deck Of Your Private Yacht: The best way to avoid having to pull off vehicular stunts and manage the dense crowds while still having a fantastic time and great seats for the show is to charter a yacht. Chartering a boat for the festivities offers some impressive benefits. You and your family or closest friends will have a private viewing experience while enjoying great food and drink and getting a fantastic view of the air shows, the boat parades, and famous SF landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island

Avoiding Traffic And Crowds For The Fleet Week Air Show: There also is no need to rush to deal with the heavy traffic or secure a prime viewing location as the boats leave and return to a private marina. During your charter cruise, you can relax and enjoy the sights while your captain navigates and gets you up close and personal with all the Bay sites and Fleet Week activities. You can charter a boat for the whole day or schedule an outing for the Blue Angels or ship parades. However, missing out on the Blue Angels would be a massive mistake as it is one of the most thrilling live events in the world. 

The astonishing skill the pilots demonstrate will stick with you long after your charter adventure ends and will almost certainly inspire a return visit. Besides the Blue Angels, you will also see a wide assortment of other aircraft perform and an up-close look at the impressive naval vessels in our fleet.

Are you interested in chartering? Here is the link to our site to check out your options. Here is our FAQ information on how to dress for your charter. San Francisco can be windy and chilly sometimes, but well worth the cool temperatures as the views are beyond spectacular. 

Other Fleet Week Events

Fleet Week San Francisco Ship Tours: For security reasons, the ships and the times the big ships arrive in port for tours are not announced until a few days before they arrive. The announcement will happen in early October. Check the website for Fleet Week to get the times. 

The ship tours for Fleet Week San Francisco are wildly popular. The tours are free, and you’re encouraged to interact with the sailors on board, which adds to the fun. Show up well before the doors open as it’s first come, first served. The lines get very long, very fast.  

Parade of Ships 2023: The official start of the Fleet Week San Francisco celebrations is the Parade of Ships. It’s a spectacular site as all of the ships for the event come in under the Golden Gate Bridge and head to their designated pier in San Francisco. These are the ships you can tour during the three-day celebration.

Fleet Week Neighborhood Concert Series:  The Navy and Marine Corps bands perform each year as part of San Francisco Fleet Week’s Neighborhood Concert Program. Five different Navy bands perform and are pretty exciting to watch. The performances happen in various neighborhoods throughout the City. Check the 2023 concert schedule when it’s published. Many local businesses will often have their events going on concurrently. Either way, with San Fransisco being one of the prime food destinations in the world, you will never be far from some exciting food and beverage opportunities. Chartering a yacht will still provide great food and drinks without having to navigate the large crowds or limited parking and allow for a relaxing day on the water without sacrificing any of the enjoyments Fleet Week has to offer 

Fleet Week San Francisco Air Show: The most highly attended event is the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday air show from 12 pm to 4 pm. There are a variety of performances during this four-hour show, and the air show finishes with a fantastic performance by the Blue Angels. Even if you have seen this show before, you will always enjoy seeing the show they put on over San Francisco Bay as they change the choreography regularly. This all-ages show will impress the entire family as there is no more fantastic place to see these astonishing pilots and their aircraft in motion. The technical showcase they put on is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling aircraft shows in the world. 

Why Attend Fleet Week

These are all great reasons to attend Fleet Week. Besides being one of the area’s most exciting events, it happens at one of the best weather times of the year on San Francisco Bay. It’s always sunny, and the summer fogs have lifted, so the visibility is excellent. Besides the spectacle, it’s also the perfect time to enjoy everything the Bay offers, including some of the best restaurants in the world, beautiful hotels, thriving nightlife, plenty of sightseeing, and even spectacular hiking opportunities. San Fransisco truly has everything, and whether it be for families, couples, or single travelers, you won’t have to look hard to find whatever fits your needs, especially during Fleet Week when the weather and events showcase all that it has it has to offer vibrantly and excitingly. So much so that locals and people from around the country flock to San Fransisco to partake in the festivities while indulging in everything else the City has to offer, and it is well worth the trip.

Perhaps the only downside of seeing the air shows are the large crowds and heavy traffic, which can make getting a good view of the events difficult. If you want the most comfort and the best views, check out our fleet of charter yachts and book now.