Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Your Fleet Week Survival Guide

It's that time of year again when the military swarms the city to party and show off their bad-ass fighter-jet moves.  Yep, it's Fleet Week, a 28-year-old San Francisco tradition that draws over one million people every year (cha-ching, local businesses!)

As wonderful as this all sounds, San Franciscans are strongly divided about all the bruhaha. 7x7 office banter ranges from "I love it with every cell in my body" (wow) to "Fleet Week is a glamorized depiction of a reality" (ouch). So for the lovers and the haters, here's our list of the seven ways to survive the weekend.

1. Snag a sailor. We know you've seen that Sex in the City episode.  So ditch your pride and brave Fisherman's Wharf in search of white caps and trousers.

2. Host a rooftop BBQ for the big Blue Angels show. With all the visitors in town for this event, chances are you'll enjoy the festivities better sans crowds (and fanny packs). Hit up a friend with rooftop access and come bearing beer.

3. Bring the little ones to see the Parade of Ships. Massive destroyers, frigates and coastal defense vessels drift through the Bay. A win in any kid's book.

4. Tour a Navy ship. Feign interest in the underbelly and have said snagged sailor show you the ropes on a riveting ship tour.

5. Buy some earplugs and spend the day at Ocean Beach. If it's all just too much to handle (freak out time for dogs!), escape to the other side of the city and enjoy the beach to yourself.

6. Watch Top Gun if the real Blue Angels aren't your speed. Surely you love this Tom Cruise classic. Curl up on the couch and consider the jets outside your personal soundtrack.

7. Feast at the Italian Heritage Parade. Lucky for you, Fleet Week happens to coincide with the annual Sunday North Beach parade. Practice your Italian and order cannoli with a cup of espresso.

Fleet Week begins Thursday with Blue Angels survey flights starting at noon and Friday practice flights from 1 - 4 p.m.. The official Blue Angels shows take place on Saturday and Sunday from 3 - 4 p.m.. For a full schedule of the weekend's events, click here.

Where to watch if you do plan on braving the crowds? Marina Green, Aquatic Park near Fisherman’s Wharf, Telegraph Hill, Treasure Island. Or, splurge on a special Bay cruise.