Memorial Day is an important way to remember the men and women who died while serving our country. It also marks the first long weekend of the summer and the unofficial start of vacation season! Along with traditional Memorial Day activities in San Francisco, there are plenty of fun ways to celebrate the summer, honor veterans lost during war, and enjoy weekend. Here are the top picks from Danielle Lazier :: SFhotlist Team and Compass San Francisco:
Presidio Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Cemetery
Did you know that Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868 as a time to decorate graves with flowers? That’s why one of the traditional ways to celebrate Memorial Day is to visit memorial sites and decorate cemeteries with flowers to honor veterans.
The best place in San Francisco to pay tribute to our veterans is at the Presidio Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Cemetery. This year, the event occurs on May 29, 2017. Every year there is a parade that starts with the 191st Army Band and includes veterans, veteran organizations, and distinguished guests. The commemoration begins at 10:30am at the Main Post (on Anza between Sheridan and Lincoln Boulevard), ends at the National Cemetery, and lasts about 30 minutes. Head over to the Presidio for the largest traditional San Francisco Memorial Day 2017 celebration.
Carnaval San Francisco 2017
Every year on San Francisco Memorial Day weekend, the Mission District transforms into California’s largest outdoor multicultural celebration. Carnaval is a two-day festival celebrating various traditions from Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Columbia, West Africa, Cuba, Guatemala, and more. The theme of this year’s Carnaval is, “El Corazon de San Pancho,” which means, “the heart of San Francisco,” to celebrate love, inclusion, and diversity. After all, San Francisco has made a legacy of being a place that opens its heart to people from around the world.
Carnaval takes place on Harrison, between 16th and 24th street. Admission to both the festival and the parade are free. From 10am to 6pm on both days, you can enjoy the most colorful festival of the year with a plethora of delectable food, hundreds of dancers and musicians in beautiful, bright costumes, arts, crafts, and other fun activities for people of all ages. The Grand Parade takes place on Sunday at 9:30am at the corner of 24th and Bryant Streets, and concludes at South Van Ness at around 2pm.
Renowned as the largest multicultural celebration on the West Coast, Carnaval is definitely one of the best ways to celebrate San Francisco Memorial Day weekend. Since 1979, San Francisco’s Carnaval has grown to celebrate the beauty of world culture and the diversity of its own local community.
Catch a Giants Game
There are so many ways to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, but there’s nothing quite like catching a Giants game and enjoying a good day at the ballpark. The San Francisco Giants will be home for Memorial Day weekend, playing the Atlanta Braves three days in a row. They will be playing at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.
Pier Pressure Memorial Day Yacht Party
If you’re feeling adventurous, check out this amazing Memorial Day yacht cruise. Presented by San Francisco Nightlife, this 3 hour cruise will take you around the views of Treasure Island, Alcatraz, The Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Nob Hill, and more. There are four decks, six DJs, three dance floors with fully stocked cash bars. The cruise leaves on May 28 at 3:30pm at Pier 40 at the Embarcadero.
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is another great way to experience Memorial Day activities in San Francisco. Head over to the SOMA district for free live music, artistic performances, and other fun activities that celebrate a mosaic of vibrant cultures of the world. Sit in the gardens and relax while enjoying free classical, jazz, and world music, local theatre, and different styles of dance, from traditional to contemporary. There are many fun activities designed specifically for families and children, so be sure to check out their programming schedule. If you can’t make it during the San Francisco Memorial Day weekend, no worries— the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival runs from May to October.