Your Guide to Memorial Day Weekend in the City

Summer in San Francisco can be on the cool side, which is why it’s such a great escape from soaring temperatures in other destinations. Come Memorial Day, there’s plenty to do by the bay. Traditional Memorial Day ceremonies include the 150th anniversary of the Presidio’s participation in the city’s annual celebration. Additionally, Carnaval will take to the streets of the Mission District with a rousing 40th anniversary celebration, May 26-27, 2018.

Public transit is the best option to reach many of these events; for routing and scheduling, call 511 (within the nine Bay Area counties) or 510-893-8729.

We’ve got more ideas for a memorable Memorial Day weekend here, too. Be sure to book a hotel room and turn the long weekend into the perfect three-day getaway.

MAY 26, 2018

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival: Tom Rigney and Flambeau (Fourth and Mission Streets)
The incendiary violinist/composer Tom Rigney joins forces with some of the finest musicians on the San Francisco roots music scene with Tom Rigney and Flambeau, a band known for turning unassuming gigs into ecstatic celebrations. With Rigney’s searing violin, the band delivers high-energy performances marked by tight ensemble playing and dazzling solos on songs composed by Rigney and occasional classics from the Cajun/zydeco/New Orleans songbook. For more information, call 415-543-1718. Admission: Free performance, 1-2:30 p.m. Pack a picnic and remember the sunscreen, hats and shades.

MAY 26-27, 2018

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (Market Street and The Embarcadero)
While you’re picking up something fresh and yummy for your barbeque or Memorial Day weekend picnic, take in seasonal cooking demonstrations. Admission: Morning demos take place in the CUESA Classroom (under the white tents in front of the Ferry Building) and are free to the public, with recipes and samples for all.

Carnaval (Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Streets)
Bursting with international music, dance, cuisine, and arts and crafts from the many countries that celebrate Carnaval, Carnaval San Francisco will be celebrated in San Francisco’s Mission District on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27, 2018. BART offers easy access to all events. Be sure to book a hotel room for the weekend. Admission: Festival and parade are free; grandstand parade seating is available.

MAY 27, 2018

Golden Gate Park Band Concert (Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park)
A special musical salute to Memorial Day begins at 1 p.m. Professional musicians perform all summer long in this concert series which started in 1882. Admission: Free.

Off-the-Grid’s Picnic at the Presidio (Main Post Lawn on the Main Parade Ground at the Presidio of San Francisco)
In this re-invention of the outdoor picnic, some of San Francisco’s top restaurants serve your favorite dishes family style to create a “mix and match” brunch. Kids, in the meantime, can enjoy classic lawn games such as bocce ball and kite-flying. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: Free. Bonus: Off-the-Grid is adjacent to the Walt Disney Family Museum, which is open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., except Tuesday. Currently on view: Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane and Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: Masters of Animation. A free exhibition, Telling the Presidio Story, which explores the Presidio story that began 10,000 years ago through films, images and artifacts, is also open in the Presidio Heritage Gallery at the Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave.

USS San Francisco Memorial (The USS San Francisco Memorial Park, Lands End off Camino del Mar in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area)
An annual event since 1950, the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation’s ceremony is at noon. Built at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the USS San Francisco (CA-38) participated in almost every Pacific battle from Pearl Harbor to the end of WWII, earning 17 battle stars. Admission: Free. For more information, visit or call 415-334-0263. Public transit options include 38-Geary Muni bus to 48th Avenue.

MAY 28, 2018

Presidio Memorial Day Commemoration (San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio)
The official San Francisco Memorial Day commemoration will take place on Monday, May 28, 2018 at the San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio, 1 Lincoln Blvd. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Presidio’s participation in the city’s annual ceremony, dating back to the establishment of this national day of remembrance in 1868. The ceremony will honor the one million Americans killed while serving in the U.S. armed forces and will connect the public to the commitment and sacrifices made by military personnel, veterans and their families. The annual commemoration is now the largest in the West. The schedule of events begins with a grand march with veterans at 10:30 am from the Presidio Officers’ Club, located at 50 Moraga Ave., to the San Francisco National Cemetery. The formal program begins at 11 a.m. and includes music and remarks by dignitaries. At noon, there will be a 21-gun salute by the U.S. Army’s Pacific Division 75th Training Command. Visitors are invited to bring their own picnic or purchase burgers and snacks for a community picnic on the Main Parade Ground, noon to 2 p.m. Admission: Free. Free shuttle service will be available from parking areas around the Main Post to the National Cemetery from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information, call 415-561-5300.

Submarine “Lost Boat” Ceremony (The USS Pampanito is located at Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 45)
At 10 a.m., join submarine veterans in the “Lost Boat” ceremony aboard the USS Pampanito, honoring comrades and submarines lost at sea. This moving ceremony features 52 bell tolls for each boat and crew on “eternal patrol.” Admission: The ceremony is free and open to the public.

USS Hornet Memorial Day Ceremony (707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, Alameda)
Veterans will be honored in a special Memorial Day tribute onboard the Bay Area’s famous “floating museum,” the USS Hornet, beginning at 11 a.m. The USS Hornet will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Memorial Day. Tours of the ship will be available. The carrier’s numerous exhibits include 13 Navy and Marine aircraft, ranging from WWII vintage to modern era. The Hornet is also home to the West Coast’s largest collection of Apollo Moon Mission artifacts. Admission: $20 for adults, $15 for adults with Military I.D., and $10 for youth age 7-17 (age 6 and under are free with paying adult). Free for veterans.