Memorial Day celebrated on the last Monday of May commemorates the military who died while serving. The three-day weekend always brings an array of events to San Francisco, starting from the official ceremonies in Presidio and ending with a flamboyant Carnaval at the Mission district. Harrison street completely transforms for the weekend with wild dancing, drumming, and parades that celebrate the cultures of Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, West Africa, and other countries. On top of that, the Memorial Day weekend offers plenty of concerts, fairs, races, and various activities that are perfect for a three-day holiday.
Memorial Day Commemoration at Presidio National Cemetery (May 25, 2020, canceled)
Memorial Day Commemoration held at San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio is the most important highlight of the holiday. The Presidio is a 1,500-ac (607-he) park that was set up on a former military post. It has been the site of the Memorial Day events in San Francisco since the establishment of this holiday in 1868. Starting on Monday, May 25 at 10:30 am the ceremony honoring one million Americans killed while serving includes a 21-gun salute and solemn speeches and will last until around 1:30 pm. The Presidio also hosts several picnics through the weekend.
Community Picnic at the Presidio's Main Parade Ground (May 25, 2020, canceled)
Off-the-Grid’s Picnic at the Presidio will be held on Monday, May 25, 2020, at 12:00–02:00 pm at the Main Post Lawn on the Main Parade Ground and is perhaps the most massive outdoor picnic during the Memorial Day weekend with some of San Francisco’s best restaurants serving their most delicious foods.
USS San Francisco Memorial (canceled in 2020)
Fallen US Navy members will be honored during the USS San Francisco Memorial, that is held every year at the USS San Francisco in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since 1950. The USS San Francisco participated in most of the Pacific battles, from Pearl Harbor to the end of WWII, gaining 17 battle stars.
Other Memorial Day Ceremonies
Another ceremony is held at the USS Pampanito at Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 45, where submarine veterans honor their comrades and submarines lost at sea. "Lost Boat" ceremony features 52 bell tolls for each vessel. Bay Area's famous museum USS Hornet also hosts the Memorial Day Ceremony at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, Alameda. The USS Hornet is open from 10 am to 5 pm on with many special events and exhibits during the day.
Armed Forces Half Marathon at Todos Santos Plaza, Concord (canceled in 2020 | May 22, 2021)
Runners can participate in Armed Forces Half Marathon starting at Todos Santos Plaza in the town of Concord. Concord hosted a military base from 1942 to 2007. The run will begin at 6:30 with the national anthem. The race will finish at Clyde Naval Weapons Station. Armed Forces Half Marathon was rescheduled from 2020 and will be held on May 22, 2021, at 4:00 pm. Also, the College of Marin in Kentfield holds several Memorial Day Races with distances of 5K and 10K.