San Francisco New Year’s Eve Guide

San Francisco is one of the most happening cities when we talk about the elite New Year's Eve in California. You have to make it special right. This city offers a wide variance of celebration on New Year's including the old classic routine and modern trends.

California has two world class cities: Los Angeles and San Francisco. The two cities could not be more different from each other. Then there’s San Diego, which is less world famous, but is my favorite American city. Each of these cities has great museums, a bustling urban scene, loads of ethnic restaurants, nightlife, multiple waterfronts, theatres, and music.

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in America, possibly the world. The built part of the city is okay, nothing special apart from a few iconic buildings and some interesting architecture. The natural environment is impressive, with mountains, the ocean, a bay, giant trees, and dramatic fog. But it’s the combination, and feel, that makes it special.

SF is perfect. It’s modern but modest. It is a little “Big City” because you have the hustle and bustle if you want it, but you also have tons of quiet and chill spaces around the city. The public transportation is relatively efficient, the city is walkable (as long as you don’t mind a few hills), and the views are incredible. There are also really tons of great day trips from San Francisco. Yes please!

It is a very densely populated city crammed onto the tip of a hilly peninsula. Driving a car is much more trouble than it is worth. You will have a much better time walking, bicycling, or taking public transportation or Uber. Additionally, California has good small cities like Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, and Monterey. Then there are the quaint and fun small towns like Grass Valley, Sonora, Ferndale, Ojai, Mount Shasta, Pismo Beach, Healdsburg, and Mendocino. The list goes on and on.

Taking a tour to San Francisco Bay, driving through the Golden Gate Bridge, wandering around the Fisherman's Wharf and touring Alcatraz are some of the exploring experiences. Enjoy the natural island paradises of great beauty while traveling the US or a weekend in NYC or a weekend in San Francisco.

San Francisco is known for the Golden Gate, Alcatraz Island, Twin Peaks or the trams that run the steep streets of the city. Among things to do on a weekend in San Francisco you can visit some of its most unique neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Japantown, Haight area or Ashbury (cradle of the hippie movement).

If you want to stay local, there are some great wineries in the area (Michael David Winery is wonderful and just a mile east on RT 12), and downtown Lodi is a great small town to visit. South of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is located.

Its exclusive fireworks, long cruise ride, live music and theater performances are what makes it’s nightlife stand out in the race. This reminds me of our last year’s New Year Eve when we got super happy availing Chiquito deals to satisfy our Mexican taste buds and saved a lot more in pocket. We can admit we all have sneaked a peek on our calendar that this years' New Year's night is falling on Thursday.

Make your reservations at least 4-5 months ahead of time to avoid last minute surprises!

Quick Note: Bookmark this page to come back later and start reading where you last left.

Best San Francisco New Year's Eve Parties

Let's take a look at the umpteen exciting fun and feast activities for this year's New Year night and day that would make you pack your bags and fly-off to San Francisco!

1. Fireworks by the Bay

If you are taking a costly excursion to SF for NYE then you obviously don’t just want to stay in a fancy hotel room and order room service. San Francisco is famous for its excellent fireworks show on NYE which you surely don’t want to miss! So, a stunning firework display is must-to-attend on December 31st night at the Ferry Building, Embarcadero. The show starts at sharp 12 so be there early and reserve your spot.

2. Live Music Concert in SF

If you’re not much of a person who can simply stand on the bay and watch fireworks with hundreds of others then this plan is for you! As we all know SF has many other attractions to be at on New Year’s Eve. Well, a live music concert and music shows are part of it. You will catch these shows on almost every other street running all day and night.

Whereas, the top shows usually take place in The Fillmore, The Warfield and The Independent. It is recommended to check their specific NYE schedule online to avoid end moment hustle.

3. Dining With a View in SF

Would you love that? Obviously. Dine-out with your friends or family on New Year’s Eve with a stunning view of Embarcadero fireworks display right from outside your table’s window. One Market restaurant offers a classic view that would catch your eyes right to the fireworks on the bay. This restaurant offers two timing slots that require reservation before a month or two so that you don’t have to wait in long queues.

The time slots are 6 - 7:30 and 8:30 – 10 for NYE and the ticket will cost you an approx $90.

4. Hit the Cruise on NYE in SF

Hear us out before making assumptions. SF is one of the very few cities in the US where you can find this type of activity to spend New Year’s Eve. SF offers a wide range of dining facility cruises as well as some of them which include music shows and midnight adult parties. To talk about a few topmost picks from our list includes:

Speakeasy – Displaying a grand firework show at midnight where you can dance on the water. You can also treat yourself from an open bar on the cruise.

Hornblower – Premium quality cruise with an exclusive high-end dining facility of a six-course gourmet meal. This cruise departs from the shore at 9 pm and believe me, you’ll have a time of your life in 4 hours till you get back by 1 am.

5. NYE’s Moonlight Cocktail Party

Something not to miss on New Year’s Eve is the cocktail party at Alchemist Bar & Lounge from 9 pm to 2 am. They offer a huge combination of mixed drinks with additional sides. Along with a cocktail in one hand, you can relish on-floor dance, classic music and a midnight champagne toast at sharp 12 am.

6. Cityscape on NYE – Tourist Attraction

If you are already tired of going to crowded places on previous New Year’s nights then plan something different this year. Reach out to the 49th floor of Cityscape Lounge where you will witness an unforgettable view on NYE and all night long. The set up includes an open range of drinks, trending music and a midnight toast to make this evening special.

This event gets sponsored by Moet & Chandon and the event begins at 9 pm till 1 am. The tickets are as cheap as $150 per person.

7. Japanese Ring-Bell Ritual in SF

Not every day you get a chance like this because this ceremony gets exclusively performed in San Francisco on New Year. Asian Art Museum is where this ceremony takes place between 11 am – 1 pm on December 31st. This huge Buddhist bell gets rang 108 times (to represent torment of humanity) to welcome a new year with a clean heart. Be there early, who knows, you can be one of the lucky ones to strike the bell.

California usually has better weather, because it’s less humid. California weather is usually predictable in any one location, but temperatures can change drastically if you simply drive an hour away to a different location.
Kalyan Panja