Residents of San Francisco and visitors alike tend to throw themselves into the New Years Eve party with typical gusto. There are events and parties across the city with all the restaurants fully booked and bars packed. As midnight approaches the crowds start to hit the streets for the firework displays, with the Golden Gate Bridge lighting up San Francisco Bay with a selection of fireworks that can be seen for miles around.
San Francisco is renowned as a pretty chilled out city and is also one of the safer US venues so you shouldn't have too many problems getting out and about over new year's eve - the locals are known for their welcoming nature and friendliness too so you'll be making new friends in no time. We have visited SF in the past, but not on new year's eve, so it is a place we'll definitely have to check out one year!
San Francisco is another big city that holds big free public fireworks, making use of it's excellent setting on SF Bay and the impressive backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge. The main show is best viewed from the Embarcadero, between Mission and Folsom, where you'll have a great view of the pyrotechnics as they are launched from barges moored out in the bay, and set to background music for the additional dramatic effect!
Some of the best views for watching the fireworks are around the Ferry Building and Justin Herman Plaza. The large sidewalk areas to the south of the Ferry Building are especially sought after vantage points, but you will need to get there early to secure a decent spot. Rincon Park is also a good choice, take a blanket and some snacks and chill out while you wait.
Many people choose to actually take to the water to secure themselves the best possible vantage point for viewing the fireworks, and one event that has become very popular is the Speakeasy NYE Cruise, which takes you out on the bay on board the Fume Blanc Commodore for a 4 hour cruise along with food, drinks, card tables and live DJs.
There are plenty of fireworks cruises to choose from, including the very popular New Year's Eve Fireworks Party Cruise Aboard The Harbor Queen as well as those on board The Harbour Princess and The Royal Prince, or for a really lively crowd the NYE Rock The Yacht party is always, well, rocking!
One of the biggest parties in SF for NYE 2016 is the New Years Eve Party at the Pavilion By the Bay, where you get a 7 hour extravaganza of food, and 5 star entertainment, with music provided by top DJs, along with one of the best views of the fireworks over the Bay.
The city's many bars and nightclubs all compete to hold the best new year party too, and there's a vast range to choose from. Top venues include the Fairmont Hotel, the Palace Hotel, Parc 55 Hotel in Union Square, The Westin and the W Hotel. For detailed listings of all of top new year parties in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay area, check out the SF Pipeline.
The city's restaurants will also be running a roaring trade for the occasion, with many special offers and gala dinners to choose from. There are special NYE menus available at most venues, including Ajanta Indian, Atelier Crenn, Garibaldi's on Presidio, Skool and Piazza D'Angelo.
If a restaurant with a view for the fireworks is a priority then there are several good choices, mainly located right on the Embarcadero, including Waterbar (this place has probably the best view, but is a little pricey!), Chaya, Sens Mediterranean and The Epic Roasthouse. See the full range of San Francisco restaurants here.
Places to watch live online, including an excellent streaming live view of the Golden Gate bridge:
If you're planning on visiting SF and the Bay area over the New Year period, then early reservation at your chosen venue is strongly recommended, especially if you're looking for a room with a view - some of the top hotel choices to watch the fireworks from are Hotel Vitale, the Hyatt Regency at the Embarcadero Center, the W San Francisco and The Mandarin Oriental.
You will need to specify that you would like a fireworks view when booking, and also be prepared to pay a premium for the priviliege - click here for the best San Francisco hotel deals.
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