Happy New Year, San Francisco! Whether you plant to skip the late-night parties and celebrate with a morning hike, or you’re searching for epic night out plans, there are plenty of ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. Keep reading for some of our favorite ways to celebrate the end of 2023, and start 2024 on the right note.
SFMTA just announced that they’ll offer free Muni rides on New Year’s Eve for the 24th year running. From 8pm on Dec. 31, 2023 through 5am on Jan. 1, 2024, metro fare gates will be open for all travelers to ride freely. Just make sure you don’t tap your Clipper Card to avoid a charge. Visit SFMTA’s NYE travel guide to help you plan your trips.
1. Watch the fireworks show over the SF Bay
People come out in droves each year to check out an epic fireworks show over the San Francisco Bay! The display will kick off right at midnight and last about 15-20 minutes. Be sure to get there early for the best seating, which tends to be along the waterfront between the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge.
Here are a handful of boat cruises where you can see the fireworks on the water:
2. Watch LCD Sound System at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
LCD Sound System is coming to San Francisco to celebrate the new year in style. The concert promises to be a memorable night with openers 2manydjs and Peaches. Tickets for the musical endeavor doesn’t come cheap, General Admission is priced at $125. There will also be a show on Dec 30 if you can’t make the NYE concert.
3. It’s a New Day + Breakfast of Champions Block Party at The Great Northern
This epic 17 hour event is the perfect way to start 2024 if you love dancing the night (and day) away. The party is on its 24th year, with over 100 DJs across 10 stages. The massive party starts on January 1st at 4 am and invites San Franciscans to dance and enjoy the music until 9 pm January 1st.
4. Browse even more New Year’s Eve parties in SF
If you’re looking for even more glamorous ways to ring in the new year, these parties at SF bars and restaurants have something for everyone.
- Top of the Mark NYE at Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
- MOANY at The Regency Ballroom
- Deco & Decadence at Hawthorn
- International Ball at W Hotel
- Public Works NYE with Sabo and Goldcap
- New Years Eve at SF wine bar Press Club
- Blinding Lights: The Weekend Party NYE Celebration at DNA Lounge
- Eras: The Taylor Swift NYE Extravaganza at DNA Lounge
Enjoy an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party with tickets to this ultimate SF bar crawl on December 31st. Don your most festive 2024 outfit and enjoy admission-free entry to participating bars, plus drink specials and endless champagne toasts.
6. Polar Bear Skate at Union Square Ice Rink
Union Square Ice Rink is the place to be all the way through January 15, 2024. They always celebrate the New Year with “Polar Bear Skate,” a popular Canadian tradition, in which skaters don their favorite bathing suit or beach attire to “take the plunge” on the ice! Prizes will be given for best costumes and tickets cost $25.
7. Kwanzaa and Noon Year’s Eve at Thrive City
Ring in 2024 and celebrate the culture of Kwanzaa with a midday ball drop and countdown, arts and crafts, treats, and music by Fela Kuti from The Rock and Roll Playhouse. The free celebration goes down at Thrive City beneath their 80-foot holiday tree, but make sure you RSVP.
8. New Year’s One Day Race In San Jose
In this New Year’s Day race, participants can run as many 1-mile laps as they like around to celebrate the start of the new year. The biggest go-getters are known to spend the entire day running upwards of 100 laps, which is a fair motivation for those of us trying to step up our exercise in the new year.
9. Buy fresh Dungeness crab off the boat at Fisherman’s Wharf
California’s commercial crab season is experiencing long delays again this year, but KQED reports that the season may begin as soon as New Year’s Day. That means that the beloved local Dungeness crab will likely be available to kick off your 2024 meals and last through the spring. Get ready to purchase fresh live crab right off the boat in a beloved SF tradition.
10. Join the New Year’s Day Plunge at Ocean Beach
Would you take a New Year’s Day swim at Ocean Beach? If the answer is yes, then you’re in good company. The Riptide bar in SF’s Outer Sunset neighborhood is once again hosting a warm-up and after-party for the annual New Year’s Day Plunge at 12pm on January 1st at Ocean Beach and Taraval Street.
The Riptide will be facilitating a pre-plunge warm-up before the event and hosting an afterparty immediately following the plunge. The post-plunge party features a special menu of hot drinks to enjoy by the bar’s roaring fireplace.
11. Host the ultimate at-home celebration
For those of us planning on a low-key celebration amid rising Covid numbers, this one’s for you: Pick up some nice booze from a local wine bar or brewery; round out your charcuterie board with some nice meats and cheeses from Molinari or The Epicurean Trader; and get a new board game at SF’s Gamescape or Game Post. See last year’s roundup of Covid-safe NYE activities for more inspiration.
12. Make a reservation at one of these awesome outdoor brunch spots
Some would argue that brunch is the most important meal of the day. Be sure to get your recommended daily allowance of crispy bacon, fluffy pancakes, mimosas, and egg scrambles at these 10 spectacular brunch spots around the city.
13. Go for a memorable day trip around the Bay Area
We love San Francisco for its countless activities to enjoy everywhere you go. But anytime there’s a long weekend or a free day, we’re quite well-located to check out some neighboring California gems. Be sure to put these day trips on your to-do list for the next time you want to get out of the City and into nature.
14. Get some fresh air on a breathtaking local hike
Whether you’re looking for a quick stroll in the city or a more strenuous day hike in Marin, you’ll love these incredible hikes for a chance to stretch your legs. Take a break from your routine to breathe in some fresh ocean air and admire the city you love.
15. Go for a brisk winter walk around the city
Take this as your friendly reminder to get your steps in! San Francisco is full of endless places to explore, and in a city like this it’s essential to enjoy the little things. Whether you need a new dog walking route for 2024 or just need to clear your head, these places around the city will get the job done.
- Bernal Heights
- Marina Green
- Salesforce Park
- And more
16. Get a new perspective at a Bay Area observatory
When’s the last time you turned your attention skyward? The Bay Area has several public observatories where you can take a break from your earthly qualms and get lost in a galaxy far, far away. Whether you seek to gain some distance from this giant blue marble, or you want to get into a conversation about aliens, these four local observatories have you covered with public telescope viewings and more.
- Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton (open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day)
- Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland (open on New Year’s Eve, closed on New Year’s Day)
- And more
17. Treat yourself to a spa day at a local sauna
San Francisco is known for its famously chilly weather but is luckily also home to some world-class saunas and spas. Celebrate your New Year’s Eve in SF with a relaxing spa day by warming yourself up and start 2024 feeling cleansed and refreshed at these essential spots.
18. Enjoy a meal at one of these charming local picnic spots
San Francisco is home to some of the best parks and gardens in the world, so there’s no shortage of awesome picnic spots for you to enjoy a socially distanced meal with friends. Whether you want to support a local cafe and get some amazing food to go, or you prefer to pack your own delicious recipe to enjoy out in the sunshine, you’ll love all of these great options. Some are SF staples, and some are a little less well-known.
- Conservatory of Flowers
- Old Speedway Meadow
- Pine Lake Park
- And more
19. Top up your 2024 bucket list with these hidden gems around NorCal
California is home to some of the most incredible nature spots in the world, from towering mountain ranges, to pristine beaches, to ancient redwood trees. Northern California in particular is beloved for its dramatic rocky beaches and mountainous terrain, making for some magnificent natural spectacles.
20. Go exploring at a fascinating local tide pool
If you’re a California native lucky enough to live on the coast, then you know that tide pooling is an awesome way to enjoy the beach. We’ve put together a list of great tide pools to visit around the Bay Area, so put on your best waterproof shoes and get ready to explore.
- Duxbury Reef Reserve
- Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
- Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park
- And more
21. Catch the last sunset of the year at these gorgeous viewing spots
There’s truly no shortage of excellent places to see a sunset in the Bay, but we wanted to get to the bottom of where locals love to watch the sky light up. Here are a few tried-and-true spots recommended by locals.
22. Sip on cocktails with a view at a local rooftop bar
Everyone knows that rooftops in San Francisco are few and far between, but we managed to round up some stellar spots to try out when you’re looking to grab dinner or drinks with a view. A chic rooftop bar is a classic way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, plus you might be able to catch a glimpse of some fireworks.
23. Have a romantic evening on an outdoor patio
The perfect romantic date spot can take a variety of forms, but a night of upscale dining al fresco is a classic go-to. We rounded up 10 restaurants with magical outdoor patios to enjoy a variety of delicious food options, creative cocktails, and much more.
24. Go to a special NYE Circus in Downtown SF
A big top circus tent recently popped-up in Downtown San Francisco, and the classic circus troupe will have three dazzling performances on New Years Eve. The performances start at Noon, 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm and will feature a classic countdown to 2024. Circus Bella includes classic acts such as jugglers, contortionists, acrobats, and more. Plus, a 6-piece band will play live music to accompany the 12-person troupe.
By Jamie Ferrell and Dana Flynn