Team Luna Rossa Swordfish competes in a fleet race during the America's Cup World Series. ( Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

If you had a jet pack, you could do it all in a day: Listen to blue grass Sunday morning in Golden Gate Park, then zoom over to Candlestick Park taking a bit of the Italian Heritage Parade and the Castro Street Fair en route to the 49ers game while the Blue Angels thunder overhead, leaving in time to get a glimpse of the towering America’s Cup catamarans as they race across Bay, then blasting over to AT&T Park to watch the Giants.

We’re guessing you don’t have any such sci-fi exemption from the laws of space and time. And if you try traveling between any of these events in an automobile you’re likely to spend your day pounding on the steering wheel.

But fortunately, BART and Muni are both stepping up their efforts this weekend. With this guide you can see what you most want to, without getting stuck.

Here’s what’s happening:

Fleet Week
This celebration of US naval power and rehearsal of rescue operations kicked off when the USS Makin sailed into the San Francisco Bay on Wednesday, but the main events are Saturday and Sunday, including ship tours, weapons displays, Navy and Marine Band concerts, a parade of ships coming under the Golden Gate Bridge, and fireworks. You can get the details on this schedule. These events take place from Crissy Field to Aquatic Park, with special activities at Pier 80.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Started as a free festival of bluegrass by philanthropist Warren Hellman, the show has expanded to include other genres, but it has stayed free. This schedule shows dozens of acts starting Friday and continuing through 12:40 p.m. Sunday at six stages. The FAQ page gives detailed instructions about parking and transit. Want to avoid the traffic altogether while still catching some of the show? Watch this live video.

The America’s Cup
If you’d rather watch sailing, then you can take in one of the world’s premiere competitions in this sport. The regatta began on Wednesday and resumes Friday at 4:50 p.m., continuing at 4 p.m. Saturday. There are America’s cup-related events throughout most of the day Saturday and Sunday, as you can see if you scroll down to the bottom of this web page. The America’s Cup main viewing area and “village” is located at Marina Green.

The Giants
Baseball’s your pastime? The San Francisco Giants take on the Cincinnati Reds in their best-of-five National League division playoff series at 6:30 p.m. at AT&T Ballpark Saturday and at the same time Sunday. Here are the details on getting to and from.

For football, head instead to the 49ers against the Buffalo Bills at Candlestick Park, starting at 1:15 p.m. You’ll find directions, including transit, on this page.

Italian Heritage Parade
You can meet Christopher Columbus, eat Italian food and generally enjoy the heritage of North Beach along Columbus Avenue. Here’s the transit advice.

Castro Street Fair
A bunch of streets will close down for this enormous block party. You can use these transportation tips.

How to get there (or away):

If we have convinced you to leave your car behind, you can take advantage of increased service on BART. Here’s the promise from the Bay Area’s main commuter rail service:

BART will begin to ramp up for the big weekend on Friday with longer trains than typical during non-peak hours and by adding special event trains Friday evening, including trains timed to carry passengers leaving the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.

The increased capacity continues Saturday and Sunday with up to a dozen special event trains and longer trains all day long each day. BART is also calling in extra Station Agents to help passengers and more technicians to keep the equipment operating efficiently.

These passenger trains run up and down the Penninsula through the weekend.

Once in San Francisco, you will need a way to get from BART or the Caltrain station to your event. Here’s where Muni comes in, with additional Fleet Week and America’s Cup buses. The agency is also facing the music by adding Hardly Strictly Blue Grass buses. And it is offering special transit maps for both the Giants and the 49ers.

Avoid Bad Traffic While Enjoying Big SF Weekend Events With This Guide 8 October,2012Laird Harrison

  • A fan

    That Youtube video is not San Francisco.

    • Laird Harrison

      Thanks. We’re taking that one down and putting up a new post with video and photos from the weekend. If you’ve got some good ones, please send them to

  • pingping

    You forgot the best event all weekend, Burning Man decompression…

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