Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, translates into a quick get-away for many people in San Francisco. If you’re staying put, though, here’s your guide to the long weekend, May 25-27, 2013. Besides having fun in the sun, consider the original reason for Memorial Day, and go to a ceremony that commemorates the Americans who have died while serving in the military.
San Francisco Decorator Showcase
Through May 27; hours vary
Herbst Manor, a Georgian mansion in Pacific Heights built in 1899, gets a make-over from two dozen interior and landscape designers. Oooh and aahhh over the furnishings, décor, the penthouse with wrap-around terrace and the views. Benefits the financial aid program of the private San Francisco University High School.
At 2800 Pacific Ave., San Francisco. Tickets $25, 30.
Treasure Island Flea
May 25 & 26, at 10 am–4 pm
The open-air flea market (that refuses to put “market” in its name) celebrates its second birthday with games, magic and hula hoop performances, free appraisals of your treasures, DIY workshops, give-aways, a wine garden and food trucks. And, of course, many Bay Area artisans and vendors offering new and vintage clothing and accessories, antiques, specialty foods, home décor items and other miscellany.
At Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island. Admission free-$3. Free parking.
Carnaval San Francisco
May 25 & 26, at 10 am-6 pm
The two-day explosion of Latin American and Caribbean cultures includes dancing galore (samba, tango, salsa and cumbia, to name just a few varieties), drumming, music, food, an art expo, children’s activities and health screenings. On May 26, the popular Carnaval Grand Parade takes off at 9:30 am from 24th and Bryant and prances west to Mission Street, then to 17th Street, and then east to the festival area.
On Harrison between 16th and 24th streets. Free.
Burmese New Year Water Festival
May 26, at 11 am-5 pm
Burmese food, traditional dances and music, a beauty pageant, cultural exhibits, games, community organizations and a water-playing area (yes, you'll be doused) are all part of Thingyan, the water festival.
At Kennedy Park, 1333 Decoto Rd., Union City 94587. Free.
USS San Francisco Memorial Ceremony
May 26, at 12-1:30 pm
Wreath laying, remarks by military leaders, and taps. The cruiser USS San Francisco was built at the Mare Island naval shipyard and launched in 1933. It was in nearly every Pacific battle from when the US entered World War II until the war ended. The USS San Francisco Memorial, consisting of a shell-ridden section of the ship’s bridge, overlooks the Pacific. Memorial Day observances have been held at its site since 1950.
At the USS San Francisco Memorial Park at Lands End, off Camino del Mar in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Free.
Lost Boat Memorial Day Ceremony
May 27 at 10 am
Submarine veterans commemorate submariners who were lost at sea. A bell tolls 52 times, once for each US submarine lost during World War II, and the fate of its crew is read aloud.
On the USS Pampanito, Pier 45 along Fisherman’s Wharf, at Taylor St. and The Embarcadero. Info & RSVPs: (415) 775-1943 ext. 13.
Exploratorium Open on Memorial Day
May 27, at 10 am-5 pm
Normally closed on Mondays, the new and improved Exploratorium is making an exception for Memorial Day. Its waterfront space is three times larger than its old home, so there's plenty to explore.
At Pier 15, San Francisco 94111. General admission: Free, $19, $25. Bay Area residents: Free, $15, $20.
The Presidio's Memorial Day Commemoration
May 27, at 10:30 am
San Francisco’s biggest Memorial Day observance. The 191st U.S. Army Band leads a parade from the Main Post (near Lincoln and Sheridan streets) to San Francisco National Cemetery. There, a formal ceremony (11 am-12 noon) includes music, remarks by military and civilian dignitaries and a 21-gun salute. This year's program pays tribute especially to World War II and Korean War vets. The National Park Service then leads 30-minute tours of the cemetery.
The cemetery in the Presidio is an official National Historic Landmark District. It contains the graves of more than 35,000 veterans and their family members, dating back to the 1846 war with Mexico.
At the Presidio. From 9:30 am-1:30 pm, free shuttle service between the Main Post and National Cemetery. Free admission and parking. Info: (415) 561-5300.
Cypress Lawn Memorial Day Program
May 27, at 1 pm
The Colma cemetery displays a long line of U.S. flags and presents its annual service, said to be the largest Memorial Day tribute in San Mateo County.
At Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park, 1370 El Camino Real, Colma 94014. Free.