San Diego has a long military tradition as an important center for the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines. It’s no surprise that the city puts on amazing Fleet Week events to celebrate its men and women in uniform and to showcase ships and aircraft.

First, find a place to stay in San Diego!

When is Fleet Week?

Fleet Week San Diego has been in existence since 1997 and is one of the city’s most popular events each year. Held every autumn, this year’s Fleet Week will take place from September 3rd to October 1st - nearly an entire month of celebration. Events include US Navy ship tours at Broadway Pier, a sea and air parade in the Port of San Diego, the Miramar Air Show from September 23rd to 25th, a Marine Corps boot camp challenge, and the Cabrillo Festival, which celebrates the Portuguese navigator Cabrillo landing in San Diego in 1542.

Fleet Week San Diego Events

Enlisted members of the military have two special events during Fleet Week: the Enlisted Golf Tournament and the Enlisted Recognition Luncheon which honors 200 distinguished enlisted military members. Community members are invited to attend the luncheon if they are interested. The Fleet Week Football Classic, held at Qualcomm Stadium, features the San Diego State Aztecs and halftime performances from the Marine, Navy and SDSU bands. The pregame ceremony includes flyovers and parachutists, too!

Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival

Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival 2016 is also a major part of the Fleet Week activities. Car enthusiasts come from all over the country to watch and participate in racing on a live runway that is used by the US Navy. See fast cars from the present and the past, like pre war sports cars and historic Trans Am cars. This is a fun event to attend with your family.

At the Miramar Air Show, you will have the opportunity to watch the US Navy’s Blue Angels as well as see a Marine Air-Ground Task Force demonstration. Last year, the Brietling Jet Team came all the way from Europe, and this year will probably have some special surprises, too.

Where to Stay During Fleet Week in San Diego

September and October are an excellent time to visit San Diego: the water temperature at the beach is the warmest it gets all year, and the warm weather provides ample opportunities for relaxing beach days. If you’re planning to visit San Diego for Fleet Week, make sure that you allow enough time to explore the city and beaches during this wonderful time of the year!

If you’re excited about the Coronado Speed Festival or the Port of San Diego Sea & Air Parade at San Diego Bay, consider a vacation rental in Coronado or downtown San Diego. Restaurant and nightlife lovers will enjoy staying in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. If you’re looking forward to spending some time at the beach, the neighborhoods of Sunset Cliffs and Ocean Beach are great options. Further north, La Jolla has charming boutique stores and a beautiful beach if you are looking to combine your Fleet Week visit with the feeling of a real getaway. La Jolla is also a good place to look if you’re most looking forward to the air show at Miramar Marine Corps Base: it’s a quick half-hour drive to the east, and you can still stay close to the beach.

San Diego Visitors Resources:

Where to Stay in San Diego: City Neighborhood Guide

What to do With Kids in San Diego

Taste the Best of San Diego's Beer Scene

Visit San Diego's Urban Wineries

San Diego for Seniors

This article was written by Cathy Trainor.