10/02/2012 12:00:00 PM

5 Ways to Partake in SF's Fleet Week and America's Cup Races

If you’re even the least bit agoraphobic, you might want to stay home this weekend. With the unprecedented amount of crowd-clogging activities taking place in the city, from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and the Castro Street Fair to the Giants play-off games, moving around the city isn’t going to be pretty. San Francisco’s waterfront in particular will be getting double the love this weekend as it revs up to host both Fleet Week and the America’s Cup World Series races. Here are five ways to enjoy the waterfront festivities in your own style.

In the Thick of It: Fleet Week Air Show Reserved Seating at the Marina Green 
If the roar of the Blue Angels and the thrill of all those aerobatic tricks really gets you going, there’s still time to reserve box seats and premium Flight Deck Club seats (the latter of which gets you higher-up seats plus a full buffet and drinks) down at the Marina Green park to watch all the official Fleet Week events Friday-Sunday. (Access to the park is free, but reserved seating starts at $15-$40 a day; Flight Deck Club seats are $120-$195 depending on the day. For ticket info and to reserve, go to the official Fleet Week website.)

Hipster-Style: Off the Pier
Grab your picnic blanket and your cash and head to Fort Mason on Saturday between 11 AM and 5 PM to enjoy the waterfront craziness with a Vietnamese sandwich, an ice-cold beer and a creamy crème brûlée in hand at Off the Pier, the newest incarnation of Off the Grid. Off the Pier will feature over 20 food trucks and carts from the city’s top vendors; wine, beer and cocktails from several outdoor pop-up bars; and live music from local bands. (Admission is free; individual food and drink sold separately. Ft. Mason, Marina Boulevard and Laguna Street. For more info, check out the Facebook event page)

High-Style (Literally): Top of the Mark
If money is no object, then leave the riffraff behind and catch the air and water shows from the cushiness of your reserved window seat at Nob Hill’s Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. It’ll set you back $200 per couple, but diners who reserve the special package (available Tuesday through Sunday during all operating hours) get guaranteed window seating for optimal race viewing, along with a bottle of Moët & Chandon Imperial and a cheese plate followed by a full spread that includes Dungeness crab bits, salmon rillete, za’atar ahi tuna, fennel-poached shrimp and s’mores with Valrhona milk chocolate. (To reserve, contact the restaurant at 415-616-6940; 1 Nob Hill) 

Napa-Style: Viewing Party at the Bank Bar at the Westin Verasa 
Ditch the city crowds altogether, and watch the America’s Cup races on the big screen with a glass of Cab in tow up in Napa at the Bank Cafe and Bar in the Westin Verasa. The casual hotel lobby bar adjacent to La Toque will be hosting a viewing party on Sunday from 1:30-3 PM. In addition to watching all the sailing action (with unobstructed views, natch) on the large flat-screen TV, guests will be able to tipple “The Oracle” Cabernet Sauvignon by Miner Family, a wine typically only available by the bottle, but will be available by the glass ($28) for the afternoon. In addition, Bank’s regular food menu will be available during the race viewing. (Admission to the viewing party is free, reservations not required. For more info call 707-257-7171).

An Eating Tribute: Scallop and Oyster Fair at Chaya Brasserie
Ok, this promo won’t get you any viewing privileges, but in honor of the sailing and flying activities taking place just outside its doors, from now through October 14, the Embarcadero's Chaya Brasserie is hosting a "Scallop and Oyster Fair," which is essentially a special à la carte Euro-Asian dinner menu that showcases fresh oysters and live scallops in a plethora of preparations including scallop sashimi and nigiri, scallop pot pie, scallop ceviche and oyster shooters. In addition, the bar will be paying homage to the sailing race with nautically named cocktails such as the New York Drunken Sailor, Miami Black and Pearl and the Boston Foggy Moon. (For reservations call 415-777-8688 or go online)


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