New Year's Eve Fireworks in San FranciscoThe Embarcadero Fireworks Show goes off at midnight over the Ferry Building. To view it from the street, head toward the end of Market Street at The Embarcadero. You can also watch from inside at hotels with a good view, especially the Hotel Vitale, Harbor Court and the Hyatt Regency, but you'll need to make reservations well in advance.
For a different perspective on the pyrotechnics, City Kayak offers a New Year's Eve Fireworks Kayak Trip for experienced paddlers only, but you'll have to reserve early - it sells out more than a month in advance.
New Year's Eve CruisesTake a sail around the bay, have dinner and dance the night away on a Hornblower New Year's Eve Cruise, aboard paddlewheeler San Francisco Belle or the Commodore New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise which departs from Alameda's Mariner Square.
Other big New Year's Eve parties include Sea of Dreams New Year's Eve at SF Concourse and Mother of All New Years at the San Francisco Design Center. San Francisco Station has a listing of lots more parties, too.
New Year's Eve in San Francisco Without the Music and AlcoholIf you'd like to have some fun on New Year's Eve but aren't a dancer or a drinker, try one of these:
- Japanese New Year Bell Ringing Ceremony: According to Japanese custom, striking a temple bell 108 times symbolically welcomes the New Year and curbs the 108 mortal desires which Buddhists believe torment humankind. The Asian Art Museum honors this tradition striking a sixteenth-century Japanese bronze bell which once hung in a Japanese temple with a large, custom-hewn log. Bell ringing starts at noon, but you'll need to be there early to pick up a numbered ticket to get your chance to ring the new year in - and in some years, it may happen on the 30th.