Los Angeles's Fleet Week starts Friday and runs through Monday — and it's totally free. Most of the advance tickets for free tours of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships are sold out, but you can still come and have a chance to get on a ship.
Plus, there's a lot more to do, from watching aerial flyovers every hour on the hour to taking in a concert by the iconic '70s band Jefferson Starship. We talked to Port of Los Angeles spokesperson Phillip Sanfield and got all the details.
Pro tip: Sanfield offered his advice on how to make the most of your trip. "For an ideal day, I would say come early, have comfortable walking shoes, bring the family and have patience."
Here are the event highlights:
- Ship photos: Just because you can't get one for a tour doesn't mean you can't enjoy the majestic ships and take photos. Who doesn't want a Navy-ship selfie?
- Another ship: You can visit the USS Iowa, which is now a permanent museum. You'll still have to pay, but at discounted rates all weekend.
- Aerial flyovers: Yes, there will be flyovers — a lot of them. They start with a U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Demonstration on Friday at 1 p.m., then continue hourly Saturday through Monday. Featured aircraft include an Aero L-39 Albatros, a Boeing-Stearman Model 75 (aka the "Yellow Peril"), a North American SNJ-5, a P-51 Mustang, a Vultee BT-13 Valiant, a USCG MH-60T Jayhawk and a USCG MH-65 Dolphin.
- Music: The headliner is Jefferson Starship, playing at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, but there will also be music at various times during the day, including Santana cover band The Topics, Elvis impersonator George Thomas and more.
- Fireworks: Stick around after Jefferson Starship — at 9:45 p.m. Saturday — for a fireworks display.
- Exhibits: A Navy medical field unit, as well as some dog units, will be on display. There will be also be sailors and marines to meet, who will display some of their equipment.
- Food trucks: Seeing everything that Fleet Week has to offer will likely make you hungry. So there will be food truck, including Dogtown Dogs, Slammin' Sliders, Fries N More, Good Greek Grub and A ROCKin ICE.
- The race: For those interested in running, there's a Conquer The Bridge race on the Vincent Thomas Bridge starting at 7 a.m. on Monday. Some military personnel will be participating.
- STEM Expo: An expo promoting science, technology, engineering and math will be on location, offering hands-on exhibits and displays.
- Lots of vehicles: See military, fire, police and other emergency vehicles — in addition to other equipment.
- Getting on that ship: If you're determined to get on a ship, be prepared to wait (with no guarantee you'll get in a tour). If you don't already have a ticket for a tour, Sanfield recommends checking out the exhibit area and talking to personnel to see if there's a chance to get on a ship.
Where: The event is all along the L.A. Harbor waterfront, near the World Cruise Center at Swinford and 1st streets.
When: The event opens at 8:30 a.m. Friday, with most events each day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Saturday: 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Sunday: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (with the Bob Hope USO Hollywood Canteen at 6 p.m.on the USS Iowa, though that requires a ticket)
- Monday: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (but there's also the early morning Conquer The Bridge run starting at 7, museums opening earlier, and aerial demonstrations starting at 10)
Parking: There will be parking along the waterfront, Sanfield said, as well as parking shuttles and a downtown San Pedro trolley service. Plus, if you park in downtown San Pedro, it's only a couple of blocks' walk to the event. You can find more details on parking here.
L.A. has celebrated Navy Days before, but this is the first expanded Fleet Week. Officials are hoping for as many as 200,000 people to visit, Sanfield said. (More than 15,000 people have already watched a couple of the ships come into port.)
You can find more details online at LAFleetWeek.com.