America's Cup Travel Tips

Looking for San Francisco attractions to fill up your last days of summer? The “Summer of Racing,” a competition drawing talented sailors from around the globe to compete in a yacht race for America’s Cup, is drawing to a close—which only means the competition is getting more fierce. Not sure what America’s Cup is all about? You’re probably not the only one. Take a look at our America’s Cup travel tips to learn more about one of the most prestigious and unique San Francisco attractions this summer.

A Bit of History

America’s Cup is often cited as the “oldest trophy in international sports.” Its origins reach all the way back to 1851 when the America, representing the New York Yacht Club, beat out all of the British yachts in the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Pound Cup. The owners of the America donated their trophy to the New York Yacht Club under a Deed of Gift, which proclaimed that the trophy was to be “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.” Thus, America’s Cup was born.
Image of Boat, Sailboat, Vehicle, Water, Waterfront, City, Watercraft, Nature, Night, Outdoors, Astronomy, Moon, Rocket, America's Cup 2012 hosted by Italy.
The United States held on to the cup for well over 100 years before finally being dethroned by Australia in 1983. To this day, only four countries have won possession of the cup: the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

2013 America’s Cup in San Francisco

For the first time ever, the racing events are being held in San Francisco, where finicky winds and large swells prevail. The Louis Vuitton Cup Final finishes up in August, leading into America’s Cup, which starts on Septemeber 7th and presents the final race on September 21st. In the final, the Oracle Team USA, backed by Larry Ellison will defend their cup and title. You can find a full schedule of races on the official America’s Cup website.

Where to Watch

The action all takes places in the San Francisco Bay between the northern shore and Alcatraz Island, running from Crissy Field to Piers 27-29. There are two great venues, designed specifically for spectators of the Cup: America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29 and America’s Cup Village at Marina Green. Both venues have ample space and offer prime viewing.
Image of Water, Waterfront, City, Metropolis, Urban, Cityscape, Pier, Harbor, Boat, Sailboat, Vehicle, San Francisco's waterfront is the scene of this year's Cup.
America’s Cup Park is the newest attraction along the Embarcadero and is open daily through the summer. Features include PUMA YARD, housing the official America’s Cup and ORACLE TEAM USA stores; a fleet of some of the finest superyachts in the world, The America’s Cup Sports Bar, the Kid’s Zone with children’s activities, and many more attractions and events. America’s Cup Village, though only open on race days, offers the best view of the start line and numerous feature attractions. like the Fan Zone, the Healthy Ocean Project Lounge, and a variety of stores in the Merchandise Zone. The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is also hosted at the Village.

How to Get There

There are many options for getting to San Francisco’s beautiful waterfront. Roads along the Waterfront will be congested with traffic and parking will be strictly managed, so if you can avoid driving in, you’ll likely be better off. Take public transit, ride a bike in, or arrive on foot for the most relaxed experience. If you absolutely must drive, there are a small number of event parking lots designated for America’s Cup events. To plan your public transit trip, visit

America’s Cup Concert Series

To complement the races, America’s Cup hosts a Concert Series at America’s Cup Pavilion, located at America’s Cup Park. The outdoor arena holds 9,000 people and hosts concerts through October 2013. Some of the biggest upcoming acts include Jason Mraz with Walk Off the Earth, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, The Lumineers with Dr. Dog and Nathaniel Rateliff, and the Avett Brothers with Nicholas David

Explore San Francisco

Image of Bridge, The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco's most iconic attraction.
While in San Francisco, enjoy the scenic splendor, diverse neighborhoods, restaurants, and cultural attractions. You can get out on the water yourself and channel the adventurous spirit of the sailors. For a relaxing venture on the water, take the 90-minute Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise which will take you up close to the famous Golden Gate Bridges as well as the Bay Bridge and offer a fantastic view of everything in between, including Treasure Island and Alcatraz. If you’re feeling more adventurous, hop on board the Rocket Boat, a thrilling 30-minute cruise speeding by the top San Francisco attractions at an impressive 51 MPH. Of course, you can always stay on land and take advantage of one of most bike-friendly cities in the United States. A three-hour guided bike tour that takes you from downtown, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and out to Sausalito provides the perfect amount of sightseeing and outdoor recreation. You can enjoy all three of these attractions with the Smart Destinations’ Sailing Cup Package, designed specifically for this event. With a 23% percent savings off of combined admission prices, there’s no reason not to make the most of San Francisco attractions.
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