Ship Tours, Concerts & A Salute To The Services On The Seas
Living in Los Angeles, you’re not stuck for a lack of things to do anytime, and especially on Labor Day Weekend.
There are events happening all over this vast area the first weekend of September, and one of the biggest is LA Fleet Week in San Pedro.
A salute to the services on the seas, Fleet Week consists of ship tours, plane flyovers, military displays and bands on a stage. Unlike a lot of other Labor Day Weekend events this one is free, tho there are some activities that require admission. They don’t even rip you off for parking; the main lot is just $2 an hour with the first hour free.
The highlight activity of Fleet Week are the free tours of five active military ships. To tour, enter the big domed structure adjacent to the main parking area. You’ll have to wait in a line but the building is comfortable and air conditioned.
I also highly recommend waking through the U.S. Marines display of military equipment and vehicles. Among the weapons is a giant artillery gun that fires a shell capable of traveling 18 miles. That’s almost the equivalent distance of San Pedro to DTLA; imagine being able to reach Staples Center from the end of the 110 freeway. That’s powerful, folks.
There are flyovers Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., ( LACoFD S-70 Firehawk, USN FA-18F Super Hornet VFA-94, and the USN EA-18G Growler VAQ-139 are among the planes) and live music on a stage in front of the USS Iowa from 2-6 p.m.
Plus there’s a lot of other cool events and the people at the exhibits are helpful and friendly. At the Marines station, the Marines are so proud of what they do they talk very passionately about their equipment and duties.
The Fleet Week footprint is also pretty small so you will not be walking for seemingly miles and miles. (Such at, say, the LA County Fair.)
Fleet Week goes from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., and gets several thousand people so it’s advised to get there my mid to late morning and take your time at the event. There are drink booths, food trucks and even a bar with spirits, wine and beer.
For parking, follow the USS Iowa and cruise terminal signs off the 110 freeway to Harbor Drive. Follow the line of cars and park wherever the people tell you to park. There’s a free trolley service if you wind up few blocks away from the event.
The USS Iowa battleship, normally about $30 to board, is $10 during Fleet Week. It is free for current military personnel and veterans.
Fleet Week is presented by Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime and as I was leaving the event on Friday, Amazon Prime was setting up for a prime event that evening. (I counted more than 20 cases of beer being put behind a bar.)