But this year, the planned demonstrations will have an added, more somber message, in line with other recent protests in Baltimore and elsewhere over alleged police brutality.
MacArthur BART station could be a mess during the morning rush hour commute, but it's just one of at least four places where there will be May Day protests.
Commuters are bracing for what's to come on May Day, whether simple protests or worse.
"It's just happening everywhere. And it's like a lot of police activity, you know, you just feel like nervous just in general, because everybody's like, so tense about it," said Yael Rivera of Oakland.
Starting at 7:30 a.m., there will be an anti-gentrification protest in Oakland that organizers say will aim to disrupt the commute. They say they'll go after the tech buses that stop in the area and BART operations by protesting at the gates and on the platforms.
"Maybe you might want to think about carpooling tomorrow, maybe taking different forms of transportation," said Johnna Watson of the Oakland Police Department.
BART officials said they plan to have normal service with additional staff on hand. Police will also be out in force. Sources tell KTVU officers are working 12 hour shifts starting on May Day. All are riding at least two officers per car.
"We are here to support and facilitate the peaceful expression of ideas, of even protests and anger. But we will not tolerate destruction of property or harm to people. And we have put the appropriate plans in place," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
All day, trucks were backed up at the Port of Oakland, because there will be another demonstration on Friday there focused on alleged police brutality.
"In order to join on with the struggle against oppression that is being manifested through police brutality. We decided that we would hold our work stop meeting on May 1st," said Derrick Muhammad of the International Longshoreman's Union.
That means the port will be shut down all day. The uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a BART Police officer in 2009, showed his support for the port action.
"When organized labor gets involved in community issues we are talking about real systemic change that can happen. And that's what we're looking for today," said Cephus Johnson.
There was a leader from the Alan Blueford Center for Justice also on hand.
"The people are united together, to stand together. Community and labor. To join together to fight against the state sponsored police terrorism," said Mollie Costello.
There are also demonstrations planned at noon outside City Hall. And at 7 p.m. there is a planned anti-police march at Latham Square.