What is the best time to visit San Francisco?

Even though tourists rush to the West during summer, the best time to visit San Francisco is during the Fall from September to November. With summer bringing in unstable weather that can go from sunny to rainy within hours, tourists prefer the Fall season which brings in the city's warmest days and fewer crowds. Another good time to visit the Golden Gate City is during the spring, which offers clear skies and mild temperatures to the visitors, unlike anywhere else in California. Moreover, if you are sure that you can stay warm enough in the chill of the winter months, consider travelling from December to February to grab lower hotel rates and crowd-free tourist spots.

Weather in San Francisco


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Monthly Weather in San Francisco

Month High/Low (°C) Rain
January 14°/ 9° 5 days
February 17°/ 9° 0 days
March 15°/ 9° 5 days
April 16°/ 10° 3 days
May 16°/ 11° 5 days
June 20°/ 13° 0 days
July 18°/ 13° 0 days
August 21°/ 14° 0 days
September 22°/ 14° 0 days
October 21°/ 13° 0 days
November 17°/ 10° 4 days
December 14°/ 10° 12 days

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More about Best Time to Travel to San Francisco

San Francisco in September

With clear skies and 12 hours of daylight, September is the best month to visit the Bay City area. The hotel prices start to fall, and the onset of autumn ensures that days are brighter and rain free. Pack the light layers but remember you will see a lot of the sun too!

Events & Festivals in September
The Labour day is usually celebrated at the beginning of the month, and the celebrations typically mark the end of the peak tourist season, thus starting the hotel discounts. To infringe upon the beginning of autumn, San Francisco celebrates the Autumn Moon Festival, bringing to life the ever-changing glories and mysteries of the moon. Also, if you enjoy the uncensored indie theatre with a dash of Chinese culture, the golden gate city has something to offer everyone, with the Dragon boat Festival, to enjoy the boat races and the Fringe Festival to embark on a journey of the avant-garde exciting indie theatre. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Step in into the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival and for a two-day run forget about the calories you intake at this special, one of its kind charity event. There is a call out for the leather lovers at the Folsom Street Fair, that celebrates freedom and diversity.

San Francisco in October

Another fantastic month to visit the Golden Gate city is in October. With the fog out of the way, the city stays warm, making sure you spend time at the beach and go skinny dipping in the water. As the tourists have mostly cleared out by now, everything is less crowded and easily accessible. Pack the light layers for evenings, but don’t forget your swimming costume.

Events & Festivals in October
As the skies clear out, people move out to the beach to participate in the giant sand sculpture festival, the Sand Castle Classic. Music never leaves San Francisco, and even in October, the city bustles with the free music event, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at the Golden Gate Park. Besides, what is October without Halloween and a little bit of culture? Celebrate The Italian Heritage (Columbus Day) Parade, along with the Columbus to the Washington Square and the big Pumpkin Festival, with some of the world's largest pumpkins! While at it, enjoy the feature of the Blue Angels accompanied with a boat parade at the Fleet Week.

San Francisco in November

Winter rains start to set in during this month, but it's not unlikely to find clear skies with warm weather. The clear skies ensure the weather stays comfortable, but November is the city’s wettest month. So if you want to explore the city on foot, do pack your rain gear.

Events & Festivals in November
Even though the tourists decline around this time, the streets and markets are filled with the locals shopping for Thanksgiving, especially around Black Friday. It is another month that’s famous for humpback whale watching, but what sets November apart is the Dungeness Crab Festival. As November is the commercial fishing season in the bay area, all restaurants serve fresh crab! The whole city feels like a time wrap, with Thanksgiving around the corner and Charles Dickens celebrations of the Christmas past.

San Francisco in December

One of the coldest months, with the least amount of sunshine, December is packed with continuous rains in the Golden Gate City. There is no snowfall unless you happen to head out to Lake Tahoe to celebrate Christmas, but you will need loads of warm clothes to beat the winter chill.

Events & Festivals in December
Celebrate Christmas Eve at the Treasure Island viewing the decorated Embarcadero Center which comes to life with its fairy light decor. Moreover, if you missed out the Dicken’s time wrap celebration in November, you can catch it now at the Cow Palace. A 5K race known as the Run Wild and another one, the Santa’s Skivvies Run are famous this time of the year, wherein a lot of Santas can be seen running in their costumes and hats for a good cause. If you happen to spend the New Year's Eve in San Francisco, head to any one of the numerous parties this city hosts and make sure not to miss out on the fireworks behind the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street.

San Francisco in August

The weather in August fares the same as July. There is a lot of fog and the water’s cold. However, August is a much more unpredictable month than July, and if you are lucky enough, you might end up with a few bright sunny days too, and if not, just an unending overcast for days altogether. So make sure to pack your shorts, but don’t fall short on the woollens as the cold winds are out to get you.

Events & Festivals in August
A treat to the music lovers yet again, San Francisco hosts the Outside Lands Festival in August. A deadly combination of music, food and wine, this festival holds the headline for days in the city newspaper and is celebrated at the Golden Gate Park. The Japantown too comes forward, stealing away the limelight this month, with its Nihonmachi Street Fair, that celebrates traditional music, dance and strangely enough a muscle car show, all in the spirit of the Asian-Pacific American life.

San Francisco in Shoulder Season

Springtime comes bearing warm days and cloudless skies, during the months of March through May. Beat the tourist rush to the bay area, when the hotel prices are still reasonable. Even though a dive into the ocean may seem difficult, considering the temperature, but the springtime is nonetheless the best time to explore the city on foot, while it prepares for the St.Patrick's Day.

San Francisco in High Season / Peak Season

June through August marks the peak season in the Golden Gate city, where tourists from all around the world make their way to enjoy the summertime festivities. Even though it's summer in the bay area, the temperatures hover around 19 degrees. The skies aren’t always calm but are also accompanied by chilly winds and the occasional fog. However, since summers, see numerous fairs and festivities, the city peaks to life and so do the room rents! Anyone looking for budget travel, should steer clear of San Francisco during these months or should book their hotel rooms, months in advance to ensure availability and getting some early bird discounts.

San Francisco in Off Season

Winters, December to February are the best months to travel for those who are hoping to see the Golden Gate city, during the months when the hotel prices are the lowest! If you can beat the chilly winds and pack enough layers to go sightseeing on foot, San Francisco comes bearing some pretty good deals to its visitors. Just make sure, you carry an umbrella along, as these are the months, the city witnesses maximum rainfall.

San Francisco in January

With winters at its peak, January is the coldest month of the year in San Francisco. Even though average temperatures are still high, the ever-present fog and constant chilly winds, leave little choice for outdoor activities. As the rains and cold grasp the city, people prefer staying indoors with the little crowd out on the streets. However, with low tourist footfall in this month, the hotel prices slash down to a minimum, making it the best time to travel for anyone on a tight budget.

Events & Festivals in January
The one festival that keeps the city busy and buzzing in January is the San Francisco Comedy Festival, popularly known as the SF Sketchfest! A comedy treat, it was started by the actor-comedians David Owen, Janet Varney and Cole Stratton, back in 2002. With everything from sketch comedy, improv comedy to film and television tributes and reunions, the SF Sketchfest brightens up the city. As the fest, even calls for solo performers, podcasts and stand-up comedians, the SF natives and many outsiders spend months practising for their performances at the fest. Any tourist travelling to San Francisco in January can catch hold of these performances, or better still participate!

San Francisco in February

The temperatures start to rise in the month of February, but the weather remains pretty much the same as January, with it raining almost every day. The hotel prices stay low, and it is also the best time for budget travellers, who don’t mind fighting the winds and seeing the city on foot.

Events & Festivals in February
The SF Sketchfest extends into February, bringing with it some of the best actor-comedians into the city. If you are a tourist, there is a pretty good chance, that you stumble into one of the few famous actors, considering the drop in crowds due to cold weather. Noise Pop is a 10-day long music festival of the city that is known to ‘Champion Independent Culture’. It began as a "5 bands for 5 dollars show" at the Kennel Club and now takes place throughout the Bay Area, even though the 5 dollar ticket is valid only for a day. It is a platform for emerging artists trying to hit it big- as many like The White Stripes, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, The Flaming Lips, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Bright Eyes and Yoko Ono. If you are an independent artist and want to make it to the show biz, this is your chance!

San Francisco in March

The average temperatures climb up this month as March marks the beginning of spring. Anyone who wants to avoid the heavy rush of the summer season can travel in the month of March when the temperatures become bearable, and the hotel prices are still not peaking.

Events & Festivals in March
One of the most important festivals, a celebration of the Irish culture, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in the month of March. As the city dresses up in green in the memory of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, who ministered Christianity in Ireland during the fifth century, blend in as a local and enjoy the Irish green cuisine. Join the parade and move around the city, because the traffic and parking may be temporarily affected in streets and public areas where the ceremony is being held.

San Francisco in April

Marking the end of the wet season, April offers amazing weather to visit San Francisco. A lot more sun means a welcoming time at the beach, even though the weather can still get chilly and its best to pack layers. Besides, with the major festivals coming up, April is a great time to explore San Francisco. Hotel prices start to rise, and it’s better to get the bookings done months in advance. Consider getting a tourist pass to save almost 50% on hotels, restaurants and other attractions.

Events & Festivals in April
One of the most beautiful film festivals, the San Francisco International Film Festival dotes the city in the month of April. If you happen to be in the city catch hold of the Easter celebrations while heading to a Giants Baseball Game. This is also a time for the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival when the city turns pink and indeed welcomes spring! If you are a foodie, don’t miss out on the small yet famous Food Festival.

San Francisco in May

An even drier month than April, it offers 14 hours of daylight for exploring the city. Even if the temperature is low, the sunny days can be pretty warm and will make you want to rush skinny dipping in the ocean. So, make sure to pack your shorts, but don’t forget your jacket as it gets chilly in the evenings. As the temperatures go up, so does the crowd and the hotel rates - plan accordingly.

Events & Festivals in May
If you are a baseball ball fan, and even if you aren’t, San Francisco has one of the prettiest stadiums of the bay. If the Giants are playing during your visit, you are in luck! You can sign up for the Goldstar and get discounted tickets for most of the events happening in May. The International Film Festival continues from April, while the carnaval brings the city to life as the West prepares for a display of culture through music, dance, theatre, literature, language and art. Another important event is the Bay to Breakers race, which is a true reflection of the San Fransisco life and a celebration of the breakers in the Bay. An event dating back to 1912, it is a must run for tourists.

San Francisco in June

June marks the peak of temperatures in San Francisco. The temperatures climb and the heat results in a fog so dense, the sun barely gets through to the ground. Even though it’s the Summer peak, you won’t get the sun much! However, don’t forget to pack your shorts as the temperatures will be peaking in the city in June.

Events & Festivals in June
Celebrate culture with the lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender community, with a big parade at the San Francisco Pride. If that’s not all, celebrate art with the city’s oldest street festival, the Union Street Festival. It comes hand-hand-hand with an Italian street fair, The North Beach Festival, that carries with it fantastic food from the land and the famous Italian street chalk art. All-in-all, June is a month completely packed with fun and frolic and sure is to keep you on your toes while you tour the golden gate city.

San Francisco in July

While the thermometer still reads a high temperature, by July, the water turns frigid, and the fog becomes moist. A chilly wind begins to blow in the month of July, resulting in fewer days spent out at by the beach. However, since the daylight lasts for about 14 hours, the city can be easily be explored on foot.

Events & Festivals in July
With the 4th of July celebrations in the air, make sure you catch the twin fireworks by the waterfront in the evening. Since most of the Californian summer is celebrated outdoors, June through August are the best months to catch concerts and live music along the bay area. The Stern Grove Festival is one such catch. July is also known for the time when the blue whales and humpback whales are spotted the most. So grab your binoculars and head to the beach, to catch a glimpse of these majestic mammals. Moreover, for the music lover in you, there is, of course, the Fillmore Jazz Festival, which comes bearing good food and an even better ambience. While you are touring the city, don’t miss to look up at the skies, which is sure to be filled with brilliant colours from the kites at the Berkeley Kite Festival, that has been pleasing tourists and locals alike for almost 30 years now.

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