The Best Time to Go to San Francisco
San Francisco weather
Far and away from the California ‘bikinis and convertibles’ stereotype, the mild weather of San Francisco can be hard to predict. But whether it’s bathed in glorious sunshine or quilted in dense blankets of fog, the city has a great atmosphere regardless. To help you decide what conditions will suit you and your trip best, check out our weather guide below:
Spring in San Francisco is like summer everywhere else. The blooms are already well under way, the sunshine is near-constant and rain infrequent. For this reason, there are street fairs almost every weekend, not to mention a plethora of free festivals throughout April in particular.
The Biergarten: this German beer-drinking hangout has extended opening hours in spring, allowing more time for sampling the delicious brews.
Uncorked! The San Francisco Wine Festival: try some of the best wines in the world – straight from Napa and Sonoma – while soaking up the history of Ghirardelli Square, once a chocolate factory and now boasting a mix of restaurants and shops.
Despite being the most popular time of year to visit San Francisco, summer is often the coldest season – it can get windy, foggy and rainy. But as us Brits know: weather isn’t everything. In fact, the fog adds an atmospheric, almost ethereal feel to the city, and the school holiday crowds mean that all the tourist attractions have a real cosmopolitan buzz about them.
San Francisco Pride Celebration: celebrate all things LGBT at this weekend festival every June. It boasts a huge city-wide parade, 300 exhibitors and 19 stages and venues, with various events in the week leading up to the event.
Haight Ashbury Street Fair: there’s no better time to embrace the hippy ethos – peace, love and happiness – than at this June event. It offers three stages for live entertainment, perfect for adults and children alike, not to mention food, arts and crafts stalls.
Autumn is undoubtedly the best time to visit San Francisco. The haze of fog has (mostly) lifted, you’ll beat the rush of holiday season, and the weather is just right. Temperatures float around the 20ᵒC mark, with cloudless skies overhead and very little rain.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: for non-stop musical entertainment, this is the ultimate alternative country festival. Listen to artists from across the country performing bluegrass, blues, rock and folk at this free event every September/October.
Fleet Week: join millions of spectators as ships and planes parade around and above San Francisco’s Marina Green, paying homage to men and women in the US armed forces.
Noticeably chillier, don’t forget to arm yourself with plenty of layers when visiting San Francisco in winter. Don’t worry though – you can use all that extra money you saved by travelling off-season to buy yourself a new holiday winter wardrobe. You can also bag some great midwinter bargains in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, so you can while away the days surrounded by yellow mustards fields and warmed up by a glass or three of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chinese New Year: outside of China, few places celebrate Chinese New Year quite like San Francisco does. Each February, expect a sea of red, gold and green, elaborate costumes and dragons as big as cable cars in the city’s annual parade – the largest Asian event in North America.
SF Sketchfest: a national showcase of comedians, improv troupes and local sketch artists, SF Sketchfest is perfect if you’re seeking two and a half weeks of laughter to brighten up a chilly January.