San Francisco has the benefit of being gorgeous and a lot of fun all year round, but just because the seasons aren’t as dramatic as some cities doesn’t mean there aren’t differences. You’ll get a fresh experience depending on when you visit, so consider the following before you plan your next trip to the city by the bay.
San Francisco can be quite attractive during the winter months for travelers who want to get away from the snow but don’t want to go for hot, tropical climates. Winters in San Francisco are very mild, but they are also fairly rainy. Daytime temperatures stick to the 50s, while nights can dip into the 30s and 40s during the coldest month: January. On the plus side, winter sees the least amount of travel to San Francisco, so hotels and flights tend to be more affordable.
Springtime throughout the Pacific Northwest is gorgeous. It’s when the temperatures start rising to the pleasant mid-70s, the rain comes less frequently, and the flowers start to bloom. These months are a bit before San Francisco’s peak travel season so the crowds at major attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf won’t be as dense. Trips to the city in spring are a bit more laid-back, as most of San Francisco’s special events tend to happen in the summer.
If you plan on visiting San Francisco in the peak summer months, you’ll want to book your hotel and flight several weeks in advance. The large tourist crowds fill up accommodations around the convention center and other major attractions — sometimes months in advance. There’s a good reason for this though. The warm, sunny summers of San Francisco make its beautiful parks and nearby redwood forest parks irresistible. The special Independence Day events and other unique programs bring a lot of excitement to the city as well. The July 4th fireworks look great reflected in the bay; the Summer Solstice Festival in Ocean Beach is great for the family, as well.
Autumns are long and relaxed in San Francisco. This is when the city’s famous fog starts to take up residence in the morning. It’s also a deceptively warm part of the year. Because of coastal weather patterns, September and October tend to be San Francisco’s warmest months, so dress appropriately for early Autumn travel. Fall is peak convention season, so areas like Moscone Center and SoMA (South of Market) can get a bit crowded. Autumn is when business travel is most common to the San Francisco area, so keep an eye out for special deals on executive stays.
Plus, the nearby wine country is at its best in the fall and it’s also the most colorful part of the region. The Bay Area doesn’t get much autumn foliage except around the grapevines.
Whatever time of year brings you there, San Francisco is a lovely place to visit. The weather’s great, the sites are stunning, and the atmosphere is like nowhere else in the world.
*Image of San Francisco skyline via Shutterstock