Planning a Trip: Know the best time to visit San Francisco

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best time to visit san francisco
Image Credit: CuddlyNest

A lot of people want to visit the city of love at some point in their life. San Francisco is a beautiful city in California, USA. The best time to visit San Francisco is from September to November. Fall season in this city has some of the warmest temperatures around the year to offer, definitely the lesser amount of crowd is worth mentioning, fewer people than summer. Spring is also an appropriate time to visit San Francisco.

The rain in San Francisco starts by November but the density is low till the end of the month. After November the rain stays till May. Due to the very short duration of summer the city is very crowded during summer but as a tourist to enjoy every spot without getting heckled then September is your ideal month. The temperature goes down and so does the crowd. 

San Francisco: A Beautiful City

It has also been a place to be known as a ground where a number of important cultural movements take place, a few of which are the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the LGBTQ rights movement of the 1970s. San Francisco is also considered a tech valley. Exactly how the city became so rich. San Francisco is an amazingly beautiful city located by the sea with delicious food to offer.

Overview of weather of San Francisco

The most famous thing about San Francisco is the weather, a foggy day suddenly rolls to a sunny one. Localities there are so attached to the fog that appears every year they even named it Karl. September to early November are the warmest months in the city with blue skies and mild wind.

Here is chart of predicted weather of San Francisco this year

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

 

Prices

San Francisco is the cheapest during winter but not as pleasant though. Higher chances of running into rain and facing pretty cold weather will be there. If you want to explore the city then post summer/ Fall is your best season. Visit at the time of Christmas or the Burning Man. Also, avoiding the city at peak political seasons is also suggested. 

Best Time to Visit San Francisco: Month-wise Detail

For further help a description of San Francisco tourism every month will be given below.

January

Due to environmental change the weather is not entirely chilly in the month of January. Mostly it stays rainy but some warm days with blue skies can be found as well. The city is pretty sleepy because the residents are coming back home from holiday.

SF Sketchfest
Image Credit: SFGATE
  1. SF Sketchfest – an amazing comedy festival featuring some of best comedians from entire USA
  2. Restaurant Week – most of the city’s beautiful top restaurants and bars offer special menus
  3. Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show – over 2,000 dogs and 175+ breeds come over here. 

February

Chinese new year is a sensible time to be around to see some festivals in the city. Even though it is still part of the rainy season, hotels and restaurants are pretty cheap at this point. Barely any tourists. Cherry blossoms start blooming this month.

Chinese New Years Celebrations
Image Credit: SF Chronicle Datebook
  1. Chinese New Years Celebrations – there’s an annual parade, but the best part is the firecrackers being set off at Jackson and Grant during one of the night of the Chinese New Years week is where the real party is at!
  2. SF Beer Week – local crafted beer is celebrated with hundreds of events keeping beers in centre.
  3. San Francisco Half Marathon & 5K – one of the world’s prettiest scenic runs, with a course throughout Golden Gate Park to the Pacific Ocean

March

The first thing that comes up this month is a slight increase in hotel rates. Spring blossoms start to appear around the city. The rainy days continue but the chilliness is decreased. Some warm days can be found this month.

best time to visit san francisco
Image Credit: Curbed SF
  1. Macy’s Flower Show – celebration worth of two weeks celebrating floral traditions
  2. St. Patricks Day Festival – humongous parades, one of the city’s largest, this day is celebrated with live music and Irish food
  3. SF Botanical Garden Magnolia Bloom – see with your own eyes the amazing magnolias in bloom in the city’s botanical garden
  4. Sonoma International Film Festival – over 100 hand picked films screened in the beginning of the art venues within walking distance of Sonoma Plaza

April

If your budget is semi posh then this is your month. This is a comparatively warmer month. Fewer rainy days, with more warm days and higher hotel rates.

International Film Festival
Image Credit: Holidify
  1. Union Street Spring Celebration – is known as the ‘biggest little parade in San Francisco’, over 30,000 people gather up to celebrate Spring
  2. International Film Festival – an absolutely beautiful showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation

May

Prolonging the warmer days of May is the start of the expensive season of tourism in San Francisco.  Although the fog appears this month and stays for days, the weather is not drastically unavoidable.

Carnaval in the Mission District
Image Credit: DoTheBay
  1. Bay To Breakers – one of the best events to attend if you really want to feel the cultures of San Francisco. Basically, in other cities people dress up to look cool or show off but localities in San Fransisco love nothing better than to express themselves creatively in interesting costumes.
  2. Carnaval in the Mission District – San Francisco’s version of Mardi Gras, this is one of the city’s largest public events complete with Carnaval dancers and a festive Sunday parade.

June

Summer in San Francisco is also a season for blankets. Pretty foggy. Some neighbourhoods like the Mission or Potrero, will have perfect weather due to the microclimates in San Francisco. Peak tourism season is beginning and hotel rates rise up high at this point.

best time to visit san francisco
Image Credit: Thrillist
  1. It’s always street fair time. Some of the most famous street fairs are Haight Ashbury Street Fair, North Beach Festival, Union Street Music Festival, and SF Jazz Festival.
  2. LGBTQ Pride Weekend happens to fall this month. 

July

The lingering effect of summer remains in San Francisco this month. The peak tourist season arrives and hotels and everything else’s cost rises. It is still Cold and foggy though.

San Francisco Marathon
Image Credit: Runner’s World
  1. Renegade Craft Fair – this huge fair brings together a number of artists from the West Coast to portray their works for sale.
  2. San Francisco Marathon – travel through famous neighbourhoods while being a part of a bigger cause.
  3. SF Jewish Film Festival – showcasing the diversity of Jewish culture, this film festival is one of the eldest and most prestigious part of San Fransiscan culture.

August

The city temperature rises and the fog disappears. Hence, the last of peak tourist season ends. By the end of this month the crowd takes a dip.

Outside Lands Music Festival
Image Credit: ABC10
  1. Outside Lands Music Festival – Operated in the mesmerising Golden Gate Park, this music festival is a great mixture of tasty food, wine, music, and tech.
  2. Burning Man – a week long voyage in the desert where you’ll go through a dusty utopia and come back as a developed person.

September

This is when the Indian Summer begins and the weather is almost perfect. You’ll see warm days, clear skies, and less fog. The tourists start to thin out as well, which leads to lower prices and less crowds. That makes it best time to visit San Francisco. But, avoiding SF when the Salesforce Dreamforce conference is in town is highly suggested.

best time to visit san francisco
Image Credit: 48 Hills
  1. Folsom Street Fair – a fair specifically for adults, this is the world’s largest festish, alternative, and leather street fair. About 400,000 people go to attend this – you’ll definitely be witnessing things you never thought you’d see.
  2. Fringe Festival – a festival of theatricals with more than 40 shows covering comedy, cabaret, alternative, and classic theatre.

October

You know a city is pretty when you see the locals enjoying its beauty. October is when localities come out to enjoy the city as well. Affordable prices, fantastic weather, great deals on hotels.

Halloween
Image Credit: Tinybeans
  • Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – a music festival for hippies and bohemians with a great lineup which you can attend for free.
  • SF Fleet Week – The US Navy show up at this time, to town with incredible air shows featuring the Blue Angels
  • Litquake – Bay Area’s at its best if you’re a nerd, finest writers for a week of readings, discussions, films, and more
  • Halloween -befriend a localite and definitely go to a Halloween House Party with them.

November

This is the last good month to enjoy San Francisco. By the middle of this month the rain and cold rolls in. This month is the perfect time to visit if you are going on a budget.

Union Square Tree Lighting
Image Credit: Union Square
  1. Day of the Dead in the Mission – witness the parade to see some interesting costumes that celebrate Dia de los Muertos
  2. Illuminate SF Festival – light art installations are decorated across the city 
  3. Union Square Tree Lighting – see the Macy’s Great Tree lit with over 1,500 ornaments

December

There is a sudden hike in tourism when Christmas is around the corner. But, the cold still stays and the rain starts to settle in. At times warm days are sprinkled around by nature.

best time to visit san francisco
Image Credit: Secret San Francisco
  1. To celebrate Christmas the town is beautifully decorated.
  2. Union Square Ice Rink – skating at the lovely ice rink at Union Square is something enjoyed by all.

Conclusion

In the above section, you have learned which is the best time to visit San Francisco. It is a lovely city and people love to explore this place with their families and friends. As all the seasons have been explained already it is your turn to choose your month based on your budget and the places you want to check out. Look for our guide, the pricing, what each season offers and plan your trip.