San Francisco is known for its unique climate and the fact that the weather remains good all year round. Residents can boast that they can wear shorts and T-shirts all year round, even in the middle of winter.

The best times to visit San Francisco are September and October. The main tourist season ends in August, which means there is less crowds, the weather is better in early autumn and major events and festivals take place in September and October.

To help you decide when to go to San Francisco based on the weather (and to avoid fog), the things you want to do or the festival, read our guide below.

For the best time to visit San Francisco, check out the monthly travel guide.

When do you have to go to San Francisco?

When to San Francisco – CV

  • It’s the best time for good weather: San Francisco has the best time of the year, from September to October. These are the two hottest months, without rain, and the summer fog has long since disappeared.
  • The best time for sightseeing: All of San Francisco’s major sights and attractions are open year-round. It is therefore best to avoid crowds and summer fog in March-April and September-October. Winters are beautiful, with few other tourists in the area and mild weather, but you can catch some rain and many of San Francisco’s outdoor attractions.
  • It’s the best time to save money: January and February are the best months to visit San Francisco. The winter season is generally the least popular with tourists, resulting in lower prices for hotels and air travel, while November and December are the holiday season and January and February are generally quiet.
  • It’s the best time for beaches: San Francisco’s beaches are not the best for swimming, despite the mild climate and coastline – the water is very cold and the currents are very strong and go all the way to the coast. The water park or Chrissy Field is the best beach if you want to swim, and the water is warmer in September and October at the end of the summer.

Best time to visit San Francisco

  • It’s the best time to shop: Shopping in San Francisco is great all year round, with large shopping malls, shopping streets and markets open all year round. The sale starts after Christmas and lasts until January if you want to close some deals. The shops are generally quieter than during the busy shopping season around Thanksgiving and in December.
  • The best time for museums and events: The opening hours and prices of the museums and the main attractions are the same all year round, without seasonal fluctuations. It is best to avoid the summer months as the high season can lead to queues to get in and have more people wherever you go.
  • It’s the best time for restaurants: From January to May and from September to early November, the best places to eat are the restaurants in San Francisco. During the summer months there are many tourists who can make your evening full and it can be difficult to find a table. Thanksgiving and the Christmas season attract many family parties, company parties and other events that can be unpleasantly noisy if you want to enjoy your meal.
  • It’s the best time for concerts and music: San Francisco’s music scene comes alive in summer with concerts and festivals from June to August. October and November are also good for niche music festivals and local events ranging from hip hop to bluegrass.
  • It’s the best time for families and children: From September to October, if you can’t come during the summer school holidays The weather is perfect and not too hot, and there are fewer tourists who want to relax with the whole family.
  • It’s the best time to avoid the crowd: The least busy season in San Francisco is January and February, with few tourists in the city. If you want to avoid the coldest and wettest time of year, consider coming in the first half of November, when the crowds are gone but the weather often fails.

San Francisco Tourist season

It's dark in June in San Francisco with thick fog on the city's Golden Gate Bridge.

SarahLRG/Shutterstock.com

Highest season for tourists (June-August)

The high season in San Francisco lasts during the summer months, from the beginning of June to the weekend of Labor Day in early September.

Tourists from all over the United States and abroad come during the summer holidays and the costs of flights, hotels and other trips are highest.

Popular tourist attractions are busiest between June and August, although the weather is not at its best at the beginning of the high season.

Shoulder seasons (March-May and September-October)

Spring and autumn tend to receive fewer visitors than the summer months. Families with children cannot come to San Francisco because of school hours and fewer people prefer to come to San Francisco outside school hours, despite the weather and high prices.

September and October are surprisingly quiet, although San Francisco has the best autumn weather of the year. A number of trade fairs and conferences attract many visitors to the city, as a result of which hotel prices are not as low as in winter.

Low season (November-February)

When the weather cools down, the low season in San Francisco starts in November and lasts until the end of February or the beginning of March.

Although the winters in San Francisco are only cold for the conditions on the west coast, the demand for hotels in the winter has decreased considerably. When it rains and it is cool, the wind can be much colder than the average temperature of 11°C, which is the average temperature.

Best time to visit San Francisco and enjoy the picturesque view of the city

Boats at Pier 39 in San Francisco on a beautiful September day and in good weather.

Michael Urmann/Shutterstock.com

San Francisco offers some of the city’s most breathtaking views, with Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz and Treasure Islands and the steep hills that offer breathtaking views everywhere.

If you want to take great photos and immortalize the place, the best time to come to San Francisco is in April or from September to October. These months are free of summer fog and there is no danger of winter rainfall, so you can see the city at its best.

The weather in San Francisco during the year

The weather in San Francisco is relatively stable throughout the year, with no major temperature fluctuations between the summer and winter seasons. The most important factors influencing the weather are winter rain and summer fog.

The average rainfall in San Francisco can be misleading because different years show very different patterns in the El Niño cycle with very wet winters, while other years have almost no rain. Even in wet years, rain tends to fall in large quantities over several days and not continuously from December to February.

Summer fog is an important factor in San Francisco, as it is located on most of the American Pacific coast. This usually happens in June, but often spreads in May and July. Fog can be dense in the bay and can cause the temperature to become much cooler. The high humidity and wet fog make early summer a bad time to visit San Francisco.

Average monthly temperature and precipitation in San Francisco

Average maximum temperature and precipitation
data from U.S. NOAA climate data.
Month Temperature Precipitation
January 56.9 °F / 13.8 °C 4.50 inch / 114 mm
February 60.2 °F / 15.7 °C 4.46 inch / 113 mm
Mars 61.8 °F / 16.6 °C 3.26 inch / 83 mm
April 63.1 °F / 17.3 °C 1.46 inch / 37 mm
May 64.3 °F / 17.9 °C 0.70 inch / 18 mm
June 66.4 °F / 19.1 °C 0.16 inch/4 mm
July 66.5 °F / 19.2 °C 0 inch / 0 mm
August 68.1 °F / 20.1 °C 0.06 inch / 2 mm
September 70.2 °F / 21.2 °C 0.21 inch / 5 mm
October 69.2 °F / 20.7 °C 1.12 inch / 28 mm
November 63.1 °F / 17.3 °C 3.16 inches / 80 mm
December 57.1 °F / 13.9 °C 4.56 inch / 116 mm

San Francisco again per month

  • The weather in San Francisco in January: January is a relatively cool and humid month for San Francisco. Nighttime temperatures are the coldest of the year, averaging less than 7.6°C (45.7°F). Precipitation is as high as during the whole winter season and can drop sharply on certain days in January. Average temperature: 51.3 °F / 10.7 °C. Average precipitation: 4.50 inches / 114 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in February: February is the last of the wet winter months, and at the end of the month it rains less. Temperatures are significantly warmer than the lows of December and January, with daily highs of 15.7°C (3°F) to 60.2°F. Average temperature: 53.9 °F / 12.2 °C. Average precipitation: 113 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in March: March is a crucial month in terms of weather: from the beginning to the end of the month, precipitation decreases significantly and temperatures continue to rise, although March has the greatest variability of any month with normal daily temperature fluctuations. Average temperature: 55.1 °F / 12.8 °C. Average precipitation: 3.26 inches / 83 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in April: April is starting to get much more pleasant – there are only an average of 4 days with significant rainfall. Nights warm up with a daily minimum of 9.6°F, and at the end of the month there may be days with temperatures in the 80s. Average temperature: 56.2 °F / 13.4 °C. Average precipitation: 1.46 inches / 37 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in May: May is a mixed month with changing weather. Average temperatures continue to improve, with daily highs of 17.9°C, but towards the end of the month summer fog arrives, making it cooler and wetter. Average temperature: 57.6 °F / 14.2 °C. Average precipitation: 0.70 inches / 18 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in June: June Darkness begins seriously, and for most of the month the city is covered in dense fog. Despite the fog it hardly rains in June, but because of the humidity and fog it can be wetter than the wet winter months. Average temperature: 59.6 °F / 15.3 °C. Average precipitation: 0.16 inches / 4 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in July: July is the driest month of the year, the rains only occur a few times. Since June the fog has shifted most of the years, so in the beginning of July it was less pleasant, but by the end of month the weather improves and daily altitudes are above +19,4 °С. Average temperature: 60.3 °F / 15.7 °C. Average precipitation: 0 inch / 0 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in August: In August, San Francisco begins the long period of good weather that lasts until October. The air is clear (at least for years, if the fog lasts longer) and the temperature is highest. Daily maxima reach 20.1 °C, and on some days at the end of August they exceed 27 °C. Average temperature: 61.6 °F / 16.4 °C. Average precipitation: 0.06 inch / 2 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in September: San Francisco has the best time of the year in September. Fog and clouds have disappeared, the temperature peaks with a daily maximum of 70.2°F (21.2°F), and you can get a day or two more than 90°F (32°F). Average temperature: 62.7 °F / 17.1 °S. Average precipitation: 0.21 inches / 5 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in October: The weather in October is almost the same as in September. Warm ocean currents prolong summer later than in other parts of the United States and temperatures remain warm throughout the month. At the end of October, when winter starts, it will probably rain for a few days. Average temperature: 61.5 °F / 16.4 °C. Average precipitation: 1.12 inches / 28 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in November: Winter arrives in November with daily diving records well below 15.6°C. It rains until the end of the month, although in a few years you will not see a drop until December. Average temperature: 56.6 °F / 13.7 °S. Average precipitation: 3.16 inches / 80 mm.
  • The weather in San Francisco in December: The winter season starts with the arrival in December. It is the wettest month of the year and only slightly warmer than January, with daily lows of 7.8°C (46.1°F), making the evenings much cooler and the daily limits for diving on some days below 10°C (50°F). Average temperature: 51.6 °F / 10.9 °C. Average precipitation: 4.56 inches / 116 mm.

San Francisco Events and Business up toMonths

January in San Francisco

Building in San Francisco Painting ladies in the morning of January under a clear blue sky.

Viktor Mashek/Shutterstock.de

  • Ribbon Music Festival in San Francisco – Four haunting concerts of different music styles, composed by 40 local and international composers, performed in total darkness.
  • The SF Sketchfest is a major annual event that brings together the best comedy acts in the San Francisco Bay Area, from improvisation to gambling, for 3 weeks in January.
  • NOIR CITY Film Festival – is held annually at the historic Castro Theater in honor of the film noir genre, and presents some of the best films of the 40s and 50s.
  • Bay Area Brew Fest – The big beer festival has moved to January and includes dozens of breweries and an alley with a dining car – get early morning tickets for the evening to make the most of the event.

February in San Francisco

  • The Chinese New Year parade is one of the most spectacular parades in the world. It takes place shortly after Chinese New Year in San Francisco’s Chinatown. There are also a number of related events, including competitions and the public fair.
  • Tulips – 39,000 tulips bloom until February and early March at Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
  • The San Francisco Tribal and Textle Art Show is the most important exhibition of tribal art in the United States. There are 70 art galleries with exhibitions representing the indigenous peoples of America, Asia and Africa.
  • SF IndieFest is a two-week event dedicated to independent and alternative cinema, from controversial shorts to revealing documentaries.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest wine competition in the United States. Some 7,000 wines from 35 states compete with public tastings in almost 200 categories. So you can see if you agree with the jury.

March in San Francisco

  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Although San Francisco is on the other side of the world in Dublin, it’s one of the largest parades in the world with something to see and do for the whole family.
  • The San Francisco International Chocolate Show is a growing event that brings together more than 50 master chocolatiers, manufacturers and culinary experts to showcase the best of chocolate for one day – the ticket contains all the tasting you can try!

Aprilin San Francisco

In April, in good weather, a cable car descends from San Francisco to the bay.

lunamarina/Shutterstock.com

  • Cherry Blossom Festival in Northern California. The festival takes place over two weekends in mid-April in Japantown and has been celebrating Asian traditions and Japanese culture for over 50 years.
  • The San Francisco Film Festival – America’s longest running film festival – offers two weeks of events and screenings of around 200 films of all genres from around the world.
  • The San Francisco Salsa Festival is a weekend of dance contests, breathtaking shows, the opportunity to learn some salsa dance moves and party in the early hours of the morning.

May in San Francisco

  • Festival Cinco de Mayo – A folklore festival held this Saturday to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo. May, takes place in the Mission District, with live music, various events and delicious street food.
  • Bay to Breakers is a very popular 12 km race from the San Francisco Bay Landing to the breaking waves on Ocean Beach, with an emphasis on walking in fashionable clothing. There is even a team competition called Centipede for groups of 13 or more people connected by a bungee.
  • San Francisco International Arts Festival – a two-week event dedicated to the performing arts at the end of May. From theatre to music and modern dance, there’s something for everyone.
  • San Francisco Carnival – A full weekend of events with a big parade of feather dancers and musical sounds from South and Central America, international cuisine and arts and crafts events.

JuneSan Francisco

  • San Francisco Jazz Festival – While SF Jazz offers great concerts throughout the year, the annual San Francisco Jazz Festival in June attracts the world’s best artists for a two-week event.
  • High Ashbury Street Fair – For over 40 years, this event has been held on the second Sunday of June along the High Street and celebrates counterculture under the motto of peace, love and happiness.
  • San Francisco Pride – The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Parade and festivities will take place on Sunday late June with musical performances on various stages and a parade along Market Street from the intersection of Bill Street to the Civic Center.

July in San Francisco

  • 4 July Events – A full programme of events culminating in spectacular fireworks that can be seen, or perhaps not seen, as the summer fog descends over the city.
  • The Fillmore Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast, takes place on Fillmore Street on the first weekend of July, when it rains or the sun shines.
  • San Francisco Marathon – Approximately 26,000 runners take part in a marathon with one of the best courses in the world. Some runners only run 5 km or half a marathon, while ultra-marathon runners run the course backwards before arriving at the start of the marathon in the morning!

August in San Francisco

  • The Outside Lands Music and Art Festival is the largest independent music festival in the United States and is held annually in Golden Gate Park. It is known for its liberal and bohemian liquids, from wine tastings to legal hemp sales to art fairs.
  • The Nihonmachi Street Festival is a festival of the culture, food and music of the Asian and Pacific communities in San Francisco, held in Japantown.

September in San Francisco

  • Sausalito Arts Festival – A festival for lovers of the best things in life, where art, wine and music blend, in Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
  • The San Francisco Fringe Festival – Grassroots Theatre Festival is a grassroots theatre festival with indie performances by local groups, with 100 performances over 10 days.
  • Folsom Street Fair – An incredible niche and an incredibly popular fair – it’s all about leather and fetish with 200 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors. If there aren’t enough live demos and good demos for sale, you can watch Sick and Twisted on stage.
  • The Castro Valley Autumn Festival –
  • Bay Oktoberfest – a whole Bavarian holiday weekend with German food and drink and traditional Bavarian music and dance – take your pretzel and giant mug in a good beer!

October in San Francisco

  • It’s not really a strict bluegrass festival – more than 100 musicians on 7 different stages in Golden Gate Park on the first weekend of October, and most importantly, it’s completely free.
  • The Castro Street Fair is a popular street festival on the corner of Castro and Market Street, with live music performances and excellent street food.
  • San Francisco Fleet Week – A series of events in the San Francisco Bay Area with the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels Air Show, a parade of U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships led by firefighters and guided tours by firefighters.

November in San Francisco

December in San Francisco

  • The large Dickens Christmas market – runs from the end of November to almost December. The fair takes you to Victorian London with its Christmas shops, special shows and traditional pubs.
  • Parol Lantern Festival – Parade and celebration of Philippine culture, music and food in the SOMA Pilipinas area that lasts until late at night.

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