The Best Time to Visit San Francisco 2023: the Ultimate Guide
If you have been planning to visit San Francisco, you probably already have a list of things that you want to see and do. There are many amazing sights and places to enjoy when you are visiting San Francisco, and you will want to make sure that you do not miss out on any of the items on your list. As with many places around the world, there are key seasons when you should visit San Francisco to get the most out of your trip. Depending on the plans that you have for your time in this beautiful city, certain seasons might be more ideal than others to meet your travel goals.
No matter what season you head to San Francisco, you will need to make sure that your luggage is in safe storage in San Francisco. Having the peace of mind to know that your bags will be safe can make your trip much more pleasant and stress-free. When you use one of our secure luggage storage locations, you can enjoy all of San Francisco's attractions without worry. Once your bags are safely tucked away, it is time to head out to enjoy what San Francisco has to offer!
Summer in San Francisco
While this is the peak of the tourist season and the most expensive time to come to San Francisco, it is also the best time to visit. You will be able to ride cable cars during this season, enjoy the sites and sounds at Fisherman's Wharf, and head out to see Alcatraz Island with ease when the weather is warmer. If your San Francisco itinerary includes locations like the Japanese Tea Garden, or you have plans to visit Golden Gate Park and see the Golden Gate Bridge, this is the right season for your trip. During many parts of the year, heavy fog will obscure a lot of the view of things like the Golden Gate Bridge, and it can even impact your ability to take in the sights and sounds on adventures like a free walking tour.
No matter what time of year you head to San Francisco, if you are going to be on the water, you will need some warmer clothes. The bay area is cold when you head down to the water, and it is not as warm here as in other locations on the West Coast during the summer. The Golden Gate City can be foggy year-round, and you will need to be prepared with a warm jacket and some long pants even if you were hoping for hot weather. This is still the best time to visit if you are not that interested in shopping or indoor activities like seeing fine arts. Visiting San Francisco during the summer offers the best chance to have fun walking around and seeing locations like China town, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Japanese Tea Garden.
High temperatures during the summer in San Francisco can be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees C), and the lows in the evenings and at night are about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees C). This means that a jacket and long pants are a must for most travelers. One of the best travel tips for your visit to San Francisco is to plan to dress warmly when it rains or is foggy.
Fall in San Francisco
This is one of the best seasons to visit San Francisco. You will enjoy crisp weather in the morning and warmer temperatures during the day as well as avoid some of the fog that this city is so famous for. The temperatures at this time of year range between 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees C) and 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees C). You will need a light jacket but you will be comfortable if you are not out on the water in lightweight clothing during this season, like during the summer. You will need to remember that fog and rain can happen during this time of year and be prepared, but you could enjoy really pleasant weather for most of each day.
Visit Fisherman's Wharf during this time of year after the morning fog has lifted, or head out across the bay to see Alcatraz Island. Anytime that you are going to be enjoying an adventure that includes water travel, you will need jeans and a heavy jacket. Alcatraz Island is quite chilly even in the middle of summer, so you will want to plan accordingly if this is one of the things that you are planning to do when you are in San Francisco in the fall.
Food tour options are everywhere at this time of year, and you can tour locations like Fisherman's Wharf, China Town, and more when you choose to partake of this kind of fun during your stay. You might not be interested in seeing fine arts or locations of note every day, and San Francisco is a food lover's dream. You can enjoy access to everything from five-star dining to Chinese restaurants with authentic food and food trucks serving specialties from many countries during your stay. San Francisco is a very multi-cultural city and multi-cultural events and experiences are always offered when you are in town.
This is one of the less popular times for tourism, but you will still catch good weather most days during your stay. This also means that you will save money on your room and that you can enjoy places like Union Square without fighting off tons of foot traffic or waiting in long lines. Make sure that you check the San Francisco weather that is supposed to be happening during the week of your travel, and you should have a great time during the fall in downtown San Francisco.
Winter in San Francisco
While easily the coldest and least pleasant time to visit San Francisco, this time of year is really magical for other reasons. The Christmas season in San Francisco is a delight as all of the major department stores decorate and roll out the red carpets for holiday shoppers. You will want to make time to visit San Francisco in the winter if you are more interested in shopping in places like Union Square or if you want to visit a San Francisco museum or two. Plan to bundle up against the cold during this season, and you might want to stay near a central location like Union Square to make it easier to get around.
This time of the year, the cable cars are still running and they are often decorated with holiday lights and might be playing holiday season music as well. You will still have to wait in line to ride from most of the stops, but the lines are not as long as during other parts of the year since the cold weather tends to get to people. You may not want to visit the open-air and exposed attractions like Alcatraz Island this time of the year, but San Francisco offers other fun things to do during the winter season, like ice skating in Union Square and the Embarcadero.
This is a good time to place to see the California Academy of Sciences or to visit city hall. You should also plan to partake of some of the delicious Chinese food in China Town. Some hot tea is welcome when it is cold out and there are few places with as many great eateries to enjoy.
The low temperatures at this time of the year range from 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees C) to a high of about 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees C). You will want to bring lots of warm clothing and some sturdy shoes in case of slippery and wet sidewalks. Remember that there will probably be rain in the winter as well and that it will probably be too foggy to make the most of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or other locations near the water like Fisherman's Wharf.
Spring in San Francisco
Spring weather can be variable in San Francisco. While rain is possible at any time of the year in this city, the spring can be quite wet and foggy, or it can be unseasonably warm and lovely. You will need to bring clothing for all kinds of weather when you visit in the spring. The average temperature at this time of the year is 65 degrees Fahrenheit(18 degrees C) and the lows are around 50 degrees Fahrenheit(10 degrees C) at night. San Francisco's warm weather can bring in lots of tourists and increased prices, so visiting during the spring can offer you the chance to save a little money and also get to have a less crowded experience with good weather.
Spring is just as good a time as any to shop and see museums in San Francisco, but you can also partake in some of the enjoyable outdoor shopping locations like Ghiradelli Square and Pier 39 without dealing with as many shoppers. Golden Gate Park is also really pleasant at this time of year and this might be one of the best times to get to see the Golden Gate Bridge or to drive across it if you want to do that. Fisherman's Wharf is also a little more pleasant to visit at this time of year due to a reduced number of tourists all clamoring to get to see and do things.
This is a lovely time of year to see "postcard row" or the colorful victorian homes along Alamo Square. These colorful row houses are some of the most photographed homes anywhere in the world. You can also make time to visit the Art Deco Tower or Coit Tower during this season. Lombard Street and some of the older parts of the city yield fascinating history and things to see that are usually all on the national register.
The Mission District and some of the other places in the city that can get very crowded are easier to navigate when you head to the city in the spring, and your hotel prices might be more favorable as well. If you are willing to open yourself up to the chance that it might rain on your plans for a few days during your stay, the spring can be a great time to enjoy all of the various fun things to do and see in this amazing city.
When is the Best Time to Visit San Francisco For You?
Part of the determination of which time to visit San Francisco is the right one for your needs can be determined by your budget. You will save more money in the spring than at any other time of year when you are looking to visit San Francisco, but you might want to be in town for the festive fun of the holiday season or enjoy the peak summer weather and see Golden Gate Park in all of its summer glory. There is also an argument for heading to the city during the fall when the Golden Gate Bridge is easiest to see and when the hustle and bustle are at their peak. If you are not planning to spend time in the very heart of San Francisco's downtown area, the season that you visit might not matter as much.
Golden Gate Bridge, the cable car lines, and all of the many stores and places to eat in the city are open year-round, so heading to the city at any season can still afford you the chance to see every iconic landmark in the city. Just make sure that you are prepared for higher prices during peak tourist season and that you bring a jacket and warm clothing no matter when you head to the San Francisco area. Even seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the summer can be chilly, and this also applies to visiting Alcatraz Island.
San Francisco is a city that is full of cultural events, historic places, and fun things to do. You will enjoy everything from Fisherman's Wharf to the North Beach area and the cable cars no matter what time of year you head to this city. Planning your trip to San Francisco is easy if you are prepared for a little bit of fog and cold weather. Avoiding summer travel to this city can save you a lot of money, and you will still have a memorable and exciting visit to this famous city during the colder part of the year.