If you have planned to head to San Francisco for a visit, you probably realize that this city can be rainy and cold even in the summer. Being located right on the San Francisco Bay means that rain, fog, and chilly weather can happen during your stay even if they were not in the forecast. You will want to bring a warm coat and some long pants with you when you visit San Francisco, even if you are not visiting during the winter. San Francisco is not the warmest place in California even in the summer, and it can be a good idea to have a rainy day plan in place just in case.
The first thing that you need to do when you head to San Francisco is to make sure that your bags are in secure storage. Choosing to store your luggage in San Francisco is a great idea to make sure that you don't have to worry about your bags while you are having fun. No matter what your plans are for your trip, you will have a much better time if you are not worried about anything to do with your luggage. Once your bags are stored, you are ready to enjoy San Francisco to the fullest.
Aquarium of the Bay
If you have been planning to see the area near Fisherman's Wharf or the Embarcadero, you can easily duck into the Aquarium of the Bay to get out of the rain. This large aquarium offers you fun for all ages and the 300 feet of clear tunnels will let you and your family enjoy rays, sharks, and hundreds of other marine animals.
This is one of the nicest and most unique aquariums on the west coast and it is well worth a visit on a rainy day. When places like Golden Gate Park are too rainy to enjoy, you can have fun in indoor locations like this Aquarium.
Walt Disney Family Museum
This fun museum features all the information that you have ever wanted to know about the Disney family and the history of the parks. For those who love Disney, the Walt Disney Family Museum is a great place to visit. You will also have fun with your kids here because of all the workshops and interactive exhibits that are offered. You will want to get tickets in advance for some of these events, but you will be glad that you have them in hand if the weather is cold and rainy.
The Walt Disney Family Museum will offer you and your kids hours of fun on a rainy day. This is a different kind of museum than the Natural History Museum and it offers a far more interactive experience than some of the modern art locations in the city.
California Academy of Sciences
This is a great museum to choose for your rainy day needs. You will love this natural history museum that is also a research institute because you will be able to see 46 million specimens on display here. The California Academy of Sciences is an informative museum and it is one of the most unique activities to enjoy in San Francisco.
This site also has fun things for kids to do like the Penguins and Pajamas overnight party and the rainforest exhibit. This museum also changes some of the exhibits to provide fresh new things to see and do. For those who head to the city regularly, there is always something new to see, even on a rainy day.
Shop at Union Square
Union Square is always a great option for your trip to San Francisco. On a rainy day in Union Square, you can easily just step inside the stores that you want to see to get a break from the rain. This area is very walkable and you will love that a rainy San Francisco day can turn into an awesome shopping trip in a snap.
In the winter there is ice skating in the park, but typically the rain is not an issue during this season. If you visit during the rainy part of the year, there will be no ice skating on offer, but all the same boutique and designer shops will still be open for business. If you live in a smaller city, you might never have been able to walk into a Tiffany's or Louis Vuitton store. This is one of the best cities in the world for shopping and you will love the options available to you near Union Square on a rainy day.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
This is an excellent rainy day activity if you want to enjoy contemporary and modern art. There are more than 33,000 pieces of art on exhibit here and you can spend hours wandering around and looking at all the unique pieces on display. Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol are displayed here as well as some artists that you might be discovering for the first time. There are also some fun kid's exhibits here too, which makes this a good option for people of all ages when the weather is not ideal for other activities.
Francisco Botanical Garden
Even if the weather is rainy, this lovely garden can be a lot of fun. You can head here to enjoy seeing 8,500 species of plants like Redwoods, Magnolias, and flowering plants of various kinds. Grab an adventure map for the kids to have fun while you walk and admire the views and the peaceful serenity of the garden. If you have a raincoat with you, this is a fun rainy day adventure that does not actually require that you go indoors.
Go Get a Coffee
San Francisco is actually well-known for having a really delightful coffee and bakery scene. This means that getting a yummy pastry and a delicious pick-me-up is really easy in this city. There are vegan and vegetarian options at most of these stops as well and you can get everything from espresso to more complex coffee drinks at many of the coffee shops that make their home in San Francisco.
Consider dropping in at Hole in the Wall or Cafe Triste for a cup of warm comforting java, or you might want to go to B. Patisserie or Arsicault bakery. San Francisco's coffee options are always really lovely because most of these places have a mutli-cultural influence. This means that getting a Greek, German, or French breakfast and coffee is completely realistic. If you want to enjoy a quiet day, ready a book, and hide from the rain, San Francisco's coffee shops are here for you!
The Ferry Building Marketplace
If you love large markets and you have been handed a rainy day in San Francisco during your trip with no set plans, the Ferry building should be your first stop. This historical building was originally the main hub through which travelers and new residents arrived in the city. This building is located right at the foot of market street in the financial district and it gives you access to amazing shopping and local wares but also to an important window into Bay Area history. Many people are not aware of just how many people came and went through San Francisco during the Gold Rush, and the San Francisco bay area then grew into a major industrial and financial hub in the 1800s.
This is a great place to find local wares, buy beautiful art, and check out one of the most historical parts of the city. Wear some comfortable walking shoes since the Ferry building is quite large. You can enjoy most of a day in San Francisco here and you will love everything about your time in this important building that helps you connect with the history of San Francisco and its people. And, the excellent street food doesn't hurt either!
De Young Museum
This is an amazing museum to see not only European art but also to enjoy ancient art and African pieces. This museum is also heavily involved in the the conservation process and they have saved many important cultural works from being lost due to their committed efforts in this area. This is a world class art museum that you might expect to find in places like Paris or London, but it is nestled into San Francisco instead.
If you are looking for a really engaging and interesting rainy day activity, there is no better museum to visit. This is one of the city tour items that often gets mentioned but people do not typically have time to make the most of going here. Plan for at least half a day to see all the ancient and European art that is on display here and learn more about art conservation.
While it is true that your trip to Alcatraz Island might be really cold and wet if your day in San Francisco has turned into gloomy weather, the reality is that Alcatraz is almost always cold, even in the summer. Most of the tour that is offered at this important landmark is conducted inside as well, so you will be out of the elements. There is also something really moving about understanding what this prison and the island itself might have been like to residents when the weather was not at its best.
A rainy day in San Francisco can be a good excuse to bundle up, get on the ferry, and head over to see the famous island that no one could escape from. Alcatraz is as indelibly linked with San Francisco as the Golden Gate Bridge, and you will be missing out if you do not at least consider making time to see it when you are in the city.
Completed in 1933, this is one of the more impressive and awe-inspiring pieces of architecture in the city. Soaring over Telegraph Hill, this landmark is a great place to visit on a rainy day in San Francisco. The interior of the tower was decorated in 1934 with images that tell the tale of the Great Depression, and the surrounding park offers you incredible views of the city. You might also notice the loud and colorful presence of the "Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill".
This is one of the more notable landmarks of the San Francisco skyline, and the renowned artists that decorated it as well as the interesting and unique history of the tower itself make a visit very enjoyable. Just like Alcatraz, you might get a little wet when you are visiting the park and checking out the views of the city, but most of your time spent at this popular tourist spot will be dry and comfortable. San Francisco has a rich history related to eccentric buildings like this one and you will have fun checking out Coit Tower during your stay.
San Francisco Can be Fun Even in the Rain
If you have come to San Francisco and find that rainy days are predicted for your visit, don't worry! San Francisco spends a lot of the year bathed in fog and a drizzly day even in the summer, is not that uncommon. The city does not close up shop due to rain and you will be able to put on your rain boots and your jacket and do all of the things that you were planning to enjoy while you are in town.
It is always a good idea to have a rainy day plan in place when you head to San Francisco and you can take these days to enjoy a special tour, have some delicious coffee and a pastry, or explore the largest museums in this part of the west coast. From live entertainment to four story rainforest visits, there is nothing boring about San Francisco when the weather is not ideal.
Always make sure that you put your bags into secure storage before you head out into the rain to have fun. Making sure that your bags are stored in a safe location will make your trip so much more fun!