The best time to visit San Francisco, CA, is from September to November. The fall season will give you the best of both worlds, with warm temperatures (even warmer than the summer months, believe it or not!) and excellent deals thanks to lower tourist traffic.
Thanks to its moderate climate, San Francisco is a great travel destination year-round. But if you want to take advantage of all that gorgeous California sunshine, there are a few things that you’ll need to know before you book.
Ready to book an epic San Francisco vacation? Learn everything you need to know about when to visit with this complete San Francisco weather guide, broken down by season and month!
Weather in San Francisco
The spring season in San Francisco, marked on the calendar from March 20th to June 21st, is magical. The city is known for its plentiful green space, and spring is the time of the year when it comes to life with fresh blossoms and new leaves.
Both temperatures and rainfall remain moderate throughout the spring. As long as you prepare for the weather when packing, you’ll find it’s overall a pretty pleasant time to visit.
Leading into the most popular months for travelers to flock to San Francisco, costs are comparatively low in spring, with little sacrifice required in exchange for the savings.
Summer in San Francisco is surprisingly not the warmest time of the year. It’s still nice and comfy, however, with temperatures hovering between the high sixties and low seventies. It’s also the destination’s dry season, with summer rainfall being a rarity.
As summer is the peak tourist season in San Francisco, prices will be higher, and crowds will be larger. But it’s a popular season to travel for a reason. Summer is a great time to be outside, and there’s a whole slew of fun festivals and events travelers can take advantage of.
As teased above, the fall season in San Francisco is basically summer 2.0. Extending from September 22nd to December 21st, the vast majority of the fall brings 70-degree days and fairly moderate evenings. If you want to be outside, autumn is the time to do it!
With school back in session and the peak season for tourist volume over, prices at the most popular hotels in San Francisco drop and airfare rates get lower, and you’ll almost never have to fight your way through a crowd of visitors. When visiting such an iconic city, these factors will make a huge difference in how you experience San Francisco.
Thankfully, unlike much of North America, winter in San Francisco remains well above the freezing point. There’s never any snow to deal with, but winter is decidedly colder than the other months of the year.
Winter encompasses pretty well all of the wet season in San Francisco. And while there’s never an overwhelming amount of precipitation, it does also guarantee that you’ll need a rain plan at least once throughout your holiday. This, combined with the cooler temperatures, makes the winter season best for travelers looking to explore the city’s indoor attractions, shopping, and dining experiences.
January is the coldest month of the year in San Francisco. With an expected 119mm of rain over an average of 8 days, it’s also one of the wettest, smack dab in the middle of the rainy season.
The temperatures in San Francisco never dip too low, so even though January is decidedly the chilliest month, you won’t see it getting much colder than the mid-40s at night (~8°C) and the mid-late fifties through the day (~14°C).
One would think that between its superlative and high precipitation rates, January wouldn’t be an ideal time to travel to San Francisco. But since the weather still remains fairly moderate, it’s totally doable with a good sweater, a light jacket, and an umbrella.
February warms up just the slightest bit, increasing the daily average highs and lows by a couple of degrees, only inching up to 60°F (16°C) and 48°F (9°C), respectively.
As it’s the last month of San Fransico’s rainy season, February does see a slight decrease in precipitation, with an average of 105mm falling over seven days. If you’re planning on traveling through the winter season, February might just be your best bet as things start to look up with spring quickly approaching.
One of the best reasons to travel to San Francisco in February is the plethora of festivals and events. MLB fans may want to plan their holiday around the Annual SF Giants Fan Fest, while home gardeners will be enchanted by the Pacific Orchid Expo, where you can discover over 150,000 beautiful blooms from across the globe.
For a taste of the city’s vibrant Chinese culture, celebrate the annual Chinese New Year Street Fair and Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco’s bustling Chinatown.
March continues the slow and steady climb up the temperature charts and brings a significant decrease in rainfall, marking the end of the rainy season.
If you don’t mind the mid-range temps of an early North American spring, but prefer not to contend with the rain, then March is a great choice. Typically there are still around seven days of rainfall throughout the month, but with a fair amount less rain falling each time, a cumulative 86mm.
As for the rest of the weather forecast, you can expect daily highs to hover around the early 60s (~17°C) and the evenings to cool down considerably to an even 50°F (~10°C).
With a light jacket and a warm pair of pajamas, March should be fairly comfortable for touring San Francisco on foot.
To get in the festive spirit, try to time your visit around the raucous Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Taking place in the heart of Downtown San Francisco, the annual event is one of the largest of its kind in the world, often attracting over 100,000 people.
In April, San Francisco continues to get warmer during the day while consistently cooling off at night for the perfect sleeping conditions. What does that look like? An average of 66°F (19°C) during the day and 51°F (11°C) after the sun sets.
Better yet, the rainfall continues to taper off in April, with a mere 31mm expected over three days. With a little bit of careful planning, especially in the case of a last-minute vacation, you can likely avoid the precipitation entirely.
In San Francisco, April has something that the other months do not: A brilliant Cherry Blossom Festival spanning over two whole weekends. Be sure to visit Japantown during your visit and watch the community come to life with lovely and fragrant flowers, yummy street food, and cultural performances.
May brings the start of San Francisco’s dry season and not-too-hot, not-too-cold temperatures. A daily high of 68°F (20°C) is par for the course. You can probably leave the heavier clothes at home, save for a sweater for cooler evenings, sitting around 53°F (12°C) on average. And with an average of just one day of rain this month, you won’t have to fret about the forecast too much.
Many of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco are outdoors, so these low-precipitation months are a good target for travelers who want to see and do it all. Whether you’re planning a day hike, heading out of the city on one of the top-rated San Francisco day trips, or just want to roam the streets comfortably, the warm weather and lack of rain that comes with this extended early summer season is the missing puzzle piece that will make the perfect holiday come together.
Kiss the rain goodbye: June has a net zero days of rain per month, with as little as 3mm falling. Practically no wet days will spoil your vacation during this early summer month! As a bonus, the temperatures keep climbing, reaching an average high of 71°F (22°C) and a low of 55°F (13°C).
June is a month of vibrant and colorful celebrations in San Francisco. In the lengthy lineup are two standout events that you should keep on your radar.
The first is the North Beach Festival, an annual weekend event full of concerts, local cuisine tastings, and a whole lotta street art in the North Beach neighborhood. June is also Pride Month, with mini celebrations occurring all month long and culminating with a cheerful and emotionally moving parade.
July’s temperatures hold roughly even with those of June, maybe inching up a degree or two into the low 70s at the upper end of the bracket and the high fifties at the lower. And if you thought the predicted rainfall couldn’t get any lower, you’d be wrong. July in San Francisco brings less than 1mm of rain to the table, so you can leave the umbrella at home!
Still need plans for the Fourth of July? If you plan your trip to San Francisco over the holiday weekend, you can take part in the iconic firework display and celebration over Fisherman’s Wharf.
August and July are practically identical twins when it comes to the average weather forecast. With a high-50s to low-70s temperature range, there’s not much discernable difference between these summer months. Perfect for touring around outside on your San Francisco itinerary without needing a break in the air-conditioned hotel, August is optimal for those who like to stay on the go all vacation long.
Smack dab in the middle of the dry season, there’s still, effectively, no rain to worry about in August. You might experience a light sprinkle here and there, but no more than 2mm is expected over the span of the entire month.
Contrary to popular belief, fall, not summer, brings the hottest days of the year in San Francisco. Edging up to 73°F (23°C) and maintaining a comfortable low of 57°F (14°C), September is decidedly the hottest month of the year.
September is the last month of the dry season and boasts just a single day of rain in the forecast, though there is a slight increase in the actual amount of rain, approximately 7mm.
If there are multiple outdoor activities you can’t miss, and you want to travel during the fall months, September is ideal. It’s a fantastic month to check out San Francisco’s beautiful beaches and tackle the multitude of excellent hiking trails ringing the Bay Area.
October is expected to stay nice and warm, with daytime highs pushing the 71°F (or 22°C) mark and moderate overnights never dipping much below 55°F (13°C). If autumn could be this nice everywhere in North America, we certainly wouldn’t complain!
October marks the end of San Francisco’s dry season, and with it comes a little bit of rain. Thankfully, the increase is rather gradual and only increases to around two days of precipitation over the course of the month and an average of 30mm. Basically, just a quick little shower here and there, and then everything is back to normal!
November weather is fairly reminiscent of the spring season in San Francisco, with an average daily high of 64°F (18°C) and a low of 52°F (11°C). Even though it’s expected to cool off a little bit, there’s certainly no hint of a “winter chill” in the air just yet.
The average rainfall in November nearly triples, with an expected 84mm of precipitation over five days. This shouldn’t be enough to deter you from planning a November holiday, but it’s worth having a few rainy-day activities up your sleeve so that your itinerary doesn’t suffer.
Winter is officially in full swing in San Francisco in December, as temperatures dip down to 57°F (14°C) during daylight hours and even further to 46°F (8°C) overnight. On average, December is the wettest month of the year, with an expected 80mm of rain over an average of 7 days. It also marks the beginning of the West Coast rainy season.
December isn’t the best time of the year to travel to San Francisco for those who enjoy outdoor tourism or wandering the streets aimlessly. But if you love museums, cozy cafes, and taking in live performances at the theatre—all of which San Francisco is known for—then a December visit will still be plenty of fun. It’s also a good time to take advantage of travel deals and low-priced airfare since not everyone is enthused about a mostly indoor holiday.
What is one thing you simply can’t miss in December? Be sure to head to the War Memorial Opera House to watch the SF Ballet perform the Nutcracker. This Christmasy performance is something of a tradition since this company was the first in the United States to take on this iconic, festive ballet!