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San Francisco

Dressing for the weather

How to be the best dressed in SF weather.

San Francisco weather changes by the hour and varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Its peninsular location lends it a unique environment that exhibits everything from can't-see-through-it fog to radiant sunshine, all within the same day. When dressing for SF weather, choose layers. Take time to investigate monthly temperature estimates before packing your bag, and remember that weather forecasts do not factor in the fog. If you bring your heavy down jacket and notice everyone around you is shivering in short sleeves, share the warmth and enjoy the weather.

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Dress: While San Francisco does experience a few hot days where one can wear short sleeves late into the evening, the majority of its days and nights require a few more layers to stay comfortable.

  • Be it Fisherman’s Wharf or the Embarcadero, a sharp breeze frequently blows along the waterfront.

  • The savvy traveler dresses in layers, adding or removing them as the weather suggests.

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Bring layers and you'll be prepared to spend the day in Alamo Square

Microclimates

SF’s hilly nature and maritime setting promises that one part of the city will be sunny while another is bitingly cold. Generally, the more windward areas along the coast (Outer Sunset) are cooler and foggier, while more leeward areas in the east are warmer and drier (Mission District). Temperatures can vary up to 15 degrees on a neighborhood to neighborhood basis.

If you’re looking to migrate someplace warmer and can’t hop on a plane, a quick trip down the peninsula toward Palo Alto, over to the East Bay, or up to Marin usually does the trick. These areas generally report temperatures that are 10-15 degrees warmer during the summer months.

The Fog

San Francisco is a peninsula surrounded by cold water. It is also the point along the west coast at which cold Alaskan air collides with warmer southern air—the vaporous byproduct being SF's famous fog. Fog is typically thickest during June, July, and August.

San Francisco would feel less than itself without its famous fog. Glimpsing Golden Gate Bridge asleep in the clouds or stretching through the morning mist reminds locals why they live here. The foggiest neighborhoods in San Francisco are the Sunset, the Richmond, Golden Gate Park, and Twin Peaks.

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Immaculate at Sutro Baths

Ideas for Foggy Days

  • Exploring the coastline, hiking, and surfing are just a few activities enhanced by the imagery of San Francisco’s fog. Scouring neighborhoods by foot amidst the fog offers an everyday experience of city life. When adventuring in Golden Gate Park, many of the the park’s most scenic retreats attain an indescribable ambiance as the mist settles through the trees.

  • Seek out Baker Beach.

  • Trek across Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Roam with the buffalo in Golden Gate Park.

  • Explore the Sutro Baths in Outer Richmond.

  • Grab some coffee and take part in the rich local cafe scene.

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Ideas for Sunny Days

When the sun is shining on the bay, it's hard to argue with spending the afternoon outdoors. Luckily, there are plenty of activities enhanced by the beautiful weather:

  • Pack a picnic and head to Dolores Park to watch as the fog reaches Sutro and begins to disappear.

  • Catch a Cable Car from the Embarcadero up to the Castro.

  • Enjoy the open air at a Giants game.

  • Catch a ferry and see the bay, from the bay.

  • Rent or borrow a bike and pedal your way through the city.

  • Hike up to Twin Peaks and wonder at one of the best views in SF.

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Feeling the warmth of the sun at Dolores Park

Where to Find the Sun

Some of the city's most consistently warm weather can be found east of Market Street, through the Mission District toward Potrero Hill and Bayview. These sunny neighborhoods remain the best places for friends to gather in search of sun and sun-inspired activity. San Francisco’s sunniest neighborhoods are:

  • Bernal Heights

  • The Castro

  • Dogpatch

  • Mission Bay

  • The Mission District

  • Noe Valley

  • Potrero Hill

  • SoMa

The City at Night

Evenings are commonly wet or misty due to SF's marine layer, a  fog that creeps in from the ocean. As a result, the city's evenings often feel cooler than the temperature says. Year round averages of 46 - 56 °F (7.7 - 13.3 °C) are characteristic, but sometimes feel cooler. A good jacket is all you need to keep your evenings cozy.

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USA SF Marina mb