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It may seem antithetical to everything we have come to believe, but the summers in San Francisco are most definitely not the warmest months of the year. As Mark Twain once humorously observed, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." For travelers planning a trip here in the summer, bringing a sweater is a must. The temperatures in the summer remain in just the 60s. That means the highs never quite break into even the low 70s! Combine those temps with the well-known windy days, and you are most definitely not looking at tank-top weather.


So when is the best time to visit San Francisco? Keep reading for all the details on visiting this eclectic city at just the right time.

Related: 4 Days In San Francisco: What To Do During A First-Time Visit

Hot Time, Summer In The City? Not Quite

In July, the average temps are only 66 degrees! And they are not much better in August when the temps increase to a whopping...68 degrees. Bikini weather, this is not. Travelers envisioning themselves spending their summer vacation in San Francisco may find themselves reaching for a sweater, especially as the area is known for a vigorous breeze coming off the water, not to mention the often chill-inducing, clammy fog that rolls in. For many visitors, the idea of these surprisingly chilly temperatures can be adapted, but combine the July and August chill with the throngs of crowds and soaring hotel prices, and many will conclude there must be other, better times to visit. After all, you can leave your heart in San Francisco, but you should never leave behind your sweater.

Related: 10 Best Destinations For Travelers That Really Love The Cold

Those Summer Nights... In The Fall

So if the warmest season in San Francisco is NOT the summer, when is it? Just as the overwhelming crowds start to leave, and just a few travelers are trickling about Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown, just as the season turns to fall, that is when the temperatures start to increase. With the daily damp fog turning transforming into consistently sunny days, the temps from September to November move up to the low 70s. Not exactly a heat wave, but visitors will surely feel the difference. That strong sea breeze most definitely remains, though, so while visitors should definitely pack that tank top, they will need to bring a sweater (or two) as well.

Less Crowds, More Sun

For travelers who are convinced that the fall is their best bet, what can they expect to do in San Francisco during this season? Luckily, there are so many exciting experiences to be had during these months. Especially for adventurers hoping to experience the city without the summer crowds:

  • Catch a 49ers game: For football fans and families looking for a fun day out, there is nothing quite like experiencing the game in person when the weather is perfect for watching a touchdown or two.
  • Castro Street Fair: This famous and delightful district hosts an annual street fair that features music, dancing, and brilliant street food. Renowned for its LGBTQI history, this beloved community celebrates with this fantastic event that takes place on the first Sunday of every October from 11 am to 6 pm.
  • Fleet Week in San Francisco: Always an exciting experience, visitors can see Fleet Week here from October 3rd to the 10th and witness the awe of seeing the U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly over the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Shakespeare in the Park: Whether visitors are Shakespeare dreamers or simply enjoy seeing a play under the stars, watching this annual production is always a magical experience. Performances will run on select days from September 3rd to September 11th. This year's production is Much Ado About Nothing. And the best part--besides the brilliant performances--is that it's free!
  • Oktoberfest by the Bay: Although this event's 2022 dates are still TBD, this giant party celebrating German food, beer, and the ability to combine the two is always a raucous, memorable multi-day event.
  • San Francisco Giants: For baseball fans, head to Oracle Park and enjoy nine innings of solid national league play.

Fall In San Francisco Offers Warmth And Eclectic Fun

Although San Francisco is certainly worth experiencing any time of year--its charm and history will captivate any traveler--it cannot be overstated how much better the days will be for travelers who spend them here in the fall. With the chilly fog less of a daily issue putting a damper on plans, with the temps increasing just enough to make all the difference, and the hustle and bustle of the summer crowds gone, fall is truly a special time to experience this special city.

But of course, this being San Francisco, don't forget Mark Twain's quote. It's always best to pack a sweater. Just in case...