San Francisco weather
Famous for the Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco has dry and warm summers, but mild and wet winters.
San Francisco weather averages and climate
When is the best time to visit San Francisco?
Visitors to San Francisco may want to take advantage of the long hour of sunshine during the summer months, and this is also statistically the driest time of the year. The area can commonly experience foggy weather which forms over the Pacific Ocean and often drifts into the city, especially during the spring and summer months when the sea temperatures are at their coldest. These fogs can bring cold weather during the summer months, which visitors should be aware of and at times they can persist all day. Temperatures do not fall dramatically during the winter, however winter visitors should be prepared for the higher probability of rain.
Spring starts off mild and wet with March seeing average daily highs of 16.6°C and average monthly rainfall of 78mm. However, this is a transition season as by May, the average daily temperatures have risen to 19.3°C and monthly rainfall is just 5mm. There is plenty of sunshine throughout the season with an average of 10 hours in May.
The summer months in San Francisco are dry with June, July and August seeing an average of 5mm for the entire season. The summer months also see the longest sunshine hours with 11 hours per day in June. Daily temperatures average in the low twenties, but visitors in the summer must be aware that the winds are statistically at their strongest so can give some cooling breezes off the sea. Summer months can often see fog developing over the colder ocean waters, which drift across the city to produce colder summer days than would normally be expected.
Average daily sunshine hours steadily decrease throughout the autumn, but September sees the warmest month with average daily temperatures of 22.9°C. September sees around 9 hours of sunshine per day, but this falls to 6 hours in November. Average maximum temperatures in November are cooler but comfortable at 17.2°C. After a dry September with an average of only 5mm, rain becomes likely later in autumn, with November seeing an average rainfall of 73mm.
Temperatures continue to dip during the winter months, with January seeing the coolest weather and average daily highs of 13.5°C. Rain is most likely during winter with January seeing the highest levels of rainfall, with 111mm on average. Visitors to San Francisco should be aware of the short sunshine hours, with around 5 hours of sunshine per day in December and January.
San Francisco tourist information
The city was founded by Spanish settlers in the name of patron Saint Francis of Assisi, in the very same year that the American Declaration of Independence was signed. It became a part of the United States in 1846 during the Mexican-American War, and had its population massively boosted by the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. A major earthquake in 1906 interrupted what was then becoming a very resourceful city, but the city continued to prosper.
These days San Francisco is an exceedingly popular place to live among free-thinkers; with many culturally diverse interests and a mostly liberal population, the city was home to the counterculture movements during the 1950s, inspiring the works of Ginsberg and Kerouac. This in turn led to the hippy movement of the 1960s which also had a strong presence in San Francisco - and again into the following decades of high-tech revolution which found a home in the neighbouring Silicon Valley; an industry which continues to thrive despite some financial setbacks in the late 1990s. Many of the world's top tech companies are headquartered in this region.
Depicted in many films and television programmes, the many beautiful sights of San Francisco are partly what continues to bring in huge numbers of tourists every year; the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world, stretching across the Bay to a nearby county. The structure was completed well beyond the planned schedule, as well as under budget in April 1937. Tourists can walk or bike across the bridge, but clear panoramic views are rare due to San Francisco's foggy reputation, typical to the region.
The island off shore that is home to the, now closed, Alcatraz Prison holds an 'Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon' every March. A 1.5 mile swim from the island, followed by an 18 mile bike ride and ended with an eight mile run across the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, finishing at Marina Green.
San Francisco is also home to two major sports teams; the 49ers play American football at Candlestick during the autumn and winter, while the Giants play baseball at AT&T Park; both are distinguished sides who have been represented by some of the world's top players.