Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Best Time To Visit San Francisco

San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate, mild and cool throughout the year, characterized by dry summers and wet winters. The climate of San Francisco is influenced by the presence of the Pacific Ocean, which surrounds the city on three sides, the cold currents of the ocean cause a mild climate throughout the year, a moderation of temperatures with little seasonal variation, and the characteristics mists. 

During the summer and early fall, a blanket of fog forms along the coast that can cover the city, especially from the afternoon, which brings humidity and low temperatures.

Summers are mild and dry, with average maximum temperatures of 21 ° C in September, the warmest month, the average minimum summer temperatures are very low, varying between 13 ° C and 11 ° C. In winter, the average minimum temperatures reach values ​​of 7 ° C in January, while the average maximum temperature reaches 13 ° C.

The rainfall, rather scarce, is concentrated in the winter months between November and March, the months between May and September are very dry, in San Francisco it has annual average values ​​of 600 mm of precipitation. Snow is a rare event, normally it has not snowed for decades, the average is one snowfall every 15/20 years.

WHEN TO GO TO SAN FRANCISCO

The city of San Francisco can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to visit is the months of May to September, particularly good are April and May, and September and October, sometimes in the central summer months the fog covers the city.

Climb the various hills of the city aboard a Cable Car, a small tram with cable traction. For more than 150 years, these trams, designed so as not to have to climb the steep slopes of the city, have always been operated manually by a driver. Three lines run, mainly used by tourists, to make you discover the essential places of San Francisco, without getting tired.

In summer, don’t be surprised, there can be up to an hour of queuing to climb it. In the meantime, if you are at the end of the line, you will have time to observe the driver handling the Cable Car, which has no reverse gear, on a rotating wooden platform to turn it around.

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Best Time To Visit San Francisco

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The best time to visit San Francisco is from September to November. Believe it or not, fall offers some of the city’s warmest temperatures year-round, not to mention fewer crowds than summer. Spring is another good time to visit thanks to its mild temperatures and lack of rain (compared to other parts of California).

SAN FRANCISCO (39 meters)
MonthTemp. min. mean (° C)Temp. max. mean (° C)Precip. (mm)Days of Precip.
January7.613.8114.311.7
February8.615.7113.311.1
March9.216.682.811.0
April9.617.337.16.5
May10.617.917.83.8
June11.619.14.11.5
July12.319.20.00.3
August12.820.11.51.0
September12.821.25.31.7
October12.120.728.43.9
November10.117.380.38.9
December7.813.9115.811.6
YEAR10.417.7600.773.0
Best Time To Visit San Francisco

THE CLIMATE OF SAN FRANCISCO: CLIMATE CHART

With its mild climate, the city of San Francisco is one of the destinations that can be visited in any season. However, the best time to go to San Francisco while enjoying ideal weather conditions is spring.

In fact, from April to June, rainfall is low and the sun is shining. The mercury is between 13 and 20 ° C approximately.

If you are looking for when to go to San Francisco, know that summer is also a good time. The good thing is that the climate remains quite cool in San Francisco compared to the rest of California. Temperatures are between 20 and 25 ° C. However, the fog, symbol of the city, is more present during this season, especially in the morning.

Despite this, travelers often choose the summer period for a stay. It hardly ever rains and the amount of sunshine is high. In addition, if you travel to San Francisco during the summer season, you can combine your stay with the discovery of landmark events such as the Stern Grove Festival.

On the other hand, autumn is also a favorable season when the tourist influx is less. The temperatures are almost identical there to the summer: between 18 and 23 ° C approximately. From September to November, San Francisco is characterized by a dry and sunny climate that allows you to explore the city in good conditions.

Finally, winter corresponds to the low tourist season . Thus, the prices offered by travel professionals are attractive. Nevertheless, the climate is more capricious: it will be necessary to prepare to face the freshness and the rains. Temperatures are between 10 and 15 ° C between December and February.

Best time to go to San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO
MonthSea water temperature ° C
January12
February12
March12
April12
May12
June12
July13
August14
Septemberfifteen
October14
November14
December13
Best Time To Visit San Francisco

When to go to San Francisco? Here is some statistical information about the weather in San Francisco to help you find the best time for your trip:

  • The best months for good weather in San Francisco are March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November
  • On average, the hottest months are June, July, August, September and October
  • San Francisco has periods of drought in April, May, June, July, August, September and October
  • The coldest months are January, February and December

Do you want to extend your trip to other cities? Find out when to go to California for good weather.

City located on the west coast of the United States, in the heart of California, and not far from Los Angeles , San Francisco enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate . Thus, it is mild and cool all year round.

The temperature range is limited there since there is, in reality, less than 10 ° C of difference between the coldest and the hottest month of the year.

While summers are very dry, winters are quite wet. The climate of San Francisco is greatly influenced by the presence of the Pacific Ocean. This brings a cold current, which has the consequence that the mercury rarely exceeds 25 ° C even in the middle of summer.

The oceanic influence also explains the omnipresence of the fog that rises day after day over the city, especially in summer.

Finally, the Pacific Ocean experiences a cold current all year round in this region, which makes San Francisco a city ​​to be avoided for swimming . The water temperature is below 15 ° C all year round.

1. Summer in San Francisco

Unlike New York, which experiences very hot and sweltering summers, San Francisco has a mild summer season, with temperatures around 20-25 ° C. The mornings can be chilly, so you will need to pack something to cover in your suitcases.

However, this season remains very pleasant: rainfall is low and the amount of sunshine is particularly high. Expect between nine to ten hours of sun per day.

Good to know: the famous fog that characterizes the climate of San Francisco is more present during this period , bringing humidity and freshness. It is linked to the meeting of cold oceanic air and hot air from the continent. Thus, the sky is often gray in summer in San Francisco, especially in the morning. This gives an autumnal atmosphere to the city even in the middle of July.

Apart from this aspect, some travelers say this season is perfect for a stay, as this is where the temperatures are highest. This is why the tourist influx there is very important.

2. Winter in San Francisco

Due to its temperate climate, San Francisco enjoys relatively mild winters . Temperatures are 5-10 ° C in the morning and around 10-15 ° C in the afternoon.

It is rare to see temperatures drop into the negative and snowfall is even rarer.

Nevertheless, the weather in San Francisco is rainy from December to February . Even if the rainy days are less numerous than the sunny days, the precipitation is intense in terms of quantity.

3. Spring in San Francisco

Spring in San Francisco is a pleasant season with temperatures gradually reaching their summer level. The mercury is between 13 and 19 ° C approximately during this period. In addition, the rains are not very important, especially from May.

During this period, you can enjoy a high rate of sunshine. In addition, the fog that generally covers the Golden Gate Bridge is quite rare. It is therefore possible to visit San Francisco under a beautiful blue sky if you travel in the spring.

4. Fall in San Francisco

In autumn, the weather in San Francisco sees its temperatures gradually drop to reach the freshness of winter. Nevertheless, we sometimes think of autumn as an extension of summer. September is often the hottest month of the year and the months of October and November have temperatures between around 17 and 23 ° C.

If the beginning of autumn is very dry, there is more precipitation around November . Which gently announces the arrival of winter.

Best Time To Visit San Francisco
Best Time To Visit San Francisco

In early fall, as in summer, it is not uncommon to see thick fog in the city, especially in the western part, closer to the ocean. This phenomenon brings a hazy sky, especially in the morning. However, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your stay.

Festivals and main events in San Francisco

Looking to travel to San Francisco during an important city event? Here are some of the most anticipated events in San Francisco :

  • January | Dine About Town : gastronomic festival that offers discounts in a hundred restaurants in the city.
  • February | Chinese New Year : Various celebrations and a big parade are organized in the China Town district.
  • April | Cherry Blossom Festival: To celebrate the arrival of spring, the Japanese district of Japan Town is organizing a cherry blossom festival considered the most important in the American West.
  • May | Cinco de Mayo : The Mexican community celebrates Cinco de Mayo through costume shows, parades and concerts.
  • May | International Film Festival : film festival that brings together great actors with screenings and competitions.
  • June | San Francisco Pride : festival that celebrates the diversity of genders and sexual orientations every year. It is one of the busiest pride marches in the world.
  • August | Outside Lands : this musical festival pays homage to the Summer of love of the sixties. It takes place every summer at Golden Gate Park and offers an eclectic program. In recent years, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West and Metallica have taken turns on the stage. It is also seen as an ideal place to taste good local cuisine and fine wines.
  • July to September | San Francisco Shakespare Festival : Free performances of Shakespare’s works that take place throughout the summer in city parks. Its aim is to provide access to theatrical performances to all regardless of age, financial situation or ethnic origin.
  • June to August | Stern Grove Festival : Free music festival that has been held annually for over 80 years. There are 10 outdoor concerts with various styles and international artists.
  • End of September | Oktoberfest by the Bay : this festival celebrates both music, dance and showcases German gastronomy (especially beer). It takes place at Pier 35, the famous port of San Francisco.
  • October | Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival : This free music festival takes place in Golden Gate Park for 3 days in October. There is a program of artists from a variety of genres (rock, bluegrass music, country, blues) who perform on 6 different stages. Usually, festival-goers gather in the park to listen to concerts around a picnic.

Crowds and tourist seasons

Find out when is the high tourist season in San Francisco (and therefore, the period when the tourist influx is the highest) and when is the low tourist season with our data and graphs.

San Francisco tourist seasons

  • Very low season in San Francisco
    The months with the lowest tourist traffic are: January, February, March and November.
  • Low season in San Francisco
    The months when attendance is low are: April, May and December.
  • High Season in San Francisco
    Attendance in San Francisco is high in: June.
  • Very high season in San Francisco
    In July, August, September and October, the tourist influx in San Francisco is at its peak.

Better period for low prices

Monthly average hotel price in San Francisco

Best Time To Visit San Francisco
Best Time To Visit San Francisco

THE BEST PERIOD FOR THE BEST PRICES

Overall, the cheapest month in San Francisco for a hotel room is December . So it’s a good time to go to save money! Conversely, September is statistically the highest month of the year in the hotel industry.

DETAILS BY CATEGORIES AND TYPES OF HOTELS

  • 1 star hotel – The average price for a night in a 1 star hotel is 146 €. This price varies during the year from 76 €. The best price is in November (111 €) while the highest price is in March (187 €)
  • 2-star hotel – The average price for one night in a 2-star guesthouse / hotel is 162 €. This price varies during the year from 49 €. The best price is in December (134 €) while the highest price is in September (183 €)
  • 3-star hotel – The average price for a night in a 3-star hotel is € 220. This price varies during the year from 72 €. The best price is in December (185 €) while the highest price is in September (257 €)
  • 4-star hotel – The average price for a night in a 4-star hotel is € 320. This price varies during the year from 143 €. The best price is in December (242 €) while the highest price is in September (385 €)
  • 5-star hotel – The average price for a night in a palace (5 stars) is 604 €. This price varies during the year from 193 €. The best price is in December (493 €) while the highest price is in September (686 €)
  • Hostel / Hostel – The average price for one night in a hostel or youth hostel (dormitory or room for 2 adults) is 147 €. This price varies during the year from 83 €. The best price is in November (102 €) while the highest price is in March (185 €)
  • Room with kitchen – The average price for a night in a hotel room with a kitchenette is € 342. This price varies during the year from 85 €. The best price is in December (300 €) while the highest price is in July (385 €)
  • Hotel with swimming pool – The average price for a night in a hotel with a shared swimming pool is € 289. This price varies during the year from 100 €. The best price is in December (236 €) while the highest price is in September (336 €)
  • Gîte or guest house – The average price for one night in a guesthouse or guest house is € 239. This price varies during the year from 62 €. The best price is in February (218 €) while the highest price is in September (280 €)
  • Family room – The average price for one night in a family hotel room (beds for 2 adults and 2 children) is € 276. This price varies during the year from 89 €. The best price is in January (230 €) while the highest price is in September (319 €)

Average flight price to San Francisco

The price of a return flight Paris – San Francisco is cheaper on average for a departure in February (398 € on average): this is the best period for travelers on a budget. On the other hand, by leaving in July you risk paying your plane ticket to go to San Francisco in California 261 € more expensive.

Average price to rent a car
Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Average price to rent a car in San Francisco

Hiring a car in San Francisco costs, on average, $ 26 per day. This price varies from € 14 depending on the month. Thus, in November renting a car for 24 hours costs € 21 on average, which is the best time to save money! Conversely, in December this average price is 35 €.

Best Time To Visit San Francisco

13 must-do things to do in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the only American cities to have “a soul”. It is a very European city that will seduce you very quickly. People smile a lot here. Traffic jams tend to be caused by drivers begging the other to go first. It is a city where people are tolerant, open and alternative.

Even better for you, San Francisco is on a human scale, around 10 km², and the traffic isn’t as bad as it is in New York or Los Angeles. It is therefore possible to visit San Francisco in just a few days. Without going into the details and the good addresses, here are the best things to do in San Francisco , ideal for a first stay.

Summary

  1. Alcatraz Island and Prison
  2. The Golden Gate Bridge
  3. The Fisherman’s Wharf
  4. Get into a Cable Car
  5. Golden Gate Park
  6. Chinatown
  7. Lombard Street
  8. The Exploratorium
  9. The Palace of Fine Arts
  10. Twin Peaks
  11. The museums of San Francisco
  12. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  13. Napa Valley
  14. How to get to San Francisco and where to stay?

1. Alcatraz Island and Prison – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

The Alcatraz has not always been a place where people wanted to go, but today is one of the most popular sites in the city, his mystical image that has been romanticized by famous movies the criminals who lived here or tried to escape. Today it is possible to visit Alcatraz, and even without inmates, there is a rather mysterious atmosphere.

A prison on an island, you will tell me, not top notch as a must! And yet, the visit is one of the main attractions of the city and we understand why. First of all, there is this arrival by boat, this incredible view from the island on the San Francisco Bay, this atmosphere and the fascinating guided tour within the prison… which will give you chills.

Alcatraz, nicknamed “The Rock” because it is difficult if not impossible to escape due to its cold waters, the strong currents of the bay and its isolation 2 kilometers from San Francisco. Having become a high security prison for about thirty years, it was closed by Robert Kennedy because of its excessively high operating costs in 1963. More than 1,500 criminals considered to be dangerous were imprisoned there, including some famous ones like Al Capone, Alvin Karpis or George Kelly.

When we land on the island, we are surprised to see beautiful gardens, a lighthouse, an extraordinary view of the San Francisco bay and so many birds. Because the island has now become a nature reserve for many species of birds and you will be surprised by the large colonies of seagulls that live there.

Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Inside the prison, thanks to an audio guide, you will discover the living conditions of the prisoners. What surprises is the smallness of their cell measuring only 1.50m wide and 3m long. The tour takes you through the library, the courtyard, corridor D with its dark cells for disobedient prisoners, the visiting room or the kitchen, the wardens’ room or the Director’s office.

We also discover the life of the guards who lived there with their wives and children. You will also be entitled to stories of 2 escape attempts. The first, which took place in May 1946, with six inmates who could not escape took several guards hostage. The Marines had to intervene by throwing grenades and the toll was heavy with 5 dead and dozens injured.

The 2nd attempt in June 1962 was launched by 3 prisoners who for 1 year dug a hole in their cell to access the ventilation ducts with the help of a spoon! They made fake heads out of papier mache to make it look like they were sleeping the night of the attempt. They have never been found. The official version would be that they would have drowned but no body has ever been found. This attempt inspired cinema with the film “Escape from Alcatraz”.
The visit with the audio guide is really interesting with in particular testimonials, sound effects as if you were there!

2. The Golden Gate Bridge – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the icons of California, adorning the San Francisco Bay. It is probably the most photographed site in the city, with its orange color supported by the blue of the water and its two towers sometimes piercing the low clouds. The bridge has an interesting history and adds a unique charm to San Francisco.

Best Time To Visit San Francisco
Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Symbol of San Francisco, The Golden Gate Bridge is the most famous bridge in the world. It connects the city in its northern part to Marin County where the beautiful small town of Sausalito is located. Measuring just over 2,700 m, it is recognizable by its two towers and above all by its orange color.

And no, it’s not red! Inaugurated in 1937, it is a true architectural feat and tourists from all over the world flock to try to take the most beautiful photos of this majestic bridge. It is also necessary that the fog does not come to make its appearance, which is quite rare especially in summer.

To take the best pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, our favorite viewpoints are:

  • Baker Beach: necessarily with its sandy beach in the foreground, it is the ideal place to take a very beautiful photo, especially with the setting sun. You can also take a long walk along this beach but remember to cover yourself because the place is often windy.
  • Crissy Field : the place is frequented by tourists and San Franciscans who come to relax on the large lawns, to cycle on the cycle path, to run or to walk. It is also a spot for surfers. The view of the bridge is breathtaking.
  • Battery Lancaster: Also called South Vista Point, the viewpoint on the bridge is very popular with tourists because it is one of the few places where you are at the same height as the bridge. But it is impossible to be alone with a permanent parade of buses of visitors. This is where the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center is located to learn all about the history of the famous bridge.
  • Fort Point : at the foot of the bridge, Fort Point, a former military fort which can be visited free of charge, offers a superb view from below the bridge.

After taking some great photos, it’s high time to cross this legendary bridge. It is discovered:

  • By car: There is a charge to cross the bridge in the direction of San Francisco with an electronic toll system. No question of stopping on the bridge to take some pictures! With its six traffic lanes, the crossing will be done at high speed.
  • On foot : a path dedicated to walkers allows you to make the crossing quietly and enjoy superb views of San Francisco Bay as well as glimpse Alcatraz Island. The crossing is noisy with the cars driving nearby very quickly.
  • By bike: Along Fisherman’s Warf, you will find several rental agencies that will offer you the classic fifteen-kilometer circuit to get to Sausalito on the other side of the bridge with return by boat. The walk is very pleasant with a first part along the shore passing Crissy Field and Fort Point with beautiful views of the bridge as well as the bay.
  • From there, the crossing of the bridge begins with a dedicated bicycle lane. The cycle path is quite narrow and two-way and with the crowds in summer it is difficult to stop there. The cars passing at high speed nearby and a wind which blows regularly make this crossing not necessarily pleasant.
  • Across the bridge, towards Sausalito,the scenery changes and it almost feels like the south of France with a climate that is warmer and sunny. You can take the opportunity to walk around this pretty little town before taking the boat back to San Francisco.
  • By boat : by boat, you will enjoy a different view of the bridge and of the entire bay. The walk along the seafront lasts about 1 hour with passage under the bridge and around Alcatraz.

3. The Fisherman’s Wharf – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

It is one of the most touristic and well-known places in SF. The Fisherman’s Wharf ( “Fisherman’s Wharf”) draws the crowds who come to shop, eat and stroll along the waterfront. There are museums there and there are plenty of options for entertainment. For those looking to get out on the bay, tour boats and ferries to Alcatraz depart from Fisherman’s Wharf. Take the opportunity to see Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square, nearby.

Formerly a large port area, the fishermen’s wharf has become a very lively area with restaurants, souvenir shops and many attractions with juggling shows, musicians and dancers. A very festive atmosphere where it is sometimes difficult to move around on weekends. But it is not only the artists who make their show, there are also the seals which come to bask on the quays of Pier 39.

Do not be surprised not to see them in summer, when they prefer to reproduce under other horizons. If you like fish, go to the Aquarium with its transparent tunnel to see them up close. To get out of the crowds, walk along the waterfront towards the Financial District. You will pass the docks where you can take the boat to visit Alcatraz Island or for a cruise along the bay. 

At Pier 15, take the time to visit the Exploratorium, an interactive museum to arouse curiosity and discover how the world works. And to finish your ride, stop at the Ferry Building farmers market at Pier 1: gourmets are advised, there is a multitude of good things to taste there.

4. Get into a Cable Car – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Iconic, fun and unique to San Francisco, the Cable Cars are another “moving” icon of frisco . The famous streetcars were introduced in 1873 to help locals climb the many hills on which the city is built. Today, the few Cable Cars still in service offer tourists a great way to experience the city in a historical way. Since 1964, these trams have long had the distinction of being the only public transport system to be classified as a historical monument.

The Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde linesare the most picturesque. Cable Cars will take you to major attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, the Ferry Building, Nob Hill, and Lombard Street. If you decide to visit San Francisco for several days, consider purchasing a Pass.

Climb the various hills of the city aboard a Cable Car, a small tram with cable traction. For more than 150 years, these trams, designed so as not to have to climb the steep slopes of the city, have always been operated manually by a driver. Three lines run, mainly used by tourists, to make you discover the essential places of San Francisco, without getting tired.

In summer, don’t be surprised, there can be up to an hour of queuing to climb it. In the meantime, if you are at the end of the line, you will have time to observe the driver handling the Cable Car, which has no reverse gear, on a rotating wooden platform to turn it around.

5. Golden Gate Park – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Bigger than Central Park in New York City, Golden Gate Park is the city’s largest outdoor space. If you go, you might see Dutch windmills, a herd of buffalo, remote control boats, museums and gardens, and plenty of places to relax or have a picnic. On foot or by bike, you will also see a Japanese garden, a botanical garden or the California Academy of Sciences (museum).

This long park (5 km long and 1 km wide) founded in 1870 hosts many attractions, sumptuous gardens and beautiful buildings. An avenue crosses the park, closed on weekends to allow San Franciscans to cycle, rollerblade or walk. Sports enthusiasts can play golf, tennis, baseball, American football, archery or fishing in the various ponds.
Within the park you will find the de Young Museum which presents a fine collection of American art from the 17th to the 20th century. The architecture of the building is sumptuous. The park also hosts the California Academy of Sciences, one of the ten largest natural history museums in the world. We discover a giant aquarium with more than 3,000 exotic fish, a planetarium, a tropical forest and a green roof.

As for flowers and plants, the botanical garden is home to plants from all over the world. For a more change of scenery, the Japanese Tea Garden or “Japanese tea garden” offers you a pleasant stroll among bonsai and bamboo trees. It is in the spring that it is best to discover it with its cherry trees in bloom or in the fall with the maples which offer an incredible palette of red.

6. Chinatown – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

You may have been to Chinatown in other cities, but Chinatown San Franciscois a whole different realm. It is both the largest outside Asia and the oldest of its kind in North America. Almost completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1906, Chinatown has been completely rebuilt in Chinese style. It is even more attractive than before the disaster. 

With its temples, theaters, workshops, small businesses, stores, antique and souvenir shops, tea rooms and drugstores with old panaceas, Chinatown has become one of San Francisco’s main neighborhoods. If you travel to SF during an important Chinese event, you are likely to witness some elaborate celebrations. Chinese New Year’s (late January – mid February) are often considered the best in North America.

Chinatown, one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia! A must-do walk close to the big buildings of the Financial District. It starts most of the time from the Dragon Gate, surrounded by two lions, on Grant Avenue, which is the main street in the neighborhood. The facades are colorful, the pagoda roofs and lanterns are hung everywhere.

The stores are incredible with a multitude of gadgets and decorations of all kinds. There are also herbalist shops with hundreds of jars and sometimes weird things inside! Life is very lively in this district where no one speaks English, especially towards the sellers of fish or fruit and vegetables.

7. Lombard Street – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Although billed as “America’s most curvy street,” Lombard Street is actually not. It is not the steepest either, but it is surely the most famous. Only a block long, its eight sharp bends are lined with colorful flowers. Most tourists walk down the street as it is a one-way street. It is not the main attraction of the city, but it is a must see.

In the Russian Hill district is the legendary Lombard Street. Mythical, because considered to be the most winding street in the world with its 8 bends so that cars can take this road with an elevation of 27%! You can enjoy a beautiful view of the city and its bay. The street is beautifully decorated with flowers, especially hydrangeas. No wonder it’s the most photographed street in San Francisco.

8. The Exploratorium – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

The Exploratorium is a premier science museum. It primarily targets children and families, but can really be enjoyed by anyone. There are a large number of exhibits covering various areas of interest, all of which are designed to educate and entertain. 

Kids tend to love this museum, with all kinds of interesting experiences and things to do. Surprisingly, whether they have children or not, most adults also praise the Exploratorium. This museum is located on the waterfront, along the Embarcadero.

9. The Palace of Fine Arts – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is the last remaining structure of the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition held in 1915. The palace has been restored, as have the grounds. The theater there can accommodate around 1000 people.

10. Twin Peaks – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

These two peculiar and uninhabited hills (“twin peaks”), nearly 305 meters high, are not the highest of the 43 hills of San Francisco, a distinction belonging to Mount Davidson which rises to 315 meters. However, they are easier to access and offer what are perhaps the best views of the city and the bay. 

The Twin Peaks are the only hills in San Francisco that have not been developed. The Spanish conquistadors called the Twin Peaks “Los Pechos de la Chola” or “the breasts of the Indian girl”. Even on hot days, strong cool breezes blow from the Pacific, especially in the late afternoon. Remember to take warm clothes.

11. The museums of San Francisco

Besides the museums that we have already seen here, there are others that are worth exploring. The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is an architectural marvel as well as a multi-faceted museum. Inside, there is an incredible natural history museum, planetarium, aquarium, rainforest, and more.

The Young Museum is the oldest museum in San Francisco. Also in Golden Gate Park, it mainly displays works of art from North America, but there are also numerous exhibits from Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East. British art, and folk art from Africa, America and the Pacific Islands are also represented.

The Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is housed in the War Memorial Veterans Building on the west side of Civic Center Plaza. It is devoted to modern and contemporary art.

The Asian Art Museum is arguably one of the most important museums in San Francisco. The museum opened in 1966, with the collection from art collector Avery Brundage as a base to “bridge the gap between East and West”. Today it houses around 15,000 objects from Asia.

What catches the eye are the exceptional modern art collections but also the very architecture of the building with its beautiful wooden staircase and its gigantic openings and terraces overlooking the city. Huge with its seven levels, the museum brings together more than 30,000 works, paintings and photographs, enough to introduce you to modern American art.

At each entrance you’ll find awe-inspiring sculptures with on one side an elongated, labyrinthine rust-shaped figure eight work by Richard Serra and on the other side a huge sculpture hanging above your heads by Alexander Calder. With its varied and rich permanent and temporary collections, the museum has become one of the largest museums of contemporary art in the United States.

12. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Across the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s a perfect place to enjoy nature and relax. There are walking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and beautiful beaches. The park is also a place of history. Fort Baker was a United States Army post at the turn of the 20th century, with many historic buildings. A lovely place to escape the city for a day.

13. Napa Valley – Best Time To Visit San Francisco

The Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are the major wine regions and famous in California. Located 85 km from San Francisco, Napa Valley has gained a worldwide reputation for its wine. You can go visit this region of Marin County to taste the best Californian wines at the heart of the production.

14. How to get to San Francisco and where to stay?

Find a cheap flight to San Francisco on our partner Skyscanner website .

San Francisco hotels are as diverse as its rolling landscapes. If you can afford it, you can stay at The Palace or indulge yourself at The Sir Francis Drake. If you’re on a smaller budget, the Fisherman’s Wharf and Inner Sunset areas have much more accessible hotels. 

For more details, read our guide on where to stay in San Francisco . To find a cheap hotel in SF, do a search on our hotel comparator. You can also rent apartments for a short period. This concept was also born here with Airbnb.

Have you visited San Francisco?

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