When travelers think of visiting California, a year-round sunny destination is normally expected. This can be true for many parts of California, but San Francisco is different than the rest of the state. You know the old saying “the coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco”? Well, this saying is true. Despite the bay area’s foggy, cold summers, the summertime still tends to be a popular time for travelers to visit. The fog and large crowds can put quite the damper on a vacation. So, what is the perfect time to visit San Francisco? We have the answer for you!

Fall colors and warmer temperatures? It sounds too good to be true, but in San Francisco, anything is possible. The best time to visit San Francisco is during the fall. September through November tend to be the months with the warmest temperatures of the year, averaging in the low 70s. The most picturesque attraction, the Golden Gate Bridge, also reaches its peak starting in September. Once the fog of summer fades in early fall, the bridge can be seen and walked across with clear, sunny skies all around. Another notable advantage of visiting San Francisco in the fall months is the decrease in precipitation. Whether you are planning a visit to Levi’s Stadium for a football game or taking a tour of the city via cable car, you will be able to partake in any outdoor activity without rain being an interference (of course there is always the possibility of a drizzle or a shower on any day). Since kids go back to school in September, tourism starts to fade at that time and lodging rates drop dramatically. Prices rise again closer to the holiday season, so from a cost standpoint, September is one of the best months to get a good deal at many hotels in the city.

Although San Francisco is warmer during the fall, it’s best to pack some layers for the cooler nights and ocean breeze when you are close to the water. The beach is nice and sunny during this time, but taking a dip may be a little too cold for comfort. Go ahead and pack your swimsuit if you’re feeling bold enough to dive into the 60-degree water or make sure to bring a wetsuit to keep you warm.

There are tons of fall activities to choose from in the fall in San Francisco. The Castro Street Fair is an event with music, food, drinks and plenty more that brings the LGBTQ community together to celebrate. Everyone is welcome to join in on the festivities to have a good time and make new friends. If chocolate is more of your style, the annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival supplies more than enough treats to get chocolate wasted. Whale watching is also a popular year-round attraction in the bay, but the sunny atmosphere during the fall months will offer amazing views of nature on the tour.

San Francisco is a unique city for many reasons, and the weather proves to follow the same unique pattern. Visiting San Francisco during the summer can be a great getaway from a hot climate but be aware of the increase in travelers and lodging expenses when visiting during the more popular time of the year. If you are looking for a beautiful destination with a mild climate, reasonable lodging costs and fewer tourists, San Francisco in the fall is a perfect choice.

Image credit: Tae Fuller – Pexel