Best time to visit San Francisco

Know when to skip the crowds, catch the best weather and find the top deals in San Francisco with our handy guide.

Whether you’re planning to sip fine wines, sightsee around the city or take a road trip to another great US city such as LA or Las Vegas, we’ve found the ultimate time to visit San Francisco.

During these months, expect fewer crowds, pleasant weather and the chance to score an awesome travel deal.

Best time to visit San Francisco

September-November

Why?

San Francisco is nothing like Los Angeles and doesn’t have the hot summers most would expect. Instead, temperatures often reach their highest in autumn from September to November where they can range from 22–30+°C.

The locals refer to this season as an “Indian summer” and while it might seem hot to them, for Australians it sounds more like normal temperatures for a cool summer’s day.

During these months, there are fewer crowds and more sunny days than any other time of year.


Overview

San Francisco follows four seasons with the most idyllic temperatures falling in spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) when the weather is cool, the skies are clear and the crowds are few.

Summer brings in the largest amount of crowds as Americans are on their summer vacation break and is best avoided as the weather is often plagued with brisk wind and fog.


Weather and prices

Best time to visit San Francisco, weather-wise: Autumn, September–November, is ideal for warm weather days with minimal rainfall and fog.

Cheapest time to visit San Francisco: Winter, December–February, are the cheapest months to visit as temperatures are cold and rainfall is imminent.

Best time to visit San Francisco for...

  • Wine country: Spring, March–May, is an ideal time to balance the number of visitors and activities available. The vines begin to turn a lush green in spring and crowds begin to build. Many outdoor activities are available and the temperature is still mild.
  • San Francisco Zoo: You’ll catch the best weather in autumn, September–November, with hot temperatures and the least amount of rainfall. There also won’t be many crowds. Head to the zoo in the morning when it opens at 9am or after 3pm to avoid the peak visitor times.
  • Napa Valley: For the true Napa Valley experience visit during the harvesting season of August–October. This is prime tourist season and temperatures are hot with mostly clear skies, making it ideal for trips. Festivals are plenty and the leaves begin to change colour during spring, too.
  • Japanese Tea Garden: March and April are the best months to visit the Japanese Tea Garden as it’s when the trees and flowers are in full bloom. The teahouse itself is ideal to visit any time of the year but is least crowded at 9am and noon.
  • Twin Peaks: The Twin Peaks are good to visit year-round and are best viewed at sunset for the arresting views of the city. To beat the crowds, head over in mid-afternoon once the fog has disappeared.
  • San Francisco and Las Vegas: Autumn, September–November, is shoulder season and will reward you with fewer crowds and top weather across both cities.
  • San Francisco and Los Angeles: Autumn brings with it less fog in San Francisco and less smog in Los Angeles. Both cities also experience fewer crowds in this off-season which makes finding accommodation and airfare deals easier.

Top San Francisco deals

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia
FLASH SALE

Up to 40% off global flights

Valid for travel on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Gold Coast, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and more. T&Cs apply.

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Deal ends

Virgin Australia - Deals Virgin Australia - Deals

USA flights from $899 return

Valid for travel from February - September 2020. Destinations include Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, Orlando, New York and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Los Angeles.

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Deal ends

Budget Air Budget Air

$25 off USA and Canada flights with code

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include Los Angeles, Hawaii, Vancouver, San Francisco and more. T&Cs apply.

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Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Airlines

USA flights from $999 return

Valid for travel from 28 January - 27 March 2020. Destinations include San Francisco, Seattle, New York and more. Sample fare is from Brisbane-Los Angeles.

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Deal ends

Air New Zealand - Longhaul Air New Zealand - Longhaul
FLASH SALE

USA flights from $899 return + Extra 10% off with code

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sample fare is from Melbourne or Sydney. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - International Flight Centre - International
FLASH SALE

Virgin Australia sale: International flights from $892 return

Valid for travel on select dates between February - September 2020. Destinations include New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Vancouver and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Los Angeles.

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Air New Zealand - Longhaul Air New Zealand - Longhaul

North America flights from $937 return

Valid for travel from 2 May - 15 June and 23 July - 10 September 2020. Destinations include San Francisco, Houston, Vancouver and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Los Angeles. T&Cs apply.

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Skyscanner Skyscanner

San Francisco flights from $841 return

Valid for travel on select dates from May - June 2020. Sample fare is from Melbourne.

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Skiddoo Skiddoo

International flights from $197 return

Valid for travel on select dates. Destinations include London, Barcelona, Rome, San Francisco and more. Sample fare is Perth to Bali. T&Cs apply.

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Trafalgar Tours Trafalgar Tours

Up to 10% off USA and Canada 2020 tours

Valid for travel on select tours in 2020. Destinations include Vancouver, British Columbia, Alberta, Banff, Alaska, Calgary, Jasper, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Washington and more. T&Cs apply.

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Smart Destinations Smart Destinations

Up to 5% off any Boston, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Washington, Orlando, Go-Card All-Inclusive and Explorer Pass

Get 5% off any Boston, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Washington, Orlando, Go-Card All-Inclusive and Explorer Pass. Sign up for the Smart Destinations newsletter to receive the discount.

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Big Bus Tours Big Bus Tours

Up to 10% off Big Bus tours

Valid on select tours in Abu Dhabi, Chicago, Darwin, Dubai, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, London, Miami, Muscat, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, San Francisco, Sydney, Vienna and Washington DC.

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Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
12 Nov 2019 Up to 54% off site-wide + Extra $25 off with code FRE****
7 Nov 2019 Year-end sale: Extra $40 off experiences with code YEA****
5 Nov 2019 Extra 15% off Australia-wide business flights with code FMZ****
5 Nov 2019 Up to 75% off worldwide hotels + extra 5% off with code FIN****
5 Nov 2019 Up to 50% off experiences + extra 10% off with code RBF****

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