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
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.
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.