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What should I pack for a trip to San Francisco?

Prior to arrival, many visitors to San Francisco have been under the mistaken impression that San Francisco's weather is the same as that of warm and sunny Southern California. In reality, San Francisco is often cold in the morning and evening throughout the year and even during the day as well on especially foggy or windy days.

Though it is not unusual to find locals in coats in the middle of July, there are many generally warmer or colder microclimates nearby, depending on the time of year. If you travel as little as 15 miles north, south or east of the city you may find the temperature to be 10F to 20F degrees off. Because of this, layered clothing is highly recommended. Additionally, it's helpful to know the weather for the microclimates you may travel between.  Napa County, for example, can top 100F in the summer on days when San Francisco hardly reaches 60F.  So, it's best to be conscious of what kind of layers you bring.

Swimsuits for anything but heated pools are generally unnecessary as the temperature of the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco's latitude rarely tops 61F.  Because San Francisco is very much a walking-oriented city, it's highly advisable to bring comfortable shoes. Umbrellas are generally only helpful from mid-November through early April.  Beyond these items, you should find everything you need in San Francisco to be readily accessible as there are often stores within easy walking distance of wherever you may be staying.

last updated 2008.06.22
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