One of the most popular quotes about San Francisco weather is Mark Twain’s saying that the coldest winter he ever saw was the summer he spent in San Francisco. What you have to keep in mind is that Mark Twain grew up in Missouri and spent much of his time in places like New York and Connecticut, all states where there was a great difference between summer and winter weather. San Francisco doesn’t have that difference; it’s in the fifties or sixties in this city almost all year round. However, when you’re coming from a part of the country where summer means ninety degree humid weather, San Francisco’s brisk summers filled with cool fog can feel mighty chilly indeed.
San Francisco’s summer weather may seem wacky if you’re coming from another state. You leave your warm home packing shorts and tank tops and arrive in a city that’s demanding windbreakers and shawls. But once you get to know San Francisco, you’ll see that the city’s weather is really predictable. The average San Francisco temperature in July is going to be 54 for a low and 66 for a high. It is very unlikely that it’s going to rain. And once you begin to get used to the cool, windy days, they can really be a nice reprieve from the triple digit temperatures taking over much of the rest of the country.
San Francisco gets less than .04 inches of rain each July so you don’t need to pack an umbrella. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be sunny during your stay. It’s only sunny about two thirds of the time in July. The rest of the time it’s overcast and windy and you’ll be immersed in that famous fog, which can sometimes make you feel damp even though it’s not rainy. The trick is to not only where layers (which is smart all year round in San Francisco) but to pack lots of light, breathable clothing.
Of course, the first big thing to celebrate in San Francisco is 4th of July. There are lots of options for enjoying this holiday, but the most popular is to go to Pier 39 or Aquatic Park to watch the dual fireworks show that happens simultaneously at these two bayside locations. I go to this almost every year and I can tell you from personal experience that you will want to bring a blanket because it gets cold out there as you sit on the sand at the edge of the water. Tip: Aquatic Park is right next to Ghiradelli Square, a great place to get hot chocolate if you need to warm up! Another way to see these same fireworks is to take one of the dinner-and-fireworks cruises on the bay but again you’ll want to wear something warm if you’ll be on deck to watch the display in the nighttime air.
Some of the summertime events that started in June will continue through July in San Francisco. For example, you might catch a baseball game at AT&T Park if you’re a fan of the San Francisco Giants. If you enjoy outdoor music then visit one of the free weekend concerts that are held at Stern Grove. There are also two jazz festivals held in San Francisco in July: The North Beach Jazz Festival and the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival. The month of July wraps up with the San Francisco Marathon when 20000 runners take to the streets.
If the summer chill gets to feel like a little bit too much for you, a great excuse to get inside is to see a movie. That’s because San Francisco’s great movie theaters are filled with showings for several July film festivals. There’s the Jewish Film Festival, the International Women’s Film Festival, the San Francisco FROZEN Film Festival, and the Silent Film Festival. The latter is held at the Castro Theater, one of the city’s best historic movie theaters.
San Francisco’s July weather may seem strange. It’s not always sunny and it’s definitely not warm and that throws some visitors off because this is supposed to be California after all. But if you know what to expect, this weather can actually offer a great escape from the heat of your hometown and with plenty to do in San Francisco in July it’s a great month to visit.