The best-known weather-related quote about San Francisco comes from Mark Twain. The legendary quipster once claimed: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
Only Twain didn’t say it. For the record, he also never said: “Fall is a dandy time to visit The City by the Bay.” However, that would have been accurate. San Francisco is stunning in the autumn.
It’s why we thought Oct. 11 was an ideal date to schedule our inaugural Summit by Dynamic Signal conference in an iconic city famous for its cultural, culinary and sightseeing delights.
“You can visit San Francisco comfortably any time of year,” according to Fodor’s Travel wrote in a recent guide. But there also was this advice: “Possibly the best time is September and October when the city’s summerlike weather brings outdoor concerts and festivals.” In fact, there’s a reason why U.S. News & World Report ranks San Francisco No. 1 in its list for Fall Getaways.
Summer arrives fashionably late. During the summer tourist season, the weather pattern often trends toward blustery and frigid. You can watch the late-day fog pour through the Golden Gate and envelop the city in a chilly shroud of gray. So, while that quote gets misattributed to Twain, the sentiment is still accurate.
In the fall, though, it’s typically blue skies and sunshine. The average day-time temperature high is around 70 degrees. It rarely rains in October. Oh, and the fog takes a vacation.
“When you live in the Bay Area, you know this is the best time of the year,” said Jan Null, of Golden Gate Weather Services. “The last half of September through the beginning of October is simply amazing. The summertime sea breezes are over, but the winter storms haven’t begun to arrive. The days are cloud-free, and it’s still not that hot.”
It makes for beautiful days to wander a compact city (only 47 square miles) with a spectacular setting on the northern tip of a slender peninsula.
“The city is so many things to so many people,” said Laurie Armstrong Gossy, an executive with the San Francisco Travel Association. “But we like to talk about outstanding arts and culture, culinary excellence from the Michelin stars right down to the neighborhood cafes, diverse neighborhoods with festivals and events, and iconic San Francisco. There is something for everyone.”
The list of iconic sites to visit is endless. The Golden Gate Bridge. Alcatraz. Lombard Street. Ghirardelli Square. Did we mention that it’s grape harvest season in wine country – also known as crush season – just north of the city?
While the fall is a busy time for conventions, the crowds tend to be thinner because the tourists are gone.
Yes, you’re joining other fearless communicators at the Summit by Dynamic Signal to discuss the latest trends in connecting organizations with their employees. The bonus is you also will be coming to one of the world’s most picturesque cities.
“There’s just so much to do and places to visit when the weather is so great,” Armstrong Gossy added. “The days are still long, and you’re out there in shorts and T-shirts. You can even hang out in places like The Presidio, fly a kite and watch the world go by.”
Join the employee communication and engagement revolution by attending the inaugural Summit by Dynamic Signal conference in San Francisco on Oct. 11. Hear great speakers. Learn best practices that you can apply at your job. Network with peers. Click here for more information.
Top 10 Things Not to Miss in San Francisco
- Walk over the Golden Gate Bridge: The 1.7-mile span has pedestrian walkways and breathtaking views.
- Ride a Cable Car: They’ve been transporting people around San Francisco this way since the late-19th century.
- Visit the Rock: The notorious former prison island Alcatraz stands guard in the middle of the Bay. These days, escaping Alcatraz is easy thanks to ferry service.
- See the Sea Lions: The noisy community of California sea lions is a popular attraction at Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Shop in Union Square: One of the most exclusive shopping areas in the U.S. features designer boutiques as well as The Westfield San Francisco Shopping Center with the largest Bloomingdale’s outside of New York City and the country’s second-largest Nordstrom store.
- Explore North Beach: Not a beach but rather a romantic Italian quarter that features Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill.
- Stroll through Chinatown: Enter through the “Dragon’s Gate” at Grant Avenue and Bush Street, and explore exotic shops, restaurants, food markets and more.
- Dine at World-Class Restaurants: Recognized as one of America’s best cities for cuisine, every kind of palate-pleasing food is available.
- Get Cultured: San Francisco overflows with museums, theaters, and other sophisticated attractions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the de Young Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences.
- Ring in the Nightlife: When the sun goes down, activity around the city’s club scene heats up.
San Francisco Visitor Tips
- Bring Walking Shoes: Tony Bennett’s “I left My Heart in San Francisco” is the city’s unofficial anthem. However, walking the city’s 40-plus hills also can also leave your heart racing. Be prepared to hike a bit. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft both are based in San Francisco. There’s also a myriad of guided-tour options.
- Dress in Layers: Yes, it’s usually nice this time of year. Still, the city’s weather patterns can be quirky. Make sure to pack a hat, scarf, and sweater – or you may be coming home with a tacky (and expensive) Fisherman’s Wharf hoodie.
- The Newest Sight: At 1,070 feet, the downtown Salesforce Tower now is San Francisco’s tallest building. Earlier this year, an 11,000 LED-light display atop the high rise was unveiled – illuminating the city skyline at night.