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Always bring a sweater and comfortable shoes
Luggage and bags: Bring a daypack and put a sweater into it. This is also a GREEN place to put souvenirs bought, as San Francisco has now passed ordinances against the use of plastic bags in shopping. Also, as a convenience, have plenty of quarters to put into the MUNI transport ticket machines. The machines also accept bills, but won't provide any change, so you want to put in the exact fare when buying a ticket.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Although the urban transport is very good, visiting San Francisco will mean a lot of walking, so bring good comfortable walking shoes that can pound the pavement all day long without giving you heal spurs or toe cramps. Even in the middle of summer, the marine layer can blow in and make this city surprisingly cool, particularly in the morning and evening hours, so always bring along a sweater to layer over the shirt you may be wearing. Winter weather is surprisingly forgiving though, as it very rarely freezes in San Francisco. Visitors from the Eastern USA and Northern Europe will find winter in San Francisco quite pleasurable overall. At the same time, the wind chill factor from the ocean and bay breezes can make the weather seem particularly cold, so bring a warm jacket in winter.
Photo Equipment: A good wide angle lense is nice for capturing architecture. In museums, flash is prohibited, but photography is OK, so have a camera that takes decent images even in low light conditions. Bring plenty of memory for your digital camera.
Miscellaneous: Generally, fog comes mostly in the late spring and early summer, while winter is more likely to be clear. The water that surrounds the San Francisco peninsula moderates the climate in dramatic fashion, making weather reports from the surrounding Bay Area and Northern California poor predictors of weather in San Francisco itself. In summer, San Francisco will be as much as 30 degrees cooler than Sacramento, while in winter, it will be 30 degrees warmer.
Layer, layer, layer!
Luggage and bags: Whatever you'd generally use.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring layers of clothes, and don't forget windbreakers and/or pullovers. Especially if you're visiting in the Summer. This is not Southern California, and San Francisco can be downright chilly in the Summertime. Spring and Autumn are the best time of year for warm weather.
Fog City Gets COLD!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: San Francisco is a place of fairly mild weather all year long during the daylight hours. However, by night the weather can change very rapidly, the fog rolls in from the bay, and the city can experience some pretty chilly nights. Pack warm comfortable shoes, dress in layers, carry a sweater or two and maybe a well lined jacket. Come to San Francisco but dress for WARMTH!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Layering is a must. When we were walking in the city, at one point we'd be sweating standing in the sun, but waiting for the trolley in the shade, we were freezing! Comfortable shoes required & be prepared for rain/fog.
Photo Equipment: 400 speed film as it is cloudy a lot.
Pack a Variety of Clothing
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: We were in San Francisco in the fall, which is probably the best time to go. I found the weather varied from 80 degrees to 58, depending on the location, time of day, rain or fog. So bring stuff that can be layered. Oh, and an umbrella! If it's cold and foggy in the city, as soon as you cross the bridge to Marin County, it can be immediately hot and sunny.
Don't make the mistake.........
Luggage and bags: Don't make the mistake we did and think that because you are travelling to California in August you wont need any warmish clothes. In fact in San Francisco down by the sea the wind whipped up and it was really cold. I had a cardigan (thankfully) but it really still was'nt enough.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Take good comfy shoes for walking and pack a fold up brolly in case it rains, or if not and the sun is too hot, you can use it as a parasol.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Unless you need certain prescribed medicines you will be able to find whatever you are requiring when you get here.
Photo Equipment: Films for camera/batteries are widely available at much the same price.
Miscellaneous: If it is hot, take (or buy one here) one of those little mini fans to cool you down.
- Family Travel
Pack for anything
Luggage and bags: Your usual roller board and duffel bags.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Casual wear and good walking shoes and socks. Sweaters, gloves/mittens, scarfs and an umbrella during the Oct-April months.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Your medications and vitamins. Should you forget them, local pharmacies are easy to accommodate your prescription orders and can get them to you on the same day.
Photo Equipment: Photo cameras of all type for taking pictures. Major brand stores operate in the city, Best buy and Circuit City. Check with Walgreen's for your photos "on the go" type cameras, disposable, digital and panoramic view. They also process your 35mm film usually within one day for a higher fee or several days if you're not in a time constraint.
Miscellaneous: Most of what you need can be bought in and around the city should you forget something.
- Family Travel
Dress for SF weather!
Luggage and bags: Depending on where you are staying, there are many hills in San Francisco. Thus, for luggage, make sure you can adequately transport it without being tired from walking all over the hills to get to your hotel. Or, one can just take a cab or public transportation.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Too many tourists come to San Francisco wearing and packing only T shirts and shorts. That is a big mistake, as San Francisco weather is on average, much colder than most cities in the summer. Whichever season you come to SF, make sure you bring a jacket and clothes for layering (T shirt, long sleeve over, a sweater when it's winter time, and a jacket). Also check the forecast for rain. The fall tends to be the best season weather-wise for San Francisco (especially mid-to-late October when we have an Indian Summer). As for shoes, wear comfortable shoes, as there are many, many hills.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Unfortunately, almost all of the San Francisco beaches are too cold to sunbathe or swim in. Thus, only bring swim suits/trunks if you have access to a pool... This is true in the summer as well.
From Dusk til Dawn
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Just remember that SF always gets cool during the evening hours. Even if it is warm and mild during the day make sure you always carry a light sweater or jacket with you if you are going to spend the entire day on the go.
You're going to do alot of walking so bring your comfy shoes.
Photo Equipment: Always bring your camera. There are photo opps everywhere.
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Don't forget your layers
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Probably everyone has told you so already, but remember to bring some clothes for layering (undershirts, sweaters, light jackets) regardless of the time of the year. In summer, the fog usually rolls in at dusk and it gets very cold, VERY fast. Even if you are down in San Jose and decide to drive up for the evening, remember that there can be up to 30 degrees difference between the two cities (I took to leaving a jacket in my car trunk full time when I lived in San Jose, just in case I decided to drive up to the city on a whim). Winter is a bit more even, but it's cold throughout, 40s and such, so you may want to bring some sweaters and of course rain gear (from Dec to Feb we get all our rain here)
Pack warm clothes even in the summer
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Take warm clothes, even in the summer. You'll definitely need a jacket at night, and even during most summer days. The average high temperature in July in San Francisco is 18 Celsius (65 Fahrenheit), and there is often a stiff breeze.
Clothes for the trip
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In San Francisco, you should pack a sweater and a light windbreaker jacket. The climate is very mild, never getting very hot or cold. But the weather is constantly changing, and can vary even from one neighborhood to another. So always be prepared for rain or shine.
Be prepared for anything
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: One year, when I visited in early fall, I was ill prepared for the 98 degree heat wave. When I first visited in July, 1990, I was ill prepared for how cold summer in San Francisco could be. Lesson learned: bring a little bit of everything -- t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, light jacket, etc. It's also a good idea to layer, as the temperature can change drastically from morning when the fog has yet to lift, to midday, usually the warmest part of the day, to late afternoon and evening, when the fog in many areas of the city rolls back in.
Watch out for the cooler evenings!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Make sure you pack a fleece or a cardigan as it often starts out bright and sunny but gets chiller in the afternoons/evening. Also if you are planning on going on the cable cars they can be a bit chilly!
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Prepare for Cool Weather
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: San Francisco is generally NOT hot in the summer. There is often fog, which can burn off in the middle of the day. Bring a sweater or light jacket that you can remove as the day goes on. Locals don't wear shorts in the City too often (unless they are exercising).
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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