April in San Francisco: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Cherry Blossoms in San Francisco' Japantown

kennejima / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

April is one of the best months to visit San Francisco. The weather is rapidly getting warmer, the days are getting sunnier, and the summer fog that the city is known for is still at least a few weeks away. And spring break is usually over by the end of March or the first week of April, so it's also a month when crowds are at a minimum before the massive groups of tourists arrive in summer.

If that's not reason enough to visit, the City by the Bay also hosts all kinds of events throughout April to fill in your itinerary between sightseeing.

San Francisco Weather in April

San Francisco has its own little microclimate that can be significantly different not just from neighboring cities but even between neighborhoods within the city. April can be particularly unpredictable, ranging from rainy and cold to T-shirt and shorts weather.

  • Average High Temperature: 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low Temperature: 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius)

Winter is the rainy season in San Francisco, but the probability of encountering a shower drops drastically throughout the month of April. You may get hit with a couple of days of overcast skies and rainy weather, but sunshine and clear skies are much more likely. Keep in mind that the coastal climate means even when it's warm during the day, it gets much cooler once the sun goes down, so don't underestimate those chilly evenings.

What to Pack

April is often warm enough at mid-day that you can get by with some light layers, but you'll need a bit more for evenings. It might seem a little early in the year for this, but April often has some of the sunniest days of the year. Hats and sunscreen may be welcome.

San Francisco is a casual city. You can wear jeans or casual clothing almost everywhere you go. Bring a jacket for cooler nights, but you probably won't need your earmuffs and wool mittens—although you may see some cold-blooded locals bundled up like they were at the North Pole.

You probably won't need an umbrella, but if it's windy, you'll be glad you packed that scarf and hooded jacket. A waterproof jacket that's easy to carry around is ideal in case you do get a day of rain.

April Events in San Francisco

The City by the Bay has plenty of activities indoors and out in April, which is a great month to celebrate spring with a trip to the bay or admiring the city's blooming foliage.

  • San Francisco International Film FestivalThe longest-running film festival in the Americas takes place each April in San Francisco, featuring a wide range of filmmakers from rising artists to established Hollywood stars and specializing in foreign films.
  • Cherry Blossom Festival: San Francisco has one of the country's largest Japantowns, so it's no surprise that the city also hosts one of the biggest Cherry Blossom Festivals. Celebrate the blooming trees and Japanese culture at this annual event that revolves all around hanami, or flower viewing.
  • Opening Day on the BayOpening Day is like a big parade but on the water instead of land, with yachts of all sizes decorated for the event. If you aren't on the water, head to Chrissy Field for the best views from land.
  • Macy's Spring Flower Show: The largest department store in San Francisco fills its main floor with spectacular flowers every year in late March and early April. Head to the flagship store in Union Square to see this floral extravaganza in person.
  • Artist Open Studios: Held in late April early May at the Hunters Point Shipyard, local artists open their studios to visitors. More than 150 artists participate and you'll get a chance to talk to them about their work.

April Travel Tips

  • April hotel rates in San Francisco are some of the lowest of the year. If you plan ahead, you may find some good deals.
  • Before you choose travel dates, avoid the hotel sellouts and high prices conventions can cause. Check the convention calendar and try to avoid dates of events with more than 10,000 attendees.
  • Tours that often book up weeks in advance—such as Alcatraz Tours—are much more open throughout April.
  • April is the tail end of gray whale season around San Francisco. The whales are passing by in the Pacific Ocean, not the San Francisco Bay, so the best way to see them is to book a tour on a boat.
  • The San Francisco Botanical Garden and Japanese Tea Garden—both of which are located inside Golden Gate Park—are full of blossoms in the spring and worth checking out.

For more information about visiting San Francisco throughout the year, check out the best time to visit San Francisco.

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