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

Cherry trees in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, USA

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March is an excellent time to visit San Francisco, with smaller crowds than in summer. It's also a good time to get in a visit before the summer fog sets in.

March is when many schools take their spring breaks. If you are planning a trip during that time and want to avoid crowds, San Francisco is a good choice. It's not in the top destinations for college students and families tend to go to Southern California, leaving the City by the Bay quieter and more laid back.

March is also the month when one of San Francisco's unique and iconic festivals occurs.

San Francisco Weather in March

California's rainy season often ends by March. San Francisco's temperatures start to warm up and will be only a little cooler than in the warmest months. 

  • Average High Temperature: 62 F (17C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 48 F (9 C)
  • Water Temperature: 56 F (14 C)
  • Rain: 3.1 inches (7.8 cm)
  • Rainfall: 11 days
  • Daylight: 12 hours
  • Sunshine: 7 hours
  • Humidity: 66 %
  • UV Index: 5

If you want to compare March weather to other months, check out the guide to San Francisco weather and climate. Before you make your final plans and pack that suitcase, check the San Francisco weather forecast a few days in advance of your trip.

Rain often starts tapering off by March, but if precipitation happens, try these things to do on a rainy day in San Francisco.

What to Pack

Check the forecast for rain a few days before you go and consider a waterproof, hooded jacket or full-length raincoat if it's predicted.

San Francisco is a walking city with lots of hills, some of them steep enough to take your breath away. Pack comfortable, broken-in walking shoes for running around during the day.

You aren't likely to need your short shorts and flip-flops in San Francisco in March. Layered with sweaters are your best fashion strategy this time of year. And no matter how much you love your skirts and dresses, pants and tights will keep your legs much warmer when a chilly wind starts blowing. San Francisco's coastal location and ocean breezes may make it feel a little cooler than what the thermometer leads you to think. Also pack a mid-weight, slightly warm jacket.

March Events in San Francisco

  • Celebrate St. Patrick's Day: The San Francisco Irish community pays tribute to their heritage with a parade. The bars will be serving green beer, but also think lots of green everywhere, even on the dogs taking part in the Saint Patrick's Day Festival and Parade.
  • Ocean Film Festival: One of the country's more unusual film fests features ocean-themed films.
  • San Francisco Chocolate Salon: Here's your chance to get drunk on chocolate as you taste artisan and gourmet chocolates.
  • Chinese New Year: San Francisco's Chinese New Year celebration is one of the best in the U.S. You'll find lots of events celebrating the new year according to the Chinese calendar, including a parade. It's a lunar holiday that can happen in January or February, and once in a while, the parade is in early March. Get more information here about San Francisco's Chinese New Year celebration.

Things to Do in San Francisco in March

  • Watch a Basketball Game: Golden State Warriors play basketball in their new home in San Francisco's Chase Center, starting in 2019.
  • Go Whale Watching: March is gray whale season around San Francisco. Find out how, when and where to see them in the San Francisco whale watching guide.
  • Go Wine Tasting: Leave the city for a day and go wine tasting in Napa Valley. Winter is Napa's slow time of year, and you'll get lots of attention in the tasting rooms.
  • Go to a Garden: If you like flowers and gardens, March is an excellent time to visit the San Francisco Botanical Garden or Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.
  • Attend a Baseball Game: San Francisco has one of the prettiest stadiums around. If the San Francisco Giants are playing at home, watching a game is a fun way to spend a few hours. We like to go to afternoon games because it's warmer than night games. Get the Giants schedule here. The Oakland A's play baseball across the Bay. See the A's current schedule here.

The things listed above happen every year, but they're not all that's going on in San Francisco in March. If you're looking for a fun concert, sporting event or theatrical performance, check the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment section.

March Travel Tips

  • It won't affect how long the sun will be up, but Daylight Savings time begins in March, which will push the clocks forward and make it seem like the sun is setting later. Many local attractions may change their hours when that happens.
  • Even though March is in the middle of San Francisco's less busy travel season, getting tickets for an Alcatraz tour ahead of time is essential.
  • Sign up for a free account with Goldstar to get access to discounted tickets for local performances and save on some San Francisco attractions.
  • Any time of year. you can use these tips to be a smarter San Francisco visitor who has more fun and puts up with fewer annoyances.
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