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 (17 C)
- Average Low Temperature: 48 F (9 C)
- Rain: 3.07 inches (7.8 cm)
- Sunshine: 69%
- Daylight: In March, you can expect about 11 hours of daylight for exploring the city.
If you want to compare March weather to other months, check out the guide to San Francisco weather and climate.
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 and Things to Do
- 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.
- March is gray whale season around San Francisco. Find out how, when and where to see them in the San Francisco whale watching guide.
- Major League Baseball season starts in March, and 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. If you go to afternoon games, the temperature will be warmer than at night. Get the Giants schedule here.
- 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.
- 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.
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 try these resources:
Sign up for a free account with Goldstar to get access to discounted tickets for performances and save on some San Francisco attractions. And it's just as useful at home as it is when you're visiting San Francisco.
For a look at local events, 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.