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

Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Downtown Skyline at Sunrise

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November in San Francisco is a month with a lot of variables regarding what it will be like to travel there at that time. For the first week or two, you'll definitely enjoy the smaller crowds that time of year. Winter rains might start any time during the month, but it's not uncommon for skies to be clear, and the temperatures can be quite comfortable.

Around the middle of the month, things start to ramp up. Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November, and many people also get the following Friday off work. If they aren't exhausting themselves shopping on Black Friday, they may be running around town instead. Check the Thanksgiving guide to find out what special events happen during that four-day weekend.

San Francisco Weather in November

November is one of San Francisco's wettest months. On average, that is. In some years, it's bright and pleasant. And in others, it starts to feel like it will never stop. 

You'll have about 10 hours of sunlight per day to explore San Francisco in November.

  • Average High Temperature: 63 F (17 C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 50 F (10 C)
  • Water Temperature: 55.2 F (12.9 C)
  • Rain: 3.21 in (8.2 cm)
  • Rainfall: 8.9 days
  • Daylight: 10 hours
  • Sunshine: 5.8 hours
  • Humidity: 75 percent
  • UV Index: 3

If you want to compare these weather conditions to what San Francisco is like the rest of the year, you can find that all in one place in the guide to typical San Francisco weather. Before you make your final plans and pack that suitcase, check the San Francisco weather forecast a few days in advance of your trip.

What to Pack

Be prepared for moderate temperatures and bring some rain gear just in case. For that, a hooded jacket is a better idea. Umbrellas are hard to carry in a crowd and messy when you're not using them.

Layers are also a strategy, a lot of them, so you can adjust to match the weather. And no matter what your outer layers are, you may be happy you took along a pair of thin tights in your day bag to slip on in case you feel cold.

Unless you live in the area, you probably won't believe how much San Francisco weather predictions can change. Check the averages to get a sense of what you should pack, and then re-check the forecast and a couple of days before your trip and edit that list.

November Events in San Francisco

This is the short list of things that make it worth planning a November trip to San Francisco.

  • Dickens Fair: The weekend before Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a Dickens of a celebration at the Cow Palace. You might think you stepped into a time warp when you walk in the door of this fun celebration of Christmas past.
  • Christmas Events: The stores may have been pushing holiday merchandise since before Halloween, but skating rinks and other festivities start at Thanksgiving.

Things to Do in November

If you're looking for a fun concert, sporting event, or theatrical performance, try these resources:

  • Watch a Basketball Game: Golden State Warriors play basketball in their new home in San Francisco's Chase Center, starting in 2019.
  • Watch a Football Game: The San Francisco 49ers might be playing at home while you're there, but Levi Stadium is miles south in Santa Clara. Check the schedule on their website.
  • Eat Dungeness Crab: The commercial fishing season for Dungeness crab begins in early November. Forget those pre-cooked frozen crabs at Fisherman's Wharf, and go for the fresh ones instead. You'll find them on the menu at many San Francisco restaurants. Climate and ocean conditions may cancel or delay the season, so it's best to check its current status on the Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
  • Go Whale Watching: November is the end of humpback whale season around San Francisco. Find out how, when, and where in the San Francisco whale watching guide.

For a look at more local events, check the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment section. You'll also find an extensive list of events at SF Weekly.

November Travel Tips

  • Daylight Savings time ends in early November, which will push the clocks back and make it seem like the sun is setting earlier. Many local attractions may change their hours when that happens.
  • Early November is a great time to get the best prices on hotels in San Francisco. With demand for hotels low this time of year, the rates become low as well.
  • 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.
  • You might need an umbrella if it rains, but you also need to be prepared with things to do in case you need to get inside and stay dry. Use these tips for enjoying San Francisco in the rain.
  • Sign up for a free account with Goldstar to get access to discounted tickets for local performances and save on some San Francisco attractions.
  • Besides these seasonal tips, don't miss these tips that are good for San Francisco visitors year-round.
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