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

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

TripSavvy / Melissa Zink

The city will be busy with summer vacationers and visiting the most well-known sights will require some planning ahead. Get tickets for Alcatraz and make reservations for other activities as far ahead as you can to avoid disappointment.

Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco

Dancers at the Nihonmachi Street Fair
Adapted from --Mark--/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September, but in some years, Labor Day weekend begins in August. To get some ideas on what you can do over the long weekend, check out these ideas for Labor Day fun in California.

San Francisco Weather in August

Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem at Outside Lands
Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

August is much like July in San Francisco. That means you may be coping with lots of fog and overcast days. Or not. Weather that time of year varies a lot.

These averages can give you an idea of what San Francisco weather is like in August, but they don't predict what things will be like when you visit. 

  • Average High Temperature: 70 F (21 C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 56 F (13 C)
  • Water Temperature: 58 F (15 C)
  • Rain: 0.07 in (0.2 cm)
  • Rainfall: 1 day
  • Daylight: 14 hours
  • Sunshine: 9 hours
  • Humidity: 69 percent
  • UV Index: 9

If you want to compare August weather to other months, check 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.

What to Pack

August is one of San Francisco's driest months, so rain gear isn't needed. If fog is forecasted, a warm, hooded jacket will be welcome. Shorts may sound like a good idea, but you could end up with some cold legs if you're wearing those shorts on the wrong day. In fact, unprepared, chilly tourists keep quite a few souvenir clothing shops in business, selling them sweatshirts and hoodies.

Pack sunscreen and sunglasses. When the UV Index (amount of skin-damaging radiation) exceeds 6 to 7, you need both skin and eye protection.

August Events in San Francisco

California Scenics San Francisco Souvenir Shirts
Robert Alexander / Getty Images

August Events in San Francisco

  • Outside Lands Festival: Outside Lands is a big music, food, wine, and art festival, held in Golden Gate Park. Its headliner acts are names that everyone knows and they offer lots of music of all kinds - along with food and drinks.
  • Eat Drink SF: This big event at Fort Mason is all about just what its name says: Great food and drink in San Francisco. It includes a wide range of seminars and three general admission events.
  • Nihonmachi Street FairThis fair is held in Japantown, but it celebrates all aspects of Asian-Pacific American life. Events include traditional dances, musical performances, and - oddly - a muscle car show.
  • Stern Grove Festival: August is the final month of the season for the Stern Grove Festival. You can't beat the performers, the price (free) or the laid-back San Francisco ambiance at this outdoor summer concert series.

Things to Do in August

  • August is a good month to check out some of San Francisco's best beaches. Unless you live in the area and are accustomed to the Pacific Ocean, you may find the water too cold to do much more than dip your toe in, though.
  • August is the blue whale and humpback whale season around San Francisco. Find out how, when and where you can see them in the San Francisco whale watching guide.
  • Summer evening activities continue through August.
  • 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 annual events listed above happen every year, but they're not all that's going on in San Francisco in August. If you're looking for a fun concert, sporting event or theatrical performance, check the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment section.

August Travel Tips