San Francisco in December

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    San Francisco in December

    New Year's Eve in San Francisco, December's Last Event
    Shawn Clover/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    December is more or less consumed with preparations for Christmas - and celebrating the new year.

    Big Holidays in December

    Christmas in San Francisco: San Franciscans have a batch of Christmas traditions uniquely their own, including a lighted city skyline and some great musical events.

    New Year's EveIndoors and out, there will be parties and public celebrations. In San Francisco, that normally includes fireworks at midnight on December 31, which happen behind the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street.

    San Francisco's Best December Events: Recommendations

    These are a few ideas - things that I have done and have recommended to my friends.

    Dickens Fair: In December, you'll find a Dickens of a celebration at the Cow Palace. You might be excused for thinking you stepped into a time warp when you walk in the door of this fun celebration of Christmas past. All the details are in the Dickens Fair Guide.

    Things That Look Like Fun to Do in December

    It's a good thing I can make lists because I find so many fun things to do that I'd forget them all. These are a few things on my "That Looks Interesting" list

    Run WildThe costumes are about as outrageous as those in Bay to Breakers 

    Santa's Skivvies Run, San Francisco: Always wondered what Santa wears under that big red suit? Runners strip down to their Santa themed skivvies and run for a good cause.

    Things That Are Especially Fun in December

    We love the lights that outline the Embarcadero Center every holiday season. They're prettiest when viewed from Treasure Island (halfway across the Bay Bridge) at twilight.

    If the weather tries to rain on your vacation, try these Things to Do on a Rainy Day in San Francisco

    December is gray whale season around San Francisco. Find out how, when and where in the San Francisco Whale Watching Guide.

    Special Events in December

    The annual events listed above happen every year, but they're not all that's going on in San Francisco in November. If you're looking for a fun concert, sporting event or theatrical performance try these resources:

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    More About San Francisco in December

    Macy's Union Square at Christmas
    ©2008 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    What to Expect from San Francisco Weather in December

    You won't find a white Christmas in San Francisco unless you head for Lake Tahoe, but December is in the rainy season and prone to winter storms. It's also the month with the least sunshine and one of the coldest.  

    In December, you can expect about 9.5 hours of daylight for exploring the city. 

    • Average High Temperature: 57°F/14°C
    • Average Low Temperature: 45°F/7°C
    • Rain & Clouds Index: 3.1 inches (7.9 cm) rain, 45% sunshine

    If you want to compare December weather to other months,  check the Guide to San Francisco Weather and Climate.

    Use the weather averages to get an idea of what things may be like, but it might be different when you visit. A winter day could even be so warm you'll wish you packed your shorts.

    Averages are helpful for planning ahead, but don't count on your trip being "average." Check the San Francisco weather forecast before you leave home.

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    What to Pack, What to Wear in December

    Exploring San Francisco & The Bay Area
    George Rose / Getty Images

    Your best bet is to check the short-range forecast before you go, but from the track record we've seen, it's a hard thing to get the San Francisco weather forecast right and things could change in just a few days, after your bags are packed. Be prepared for moderate temperatures and bring some rain gear just in case. For that, a hooded jacket is a better idea than an umbrella. Layers are also a strategy, a lot of them so you can adjust to match the weather.

    December is also a great time to get the best prices on hotels in San Francisco. With demand for hotels low this time of year, the prices become low as well. Making it an even better reason to visit.

    More San Francisco by Month

    If you're just starting to plan your trip and deciding when to go, you may want to know what San Francisco is like in other months.  You find that in these guides: 

    For a quiet time (although it may be rainy), try San Francisco in January or  San Francisco in February.

    March is the beginning of spring but you can also get spring weather (and crowds) in  San Francisco in April or San Francisco in May.

    Summer in San Francisco may not be what you think, especially if go to  San Francisco in June or in July, If you're looking for sunny days and lots of sunshine, try San Francisco in August.

    By fall, the skies will be clear and the crowds will be gone. In fact, the best times to visit may be  San Francisco in September or San Francisco in October.

    Holiday festivities make the end of the year a good time to go to San Francisco in November or San Francisco in December.