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San Francisco in January
Among the reasons to pack your bags for a trip to San Francisco this January are an extraordinary fancy-dress ball, the Chinese New Year Parade, and some exciting art events.
San Francisco's Best January Events
These ideas are annual events that people enjoy year after year that have stood up to the test of time.
The Edwardian Ball: This fancy dress ball is hard to describe, but irresistible once you've been once. It's a surreal mix of dance, fantasy, steampunk style and Edward Gorey. It runs for two days.
Chinese New Year: Lots of San Francisco events celebrate the new year according to the Chinese calendar, including a parade. The lunar holiday can happen in January or February, and once in a while, the parade can even be in early March.
Things That Look Like Fun to Do in January
These are a few things on the "That Looks Interesting" list for a trip to San Francisco in January.
SF Restaurant Week: Some of San Francisco's best restaurants offer you a chance to enjoy some great meals at reduced prices.
SF Sketchfest: This comedy festival lasts two and a half weeks and is held at several places around town.
FOG Design+Art: As changeable as the weather phenomenon it's named for, the FOG Fair celebrates modern art, architecture, technology, and design. Besides some great exhibits, you'll also find custom installations, pop-up galleries, presentations, and discussions.
Seasonal Things to Do in January
January is gray whale watching season around San Francisco. Find out how, when and where in the San Francisco whale watching guide.
Sea Lions Come Back to Pier 39: The crowd of barking pinnipeds that hang out near Pier 39 takes time off from the pier every year, but they come back in January - and the folks at Pier 39 are ready to celebrate.
A rainy January day is a good excuse to try one of the real San Francisco treats. Irish coffee first landed on U.S. shores in San Francisco and the bar that introduced it is still going strong. Find out more about how Irish Coffee got there and where to get the real thing.
Other Events in January
The annual events listed above happen every year, but they're not all that's going on in San Francisco in January. If you're looking for a fun concert, sporting event or theatrical performance try these resources:
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- All you have to do is sign up for a free account with Goldstar to get access to discounted tickets for performances and save on some San Francisco attractions. Even better, it's just as useful when you're at home as it is when you're out of town.
- For a look at local events, check the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment section. You'll also find an extensive list of events at SF Weekly.
- The San Francisco 49ers might be playing at home while you're there, but Levi Stadium is south of town in Santa Clara. Check the schedule at their website.
- The Golden State Warriors play basketball across the bay in Oakland.
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More About San Francisco in January
What to Expect from San Francisco Weather in January
In January, you can expect about 9 hours of daylight for exploring the city. During January, the city gets about 4.5 hours of sunshine per day, on the average.
January is San Francisco's wettest — and one of its chilliest — months, in the middle of rainy season. Don't think "it's just a little rain," though. It's not uncommon to get the entire month's rainfall in just a day or two. If the weather tries to dampen your vacation fun, try these ideas for things to do on a rainy day in San Francisco.
- Average High Temperature: 57°F (14°C)
- Average Low Temperature: 44°F (7°C)
- Rain & Clouds Index: 4.1 inches (10.3 cm) rain, 56% sunshine
Use the San Francisco weather averages in this guide to compare January to other months and get an idea of what things may be like, but don't rely on it alone. Before you make your final plans and pack that suitcase, check the San Francisco weather forecast.Continue to 3 of 3 below.
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What to Pack, What to Wear in January
For rainy days, umbrellas may not be your best choice for staying dry. They're hard to carry on crowded sidewalks and don't protect from wind-driven raindrops. A warm, waterproof jacket with hood is a better idea - or a long raincoat.
Unless you're going to the ski slopes, you can leave the heavy winter coat at home, but San Franciscans often wear gloves, hat and a scarf on cooler mornings. A mid-weight jacket (or a bit more) will be enough on dry days.
January 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.