You might think "Is San Francisco cold in July?" is an absurd question. July is the middle of summer and you've seen all those movies, tv shows, and videos of people playing at the beach in brilliant sunshine. In truth, it's not a silly question at all. Just ask any of the hordes of tourists who come to San Francisco with nothing but shorts and tank tops and end up shivering on a foggy day in front of a souvenir shop, looking for the warmest layers they can afford.
But that doesn't happen every year and you should definitely read the section about weather below to get the full picture when you're trying to decide whether July is a good time to go to San Francisco.
July's Big Holiday
Independence Day in San Francisco includes a day-long celebration, capped by twin fireworks displays over the waterfront.
Things to Do
- Got to an Outdoor Concert: Summer is the time for outdoor concerts, and June through August is 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.
- Enjoy the Summer Evenings: After the sun goes down in July, you'll find some fun things going on that you can't do any other time of year. Check them out in the guide to San Francisco summer nights.
- Go Whale-Watching: July is the blue whale and humpback whale season around San Francisco. Find out how, when and where in the San Francisco whale watching guide.
- Drink an Irish Coffee: If you get caught feeling half-frozen on a foggy day, it's a good time to try one of the real San Francisco treats. Irish coffee first landed on US shores in San Francisco and the bar that introduced it is still going strong. Find out more.
San Francisco Events in July
- Fillmore Jazz Festival: Jazz music is the focus here, along with some great food.
- San Francisco Marathon: Runners in this unique, urban marathon get a good tour of the city - which can make it hard for everyone else to get around until they're done.
- Berkeley Kite Festival: This colorful festival of kites has been pleasing crowds for more than 30 years.
The annual events listed above happen every year, but they're not all that's going on in San Francisco in July. If you're looking for a fun concert, sporting event or theatrical performance try these resources:
- 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 visiting San Francisco.
- For a look at local events, check the San Francisco Chronicle's entertainment section.
- The Major League Baseball season runs from March through early October, 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. We like to go to afternoon games because it's warmer than night games.
- The Oakland A's play baseball across the Bay.
By July, San Francisco's typical weather pattern includes lots of fog, and on the average, you'll encounter fewer days of sunshine than in the spring or fall. That fog is wet, and the winds that accompany it make it all feel much cooler than the thermometer reading might imply.
"Isn't this California?" you may ask. Of course it is, but think about it - all those television shows and movies that gave you the idea that the whole state is sunny were filmed in Los Angeles, weren't they?
For the same reasons, July isn't the best month to go to the beach in San Francisco. It's likely to be gray and foggy, and the water is frigid.
In July, you can expect about 14 hours of daylight for exploring the city.
- Average High Temperature: 69°F/21°C
- Average Low Temperature: 55°F/13°C
- Rain & Clouds Index: 0.04 inches (0.1 cm) rain, 66% sunshine
If you want to compare July 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.
What to Pack, What to Wear
Many visitors find it hard to believe, but July is not the month for shorts and tank tops in San Francisco. Cold fog and breezes can easily make Fourth of July night can feel colder than New Year's Eve.
To watch San Francisco's Fourth of July fireworks, I wear warm, full-length pants and take 3 to 4 layers of long-sleeved shirts and/or sweatshirts. If you aren't prepared for it with proper clothing, you will most likely be improving the local economy by purchasing warmer clothes from a street vendor. Or heading for a warmer spot before the fireworks start.
Foggy, gray skies often make visitors from other areas think it's going to rain, but July is one of the driest months. You're not likely to need an umbrella or raincoat, but the fog can make you damp and miserable, so a hooded jacket is a good idea.