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How to Prepare for San Francisco Weather
Jun 2 , 2011
When visiting the west coast, most people pack bikinis and flip-flops. But when confronted with San Francisco weather, that's not the wisest wardrobe. Sure, there are occasional heat waves, but follow these tips and the fog will never catch you off guard!
Depending on the time of the year, the neighborhood, and the wrath of the gods (just kidding), San Francisco weather can change the city within minutes from sunny utopia into fog country. The best way to prepare is to layer. Start with a t-shirt, add a sweater, and top it off with a waterproof jacket. On a particularly chilly day, throw a long-sleeve shirt over your t-shirt as well. Studies show (not really, but common sense does) that your enjoyment decreases when you can't feel your limbs, so stay warm and enjoy this gorgeous city. You won't regret the extra clothes!
This may be obvious, but jeans are great for trolling around SF. The dress code in San Francisco is fairly casual, so you'll never feel out of place and most importantly, you'll remain warm regardless of the massive waves of fog that frequently invade the city. In jeans, you can stroll comfortably through sunny Noe Valley, do some shopping on the funky and foggy Haight Street, and happily cheer on the Giants at AT&T Park in the nighttime cold. You'll feel so great, you'll ignore the cabbies and choose to walk along the Bay back to your hotel, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, which is located right on the Embarcadero.
Although the mischievous San Francisco weather will trick you into thinking you're not getting sun, a partly cloudy day can invite some pretty vicious sunburns into your vacation. It's always a good idea to carry sunscreen in your purse or backpack and to reapply throughout the day. Of course, if you're layering, your body should be safe from the sun's sneaky fingers, but it never hurts to be safe!
Although you already know to layer for maximum comfort in San Francisco weather, be wise about what you throw into your suitcase. Absolutely and under all circumstances, bring a sweater—unless you want to be one of those tourists forced to buy an ugly, vaguely inappropriate "I Got Crabs at Fisherman's Wharf!" sweatshirt because they were unprepared for the cold. Don't be that person. But also, don't pack for snowstorms. You don't need a thick winter coat. Layering will work just fine, and will help you save room in your suitcase for all of the gorgeous clothes you'll buy while shopping in San Francisco.
San Francisco weather is normally moderate, so when it comes to shoes, you can really wear anything from flip-flops to boots. Choose whatever is best for the day you have planned. For example, wear flip-flops if you plan on dipping your feet into the Ocean (highly suggested. You can always warm up at one of the many cafes afterward!). Throw on boots if you plan on going to a Giants game, and you can already see the fog creeping over the city from your room at The Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill. Sneakers (preferably colorful and neon) are always a great choice for all weather and activities. They're acceptable footwear for each of the top ten things to do in San Francisco, and can brave the cold as well as the heat.
The sun's reflection is always bright in San Francisco, whether it's bouncing off the glistening Pacific Ocean on a glorious day or sneaking though a thin layer of fog. But regardless of which outdoor activity you've chosen to embark upon, make sure you bring your sunglasses. Better yet, treat yourself to a new pair of shades from a San Francisco street vendor (cheap) or a hip boutique (not so cheap) near the Sir Francis Drake downtown. You don't want to be caught off-guard, nor do you want to squint your way through the day. An added benefit? Well, cable cars are open-air vehicles, and if a bug unwittingly crossing your path, your cool new shades will protect those sightseeing eyes of yours!
With these tips, you're ready to face the San Francisco weather! Enjoy your trip, and don't forget to layer!