What to Do When It Rains in San Francisco

San Francisco is full of wonderful things to see and do, with popular attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences, activities like a California sunset cruise, and wonderful parks to enjoy. But even if the weather should turn sour and the rain start to fall, there is nothing to fear, as San Francisco is replete with top attractions and activities to take advantage of. So, to help put you on the right path, and highlight a few of the options available, take a look at the below list of things to do when it rains in San Francisco.

Advice and suggestions from San Francisco Travel

The San Francisco Travel Association are the people to ask regarding fun things to do in the city, and as such, we asked SF Travel what their rainy day suggestions would be for visitors:

“Like London, San Francisco offers plenty to do, even on a rainy day. Many of the city's top attractions are not weather-dependent: museums and galleries, shopping, performing arts and of course San Francisco's outstanding restaurants (San Francisco now has more Michelin three-star restaurants than New York City).

“Some museums like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the de Young Museum, the Walt Disney Family Museum or the Asian Art Museum, can consume a full day or even two. Others like the San Francisco Railway Museum or the newly-reopened Cartoon Art Museum, are an excellent way to spend an hour or so.

“Several retail-rich neighbourhoods allow visitors to pop from shop to shop without much time to feel any raindrops. In addition to Union Square, with its major department stores like Macy's and top designer boutiques, popular shopping areas include Union Street, Fillmore Street, Chestnut Street and Haight Street, home of the Summer of Love. PIER 39 and Fisherman's Wharf combine shopping, dining and entertainment with the sounds of sea lions and buskers. The San Francisco Centre is a multi-story mall with top brands and Nordstrom department store.”

While there are many options for rainy days in SF, San Francisco Travel made sure to stress that the weather forecast shouldn’t be anything to fear:

“A rainy day is the worst weather most visitors will experience in San Francisco. Snow and ice are once-a-century occurrences. And the famous fog (heaviest in summer months) only adds to the city's charm, making it even more inviting to pop into a restaurant or bar for a glass of wine, cocktail or Irish Coffee (which first arrived in America at the Buena Vista).”

San Francisco is full of wonderful things to see and do, with popular attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences, activities like a California sunset cruise, and wonderful parks to enjoy. But even if the weather should turn sour and the rain start to fall, there is nothing to fear, as San Francisco is replete with top attractions and activities to take advantage of. So, to help put you on the right path, and highlight a few of the options available, take a look at the below list of things to do when it rains in San Francisco.

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Fisherman's Wharf

When the weather turns against you in San Francisco, a truly great spot to visit is Fisherman’s Wharf on the waterfront, an attraction that offers a great range of activities, shops, food and drink. We asked Fisherman’s Wharf what makes them such an attractive proposition for visitors:

“Views, ambiance and atmosphere are three of the top things visitors cite as being the reasons they love coming to Fisherman’s Wharf. Our tag line is ‘something for everybody’ as that is quite literally true. Museums, historic ships, a National Park Visitor Center, sea lions, attractions, boat cruises, PIER 39, Ghirardelli Square, numerous restaurants, art galleries, and a budding nightlife scene means that anybody can find something to do here that is of interest to them.

“Altogether, the Wharf has over 100 restaurants, eateries, food trucks and crab stands so there are seemingly endless choices for visitors. Don’t assume that it’s all seafood either, we have one of the most popular Korean restaurants in the city (per Yelp), BBQ, burgers (In-n-Out), and pizza from recognizable names like Hard Rock Cafe to locally owned and operated establishments.”

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Ghirardelli Square

One iconic and historic attraction in San Francisco that is well worth the visit on a rainy day is the reimagined Ghirardelli Square. This vibrant destination offers a great variety of boutiques, top restaurants, fun activities, and seasonal events that appeal to both visitors and locals alike.

Offering some marvellous panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars from its waterfront location at Beach & Larkin, Ghirardelli Square, located at 900 North Point Street, is undoubtedly a fantastic location to spend your rainy day in the city.

Aquarium of the Bay

To discover the beauty and wonder of Northern California’s aquatic life, why not head to Aquarium of the Bay, located on the San Francisco waterfront? Home to over 20,000 marine animals, this is a truly top day out and perfect for any rainy day.

“The Aquarium of the Bay is dedicated to showcasing and educating about local waters only, from the Sierras to the sea” the aquarium told us. “It is our mission to make each visitor more conscious of their connection with and impact on the marine ecosystem by entertaining and engaging them through our presentations at the aquarium. We explain the importance of feared predators like sharks to the balance of life in the bay and why little fish, like the spiny lumpsucker, have a big impact on the environment by eating some of the pollutants, including sea lice.”

Delving into some of the specifics of what visitors can expect to enjoy, Aquarium of the Bay explain:

“The Aquarium of the Bay has multi-lingual QR codes that greatly enhance the experience for the casual visitor. We also have guided tours, behind the scenes tours, special areas for people to touch bat rays and other local aquatic creatures – and the stars of the show are our river otters. Adjacent to the sea lions on PIER 39, we host the Sea Lion Center where we explain some of the sea lion behaviour and illustrate the effect of pollutants and climate change on the health of the larger population.”

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A Rainy Day Can Still Be Fun in San Francisco

This has been just a taste of rainy day activities in SF, but, as you can see, there are many wonderful options available to ensure that your holiday to San Francisco isn’t spoilt by a spot of bad weather. So, even after taking advantage of your Disney tickets in Florida, there’s no need to worry about the San Francisco leg of your American adventure. Hope for the best, enjoy your trip, and make sure to visit one or two of the great locations we’ve highlighted above.