Summer in the City – Dressing for San Francisco Weather

Hey y’all, welcome back! Today I’m going to be talking about dressing appropriately in San Francisco in the summer. Having lived outside the city for my first 18 years of life, I’m pretty familiar with the weather around here. One common misconception about San Francisco is that it is as warm as Southern California. Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge at any given time, you’ll see families in matching sweatshirts that they clearly picked up because they didn’t pack appropriately. Keep reading to learn my tips and tricks for dressing for San Francisco weather.

sweater and jeans for san francisco

Mark Twain (allegedly) said “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco,” so keep this in mind when you are planning a visit to San Francisco.


Layering is key when you’re in the Bay Area. Temperatures can fluctuate greatly throughout the day. Most days will start in the 50s and foggy in the morning, by noon the fog (AKA the marine layer) burns off and the sun comes out. Daytime weather is usually partly cloudy and in the mid to high 60s, occasionally rising to the 70s or 80s in some parts of the Bay Area. When the sun sets, expect the weather to cool down and the wind and fog to roll back in. This wide temperature fluctuation is why layering is so important, especially if you’re going to spend the whole day out and about. There’s a reason everyone in San Francisco owns a Patagonia pullover or vest.

Shoes for Walking in San Francisco

Another thing to consider when coming to the Bay Area is that your shoes do not need to be made for walking. San Francisco is not a walkable city like Boston or New York. The entire Bay Area is hilly, so unless you’re planning on going for a hike, you don’t need walking shoes. You will likely be Ubering, driving, or taking transit around the city, so do wear comfortable shoes, but you don’t need walking shoes.

San Francisco outfit

Being completely honest, I think I wear long sleeves and pants 95% of the time that I’m home in the Bay Area. A t-shirt and leggings are almost always a safe bet when dressing for San Francisco weather. I also opt for a lot of sweaters. The nice thing about sweaters is that you can always layer a tank top underneath in case it gets warm.

Weather appropriate outfit

San Francisco is also one of the least dressed up cities I’ve ever been to. Athleisure is popular for day-to-day wear and people rarely wear suits. People here value comfort and functionality in their clothes. There are a lot of amazing outdoors opportunities here, from biking to hiking to surfing and more, which is certainly reflected in the way people dress.

San Francisco mural

Here are some other tips I have for traveling to San Francisco:

  • It is not San Fran and it is definitely not Frisco. It’s San Francisco or The City.
  • Pier 39 is pretty overhyped, there are so many better, more amazing things to do here.
  • The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful places in the world, take advantage of it. Hike in the Marin Headlands or visit Twin Peaks, I promise you won’t regret it.
  • On that note, when a bike rental company tells you it’s a quick ride across the bridge to the Marin Headlands, they’re lying. Do not rent a bike.
  • There are a lot of hidden gem restaurants throughout the city, especially in residential neighborhoods. Yelp and Pinterest are your best friends for finding the best food.
Sweater Outfit

I hope y’all found these tips on how to dress for San Francisco weather were helpful. The Bay Area is an amazing place to visit, but many people don’t know that we have cooler temperatures year-round. Over the 18 years I lived here, I’ve seen many tourists freezing their butts off because they didn’t know how to dress for the weather here.

Love from Mill Valley,

Last Post: Weekly Wrap Up #5 2019 / Related Post: Monochrome Outfit from The Mint Julep Boutique

Instagram: carolineolesky / Pinterest: Caroline Olesky / Twitter: carolineolesky


  1. Annie
    August 6, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    I highly disagree about the walkability comment. SF is an extremely walkable city! Only being 7 square miles means every neighborhood is extremely close and makes walking between them very easy. Walking shoes are recommenced!! You don’t need to waste money on Ubers or Muni tickets—> just some comfy shoes!

  2. August 7, 2019 / 11:29 am

    Such a cute sweater!

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