Almost all of the world-class San Francisco attractions for which the city is known are open year round. Although travel sites often tend to say that San Francisco winters are a bit chilly, those of us who are used to winters in the Northeast can handle light jacket weather in exchange for the charm and distinct character of San Francisco.
Of course, San Francisco winter travel deals are also a plus! Airfare and hotel rates go way down in the winter months, so you can stick to your budget without missing out on any travel perks. Meanwhile, top San Francisco winter attractions are also available to you at a discounted rate when you use the Go San Francisco Card or Go Select San Francisco Pass. Here are some of our favorite San Francisco attractions to check out this winter:
Cruise the Bay
That’s right, temperatures are mild enough in San Francisco winters that sightseeing cruises can operate all year long. The winter is arguably the best time to hop on board because many of the cruises that have long lines “in season” are wait-free. Additionally, the lifting of the summer fog means it may actually be sunnier outside, and definitely clearer. The Golden Gate Bay Cruise is one of the most popular of these excursions, featuring fantastic views of the Bridge as well as many other historic attractions like the National Maritime Historic Park.
Another cruise that’s a great adventure is the Escape from the Rock Cruise around the famous Alcatraz Island. Your tour includes sound effects and account true accounts about escape attempts by criminals who once were housed in the maximum-security prison on “the rock”, like Capone and Clyde Johnson.
Mosey Into a Museum
Top-quality museums are so plentiful in San Francisco, that it’s impossible to name all the ones worth seeing. Still, some “must-sees” have to be mentioned. The California Academy of Sciences, considered one of the “New Wonders of the World” by Conde Nast Traveler, offers you the chance to explore distant galaxies, underwater worlds, and our very own earth all without leaving the 412,000 square-foot premises.
Meanwhile, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the de Young Museum, and the Asian Art Museum offer a wonderful winter retreat for art lovers. If you’re looking to get your cultural experience in a totally-unique-to-San-Francisco style, check out the Cartoon Art Museum (one of just a few in the nation) and The Beat Museum, where the spirits of beatniks like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac live on.
Don’t Forget to Dine
It’s almost too good to be true, but San Francisco’s most iconic gourmet dish is in season just in time for your winter vacation. Dungeness crab, a flavorful and succulent delicacy, is harvested by fisherman all along the wharfs, and served-up as a foodie’s delight in all the best Waterfront restaurants. Make sure to make a stop in one of these establishments a staple in your itinerary. Some favorites are Scoma’s Restaurant, Alioto’s #8, or the Franciscan Crab Restaurant.