This post summarizes the San Francisco weather in December, with tips on how to dress and things to do.
As a retired meteorologist turned tour guide, I now use my experience as a forecaster in my new career in tourism.
But here I am, finding myself answering more weather questions as a blogger than I ever did as a weatherman.
So, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the weather in San Francisco in December.
Reach out to me if you have additional questions on the weather this month.
HOW COLD IS SAN FRANCISCO IN DECEMBER?
December is one of the coldest months of the year in San Francisco.
However, if you are visiting here from many other places in the world, you may have a different definition of the word "cold."
As you may have heard, San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate, meaning it doesn't get very cold in our city.
The average high temperature throughout December is about 66 F (19 C), which means that during the day, a sweatshirt or light jacket is all you need to stay warm.
The average low temperature, which typically happens late at night and early in the morning, is 46 F (8 C).
If you are an early riser or a night owl, you'll want some extra layers to protect against the weather.
The temperature almost never gets below freezing, and the last time it snowed in San Francisco was over 40 years ago.
HOW MUCH SUN AND RAIN
December is typically the rainiest month of the year. On average, the city will receive rain 11 days out of the month.
However, you also should understand what "rain" means out here.
If you are from a tropical area where you can get very heavy downpours, you should know that doesn't happen here.
A rainy day could mean only 5 minutes of drizzle during a day, and sunny skies for most of the rest of the day.
So, we do recommend that you bring an umbrella to San Francisco.
However, make sure it's a light umbrella that's easy to carry around and stow away because you probably won't need to use it very much!
Seasonal Outlook - October to December 2023 San Francisco
There is a 77% chance for normal to above normal temperatures and a 77% chance for normal to below normal rainfall.
WHAT TO WEAR IN DECEMBER
As we mentioned above, December is one of the colder months of the year.
We would recommend bringing a sweatshirt in addition to a light jacket to wear around the city.
If we have one of our colder days, when the weather gets into the 40s (below 10 C), it will be helpful to have multiple warm layers.
Also, if you will be walking around the waterfront, such as near the ferry building or around Fisherman's Wharf on our Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour, it may get windy.
So you might want to bring a light scarf or earmuffs.
And if you are planning on visiting many of San Francisco's top attractions, then you should consider a tourist discount pass.
You could save up to 50% of retail ticket prices to tours, attractions, and restaurants.
- Go to a major concert.
- Take a walking tour to learn about San Francisco.
- Attend a major sporting event.
- See a theatre production like The Nutcracker or Hamilton.
- Visit one of the city's major attractions with fewer crowds.
- Take the kids to see the ZooLights display.
- Celebrate New Year’s Eve.
- Save more and see more with an attraction discount pass.
- Laugh with a famous comedian at a standup show.
- Enjoy the Victorian era at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair.
See our full post on things to do and see in December.
Written by Fred Pickhardt