Are you planning a trip to San Francisco in the spring? If you aren’t yet, we really think you should be. We absolutely love the City this time of year, and we know you will too.
From March to June, San Francisco says goodbye to winter. The weather is sunnier and drier, and the iconic summer fog has yet to blow in. The flowers throughout the city begin blooming, creating a colorful display for visitors during every month of the season.
Famous festivals and events fill the San Francisco spring, celebrating everything from cherry blossoms to boating, to the wonderful weirdness of San Francisco. Baseball season begins at Oracle Park, and farmers markets stock up on local spring produce.
If you still need some convincing, or just want to start creating your itinerary, this article is for you. Below you will find 19 things to do in San Francisco in spring, organized into these 3 categories:
- Tours to do in San Francisco in Spring
- Nature-Inspired Things to do in San Francisco in Spring
- Special Events and Festivals in San Francisco in Spring
- Spring in San Francisco FAQ
Tours to do in San Francisco in Spring
We always recommend taking tours in San Francisco. The area just has so much to see, and the options for day trips from San Francisco are incredible. Exploring the area with a local expert allows you to see more with your time, and who doesn’t love that?
Since this is an article dedicated to San Francisco’s spring season, these are the tours that are particularly special in spring and why.
1. See more of San Francisco on a Guided City Tour
Our first recommendation is a guided city tour of San Francisco. We think that an overarching city tour is the best way to begin your trip to any city, and San Francisco is no exception. Your local guide will give you context for everything you are seeing, and you will be introduced to many parts of the city, allowing you to identify where you want to explore further.
This tour is especially lovely during the spring in San Francisco because of the clear days and all of the flowers in bloom. Your selfies with the Golden Gate Bridge, and from the top of Twin Peaks will be particularly instagrammable, and your trip through Golden Gate Park will be full of colorful flowers.
2. Explore Napa and Sonoma on a Wine Country Tour
A wine country tour from San Francisco is always a great idea. But in spring, wine lovers get to experience the shift from “Cabernet Season” to the busy season and the awakening of the vines.
While the wineries will still be refreshingly uncrowded, the vines will begin to bud bright green, signaling the bounty to come, and flowering plants and trees will compete for your attention. Photographers will especially love the colors and textures of this season.
It is simply a beautiful time to visit either Napa, Sonoma, or both, for a day or more.
3. Chase Waterfalls on a Yosemite Tour
Waterfalls, waterfalls, and did we mention…waterfalls? Yosemite in spring is a waterfall chaser’s dream. The winter snow is melting and rushing over the sides of the valley in spectacular fashion, the weather is great, and the crowds are still manageable.
A day trip to Yosemite from San Francisco is hard to do on your own, but on a one day Yosemite tour, your transportation is taken care of, and you are driven directly to all of the best viewpoints. You even have free time in the park to explore on your own before the ride back to the City.
4. Ride a Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
If you like the idea of seeing a lot, but having a little more independence, how about renting bicycles for the day? This one day San Francisco bike rental is perfect for those who want to ride along the waterfront and across the Golden Gate Bridge in the springtime sun.
Once across the bridge, make your way to Sausalito and explore this charming little beachtown. Don’t miss the ice cream from Lappert’s! Once you have had your fill, roll your bikes right onto the ferry for a gorgeous and affordable boat ride back to San Francisco.
Spring is also a beautiful time to visit Alcatraz Island, walk among redwood giants in Muir Woods, or even look for otters in Monterey Bay. This article would simply be too long if we listed them all!
Nature-Inspired Things to do in San Francisco in Spring
San Francisco in the spring is particularly special for nature-lovers. You will fill up your camera roll with photos of colorful blooms from throughout the city. Make sure to enjoy the hikes and views that San Francisco does best, and discover the fresh seasonal produce at our famous farmers markets.
5. Find Flowers in Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is a destination any time of year, with world-class museums, a herd of American bison, and over 1,000 acres to explore. But spring in San Francisco is all about the blooms! Each month of spring in San Francisco has a beautiful flower to hunt down, and here is where to find them in Golden Gate Park.
In very early spring, head to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens for the magnolias. The garden has over 200 magnificent magnolia trees that fill the park with huge white and pink blossoms. They do tend to peak in February, but keep blooming through March.
Head to the western edge of Golden Gate Park in March for the tulips in Queen Wilhelmina Garden. Beautiful tulips cover this little garden every spring in a blanket of red, yellow, and pink blooms. Above the tulips, fittingly, stands the historic Dutch windmill, transporting you across the world.
Late March and April is the time for cherry blossoms, which means you need to go to the Japanese Tea Garden. This small but mighty garden packs a peaceful punch, with koi-filled water features, zen pathways, the steep drum bridge, and, of course, the iconic pink cherry trees. Grab a cup of tea and a traditional Japanese bite at their tearoom too!
May to June is the season for roses in Golden Gate Park. Wander both the Rose Garden and the Shakespeare Garden to find these beautiful and fragrant flowers. Both of these gardens make for the perfect place for a walk for two 😉
After you have found all of the flowers, check out our other article for tons of other things to do in Golden Gate Park.
6. See San Francisco from Above
Take advantage of a clear spring day to take in the view of San Francisco from above. Hike or drive to the top of Twin Peaks for a 360 degree view of the City and the San Francisco Bay, including Alcatraz Island. The view from Twin Peaks really can’t be beat.
For another great view, and a visit to the top of an iconic San Francisco building, ride to the top of Coit Tower. This gem is conveniently located just blocks from the waterfront and North Beach, perfect for a stop on a busy sightseeing day.
7. Enjoy the Sun and Fun in Dolores Park
Join San Francisco locals in Dolores Park. This beautiful park located between the Mission District and the Castro is the perfect place to have fun in the sun, whatever that means to you. You will see people playing board games, soaking up vitamin D, throwing toys for their pets, people watching, or simply enjoying the incredible city views.
Insider Tip: Enhance your experience with some local takeout burritos and maybe even ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery.
8. Take a Hike
Spring is a wonderful time to hike in San Francisco. Views tend to be clear, hillsides of wildflowers are in bloom, and waterfalls are flowing. We recommend the hike out to Lands End for a quick city hike that packs a punch, a day trip to Mt. Tamalpais for an immersive nature hike, or a loop around Angel Island for views of the Bay and a dose of interesting history.
Check out this article of the 14 best hikes in San Francisco to get started.
9. Linger on Lombard Street
Everyone’s favorite crooked street is even better in spring. Lombard Street is lined with beautiful, colorful flowers that only add to the spectacular view and iconic San Francisco experience.
Insider Tip: Ride the cable car to or from Lombard Street to include another must-do San Francisco activity.
10. Discover Local Goods at the Ferry Building
San Francisco is blessed with a temperate climate, and a year round growing season. This means that locals are very proud of, and serious about, their local produce. Make sure you wander through at least one farmers market while in San Francisco in spring.
We recommend the famous Ferry Building market held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (the biggest). Keep an eye out for special spring produce such as cherries, asparagus, rhubarb, artichokes, and more.
Insider Tip: Don’t leave the Ferry Building without wandering all of the other shops! This is the perfect place to find delicious bites and unique local gifts.
Special Events and Festivals in San Francisco in Spring
One of the best things to do in San Francisco in the spring is to join in on one of the seasonal events. There is almost always some fun event going on in San Francisco, and that is only more true as the spring weather transitions the city outdoors.
Here are some of the best events to look forward to this spring in San Francisco.
11. Bay to Breakers
Every May, San Franciscans don their silliest costumes (or no clothes at all!), and run/walk/stumble the 7 miles from the East side of San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean. The run is a beloved celebration of the weirdness of San Francisco, and you will find the route lined with spectators and house parties.
You can either sign up to run the race yourself or simply find the runners somewhere along the route to admire their costumes and cheer them on. Just keep in mind, if you are visiting during race time, the city will be a bit hectic, and it will probably be harder to get places in a timely manner.
12. Opening Day at Oracle Park
Spring in San Francisco means baseball and the opening day for the Giants at Oracle Park. Throw on some orange and head to the most beautiful ballpark in the country, even if just for the views and the hotdogs.
Baseball fans may particularly enjoy the pre-season series played in March against the Oakland A’s. The local rivalry is fun to experience.
13. Restaurant Week
San Francisco is known for its incredible cuisine. Unfortunately that cuisine often comes along with a hefty price tag. Thankfully, twice a year, in the fall and again in the spring, Restaurant Week comes to San Francisco to soften the blow.
Hundreds of restaurants throughout the Bay Area participate in Restaurant Week, offering prix-fixe brunch, lunch, and dinner for deeply discounted prices. Take the opportunity to taste your way around the world without leaving San Francisco. Our international cuisine is next level!
14. Carnaval in The Mission
The Mission takes center stage on Memorial Day Weekend for Carnaval. This immersive event is a joyous celebration of the latin, caribbean, and indigenous cultures that help make the Mission neighborhood, and San Francisco in general, so vibrant.
The weekend’s big event is the parade on Sunday, featuring music, dancing, and colorful costumes. During Carnaval, you are guaranteed to find fun activities and delicious food for everyone in your group.
15. Opening Day on the Bay
On April 28th, San Francisco will celebrate the official opening of boating season with “Opening Day on the Bay.” There will be a “blessing of the fleet” ceremony in Tiburon followed by a boat parade along the Presidio to Fort Mason.
The parade begins at noon and is free to watch and enjoy. Grab a spot in Crissy Field or anywhere along Marina Green. Watch as more than 100 historic and modern boats sail by, many decorated in the year’s theme. 2024’s theme is “Rockin’ On the Bay,” and boat owners are encouraged to take their inspiration from music.
If you want to celebrate the start of boating season by getting onto the water yourself, there are plenty of excellent ways to do that in the Bay Area. From out on the Bay, the views of Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and back onto San Francisco itself are unforgettable. Here are a couple different ways to grab those views:
- Take the ferry to Sausalito, Tiburon, or Angel Island. Sausalito and Tiburon are both beautiful little towns in which to spend the day or afternoon. Angel Island is the perfect day trip, filled with hiking, biking, history lessons, and more.
- Book a tour to Alcatraz. This tour is a must do in San Francisco, and with the tour you get the beautiful boat ride over and back included.
- Surprise someone special with a dinner and dancing yacht cruise. Boat rides on the Bay can range from a thrifty ferry ride to a fancy date night or even a sailboat excursion under the Golden Gate Bridge. Whatever way you choose, getting out onto the San Francisco Bay in the spring is sure to be a highlight of your trip!
16. Flower Bulb Day in Union Square
If you are in San Francisco in early spring (March 9th this year), don’t miss out on Flower Bulb Day in Union Square. Union Square will be filled to the brim with free tulips. That’s right – free tulips!
Visitors are limited to 15 blooms per person, which is more than enough to fill your room, hotel or otherwise, with a beautiful breath of spring.
17. Holiday Parades and Celebrations
Spring holidays are just better in the City. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Cinco de Mayo, and more in spectacular fashion in San Francisco this spring.
Saint Patrick’s Day events include a special mass at Saint Patrick’s Church, the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, and additional live music and Irish cultural celebration.
Easter in San Francisco can be a traditional affair, with church services and family easter egg hunts throughout the City. But those looking for something a little more unique should hold out for the Hunky Jesus contest in Dolores Park, hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Kick off summer on Memorial Day with a BBQ in the park. Many parks across San Francisco offer picnic setups that are reservable online, or on a first-come first-served basis. Or take the flame to the sand at Ocean Beach, where bonfires are allowed in fire rings from March 1st on.
18. Bandshell Concerts in Golden Gate Park
Beginning on April 28th, enjoy free concerts in Golden Gate Park on Sunday afternoons. These concerts are often themed around a nationality or culture, with dancers, speakers, and, of course, beautiful music.
Find the bandshell in between the Cal Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum. The concerts begin most Sundays at 1 pm and run for 70-90 minutes.
19. Cherry Blossom Festival
We have saved probably the best thing to do in San Francisco in spring for last: The Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. This two-weekend celebration of Japanese culture is one of the biggest in the country, and a favorite among locals and visitors.
Visit the 5-tiered pagoda in Japantown’s main square, marvel at taiko drumming and karate during live demonstrations, enjoy traditional music, eat all of your favorite Japanese foods, and search out the best cherry blossom blooms in the neighborhood.
There will also be a parade, as well as arts and crafts areas with hands-on entertainment for the kids. If you are in San Francisco in April, do not miss this fantastic event!
Spring in San Francisco FAQ
Is Spring a good time to visit San Francisco?
Yes, Spring is an awesome time to come to San Francisco! Temperatures are on the rise, flowers are blooming, and outdoor events tempt everyone onto the sidewalks and into the parks. Peak summer travel season has yet to begin, so crowds at popular tourist destinations will be minimal.
As you can see from all of the ideas in this article, there are things to do here in spring for every kind of visitor. And this article doesn’t even touch on many of the activities enjoyed year round in San Francisco, such as the top-of-the-line museums, and exploration of our iconic neighborhoods. Families, couples, businessmen, and solo explorers will all love San Francisco in spring.
What is the weather like in San Francisco in the Spring?
Spring in San Francisco is mild. You can expect high temperatures in the 60’s F, with chillier mornings and evenings. While the rain is on its way out for the year, you may experience a few wet days, particularly in the early months of spring.
The great thing about spring weather in San Francisco is the days are clear more often than not. If you have visited during summer, you may have experienced our famous fog. Perhaps counterintuitively, this fog tends to roll in at the beginning of summer, obscuring views until fall. So spring is one of the best times to see the incredible views San Francisco has to offer!
What do I pack for a trip to San Francisco in Spring?
Your San Francisco packing list should be pretty consistent year round. The most important thing to bring to San Francisco is layers! We are known for our microclimates, so if one neighborhood is warm and sunny, you may just encounter fog and chill in the next valley.
While the rain slows down in spring, you may still want to be prepared for it. Whether you announce yourself as a tourist with an umbrella (it’s okay – we won’t judge TOO much), or opt for a waterproof jacket, just have something with you to prevent becoming soggy if a wet fog or drizzle rolls in.
The City is really best explored on foot, so remember to add good footwear to your bag when you pack for San Francisco. Make sure your shoes are comfy for walking, walking, and more walking. If you can make them waterproof, even better! If you plan to do any hiking (and you really should!), shoes with good grip will be helpful for any muddy trails.
Enjoy your spring adventures in San Francisco!