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The best weather of the year graces the City by the Bay in Sept. and Oct.
In a city renowned for abrupt, temperamental temperature changes, one of the safest bets for glowing, warm weather in San Francisco is to visit in the autumn. Other times of year, the city’s weather is impossible to predict, often becoming downright chilly in the summer. But between September and November, the calm San Francisco Bay and warm air from the Central Valley create climate perfection.
Fall is when San Francisco’s Ocean Beach and Baker Beach are populated with sunbathers, and the days and nights are just right for a bargain-priced, cable car ride around the city. Take the Powell-Mason line and clatter over Nob Hill before getting off for a stroll around Fisherman’s Warf. After some amazing chowder and sourdough bread (the options are everywhere), you can easily climb aboard a Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise boat for a tour under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. Or, if you’d rather go under the sea than float on top of it, you can check out the expansive Aquarium of the Bay, located nearby.
Back on the cable car, don’t forget to listen to the colorful tales of the gripmen operating the car — they provide lots of lively banter and local insights. The car’s East/West California Street line will take you from the Financial District all the way to the bustle and bartering of Chinatown. It’s the quickest trip you will ever make to Hong Kong. It’s definitely worth exploring to experience the tastes, sounds and — yes — smells of this crowded part of town.
For a change of pace, take a simple autumn stroll through Golden Gate Park. During the fall, many trees are blazing in colors, and the grounds are peppered with an eclectic array of folks, relaxing, rollerblading or riding bikes. If you feel like doing something romantic, you can rent a paddleboat, rowboat, or an electric boat for the profoundly lazy.
Another compelling option is to fuel the spirit with a trip through the de Young Museum. Not only is its artwork and architecture well outside the expected, its Hamon Tower Observation Floor provides a 144-foot-high view of the surrounding city in all its autumnal glory.