California’s thumbs-up, San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Surrounded by 48 hills, it’s a perfect mixture of urban adventure and outdoor beauty. Once you’ve sampled the delights of the bay area and the seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf, Muir Woods and the Marin Highlands await you!
While there’s no bad time to visit the city, it’s especially alluring in the fall. In this post, we’ll take a look at the top things to do in San Francisco in the fall. Which one will you decide to do first?
Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Highlands
No trip to San Francisco is complete without visiting the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s arguably one of the most iconic attractions in the world! When built, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and today it is the most photographed. While there are 6 lanes of traffic, there’s also plenty of space to walk or cycle across the bridge without any interference. So, grab your camera, rent a bike, and head over to the Marin Highlands for some beautiful pictures of the leaves changing color!
Admire the exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
One of the downsides of fall is that the weather can often turn quickly. So it’s good to have some awesome indoor activities up your sleeve for your trip. One such activity is the SFMOMA. This unusual building houses several collections of contemporary works, and art lovers could easily spend a whole day here. It’s a good place to visit if you’re travelling with kids. All children under the age of 18 are free!
Take a tour of Alcatraz, one of the world’s most fearsome prisons
Alcatraz is another indoor activity in case the weather is bad, but you won’t want to stay inside this place for too long! Alcatraz Island is 1.5 miles off shore, which doesn’t sound too far. However, only three prisoners ever escaped Alcatraz without being caught or shot during their escape. A tour of the prison is a must for your SF itinerary – learn more about life in the big house and why the likes of Al Capone ended up in this terrifying place.
Try SUP in Richardson Bay
Want to try the water sports craze that’s sweeping the world right now? If so, Richardson Bay is a good place to start. Its calm waters are perfect for beginners who are new to stand up paddle boarding. Not only is it a great way to enjoy the refreshing waters of San Francisco Bay, but it’s a top workout for your core too. For more information on everything to do with SUP, check out Gili Sports.
Take a walk through Muir Woods and the Redwood Forest
Back on land, not all of the foliage turns red, green and yellow. Head out to Muir Woods and the Redwood Forest where the trees always stay green! Under the canopy of coastal redwood, you can explore the trails which criss-cross the park, marveling at the height of these giants above you. The tallest tree in Muir Woods stands at just under 250 feet (80 meters)! Many people choose to combine a trip to Muir Woods with nearby Sausalito, a great place for a spot of food and shopping. It’s also fun to take a ferry back to San Francisco from here!
Enjoy the sounds of the Monterey Jazz Festival
Take a scenic drive south along California’s Highway One to discover Monterey. And there’s no better time to do that than in September, when the county’s Jazz Festival takes place. It has been the longest continuously running jazz fest in the world since 1958, with more than 38,000 fans descending on it each year. While you’re in Monterey, you could also make a stop at the aquarium which has almost 200 exhibits!
Head to the Sonoma Wine Region for the Crush
Get out of the city to make the most of the crisp and cool breeze of the Sonoma Wine Region. Each year, the County hosts a harvest fair where you’re able to try beers, wines, and food grown in the area. If you can’t wait until the harvest fair in October, you could always visit the Crush even in early September. At this time of year, there are events throughout the county celebrating farm to table restaurants and of course, wine. Do take a sweater though, it can be a little chilly!
Marvel at some of the biggest pumpkins in the world at Half Moon Bay
We couldn’t do a list of what to do in San Francisco in the fall without mentioning pumpkins and Hallowe’en. Again, south of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is said to be the “Pumpkin Capital” of the world. Each year, the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off takes place here. If you’re not entering your own pumpkin, you can at least take part in pumpkin carving and sample a number of recipes based on this big orange gourd.
Tech a look at the headquarters of Google, Facebook and Apple in Silicon Valley
Want to keep pace with the ever-evolving technology of California’s tech giants? It’s unlikely, but at least you can visit the headquarters of some of the biggest companies in the world. See where it all started at the Computer History Museum before continuing on to the headquarters of Google, Facebook, and other tech giants. There are some pretty awesome views of the surrounding mountains too, less than 40 minutes outside of SF.
Final Thoughts on the best things to do in San Francisco during fall
See? Even if the weather isn’t always hot and sunny, there are still plenty of things you can enjoy in San Francisco. Surrounded by the reds, yellows, and oranges of the trees you’ll feel a chilly wind that’s never too cold to enjoy the great outdoors. And should there be a rainstorm, there are lots of places to take cover. For more handy travel tips on what to do in San Francisco, check out Extranomical Tours.