Rainy Day San Francisco from Telegraph Hill

29 Fun San Francisco Rainy Day Activities & Things To Do

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Wondering what are the best San Francisco rainy day activites?

There are so many fun San Francisco rainy day  activities and things to do, you actually don’t need a rainy day to enjoy them. We have foggy days, chilly days, and just plain unpredictable  days which might be perfect for an indoor activity.

San Francisco offers all that you want in a vacation city. It has stunning views, beautiful architecture, tons of history, a really vibrant and diverse  cultural scene, and is an icon among American cities. So, don’t let a little rain  bother you!

And if you only have one day in San Francisco, then click on this itinerary.

When Is Rainy Season in
San Francisco?

On an average, San Francisco has about 70 rainy days per year between the months of November and March.

That being said, the  2022/2023 year was tagged as the wettest winter in San Francisco and had double the rainfall than the average! All that is to let you know, that if you’re visiting during  the winter months, you may experience some inclement weather.

And, if you’re visiting in the summer, then remember the famous Mark Twain quote, “The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco.”

While typically, we don’t get rain in the summer, the average high temps are 66 – 68 degrees, and the sky can be foggy for parts of the day. Again, a reason to plan on some indoor activities!

The good news is that San Francisco is worth visiting in any weather and there are plenty of San Francisco rainy day activities to keep you happy! Many say it’s the most beautiful city in California, and as a local, I have to agree!

Is San Francisco worth visiting - A view from Fort Funston
Cable Car in San Francisco - Rainy Day Activities

Quick & Easy Links

  Flights & Hotels: I recommend Expedia
  Vacation rentals: I recommend VRBO
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  Tours: I recommend Viator
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29 Fun San Francisco Rainy Day Activities & Things To Do

We all want to leave our hearts in beautiful San Francisco, but it’s important to consider that the weather might not be exactly what you were hoping for when you visit.  It’s always good to have a back up plan in case you need some San Francisco rainy day activities. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered!

And if you’re looking for a drive or rainy day trips outside of the city, then consider a visit to Carmel or Point Lobos.

Golden Gate Bridge One Day In San Francisco

#1 Take a Painted Ladies Tour Bus

This is a great start to a rainy day! See the whole city inside the fun and dry Painted Ladies Tour Bus.

The bus seats 7 in an intimate vintage Volkswagen decorated in perfect 1960’s decor. It takes you all over the city to see the best neighborhoods – Chinatown, Union Square, Pacific Heights, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury, the Marina, and Hayes Valley, and the Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Civic Center, and more.

Stop at the iconic spots for pics and listen to music along the way and hear the history of all the landmarks. Sip some California wine or local craft beer while you tour!

#2 Visit The California Academy Of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences, located in the heart of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, is a renowned science museum perfect for all ages! It’s an all-in-one museum complete with a planetarium, an aquarium, a rainforest dome, and a natural history museum. Plenty of interactive exhibits, lots of cool fish, butterflies, and an albino alligator! I love the living roof with its great SF views.

San Francisco Victorians

#3 Dip Into Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum

Madame Tussaud’s San Francisco is a really popular wax museum right on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Just like the famous Madame Tussauds in London, this attraction is a fun and wacky way to spend a few hours. Lifelike wax figures of celebrities, historical icons, sports legends, and political leaders keep you entertained and taking photos.

Harbor Seals at Pier 39

#4 Tour Ghirardelli Square

Originating in the Gold Rush in 1849, this spot is now a National Historic Site at Fisherman’s  Wharf. It’s one of San Francisco’s most precious landmarks. The chocolate is now made across the bay in San Leandro, but Ghirardelli Square has the old factory history with retail shops and dining spots.

Wharf in San Francisco
Is San Francsco worth visiitng. Birds at the pier

#5 Have Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl at Boudin Bakery

You’ve got to do this! The wait in line is worth it! Boudin is the best and oldest sourdough bakery in San Francisco. They’ve been baking sourdough since the Gold Rush! They make bread animals and heart loaves, but are  most popular for the chowder inside a sourdough bowl.

#6 Be a Bookworm at the
American Bookbinders Museum

This museum is the only one of its kind in North America! Visit and learn about the history, tools and process of bookbinding. See the tools of 1600s hand binding and the earliest machines that automated bookbinding in the 1800s. Also just steps away from Moscone Center in Yerba Buena, its another great rainy day activity.

Cable Car One Day In San Francisco
Bartender at the Buena Vista makinng Irish Coffee

#7 Drink Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista – and have some fries too!

The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco is the only place where I’ve had Irish Coffee and the only place you should too!

It’s San Francisco’s most famous and historic bar, opened in 1916. Situated right near Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Cable Car  turnaround, The Buena Vista has a classic, cozy, and crowded atmosphere for you to drink the delicious blend of coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream, and be part of one of the most fun San Francisco traditions there are! 

Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista
The Buena Vista

#8 Enjoy Art at the De Young Museum

The de Young Museum, a personal favorite, is a great feature in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The museum has an exceptional fine art collection all housed in the striking building designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The permanent collection, as well as the temporary exhibits are always satisfying for any art lover.

Boats in San Francisco

#9 Explore the Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is an interactive science museum right on the waterfront at Pier 15, close to the Ferry Building, Pier 39, and Fisherman’s  Wharf.

It’s a hands-on fun fest filled with so much learning! From biology to physics to art and innovation, its so well done and exciting. It’s always been a San Francisco favorite for families, but don’t think you need to have kids with you to enjoy.

Fun Fact is that the museum was founded by Frank Oppenheimer, physicist brother of the famed J. Robert Oppenheimer.

#10 Have Lunch At The Ferry Building

Why do we love the Ferry Building? Because it’s a bustling marketplace with one of the best Gluten Free bakeries around! Mariposa isn’t the only reason to visit the Ferry Building. It’s located along the scenic Embarcadero waterfront, and has  many artisanal foods and shops that are unique to the Bay Area.

SF Pier at night

#11 Visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is located in downtown San Francisco not far from the Embarcadero and close to the Salesforce Tower. 

The MoMa has an awesome collection of modern and contemporary art and  features works from some of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. I love this museum because of the permanent collection and also because it is small enough to explore and not feel overwhelmed.

San Francisco Rainy Day Activities - painting at an art Museum

#12 Discover City Lights Bookstore and the Beat Generation 

City Lights Bookstore, is in San Francisco’s iconic North Beach and is the most celebrated independent bookstore in the Bay Area. The store was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, and has since played a pivotal role in the cultural history of the city. City Lights is mostly known for its countercultural literature during the 1960’s Beat Generation. Browse through this cultural institution and hang out in one of the nooks  and crannies for a while reading.

Is San Francisco Worth Visiting - North Beach neighborhood
Coit Tower and Salesforce Tower while on a San Francisco Sunset Cruise
North Beach San Francisco Italian flag painted buildings

#13 Visit the Legion Of Honor Museum

The Legion of Honor Museum, is situated at the top of  a scenic hill in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park.  Modeled after the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, this Beaux-Arts masterpiece of a building is one of my most favorite spots in all of San Francisco. This European collection includes a Rodin room that I could happily sit in for hours. So much history and beauty in a spot surrounded by the Lincoln Park golf course and views of the Pacific Ocean.

San Francisco Rainy Day Activities, Legion of Honor Museum
San Francisco Rainy Day Activities - Rodin sculptor

#14 The Lovely Conservatory of Flowers

What better way to enjoy the outside while being inside than to visit this gorgeous greenhouse in Golden Gate Park. It’s a stroll through a lush and vibrant world in a historic building filled with rare and exotic plants, including beautiful orchids and aquatic species. It’s like an oasis and a great spot for photos when the rain isn’t on your side!

#15 A Trip To the Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco is surprisingly a  really fun activity! Its a sweet museum in the Presidio that gives a lot of insight into Disney, his life, and  his legacy. Some great artifacts and fun facts about all your favorite Disney characters.

#16 A Rainy Day Climb to Coit Tower

Coit Tower is the art deco historic landmark at the top of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.  You can explore the  tower, but also see the famous murals inside that depict San Francisco’s history. The murals were painted by 4 women and 21 men and supervised by Diego Rivera in the style of social realism in the 1930’s. Go for the murals and the views of the city!

Filbert Steps of Telegraph Hill
San Francisco Rainy Day Activity -Coit Tower
View from the Greenwich St Steps in San Francisco

#17 Play at the Musee Mecanique

Have you wondered what happened to the antique arcade that used to be in the Cliff House at Seal Rock? They are all housed in this fun interactive museum at Fisherman’s Wharf. The Musee Mecanique features a collection of antique coin-operated mechanical games and a nostalgic journey into the past.

#18 Eat Cookies at the
Chinese Fortune Cookie Factory

This is a great way to avoid the rain and check out some of San Francisco’s famous Chinese heritage. The Fortune Cookie Factory is in Chinatown on Ross Alley. It opened in 1962 and has been making 10,000 fortune cookies daily! Take a tour and taste some cookies!

Chinatown One Day In San Francisco

#19 Dine at the Iconic Cliff House

Go to the iconic Cliff House Restaurant perched above Ocean Beach overlooking Seal Rock and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a classic tourist destination for fine dining and taking in the city’s coastline.

#20 Believe at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum

Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a really fun rainy day activity for the whole family. The museum is at Fisherman’s Wharf and has a collection of oddities, curiosities, and unusual artifacts from around the world. If you like bizarre and weird, then this is for you.

Sutro Bath one day in San Francisco

#21 Plan on Theater, Music, Ballet, Opera, or Jazz Performances

For a rainy afternoon or evening, check out the vibrant theater scene in San Francisco.  Like any thriving city, San Francisco has some of the world’s most talented musicians, dancers, actors, and singers in the world. You can find Broadway Theater productions, the San Francisco Ballet, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera, or San Francisco Jazz concerts. These performance spaces are in the Civic Center neighborhood near the magnificent City Hall.

#22 Visit the Camera Obscura

Take a minute out of the fog and rain for this unique optical experience! Located at Ocean Beach, the museum houses a fascinating optical device that projects in real-time, 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape onto a concave surface. It’s a quirky and engaging attraction for those interested in art and science.

San Francisco Rainy Day Activities - City Hall

#23 Visit City Hall

If you’re looking for a glimpse of a stunning Beaux-Arts architectural masterpiece, then step in from the rain into San Francisco’s City Hall. This iconic civic building welcomes you with a grand rotunda and majestic staircase. It’s one of the prettiest buildings in San Francisco. I was witness to friends’ wedding at the top of the staircase years ago and it was one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever seen. It’s become a historic symbol of the city’s civic pride, for Gay weddings, and is a must-see landmark.

#24 Check Out Fort Point Under
The Golden Gate Bridge

Fort Point is located beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a historic military fort with a small museum that gives insight into the fort’s role in American history during the Civil War. Learn about the fort’s architectural significance and military past. And on the other side of the GG Bridge is the historic Cavallo Point former military base with an amazing luxury lodge, spa, and Michelin Star restaurant, Murray Circle.

#25 Visit the Pier 24 Photography Museum

If you’re a photography lover like me, you’ll want to add this museum to your list. The Pier 24 Photography Museum is an immersive photography experience with an extensive collection of contemporary and historic photographs. It’s located on  the Embarcadero at Pier 24, not far from the Ferry Building, Pier  39, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

San Francisco Rainy Day Activities - Cable Car Ride

#26 Go to a Golden State Warriors
Basketball Game

If you’re at all a basketball fan, and if the Golden State Warriors are in town, get tix and go to the new and magnificent Chase Center for a game.

#27 Enjoy the Contemporary Jewish Museum

San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum at Moscone Center in the Yerba Buena cultural district, is a great few hours on a rainy day  to explore contemporary art  that connects to Jewish culture and  heritage.

#28 Explore the Museum of the African Diaspora

This museum is all about African heritage and its global influence. Also located near Moscone Center in Yerba Buena, this  museum has important and contributions from the African diaspora to culture, history, and society. 

# 29 Learn at the California Historical Society

History buffs will want to visit this museum to learn more about  California and its evolution since the Gold Rush  days to the present. The  museum is  near the Moscone Center and is a rare treat for art lovers and historians alike. 

San Francisco Rainy Day Activities - Golden Gate Bridge view

Where To Stay In San Francisco

San Francisco has so many hotels, from big chains to  little inns, and vacation rentals galore. I like to recommend boutique hotels because I think they reflect the charm of the city. These are all in great neighborhoods and have 5 star reviews. 

➡️ Best Bargain Boutique Hotel In San Francisco
The Hotel Triton

Right in the heart of Union Square and at the base of Chinatown is this fabulous, eclectic hotel with local art, unique rooms and fun vibe. Known for great service, awesome location, and the best French restaurant in town, Cafe De La Presse.

➡️ Best Comfy Boutique Hotel in San Francisco
Hotel Zeppelin

This is a great bargain in the beautiful Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The Zeppelin features a celebration of the city’s avant garde era with a bold style. Known for being a comfy, funky, and affordable spot in a great location.

➡️ Best Mid Range Boutique Hotel in San Francisco
1 Hotel San Francisco (formerly Hotel Vitale)

In an excellent location, the 1 Hotel San Francisco is across from the Ferry Building and has views of the city skyline and the Bay. Known for its style with local and reclaimed natural materials and sustainably sourced linens.

➡️ Best Luxury Boutique Hotel in San Francisco
Hotel Drisco

This luxury boutique hotel sits at the top of San Francisco’s prized Pacific Heights neighborhood. A turn of the century, Edwardian style hotel is known for its beautiful decor, superb service, complimentary breakfasts and generous wine time.

Best Time To Visit San Francisco

Yes, “microclimates” is the buzz word here!

The best time to visit San Francisco is August – November. Not only becasue the crowds die down, but usually, the weather is better than in the summer. However, if you’re visiting during the winter rainy months, not to stress. Its a great place to be any time of the year! 

Wear layers and you’ll be OK. Now you have all these rainy day activities to help you out when you want to be inside!

Carrie at the Legion of Honor Museum

Getting Around San Francisco

 There’s plenty of public transportation in San Francisco –  bus, MUNI, cable cars, but most people don’t find it very easy to navigate. I’ve always found it a bit  confusing especially for those who are new to the city. Here’s some info:

Public Transportation

BART  or the Bay Area Rapid Transit is a rail system that takes people from the East Bay and Peninsula in and out of the city. It’s for commuters and doesn’t get you around in the city.

MUNI or the Municipal transit Agency includes buses, electric bus trolleys, light rail trains, and the historic cable cars and street cars that San Francisco is known for. The MuniMobile app will help you plan your route and pay for your tix. You can get a 3 day visitor Pass on Muni Mobile for $31.

Uber & Lyft & Taxis

Uber and Lyft are San Francisco based companies, so they are quite popular here! And now we have driverless cars to add to the mix! Taxi companies still exist but the ride share apps are my recommended mode of transportation in San Francisco. If you can walk, that’s the best, but if you need a drop off pick up arrangement, then use your Uber or Lyft app, especially in the rain!

Let me know if you ride in a driverless car!

Rental Cars

I only recommend renting a car if you plan on taking day trips out of the city. It’s a big hassle to park in the city and if you aren’t used to driving on such steep hills you might not like it!

Golden Gate Bridge view from the boat while on a San Francisco Sunset Cruise

How many days should I visit San Francisco?

Since we are talking about inclement weather, I recommend at least a four day visit so you have enough time for the weather to shift! That way you can enjoy some indoor and outdoor activities on your trip.

Is San Francisco worth visiting? Carrie sipping a drink

That’s It for the 29 Fun San Francisco Rainy Day Activities

In a nutshell…

Now, you’re all set for a rainy day in San Francisco. So many fun activities, you might wish for many rainy days! As you can tell, San Francisco has enough to do for any kind of weather and for all ages of visitors. Remember to bring your umbrella, a light rain coat, and some all weather shoes and you’ll have an excellent time!



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

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