The rest of the country might be cooling down, but in San Francisco, fall means an Indian Summer packed with plenty of reasons to get outdoors.
Across most of the country, the air might be cooling and leaves may be turning orange and yellow, but in San Francisco, fall means Indian Summer—the year’s most reliably warm weather that often lingers into November. It’s the season every San Franciscan looks forward to most, yet it seems none of the tourists have caught on.
As such, it’s when the city’s best festivals and events take place. In case you need more persuading, here are five more reasons to book a trip to the City By the Bay in the fall:
1. One of city’s most popular concerts, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (October 2, 3 and 4) kicks off every year during the first weekend in October. Over three days, dozens of bands and musicians take over Golden Gate Park to play free shows. Yes, free. It’s the late Warren Hellman’s gift to San Francisco: a weekend without worry, enjoying the seldom-sunny days in Golden Gate Park, listening to bands from around the world. This year, expect appearance from Charles Bradley, Neko Case, Steve Earler, T-Bone Burnett, and many, many more.
2. Two weeks later, on October 17 and 18, another uber-popular concert takes place, the Treasure Island Music Festival. On the tiny island between San Francisco and Oakland, two days of dance-ready music, art installations, live comedy, and a ferris wheel take over. This year’s headliners include The National and Deadmau5.
3. The most exciting time of the year for oenophiles takes place during fall the wine harvest in Napa and Sonoma, a short 60 miles from San Francisco. Many wineries have harvest parties or immersive learning experiences (other than drinking a lot of it). Plus it’s one of the only places in the Bay Area that gets real foliage, with the vineyards turning a bright orange and gold against the green hills.
4. Among many San Francisco foodies, fall is a favorite season for produce. The farmers markets, like the popular Saturday market at the San Francisco Ferry Building are filled with artichokes, eggplant, and early winter squash—and many of the city’s seasonally driven restaurants showcase the fall bounty in their dishes.
5., 6., and 7. Thanks to the dependably warm days, no wind, and thinner crowds, fall is also the best season to take to the outdoors. Chartering a boat around San Francisco Bay (or to the Farallon Islands for whale watching), hiking the Marin Headlands’ winding coastal trails, or packing a picnic for Ocean beach and lighting a bonfire as the sun goes down, are all good options, too.