Fall in San Francisco feels more like summer, but we still can feel the slight shift in the air that brings shorter days, cooler nights, and more colors in the trees. So yes, we have our kind of fall too! Especially September and October bring beautiful weather, high temperatures, and no fog, making this time one of the best times to visit or to spend more time outside and explore your surroundings.
That being said, I’ve put together a list of things to do in San Francisco in the fall, and while not all of them can be done exclusively now, this can be the best time to try them out. And let’s not forget about all the thematic fall activities and events – choose your favorite and enjoy the season!
In no particular order, here are 15 things to do in the fall in San Francisco:
1. See the fall foliage
Slowly, fall is changing the landscape in the city, bringing more yellow, orange, and rusty hues all around. Go for a walk in the Japanese Tea Garden starting at the end of September, and you will spot all these beautiful fall colors.
2. Attend the Mooncake Festival
Celebrate the fall harvest and indulge in some tasting of the famous mooncakes.
3. Go apple picking
In September and October, the apple picking season is at its peak. Not very far from the city, there are many apple orchards where you can go and pick apples (and other apple delicacies too). Apple-a-day Ratzlaff Ranch (Sebastopol), Clearview Orchards (Watsonville), Lucky You Orchards (Ripon), and Harris Family Farm (Pollock Pines) are some of the best places for an old-fashioned apple-picking trip.
Read more: Best Fall Destinations in the United States
4. Have a coffee at Buena Vista Cafe
Not any coffee, but Irish Coffee, invented here in 1952.
5. Attend an opera performance in the Park
Opera in the Park is a Bay Area tradition, and it takes place every fall in Golden Gate Park, with free access to the public!
6. Eat donuts from Bob’s Donuts
I will say it every time: these are the best donuts in San Francisco! And the most amazing thing you could have here are the Malasadas! All of them, but especially the Custard ones!
Read more: It’s it – A Legendary Food of San Francisco
7. Visit a pumpkin patch and a corn maze
Fall is for finding the best pumpkin and exploring a corn maze! Visit one of the pumpkin patches in the city (Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch, Pomeroy, Emerald Forest) or go further to Half Moon Bay, where you will find plenty of options: Andreotti Family Farms, Lemos Farm, Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm. Or if you want to lose yourself in a corn maze, Arata Pumpkin Farm is the place!
8. See a short film at San Francisco Shortsfest
This is one of my favorite things to do on a fall afternoon! The festival takes place at Roxie Theater (October 6-13). See the schedule and grab your tickets here.
9. Celebrate Oktoberfest
With beer, German cuisine, and polka music at 21st Amendment pub.
10. Attend a piano concert in the Botanical Garden
Every fall in September, the Botanical Garden in San Francisco becomes a concert hall, where you can attend piano concerts al fresco or have your own recital!
11. Have a fall hike at Mt. Davidson
It’s the highest point in San Francisco and offers one of the most beautiful hikes in the city.
12. Watch the Blue Angels during Fleet Week
Get ready to be amazed at the air show – the only one in the United States with a commercial airliner to perform a fully choreographed act! It takes place every year in October and attracts visitors from all over the country. Besides the air show, many other events are happening during Fleet Week: art exhibits, concerts, a parade of ships, and ship tours.
13. Take a night tour of Alcatraz
Experience one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks! You can do that during the day, but try it at night for more adrenaline!
14. Have a glass of wine at the Velvet Raven
For a cozy late afternoon, stop by this small cafe and sip a glass of wine. You can pair it with a large selection of handmade chocolates!
15. Try a new dance workout
My favorite activity, no matter the season! If you haven’t tried it yet, go and take a dance class at ODC, there are so many to choose from!
What’s your favorite fall thing to do in San Francisco? Let me know in the comment section below!