San Francisco: 5 things to do when it rains

Posted in: San Francisco


Out of the rain and into the rain forest at the California Academy of Sciences. Photo: Kwong Yee Cheng
Out of the rain and into the rain forest at the California Academy of Sciences. Photo: Kwong Yee Cheng

By Spencer Spellman in San Francisco—

If you’ve never been to San Francisco, expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to the weather. In any given day you may experience a couple different seasons, as the weather can change drastically. Because of this, you’ll want to dress in layers when visiting the city, especially if you plan on being out and about all day.

However, sometimes the weather may turn so sour that you’ll need to plan for an “inside” day. The following are some of the best things to do in San Francisco when the weather makes a turn for the worst.

1. California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive
Web site

If you get stuck in the rain at Golden Gate Park, this is the best place to spend the rest of your day. The California Academy of Sciences is a multi-faceted museum, one that can be easy to get lost in for the entire day. Not just a natural history museum, it also features an aquarium and planetarium.

If you’re visiting on Thursdays, stick around for the museum’s weekly nightlife, which includes snacks and adult beverages to enjoy while taking in all of its great offerings.

Stay dry while you shop in the Ferry Building Marketplace. Photo: Ricardo Ferreira

2. Ferry Building Marketplace
1 Ferry Building
Web site

The San Francisco Ferry Building is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the bay area. Dating back over 100 years, the Ferry Building stands today as an indoor market featuring some of the best food that San Francisco has to offer. Plan on going with an empty stomach, as you’ll want to follow the smells coming out of some of the different shops.

This also makes a good stop after lunch for enjoying premium chocolates from Recchiuti Confections or fresh coffee from Blue Bottle.

3. Ghirardelli Square
900 N Point St.
Web site

Just look for the big Ghirardelli sign near Fisherman’s Wharf to find this landmark. The square has a long history that dates back over 100 years as the headquarters for Ghirardelli chocolate. The indoor market features nearly 50 boutique shops and restaurants. If nothing else, let loose with an ice cream cone or some Ghirardelli chocolates.

4. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 3rd Street
Web site

Since San Francisco is one of the most creative destinations in the world, it should come as no surprise to see the Museum of Modern Art on this list. Unlike most art museums, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is devoted exclusively to contemporary art. The collection includes over 25,000 different works of art, including paintings, photographs, statues and multimedia.

In between exhibits, enjoy a coffee served by one of San Francisco’s most popular coffee companies: Blue Bottle.

5. San Francisco Cable Car Museum
1201 Mason Street
Web site

A trip to San Francisco really isn’t complete without a cable car ride. However, before jumping on, learn a little more about their history and significance by visiting the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. The museum features exhibits that include cable cars that date back over 100 years. And did we mention it’s free?

About the author

Spencer is a traveling writer, who currently calls San Francisco home after living on the east coast for most of his life. He writes regularly for Web and print publications. While Spencer has traveled around the world, Europe is his first love, a love that is sustained back home by micro brews, fish and chips, soccer and golf.

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