What’s that famous Mark Twain line? “Never have I a spent a colder winter than a summer in San Francisco?” It’s something thereabouts, anyway. And while funny, it’s not entirely off-mark. In the summertime the clouds hang low inland, fresh off the ocean and hide the sun and ensconce San Franciscans in a damp blanket of grey. So what’s wintertime like then, you ask?
Well if you’re thinking it’s all cold and blankets, you’ve got another thing coming. San Francisco in the winter is as lively a spot as you’re likely to find, and, all things considered, has a pretty mild winter. It never snows, and the temperature, thanks to the Pacific Ocean, doesn’t dip below freezing too often. In addition, there are a slew of wintertime activities to take part in.
Take some of the holiday lighting ceremonies, for instance. Take a stroll around San Francisco and you’re likely to fall into the Christmas spirit just by proxy. Come December 14th, there’s the Lighted Boat Parade down off Pier 39, and at 6 pm, you can cuddle a loved one and watch them stream by.
Or, if the mood strikes you, take in some traditional holiday shows. The Nutcracker ballet is always popular, and there’s even an option that caters to kids, known as Nutcracker Sweets. Other shows are typical of the San Franciscan originality and flair, like Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes, and Rejoice! a new gospel retelling of the Christmas Story.
Alternatively, you can embrace the mood, and the weather, and head down to enjoy one of San Francisco’s ice skating rinks. There’s the Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center (the biggest in San Francisco, which has the best views of the waterfront), the Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square, or Yerba Buena’s Ice Skating and Bowling Center, an open-all-year ice skating extravaganza.
Wine tasting is also a very popular wintertime activity, as the harvest season has freshly passed and new vintages are just around the bend. Consider spending some time in San Francisco and seeing some of the area’s specialty wine trails.