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Seven Things to do on a Rainy Day San Francisco

When it rains, there's still plenty to do


Seven Things to do on a Rainy Day San Francisco

Don't fret, fume and fuss about the rain. California Travel Expert Betsy Malloy has better ideas for you.

Rainy Day image by Ken Colwell at Flickr, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license
Seven Things to do on a Rainy Day San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge in the Rain

©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

If San Francisco is so drippy that Lombard Street is starting to look like Niagara Falls and your vacation plans are sinking faster than the Titanic, here's the first thing to do. Run outside and sing like the Eurythmics: 'Here Comes the Rain Again" - or if you're looking for love, substitute a hope-filled version of "It's Raining Men."

After that, check the local weather forecast to see if a change of location might help. When it's raining in San Francisco, it may be clear in Monterey and Carmel, or Napa.

If the rain of terror won't let up, you could complain to the mayor, but the more practical action is to find something to do indoors. You can find a museum for almost any interest and they're all in the San Francisco Museum Guide. You could also browse the list of indoor day trips. If it's really tippling down, head to the library to look up how to build an ark.

If you packed your fancypants Wellies, now is the time to put them on. With just a bit of rain gear, you have more options. If you don't have an umbrella, you won't have to walk far to find one. Enterprising bumbershoot-sellers pop up everywhere just as the first raindrops hit the pavement.

Now that you're properly attired, try these ways to defeat the damp on a rainy day in San Francisco.

  • Go on a Pub Crawl - Visit one or two of San Francisco's microbreweries. Use a designated driver, take public transportation or call a taxi.

  • Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Cafe - The first place in America to serve this warm, alcoholic concoction is still going strong, and all that hot coffee and alcohol are pitch-perfect for a rainy day.

  • Let Someone Else Do the Driving: You might need to plan ahead - just a little - but why not stay dry and see the city at the same time in a classic VW van with Vantigo? You can stay dry and see the city at the same time.

  • Play Games: Musee Mecanique at Fisherman's Wharf is packed full of antique arcade games, some of them more than a century old. It appeals to all ages, including the most video-game-addicted kids. Change machines are plentiful and a few dollars can keep everyone busy for quite a while.

  • Go on an Indoor Tour - San Francisco City Guides offers some fun guided tours that stay inside. You can go behind the scenes at the Palace Hotel, see the upstairs murals at Coit Tower, or visit the San Francisco Fire Department Museum.

  • Browse for Books - The concept may seem a little old-fashioned if you're doing all your reading on a mobile device these days, but City Lights Bookstore in North Beach is a true book-lover's bookstore. Stop next door at Vesuvio Cafe, a remainder of the Beat era.

  • Take Some Photos - It's not as crazy as it sounds. Rainy days can offer the photographer some interesting shots, like the one here of the God. Try a black-and-white photo of the skyline from the end of Pier 7. Focus on details. Look for reflections in puddles.

  • Learn How Things are Made - Just across the Bay Bridge in Berkeley, you can learn how sake is made at Takara Sake. A drive north takes you to the Jelly Belly Factory.

More About San Francisco on a Rainy Day

Trying to find a taxi on a rainy day in San Francisco is harder than escaping from Alcatraz. Public transportation is a better bet and many bus and tram stops have protective shelters. Or if you're game, install the Uber app and use it to summon one of their drivers.

In general terms, the rainy season runs from November through March. For average highs, lows, rain and humidity, check the San Francisco weather guide.

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