What to Expect from San Francisco in January
January is San Francisco's wettest - and one of its coolest - months, in the middle of rainy season. Precipitation often comes as a storm, and it's not uncommon to get the entire month's rainfall in just a day or two. As the winter storms push eastward, the rains turns to snow at Lake Tahoe and sometimes in Yosemite.
San Francisco Weather in January
Average High Temperature: 57°F/14°C
Average Low Temperature: 44°F/7°C
Rain & Clouds Index: 4.06 inches (10.3 cm) rain, 56% sunshine
What to Pack, What to Wear in January
Let's start with the rain. For rainy days, an umbrella may not be your best choice. They're hard to carry on crowded sidewalks and don't protect from wind-driven raindrops. A warm, waterproof jacket with hood is a better idea - or a longer-length rain coat.
A mid-weight jacket (or a bit more) will be enough on dry days. Unless you're going to the ski slopes, you can leave the heavy winter coat at home, but San Franciscans often wear gloves, hat and scarf on cooler mornings.
San Francisco January Events
- The Edwardian Ball: More fun than dressing up for Halloween, it's a surreal mix of dance, fantasy and fun.
- Dine About Town: Special menus at some of San Francisco's best restaurants give a chance to enjoy some really great meals at reduced prices.
- Sea Lions at Pier 39: The crowd of barking pinnipeds that hangs out near Pier 39 takes time off every year, but they're back in January - and the folks at Pier 39 are ready to celebrate.
Especially Fun in January
If the weather tries to dampen your vacation fun, try these Things to Do on a Rainy Day in San Francisco
January is gray whale season around San Francisco. Find out how, when and where in the San Francisco Whale Watching Guide.
A rainy January day is a good time to try one of the real San Francisco treats. Irish coffee first landed on U.S. shores in San Francisco and the bar that introduced it is still going strong. Find out more.
Averages and Reality
Use the weather averages to get an idea of what things may be like, but it might be different when you visit. A winter day could even be so warm you'll wish you packed your shorts.
Averages are helpful for planning ahead, but don't count on your trip being "average." Check the San Francisco weather forecast before you leave home.