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Fall Getaways: San Francisco, Rain or Shine

November 05, 2010
by Sarah Amandolare
In November, San Francisco is caught between the warm early fall and the approaching winter months. But while Bay Area weather is notoriously difficult to contend with, San Francisco’s array of activity options makes it easy to plan a stay. 

Bay Area Weather

San Francisco’s weather could be called one of the city’s main attractions; unpredictable and engaging, requiring judicious planning on the part of travelers. Summer months are usually cool, while fall brings warm, sunny days. September and October are often thought of as the best months to visit, but lists November among its favorite weather months in the city. Even so, visitors should be prepared for possible rain showers.

San Fran’s Endless Options

The City by the Bay has a wealth of options indoor and outdoors, active and cerebral.

If the rain forces you inside, you can still watch the drops fall and the clouds roll in. Head to the recently reopened California Academy of Sciences, which was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano to bring the outdoors in, according to an article in The Boston Globe.

Glass galore, including a glass piazza, makes the surrounding parkland visible from inside the museum. Piano, who also designed the Whitney Museum in New York and the stunning New York Times Building, is known for his “attention to local conditions,” said The Boston Globe. The structure also features a two-and-a-half-acre “living roof of plants,” as well as a Philippine Coral Reef exhibit with 3,000 fish. Visitors can watch researchers at work through the glass.

For more museums, visit Museum Spot, which organizes San Francisco museums by topic, including art, science and nature, and history and culture.

Back outside, hit the trails that run along the Pacific shoreline or hike in nearby Marin County. The New York Times travel section features a lengthy slide show of the rustic redwood trails of Marin Country, as well as a quick piece on running the Embarcadero, which wends along San Francisco Bay.

Runners in search of a scenic trail can reap advice from Adam Nagourney, who wrote The New York Times series “Touring America One Jog at a Time.” His San Francisco, picks include the Embarcadero, which offers views of both the bay and the city itself, depending on which route you choose.

More ambitious outdoorsmen and women might head to Marin County, a “bucolic and wild” area located a bit north of San Francisco, according to Gregory Dicum of The New York Times. Dicum hiked for three days from Olema back to San Francisco, meeting locals, watching paragliders and taking in expansive views of the surrounding sea and mountains. Photographs of Marin County hiking reveal the area’s unspoiled scenery, which rivals Wales or Italy’s Cinque Terre, according to Dicum.

For additional hiking and walking options, visit San Francisco Bay Area Hiker, a thorough resource with maps and photos of scenic trails, as well as extensive written descriptions of each. The Presidio, formerly a military post, is a great place to walk around observing centuries-old architecture, and reaching scenic vistas by way of beaches and forests.

A Wellspring of Creativity

Long favored by creative types, San Francisco lures and inspires hordes of musicians and chefs. Visitors to the city will find plenty of concert options and countless places to have a meal before or after the show.    

Travel planning site Only in San Francisco recently launched TASTESF, an entire site devoted to San Francisco food. Read profiles of San Francisco chefs and feature articles on the city’s passion for food and restaurants; peruse a blog that keeps you informed of comings and goings at restaurants around the city, and learn of upcoming culinary events. Also browse restaurants by neighborhood, cuisine or price.

San Francisco Arts Online has event listings in various areas, including music, film, dance and literary arts. Search for events by date or area of interest.

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