Does It Snow In San Francisco?

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Have you been wondering, “does it snow in San Francisco”? We’ve got you covered with everything you could need to know!

Does It Snow In San Francisco?

The short answer, not really. The surrounding areas of San Francisco that are at sea level very rarely see snow that accumulates, but will occasionally see some flurries. Though is becoming increasingly rare.

The Marin Headlands just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge have seen snow a little more frequently, but it’s still not common. February 7, 1976 is the last time that there was any measurable snow in the area at sea level.

The most recent snow event in the general area was non-accumulating snow falling on February 18, 2018 in the Eureka area.

San Francisco in December

Has It Ever Snowed In San Francisco?

Back in the 1880s and 1890s, official reports of an accumulation of snowfall actually happened quite a few times:

December 31, 1882 – 3.5 inches of snow

February 7, 1884 – 1.5 to 2.0 inches of snow

February 5, 1887 – 3.7 inches of snow

January 16, 1888 – 0.1 inches of snow

March 3, 1896 – 1.0 inches of snow

Fun fact, the 3.7 inches of snowfall on February 5, 1887 is the greatest amount of snowfall ever reported in San Francisco. The Western part of the city reportedly saw up to 7 inches of snowfall during that Winter storm.

There are also snowfall reports going back as far as 1858.

There are only 2 official records of snow in downtown San Francisco since 1900. On December 11, 1932 about 0.8 inches of snow accumulated. Then on January 15, 1952 about 0.3 inches of snow accumulated.

Historically, about once every 20+ years you may see flurries or a very small accumulation of snow.

There are some unofficial reports of some other snowfall events in the city on February 28, 1951, January 21, 1962, and on February 7, 1976.

San Francisco in the Winter

Why Doesn’t San Francisco Get Snow?

It takes a very specific combination of upper-level lows and low-level cold air, with moisture just off-shore to have any chance of snow. So the weather pattern just really doesn’t sync up very often to allow for snowfall.

The elevation is also generally just too low. At sea level across California snow just doesn’t really happen. Areas that are in the 1500-2000 foot elevation range and above are much more likely to expect snow each Winter season.

Where Can I See Snow In San Francisco?

Probably the closest area to San Francisco to see snow is Mt. Hamilton just outside of San Jose. It’s about an hour’s drive from Downtown San Francisco. It doesn’t always get snow, so it’s not the most reliable location, but it’s the closest.

Reliably, you’ll want to head over to Lake Tahoe or any of the mountains in that area down to Yosemite National Park. They will always have snow in the Winter due to their elevation.

This area is a little further away, usually about 2 1/2 to 3 hours or more from Downtown San Francisco.

Snow Resorts Near San Francisco

The mountain areas from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite National Park are the closest ski and snowboarding spots to San Francisco. Most destinations are within about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from Downtown San Francisco.

? Click Here To Book Your Scenic Snowshoe Adventure In Lake Tahoe Today!

Other Winter Activities In San Francisco

If you’re looking to stay in town during the Winter months, these are some of San Francisco’s best events.

SantaCon in San Francisco

This year’s SantaCon takes place Saturday December 10th. Last year our trip to San Francisco happened to coincide with this event, which we had never heard of before.

Basically throughout the entire city you’ll see just about every person dressed as Santa! It’s not something you need tickets for or need to register for. You just get to show up in costume (or not) and enjoy a day in the city.

Many choose to bar hop for Santa Con in pretty large groups, but you can be a part of the event however you choose.

California’s Great America

Enjoy Winterfest at California’s Great America theme park with over 60 rides, attractions, and things to do for the holiday celebration.

There’s ice skating, Santa’s workshop, baking cookies in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, sending letters to the North Pole, and more.

Special holiday treats can also be found all throughout the park along with millions of lights, live entertainment, Candy Cane Lane, and holiday shopping.

California's Great America Theme Park in December

✅ Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom hosts Holidays in the Park just like Six Flags Magic Mountain. So essentially there’s one version for Southern Californians and another version for Northern Californians.

Both parks obviously each have their own unique experiences, so it isn’t exactly the same holiday event.

✅ Wine Tasting

We’ve previously enjoyed wine tasting in Sonoma and Calistoga during the Winter months and both were great experiences. Many places may even offer mulled wine, which is a warm spiced wine.

? Click Here To Book Your Napa And Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour From San Francisco Today!

Welcome To Napa Valley Sign

✅ Fire Engine Holiday Lights Tour

Join a festive 1.5-hour tour of San Francisco’s holiday lights aboard a vintage open-air Mack fire engine.

Enjoy holiday music as you travel to Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcadero, Market Street, and Union Square to see festive holiday light displays while your tour guide narrates your journey.

You can even wear the provided firefighter gear to stay warm and look great in photo ops!

? Click Here To Book Your Fire Engine Holiday Lights Tour Today!

See The Best Of San Francisco With GoCity

A great way to see all that California has to offer is with a GoCity Pass! We’ve used them in several cities and it’s a great way to get discounted deals on many attractions around town.

In California, you can get GoCity Passes for visits to San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

GoCity attractions cards offer included admission to over 400 top attractions, activities, tours, and museums for one low price!

Save up to 55% compared to buying separate tickets at the attractions and receive a free full-color guide book with your purchase.

Choose from two options: Go City’s All-Inclusive Pass offers admission to top attractions and activities for one low price with a savings of up to 55%.

Build Your Own Pass allows you to customize a pass and save up to 20% on top attractions!

? Click Here To Book Your GoCity San Francisco Pass Today!

Check Out More Things To Do Around San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing city with something for everybody. Last December, we went for an entire week and every single one of these things listed below!

☑️ Visiting The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco

Did you know this museum existed? It walks you through Walt Disney’s entire life, public and private. It’s a tribute to all things Disney and you really have to see it to believe it.

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco

☑️ The Famous Alcatraz Island Night Tour in San Francisco

Not only can you go inside the Alcatraz prison, but you get to go AT NIGHT! This tour is super popular and is an absolute must in San Francisco.

Alcatraz Island

☑️ The Complete San Francisco Food and Drink Guide

San Francisco is for foodies. There is a little bit of everything here and we found some amazing hidden gems!

☑️ The Best San Francisco Attractions To Visit

This ultimate guide to San Francisco’s best attractions should be your first stop if you’re planning an extended visit.

☑️ Best Restaurants in San Francisco With A View

This is a list of not only the best restaurants in San Francisco, but these restaurants also have unforgettable bay and city views.

Check Out More Things To Do Near San Francisco

If you’re venturing a little further outside the city, we’ve got you covered. From hiking to theme parks to wine tasting, there’s so much to do in the area.

➡️ Muir Woods National Monument Easy Half Day Hiking Itinerary

This scenic hiking area is great for families or couples looking to escape the city for awhile. There is a single loop trail that is easy for everyone, with plenty of options to extend the hike further.

Muir Woods National Monument Trail Loop

➡️ California’s Great America Theme Park One Day Itinerary

Everyone loves a good day at a theme park. Great America is a short drive from San Francisco and still has some iconic, historic attractions.

➡️ Napa Valley Wine Tasting Day Trip Itinerary

Who doesn’t want to go wine tasting in Napa? This itinerary shows you how to enjoy the perfect day trip from the city.

➡️ The Best Sonoma and Calistoga Wine Tasting Day Trip

If you’re looking to explore more than just Napa, this day trip to Sonoma and Calistoga has castles, European chateaux, and more.

Ledson Winery in Sonoma

Conclusion: Does It Snow In San Francisco?

So, does it snow in San Francisco? Not in any measurable amounts, but every 20+ years or so you may see a flurry or two!