All together now... “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It’s that time of year again, and though Mark Twain apparently never made this quip, he gets the credit for a phrase that is emblematic of Fog City. Sizzling temperatures in the low 100s in the valleys to the east of town suck in heavy fog from the Pacific Ocean. The Bay Area’s summer fog is nature’s air-conditioning.
When traveling to San Francisco in the summer, pack – and sometimes dress -- for three seasons: hot summer, cool summer and cold fog. Particularly if you’re planning to be in both the city and any of the outlying areas of Marin County, Berkeley and Oakland and the South Bay, in one 24-hour period you might need it all. A typical summer day -- temperatures may climb into the 90s outside the fog zone, dropping to the low 50s in the thick of blustery wet fog in the city.
I followed the thermometer on my car dashboard for 30 minutes, starting north of the Golden Gate Bridge in central Marin County: Greenbrae, 87 degrees F. Mill Valley, 10 minutes south, 64 degrees. The Golden Gate Bridge, 10 miles farther, gale-force winds, heavy fog blowing laterally from the ocean east across the San Francisco Bay, 57 degrees. Chrissie Field along the city’s Marina coast, 51 degrees. Ten minutes later in Union Square, low to mid 70s, sunny and all outdoor restaurants were jam-packed. That evening, back to Marin County's village of Tiburon -- sunny for an outdoor dinner and then the fog set in for the evening.
San Francisco carries its own unique beauty and energy in the summer, whatever the weather – you just have to plan for the extremes. I'll be blogging from the Bay Area over the summer with the best Fog City escapes.Stay tuned!