It would be wise to visit San Francisco in 2020 for many reasons. This year is one of celebration and anniversary for the City by the Bay. It’s a city that’s been close to my heart for a long time and 2020 means the city I love has a few extra enticements for visitors.
Anniversaries in San Francisco in 2020
1. 2020 is the 150th Anniversary of Golden Gate Park. On Saturday, April 4th, a large Community Day celebration will take place. Throughout the year there will be other events in honor of the city’s treasured historic, recreational, cultural and environmental resource. And a 150-foot observation wheel (I imagine it looking like the Eye in London?!) will open during the April 4 celebration. Check the official site for details.
2. It’s also the 30th Anniversary of sea lions at Pier 39. They’ve been camping out at West Marina since January 1990, following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The resident pinnipeds are lovingly known as “Sea Lebrities.”
3. 2020 is also 50 years of PRIDE in San Francisco. It’s the biggest in North America and the second largest globally. The rainbow flag is said to have been invented in San Francisco and if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this will be the year to be part of the celebration. If you’re not, San Francisco Travel advises being an ally from afar as the city is likely to be at or over capacity this June.
4. If you’re a Giants fan like my partner, then make sure a visit to Oracle Park is part of your trip. It is celebrating its 20th season this year. That will bring a lot of extra celebrations to the ballpark!
What’s New in San Francisco in 2020
5. In May, San Francisco will be the first USA location for SailGP’s second season. The world’s fastest sail racing vessels will decorate the Bay for what is sure to be a wonderful sight, whether you like to sail or just like to look. (I’m both!)
6. For golfers, the PGA Championship in 2020 at Harding Park will mark the first major championship to be held at a TPC property. It is only the first of three major PGA championships coming to San Francisco over the next decade.
7. Outdoor green space is having a moment in San Francisco with the same architect as New York City’s High Line (which I used to give tours of when I lived in NYC) at the helm for the new Presidio Tunnel Tops park. James Corner Field Operation’s 14-acre green space will connect people from Crissy Field to the Presidio and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area waterfront. Watch the progress in 2020 but keep an eye out for the Grand Opening in 2021. Already open, downtown’s elevated Salesforce Park is a 5.4 acre living rooftop with walking trails, lawns, fountains, children’s play areas and an amphitheater. Take the free gondola to experience the city’s newest public green space.
When to Visit San Francisco
Whether you do in fact visit San Francisco in 2020 or another time, here’s some advice about timing. I’ve been told by the people at San Francisco Travel that weekend visits are best. The city has emptied of its workweek business travelers and deals are more readily available for hotels. If you want to visit Napa or Sonoma in the same vacation, consider those during the week when prices and occupancy are more in your favor. I can attest from personal experience that’s good advice.
Know that weather in San Francisco can be tricky. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen first time tourists in the city walking around in ‘I Love San Francisco‘ sweatshirts clearly purchased from a souvenir shop. Usually they didn’t pack properly for what can be a very chilly climate. San Francisco might be in California but it’s not like Los Angeles or San Diego in terms of temperature.
Between September and November, the weather is lovely. What would be Fall elsewhere, is actually the city’s warmest year-round temperatures. It’s a definite “Indian Summer,” with fewer crowds. It can also be lovely visiting in Spring because of mild temperatures and less chances of rain.
How to Visit
The most traditional route to San Francisco would be flying in to SFO. Take BART to your hotel or close to it, then walk, or take public transportation around the city. The city is so compact, you shouldn’t need to rent a car for San Francisco in 2020.
If you do want to get out of the Bay Area or you like to leave things in the hands of a tour company, I recommend Incredible Adventures. They’re a member of ATTA like I am and use biodiesel vans. Consider going with them to Muir Woods which is one of my favorite spots outside the city.
And please be a responsible traveler. San Francisco has always been ahead of the curve. Join in by bringing your own water bottles. Don’t buy plastic-packaged food or drink. Walk as much as you can or use public transportation. Support local businesses. Always dispose properly of garbage and recycling, do not litter.
Where to Stay
My favorite hotel in San Francisco is the Fairmont. If you’re looking for luxury, history and great food in one stay, it fits the bill. I’ve been a guest several times for work and truly love the property and staff there.
No matter when you visit, I hope you enjoy San Francisco!
I’ve been to San Francisco many times for work and vacation. I also spent a short time living in the Bay Area before I began my career in travel. The information I reference here about visiting San Francisco in 2020 is a combination of my personal experience and information from the folks at San Francisco Travel. I further researched everything I was told, to verify and corroborate. All opinions are, as always, my own.