Why Indian Summer in SF Is Better Than All Other Summers Everywhere

Everyone who isn't from here loves to bring up the not-actually-Mark Twain quote that goes "the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco." And then September and October roll around and they get trapped in their homes due to polar vortexes and hurricanes while we're sitting in shorts and T-shirts drinking beers on our friend's friend's roof. And that right there, that pretty much sums up why Indian summers* in SF are better than all other summers.

But hell, we like rubbing it in, so here are 17 more reasons...

(*Yes, we know that technically the unseasonably warm fall weather in SF doesn’t qualify as Indian summer because that would require it to follow the first frost and for the nights to be cold, but it’s just so much more fun to call it that and after three months of cold and fog we feel like we’ve earned it, ya know?)


1. Perfect beach weather

If us San Franciscans want to hang out in our bathing suits during the regular summer, we can head to any of Northern California’s amazing rivers or lakes. Then, when summer ends, the weather finally heats up just enough that we finally get even MORE beach days right in our very own 7x7. In case math is hard for you, that means we get five months of beach time compared to everyone else’s three.

2. Clear skies

Okay, so considering we’re in a drought, it might be a little gauche to brag about how it doesn’t rain in SF in September and October, but our point is that summer everywhere else seems to be full of unexpected thunderstorms that send you scrambling to grab your pool floats and towels before taking cover inside. That’s a thing that never, ever happens in SF. (Even when we want it to... sigh.)

3. No humidity

Thanks to the fact that SF is surrounded by water on three sides, it’s technically always humid here. But our humidity is nothing like that “WTF I can’t breathe and I’ve literally been outside for 30 seconds and I’m sweating in some really weird places right now” humidity they have during summer on the East Coast and in the South. That’s right: SF Indian summer is never "sweating in some really weird places right now" hot. And if that’s not winning, we don’t want to know what is.


If Goldilocks were to attend summer festivals, she’d find Coachella “toooooo hot” and Outside Lands “toooooo cold” and then she’d wait a few months go to Treasure Island in October, declare it “just right!”, and gobble that shit all up.

What’s that other cities? You only get to party on rooftops once the sun starts to go down ‘cause it’s too damn hot during the day? Bummer, ours only start when we roll out of bed.

Smitten Ice Cream

6. All of the ice cream

Do we eat ice cream even when it’s 50 degrees and foggy because we’re gluttonous hedonists? Of course we do. But SF’s ice cream tastes even sweeter when everywhere else is “enjoying” apple-picking weather.

7. None of the winter coats

Everyone else is getting their winter coats out while we’re putting ours away. And by “away,” we basically just mean “back in the closet for a few weeks.” But still! Freedom!

Flickr/Jerick Abon

8. Dolores Park is even nicer

You love it year-round, but you, like, reeeeeallllly loooooove it during Indian summer. Take that shirt off!!

9. Our tans will fade around Christmas

While the rest of the country’s will be long gone by Halloween. AKA: we’re going to look a lot better in all those family photos.

10. Speaking of Halloween...

You know what ruins a Halloween costume? A COAT.


Would this free concert in Golden Gate Park be so much fun no matter what? Absolutely. Is it even more fun ‘cause we can dance around in T-shirts and shorts in October? We’re pretty sure you know the answer.

12. Folsom Street Fair

Name another city in the US that could have a naked festival in October. Exactly.

13. Oktoberfest

Drinking beer during Oktoberfest would be fun even if it were happening during an alien invasion, but do you know when beer tastes The Best? When it’s hot outside. And you’re at Biergarten, admiring how nice the pile of unused blankets looks in the back. Cheers to us!

Life is rough, which means someone at some point is going to drag you to Opera in the Park. At least if you get dragged to it in SF, you can take a cooler full of beer and then take a long nap in... YUP: the sun.


15. We save tons of electricity

San Franciscans aren’t stupid; we’ve figured out a way to drink outdoors in SF year-round. And that way is called heat lamps. But for two glorious months most bars can turn them off and save the planet by lowering carbon emissions. Or something.

Leave your fleece at home. (Okay, don’t, but you know what we mean.)

17. It lasts so long

Sure, almost everyone in the US gets an Indian summer. But while theirs lasts a week, ours lasts for two months. Now pass the margaritas so we can cheers to that.

Sign up here for our daily San Francisco email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun SF has to offer.

Daisy Barringer is an SF-based writer who got a shorts tan in September of last year that has still not fully gone away. Laugh at her on Twitter: @daisy.