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‘It beats being roasted’: Tourists flock to SF to escape insane heat

People stroll along a busy, sunlit Pier 39, with colorful storefronts, flags, and a slight urban skyline in the background; one person is taking a selfie.
Tourists stroll down Pier 39 on Monday. Several told The Standard they came to the city to cool off from a sweltering heat wave elsewhere in the state. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

As the rest of California swelters, tourists are flocking to San Francisco for some foggy reprieve from the record heat wave.

On Monday, with the temperature in San Francisco hovering around the mid-60s, Tim and Westley McCarron were visiting from Portland, where it’s currently 100 degrees.

“It’s great weather here,” Tim, 47, said. “There was some fog blowing around last night, but it beats being roasted in Sacramento.”

The father-and-son duo visited Roseville, near Sacramento, from Friday to Sunday evening for his son’s basketball tournament, where 14-year-old Westley played for his team 3&D, an amateur league team from Portland.

A teenage boy and a middle-aged man pose next to each other on a dock for a photo.
Tim, right, and Westley McCarron visited Pier 39 Monday, enjoying the reprieve from the 100-degree heat in their home city of Portland. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

“Taking our clothes out of the car, it felt like they were coming out of the dryer,” Tim said. 

Tim said it was 115 degrees when they arrived in Sacramento Friday. 

“It’s one of the best cities in the U.S.,” Tim said of San Francisco, adding that the cooler temperatures were a “nice side effect.”

Alex Bastian, president and CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, said he expected harder numbers would be available within a couple of weeks on any recent tourism effect. But he said he wasn’t surprised at the idea of the city drawing an uptick of visitors because of the triple-digit temperatures elsewhere.

Bastian remembered joining the council in the summer of 2022 during another heatwave, and posting about San Francisco’s seasonal advantage over other destinations.

Tourists stroll down a San Francisco pier lined with shops and restaurants.
Canadian couple David and Allison said San Francisco’s summer weather is colder than July temperatures in their home city of Winnipeg. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

“It’s something people dealing with the heat seek: the cool and refreshing change,” he said. “So, coming here during the summer months may make sense. This city has a lot to offer—more than just the free air conditioning.” 

“We’ve got the best wine in the world just an hour away; a great architecture scene,” he continued. “We’re a walkable city, our neighborhoods are tremendously diverse, we’re a gateway to Asia, and a center of technology. When I see Waymos pass by my office, I see tourists taking pictures of them. In addition to all that, we have the added benefit of a reprieve and an escape.”

Maneet Sohal, who manages San Francisco Deluxe Sightseeing Tours, echoed those sentiments in an interview with CBS.

“The weather did help us a lot,” he said “A lot of our customers these last couple of days, they were from the Central Valley, Sacramento, Southern California.” And they were all just trying to get out of the heat. And a lot of our locals as well. … The holiday falling on a Thursday this year definitely helped out. The tourists ended up staying for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

Matthew Estolero, 17, and his dad Anthony Estolero, 53, of Sacramento, said they’re spending the day at Fisherman’s Wharf to escape scorching summer temperatures back home. They said it’s been a week of extreme heat in Sacramento, with daytime temperatures above 100 for the past week.

“We’re here to escape the heat,” Matthew said. “Yesterday, it was 110 degrees. Not fun.”

A teenage boy and a middle-aged man stand next to each other in a bustling shopping area for a photo.
Anthony, left, and Matthew Estolero said they came to San Francisco to flee the scorching Sacramento summer heat. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

His father, Anthony, said they arrived around 9:30 a.m. Monday and plan to spend the day walking around and shopping at the wharf. They may stay into the evening to avoid rush hour traffic and to get as much shelter from the sweltering heat as they can.

‘Like spring or fall back home’

Visiting from Winnipeg, husband and wife David and Allison said they got a firsthand taste of San Francisco’s summer weather, which was positively frigid compared to their Canadian home city, where the expected high was 80 degrees Monday.

“We wanted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge on bikes, but Karl the Fog stopped us,” David said. “We couldn’t see anything.”

They made a point of eating their way through the city, dining at the House of Dim Sum in Chinatown, drinking cappuccinos at Caffe Greco in North Beach and digging into plates of fish and chips at The Cod Mother at the wharf during their visit.

“Little Italy stood out to us,” David said. “There’s so much to see.”

With a Sonoma trip lined up Wednesday, Allison feels uneasy about how they’ll handle the toasty 94-degree temperatures expected that day.

“We’re a little worried,” Allison said. “We’re not used to that heat.”

Long Island resident Jeremy Allen said San Francisco’s brisk weather is a welcome escape from New York City’s muggy summers.

“Here it feels like spring or fall back home,” Allen said.

A man wearing blue sweatshirt stands for a photo on a pier.
Long Island resident and baseball fan Jeremy Allen said San Francisco’s brisk July weather at Pier 39 reminded him of spring and fall back home. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Allen is visiting San Francisco to attend a Giants game Tuesday as part of a nine-day West Coast baseball tour organized by Diamond Baseball Tours. After the game—and a trip to Alcatraz—Allen will head to Anaheim for an Angels game before leaving for New York on Friday.

“It’ll be nice to see family again,” Allen said, “but I’m not looking forward to the heat.”

Garrett Leahy can be reached at