Sports: If You’re Going to San Francisco (Forget About Wearing Some Flowers in Your Hair)

American Football

If you’re going to San Francisco to attend Super Bowl 50, forget about wearing some flowers in your hair. Instead bring layers of clothing. The weather tends to be chillier and more changeable than most people expect.


Shops in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.


San Francisco has a micro-climate that betrays the city’s location within Sunny California. The weather can be chillier than most people expect, and official temperatures can be misleading because they don’t take the wind chill factor into account.

Written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and sung by Scott McKenzie, the song “If You’re Going to San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)” was released in May 1967.

While the song was written to promote the Monterey International Pop Music Festival in June of that year (Monterey is actually situated about 123 miles south of San Francisco), it is credited with attracting thousands of young people to the City by the Bay that summer, which was quickly dubbed “The Summer of Love”.

The song rapidly reached Number 4 in the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and stayed there for 4 weeks.

While the song never reached Number 1 in the US, it did reach the top stop in Britain and most of Europe. It was a global sensation.


San-francisco-Haight_Ashbury-waler street-near-masonic

Waler Street near Masonic Avenue in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

As many as 100,000 young people known as “hippies” descended on San Francisco that summer, turning The City’s Height-Ashbury district into the global epicenter of the worldwide counter culture movement.

Drugs, free sex, Left Wing politics, and musical creativity became the order of the day. Rock concerts at The Filmore and in Golden Gate Park were the stuff of legends. Think the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane.

While the hippies continued to arrive throughout the Summer of Love, many of them started leaving earlier than expected.

According to an article I read in the Oakland Tribune at the time, hippies were leaving San Francisco faster than they were arriving, due largely to disappointment with The City’s arctic summer climate.

Fog frequently blankets much of San Francisco during the summer months as the dry inland heat sucks moisture in from the Pacific Ocean.

In the words of Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

Weather Forecast


San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. This photo was taken in summer. Photo Credit: Jim Bahn.

According to early weather forecasts, the weather should be about 5 degrees higher than normal in San Francisco on Super Bowl Sunday – and warmer yet by 4 more degrees in Santa Clara, where Levi’s Stadium is located.

That means a high in San Francisco of 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and 68 degrees in Santa Clara, and lows of 46 degrees and 44 degrees, respectively.

Keep in mind that San Francisco can be very windy, and it can feel much cooler than the temperature suggests. The same is not generally true of Santa Clara, where the climate is considerably milder.

The weather in San Francisco can also change quite quickly, and weather reports are notoriously unable to give advance warnings of these sudden drops in temperature.

So do what the locals do: dress in layers. At kick-off, you might even be able to wear short sleeves! But as the afternoon progresses and the sun starts to wane, you will start needing to bundle up.

For safe measure, make sure to pack your overcoat.

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