11 Ways to Stay Cool During an SF Bay Area Heat Wave

San Franciscans are fortunate enough to, more or less, wear a single wardrobe all year long. But sometimes it does get incredibly hot even in this coastal city.

San Francisco, in and of itself, is a microclimate. Though the seven-by-seven is predominantly considered to have a Mediterranean-like climate, SF’s position on the Pacific coast, coupled with its unusually varied topography and in-tact urban greenery, has resulted in a metro with perhaps a dozen microclimates. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many — fluctuations in everything from humidity to vegetation growth could influence 

The City By the Bay has an inherently geographical quirk of avoiding regional heat waves. But that’s not to say things can’t heat up in SF. And given that July was the hottest year recorded on the planet (thus far), things around this coastal city will only echo Sean Paul’s 2005 hit song “Temperature” more and more (and more).

How can one stay cool when a heatwave inevitably scorches the Bay Area? Here are ten ways to quell your sebaceous glands in San Francisco.

  1. Grab an iced matcha or something-something. And even ChatGPT has some solid recommendations in SF. More info.
  2. Watch the sunset at Presidio Tunnel Tops. Yes, it’s windy as-all-fuck up at the top by the picnic tables… but at least you won’t be sweating through your light outerwear. More info.
  3. Then take a midnight stroll to find gratitude. Don’t forget to look up at the endless beauty around you. More info.
  4. Indulge in some milk tea. As long as it isn’t from Boba Guys, obviously. More info.
  5. Find a new book from an indie bookstore. If you’re going to the OG Green Apple Books location on Clement Street, don’t forget to check out the lost annex. More info.
  6. Sit in climate-controlled awe at SF’s oldest aquarium fish. At 90-plus years old, Cal Academy’s Australian lungfish named Methuselah came to San Francisco on a steamship from Queensland, Australia back in 1938. More info.
  7. Then make your way to see SF Zoo’s newest Komodo dragon in SF. The Komodo dragon’s name, Rinca, was created with the help of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in SF. More info.
  8. Treat yourself to a cooled bottle of wine from a bodega. FYI: The very green corner store near Sutter and Larkin streets has well-priced wine options. More info.
  9. Enjoy air-conditioned bliss while strolling down one of the most gorgeous bus lines in the entire world. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service along Van Ness finally opened after decades of planning, empty promises, and cumbersome construction — with new SFMTA fleets cooling riders. More info.
  10. Cry on a cable car. Go ahead, let it out; the inside of the cars are very well-shaded. More info.
  11. Have a micro-adventure, sans copious sun exposure. “The small collection of steps on Havens Street is bursting with verdant green foliage, nods to Buddhism, and sits inside a vacuum of silence… worlds away from SF’s traffic soundtrack [and occasional summer heat.]” More info.

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