Top 10 Things To Do Indoors When It Rains In San Francisco, California - Updated 2023

things to do indoors in san francisco
| 5 min read

Rain is like confetti from the sky and when taken with the best of experiences it becomes a cherishable memory. It is the perfect season for spending quality time with yourself and your loved ones. Some of the exceptional experiences can feel absolutely satisfying only when it is coupled with rainfall, like a hot cup of coffee. Here are some of the most interesting and irresistible indoor activities that you can indulge in during a rainy day in San Francisco, California.

1. Warm up with the Buena Vista authentic Irish coffee

Walking past the cable cars one will be able to find the 100-year-old tall building of the Buena Vista Café. Can you believe, that this place has a bartender (Paul Nolan), who has been making the same Irish coffee for the last 41 years? Buena Vista Café is the first bar in America to introduce Irish coffee and it is definitely the best in the world. The bar boasts that the secret behind their authentic concoction is their very own Irish whiskey, ‘Tullamore Dew’ which is specially blended for Buena Vista, their personally curated coffee and the specific 6 oz (0.17 l) glass. What else can be more satisfying than sipping a perfectly blended hot coffee on a rainy chilly afternoon?

Buena Vista Café

Address: 2765 Hyde St (@ Beach), San Francisco, CA 94109.

Website: The Buena Vista Café

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 2am; Sat - Sun: 8am - 2am

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2. Play vintage arcade games at Musée Mécanique

Musee Mecanique holds one of the largest collections of antique arcade games. As you enter you are greeted by the famous 6-foot (1.8 meters) laughing lady doll and its third generation owner Dan Zillion who goes skating around with a tag that says “I Work Here”. This vintage collection of more than 300 arcade attractions and mechanical musical instruments brings both nostalgia and awe in the eyes of the visitors. The entry is free and visitors can just go about playing any game they like. The amount of detail and maintenance that has gone into preserving this nostalgic place is amazing. Why would anyone need game consoles and VR glasses when we can physically participate in fun-filled games in real life for free?

Musee Mecaanique

Address: Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

Opening hours: 10am - 8pm

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3. Dwell into the world of words at City Lights

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user debaird used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If there is one thing that is equally satisfying in reading the last chapter of a book, it is browsing for books in a bookstore. Are you someone who prefers to sit with a book and a warm cup of drink on a rainy day? Do check out the huge three-story collection of world literature, art, and politics at the City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. This iconic bookstore is known for its intellectual collection and friendly staff.

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

Address: 4519, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

Website: City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

Opening hours: 10am - 12am

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4. Explore the world in the California Academy of Sciences (from USD 40.0)

With an expansive campus consisting of an aquarium, planetarium, the rain forest, and natural history exhibits, the California Academy of Sciences houses over 26 million specimens. Being one of the largest museums in the world, the Academy of Sciences offers various tours like the Behind-the-Scenes Tour for an exclusive exploration of the museum to Nightlife, a weekly event on every Thursday night that allows exploring the academy after dark. There are also family events like the Penguins+Pajama Sleepovers. If you are someone who has always wanted to see those life-size dinosaur models, the California Academy of Sciences is a must try!

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California Academy of Sciences General Admission Ticket

Duration: 3 to 5 hours

520 reviews

5. Pamper yourself at Kabuki Springs & Spa

Tired of the turmoil of city life? Give your mind and body some rest by pampering yourself at the most raved about Japanese bathhouses in the city. The Kabuki Springs & Spa is a Japanese bath house that offers a range of premium bath, spa and communal services inspired by Japanese and other Asian spa treatments. Some times a little bit of self-care goes a long way into your well-being and health.

Kabuki Springs And Spa

Address: 1750 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA

Website: Kabuki Springs & Spa

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm

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6. Know the city's history

San Francisco City Hall, nighttime, September 2016
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dllu used under CC BY-SA 4.0

San Francisco’s City Hall also called “The Palace for the People” is the seat of the government of San Francisco and was rebuilt after the earthquake in 1906. The City Hall consists of five floors built on 500,000 sq ft (11 acres) of land area and is a place of historic significance.

San Francisco City Hall

Address: 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA

Website: San Francisco City Hall

Opening hours: 8am- 8pm

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7. Shop till your feet hurts at Union Square

Catch a cable car and explore the 2.6-acre (1 hectare) vast shopping hub of the city. Check out the Crocker Galleria of indoor and outdoor shops, experience fine dining on the outdoors, grab a few irresistible deals with all your heart at the Union Square. What can be more fun than spending hours window shopping and picking the products you love the most on a rainy afternoon?

Union Square

Address: 333 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

Website: Union Square

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8. Relive your childhood at the Walt Disney Family Museum (from USD 25.0)

Experience the early days of Disney and the legacy of how Walt Disney was able to create the best childhood for an entire century of kids. The Walt Disney Family Museum showcases the life and legacy of the pioneer of the American animation industry, Walter Elias Disney. Without Disney’s creations, it’s very hard to even imagine what childhood would have been like. The massive “micro model of the Walt Disney Studios” is a must see. On a rainy afternoon, if you want to spend time seeing how great minds work, the Walt Disney Family Museum is a perfect place to visit. It is more intuitive than entertaining.

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San Francisco The Walt Disney Family Museum Admission Ticket

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

141 reviews

9. Indulge in thrill and fun at the San Francisco Dungeon (from USD 20.0)

With real actors and specially created thrilling experiences, visitors will get to witness and be part of a gripping storytelling experience at 360º themed sets. The San Francisco Dungeon is a 60-minute thrill experience that includes scary rides, themed shows, and the all-new Escape Alcatraz Drop ride. Want a power-packed adrenaline rush on your rainy day? This place serves the best scare.

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San Francisco Dungeon Admission

Duration: 1 hour

10. Engross in nature's treat to your senses (from USD 54.0)

The Conservatory of Flowers is a 140-year-old glass greenhouse, housing over 2000 different species of plants and flowers. While the place is a definite visual treat to its visitors it is also of great historic significance. Its construction dates back to the Victorian era and has five different galleries of ecosystems. Enjoy the scent and sight of colorful flowers, the taste of misty evenings and the sound of crickets chirping all at the same time. It is a perfect treat to all the five senses and definitely a favorite spot.

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San Francisco City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Duration: 60 to 120 minutes

10 reviews

Make your rainy days memorable in San Francisco

San Francisco Rain
Source: Photo by user Eric Sonstroem used under CC BY 2.0

Whether it is a rainy day or a chilly weekend afternoon, San Francisco is filled with so much fun and history that one can never check the box ‘fully explored’. The city is a feast quenching all your wanderlust and don’t forget to try each of these fun-filled indoor activities while in San Francisco, California.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Sharadha is a happy 'paw'rent to beautiful GSDs - Max n Tuffey. At times, when she is not too busy pampering her furry kids, she is trying her best to stay fit, write and travel. She loves...Read more

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