So I’ve lived in San Francisco off and on for many years finally settling here in 2005. After all that time I never figured out how to stay warm in the city. You people from other states may look at me as if I’ve gone mad, “don’t you live in CA? Isn’t it hot all the time?” Uhm.. no, that would be LA and who really wants to live there anyway.

Need I remind you that Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”? Then let’s get back to the point of how to stay warm when you least expect it.

I’ve always said that anyone who visits SF as a tourist owns a sweatshirt from here. Tourists usually get up early in the morning and see that it’s sunny out. “We’re in California, let’s wear shorts and a t-shirt!” They are fine all morning as long as they stay out of the shade and if they go back to the hotel to change before the sun goes down they might just be ok. But for those who refuse to stay a minute longer in the hotel and want to pack their entire trip into one jam-packed-day-of-fun then they are doomed to own a SF sweatshirt.

You see, most people see the financial district, Chinatown, maybe even make it out to Golden Gate Park on their way to the GG Bridge. They almost invariably save going to Fisherman’s Warf (Pier 39) until the end of the day. (Who’s dumb idea was that?) The moment the sun goes down this city turns it’s Dr. Jeckle face and reveals a fog that sets in like Chicago “windy city” in February. Tourists still in their shorts and t-shirts are scrambling to buy anything to keep warm and those street vendors count on this like clockwork, ready with sweatshirts to keep the tourists from freezing to death.

So how does one stay warm?

I noticed a method someone was using and have tried it for several weeks, contently happy — and warm. The magic is in the use of a pullover/sweatshirt coupled with a SCARF (and GLOVES if your hands get cold.) Surprisingly, keeping your neck warm like this (or additionally wearing a tight cap) keeps you very warm.

It’s not the heavy layered effect you need in Chicago or NYC, but just enough to keep you warm as the temperature drops to a chilling 40 degrees. 😉