The heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose features some of the best year-round weather in the whole Bay Area. This tech-savvy corner of California is perfectly situated at the base of San Francisco Bay, protected from most of the fog and the chillier temperatures that the inlet normally brings. It’s usually 5-10 degrees warmer than San Francisco on any given day, meaning you can enjoy local beaches well into fall.
With its temperate weather and limited rainy days, San Jose is a city to visit any time of the year, but some months are busier than others, depending on seasonal happenings and the overflow of tourists visiting the greater Bay Area. Summer always sees a crowd, but there are perks to visiting in spring and fall, as the summer rush winds down and temperatures start to dip, creating good conditions for eating and playing outdoors. Here's our guide on what to expect from a visit to the city, by month and season.
Shoulder season: May and October to December
Best for outdoor activities and holiday events
There are two shoulder seasons in San Jose, either side of the busy summertime. In May, San Jose’s colorful gardens are in bloom; the weather isn’t too hot or too cold and the crowds are only just starting to gather. The second shoulder period is in the fall and early winter. As the summer heat starts to fade, attention shifts from beaches to hiking; community events in October give way to holiday festivals in November and December.
In both May and the fall, the weather is ideal for a slew of outdoor activities, from paddle boarding and kayaking in the Bay to picnicking or hiking at one of the many green spaces in and around the city. The only thing to watch out for is fire season, which is generally at its worst in September and October; always heed local warnings about fire safety and stay well clear of areas where fires have been reported.
High season: June to September
Best for festivals and nice weather
Summer is when the city comes to life and locals let their hair down at festivals most weekends, especially towards the end of summer and at the start of fall. At this time of year, the weather is at its hottest, though it's a manageable heat. You can expect warm nights and long sunny days under blue skies, in other words, the California dream. Daytime peaks of around 82°F are common, and the temperature only occasionally climbs above 90°F.
At the height of summer, highways get packed and you’ll find traffic jams on the roads to nearby beaches, like those in Santa Cruz. The end of summer brings the risk of forest fires (a growing problem) and smoky skies that can put a dampener on your trip; always check local conditions before you visit.
Low season: January to April
Best for budget travelers and fewer crowds
After the abundance of local events in the fall and the holiday parties in the run up to Christmas and New Year, the rest of the winter feels subdued and quiet. There aren’t a ton of events happening other than Sharks games, the sky is often gray and there might even be a few rainy days here and there.
On the upside, this is the best time to find cheaper accommodation and travel deals as companies compete for a smaller crowd of customers. The city has a more local feel and there are fewer crowds at popular tourist attractions.
Editor's note: During COVID-19, please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government health advice. Events may be subject to change.
As the city recovers from the holiday crowds and festive cheer, January is one of the least busy times to visit San Jose. Expect cool temperatures, fewer crowds and overcast skies, but low prices.
Key Events: The Bloody Mary Festival
The dreary weather continues into February and will likely bring a few days of rain. There’s not a whole lot going on but rates stay at some of the lowest of the year. This isn't a bad time to walk Bay Area beaches though, with a good chance of whale sightings.
Key Events: Jazz Winter Fest
The arrival of spring sees San Jose reinvigorated, as the events calendar picks up and local businesses gear up for busier days ahead. The weather remains mostly cloudy and there aren’t many visitors in the city yet.
Key Events: Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose Shamrock Run
April brings clearer skies and moderate temperatures. It’s the perfect time for hiking and enjoying popular attractions in the city before they’re taken over by summer crowds.
Key Events: Nikkei Matsuri Festival, SoFa Street Fair
May is when the city starts ramping up for summer. This is one of the nicest times to be in San Jose when gardens are in bloom and it’s mostly sunny and warm.
Key Events: Farmers markets abound
June is when the city kicks into high gear, with a string of music festivals and big cultural events. Things start feeling busier and more crowded and temperatures heat up.
Key Events: San Jose Greek Festival, SubZERO Festival, San Jose Fountain Blues & Brews Festival, Juneteenth in the Park
July is the peak tourist month in San Jose with crowded amusement parks, busy green spaces and clogged freeways. The weather is hot but the skies are generally blue and cloudless.
Key Events: Obon Festival
Temperatures reach their height towards the end of summer. The heat can sometimes be oppressive in the middle of the day, but there’s still plenty to do (like the Pride Parade) and evening temperatures are perfect for outdoor dining.
Key Events: Silicon Valley Pride, Santa Clara County Fair, Italian Family Festa, San Jose Renaissance Faire and Fantasy Fest, SiliCon, Music in the Park, Jazz Summer Fest
Most locals are done with summer travels and tourists are still enjoying the beautiful weather in the city. September is the month of events: you'll something for all tastes at the many community get-togethers that take place most weekends this month.
Key Events: Bark in the Park San Jose, Luna Park Chalk Art Festival, Almaden Valley Art & Wine Festival, Lil’ Easy Backyard Party, Bacon and Beer Classic, Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival, SoFa Street Fair
October brings yet more festivals but there’s a calmer energy that takes over the city. The weather is stays balmy through to Halloween, but there's a risk of fires, meaning it’s hit or miss for outdoor activities in the hills.
Key Events: Dia San Jose, Little Itlay San Jose Street Festival, San Jose International Short Film Festival, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Water Lantern Festival
In November, the city goes into a lull while people look towards the holiday season. There’s not much going on events-wise but the weather hasn’t turned cold yet, and the fire risk recedes, making it an ideal time for hikes and picnics with friends.
Key Events: Christmas in the Park (Tree Lighting)
San Jose gets into the holiday spirit with one of the city’s most popular annual events, Christmas in the Park. Enjoy the cooler weather, downtown Christmas market, hot cocoa and live music as the Bay Area gets in the mood for the holidays.
Key Events: Christmas in the Park, Santa Run Silicon Valley, SantaCon
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