If you have experienced a “California winter” while studying English in San Francisco or San Diego, then you have probably needed to bundle up a little. The temperatures in California are nowhere near the cold temperatures that other parts of the country, Europe, or Asia experience . . . but they are chilly enough that you need to occasionally grab a scarf or extra sweater. (Although the next day, it could be beach weather: you never know!) We have a list of some of the more common vocabulary words for winter clothing, which should help you when shopping or when getting ready for a “cold” winter day in SD or SF.

Winter Clothing Vocabulary


This unisex cap can be more bulky, like a sweater, or more athletic-looking. They can also be oversized, like the one pictured below, or more form-fitting.

Beanie from Kitty Dune on Etsy.


“Hoodie” is a broad term for shirts with a hood. They can have a zipper, like the one pictured below, or not. Most have large pockets in the front for your hands. Hoodies with zippers are also sometimes called “zip-ups.”

Cal hoodie from the Berkeley student store.


Leggings come in all colors and patterns. Some are thicker; some are thin or sheer.

Leggings from Philament Collective on Etsy.
Leggings from Philament Collective on Etsy.

Pea Coat

Pea coats were originally part of the U.S. Navy uniform; today, they are a fashion statement for men or women.

Pea coat from Wiki.
Pea coat from Wikipedia.


Like the word “hoodie,” the term “pullover” is very generic: it can be applied to any sweater that you pull over your head. Traditionally, the pullover was a bulky, “dorky” sweater, like the ones worn by nerdy characters in Christmas movies. Today, they are again a fashion statement.

Shamrock Arts
Oversized pullover from Shamrock Arts on Etsy.


“UGG” is actually the name of the Australian boot company that first produced the warm, furry boots that so many people love. Today, the name applies to any type of boot produced in that same style.

Nerdy Youth
Ugg-style boots from Nerdy Youth on Etsy.



If the sweatshirt has a zipper, it can be called a “zip-up.”

Zip-up from the University of San Diego bookstore.
Zip-up from the University of San Diego bookstore.


Now that you know the names of the clothing worn in cold weather, what about cold weather plans? A chilly day is a great excuse for going to a coffee shop and studying. Both San Diego and San Francisco have some cozy, inviting cafes: check them out!

Cozy cafes in San Diego

Cafe Calabria

3933 30th St
(between University Ave & Lincoln Ave)
San Diego, CA 92104
Neighborhood: North Park

(619) 291-1759

This Italian-run coffee shop in North Park is a great place to relax and grab an espresso, cappuccino, or even a glass of wine. If you get hungry, check out their delicious pizzas baked in their wood-fired oven. Very Italian!


3343 Adams Ave
(between 33rd St & Felton St)
San Diego, CA 92116
Neighborhood: Normal Heights

(619) 282-0437

This cozy cafe in Normal Heights is one of the more famous cafes in San Diego, and is frequented by locals. Guests lounge in sofas and read, work on laptops, or play games with friends in this very charming place.


The Olive Cafe

805 Santa Clara Pl
(between Bayside Ln & Mission Blvd)
San Diego, CA 92109

(858) 488-1224

What was once a very small cafe has expanded: the owner purchased the cafe next door and turned both locations into a larger restaurant. It is a good thing: the food was so good that customers would happily wait a very long time for a seat! This is a great place to grab a coffee and some breakfast or lunch when you are spending a day in Mission Beach.

Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffee House

835 W Harbor Dr
Ste C
(between Broadway & Kettner Blvd)
San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 232-4855

Even San Diego locals are surprised to find that Seaport Village has a bookstore: Upstart Crow is truly a hidden gem! Part bookstore, part knick-knack shop, part cafe . . . Upstart is an incredibly charming place to get a coffee and curl up with a new book.

Cozy cafes in San Francisco

Joy’s Place

611 Post St
(between Taylor St & Trader Vic Aly)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Neighborhood: Tenderloin

(415) 817-1391

Free wi-fi, inventive drinks like the Sweet Tea Latte, and an inviting atmosphere make Joy’s a popular cafe for many San Franciscans.


1500 Hyde St
(at Jackson St)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Neighborhood: Nob Hill

(415) 447-4100

Nook is a great place to grab not only coffee, but also some wine. Many CISL students claim that their English skills improve greatly after a glass of wine . . . maybe this is a good place to test this theory?

Cafe Capriccio

2200 Mason St
(between Chestnut St & Water St)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Neighborhood: North Beach/Telegraph Hill

(415) 772-0937

Mediterranean food, a warm and inviting atmosphere, and a great location in North Beach make this a popular local cafe. Keep it healthy and try their delicious soup and salad lunch special!

Cover image from Shamrock Arts on Etsy.