The City by the Bay, San Francisco has it all. A bustling city life, vibrant and sprawling parks, and a collection of neighborhoods full of romantic spots to take a date. Whether you’re looking for a classy dinner out, a more active adventure or an intellectual date out, we have you covered. Below are a few date ideas for people traveling to San Francisco as well as timeless date ideas for current San Franciscans.
1. Rent a boat in Stow Lake
Take your date for a spin around Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Inside San Francisco’s beautiful park, you’ll find Stow Lake, created in 1893, where you can rent paddle boats, row boats or even electric boats. Start at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and walk through the park to get there, or even pick up some bikes and peruse the park beforehand. Boat rental starts at 21 USD depending on the boat and how long you take it out for. The full loop takes about an hour depending on how fast your cruise around. This is a perfect time to get to know someone as you pass by wildlife such as the many turtles sunbathing on rocks or catch a glimpse of the bright red Chinese pagoda — a gift from San Francisco’s ‘sister city’ of Taipei.
Address: 50 Stow Lake Dr E, San Francisco, CA 94118
Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm.
Website: Stow Lake Boathouse
2. Take in the city view
If you’re looking to impress your date with a beautiful view and classy drinks, head to Top of the Mark. It’s the rooftop bar of the Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel in Nob Hill that serves iconic high-end cocktails. The best time is right before sunset and grab a window seat so you can watch the sunset over the city as you sip delicious martinis with 360 degree views.
Top of the Mark
Address: InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, 999 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Website: Top of the Mark
3. Have a romantic dinner at Octavia
Dinner at Octavia is a culinary experience with innovative flavors in a trendy neighborhood environment. Start off with their soft and crusty house made bread and then dive into the ever-changing fresh menu. Dishes such as chilled squid ink noodles, bone marrow ragu and halibut crudo can be seen on the menu. I would go back here and order anything off the menu as everything is exquisite and laid out on beautiful ceramic dishes. This place is perfect for a foodie as the dishes create flavors that you’ve never had before, and the setting is very intimate.
Address: 1701 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Opening Hours: 5 pm to 10 pm. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: (415) 408-7507
4. Pack a picnic to enjoy by Golden Gate Bridge
If you’re looking for an outdoorsy date idea, head to the Marina District and stop in Lucca Delicatessen to grab a classic Italian sandwich and a bottle of wine from this Italian deli. Pack a blanket, cups and other snacks of your choosing and then head down to the water. You can set up a picnic in the Marina Green, Fort Mason, or Crissy Field and lay in the sun, drinking wine, and having a delicious lunch as you look out in the Bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Stay around for sunset as you watch the fog roll in and the sun set over the bridge for a prime romantic setting.
Address: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA 94129
Website: Crissy Field
5. Ride across the bridge to Sausalito
For a more active date night, rent bikes near the Embarcadero or the Golden Gate Bridge and ride them across the bridge to the small town on the other side, Sausalito. This is less than an 8 mile (12.8 km) bike ride if you start from the bridge, but is a great way to experience the city. Once you’re in Sausalito, take a stroll through the town, grab a bite at Bar Bocce or the infamous ice cream at Lappert’s and then take your bikes onto the ferry back to San Francisco. The ferry is a quick 30-minute ride over and you get breathtaking views of the city, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Blazing Saddles Bike Shop
Address: 2715 Hyde Street *Other locations available
Contact: (415) 202-8888
Website: Blazing Saddles Bike Shop
6. Slurp oysters at Leo’s Oyster Bar
Leo’s Oyster Bar is a great date spot to take a seafood lover. Set in an 80’s old school Hawaiian glam environment with lively tropical wallpaper and metallic accents. Come for the fresh oysters and sit at the bar if you want to watch them be meticulously shucked. Enjoy the lobster bisque, mussels with andouille sausage, and ahi tuna confit toast. Wash it down with a crisp glass of champagne or a bevy of tiki-style drinks. Afterwards take a quick stroll down to the Embarcadero, watch the lights twinkle on the Bay Bridge and if you need a nightcap or more oysters, head to Water Bar to finish this aphrodisiac infused night.
Leo's Oyster Bar
Address: 568 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Website: Leo’s Oyster Bar
7. Hike to the top of Angel Island
From San Francisco, catch the ferry to Angel Island, a historic California State Park. The tickets are 9 USD each way, but the view and the trip over are worth it. The island is rich with military history dating back to the Civil War and you can see old military forts and garrisons. It is also known as “The Ellis Island of the West,” as it was the first stop for any of Pacific, Asian, and Russian immigrants entering the US. Once you’re on the 760 acre (307.5 hectare) Island, there are a few different hikes you can choose from, such as the 5.5 mile (8.5 km) perimeter trail that goes around the base of the island or my personal favorite, to the top of Mt. Livermore where you’ll get sweeping 260 degree views of the bay. Pack a picnic for a romantic meal at the top or grab a bite at the local Angel Island Cafe.
Access: Via Blue & Gold Ferry Fleet
Website: Angel Island
8. Explore the ruins of Sutro Baths
Sutro Baths, San Francisco by seriouslydevPosted by San Francisco Feelings on Saturday, 18 March 2017
What was once a privately owned public saltwater swimming pool complex is now a ruin to explore with a beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Created by a former mayor of the city in 1890, this was once a glass-roofed structure that held seven saltwater swimming pools that were filled by the incoming tide. This is a great place to get out in nature with your date as you walk through the old ruins and smell the fresh salty air. You can either drive to Sutro Baths directly, or start at the Lands End Trail, which ends up at Sutro Baths. After you’ve had enough wind whipping through your hair and finished your balancing act around the foundation of the old baths, you should head over to The Cliff House. Grab a seat by the window and you’ll get one of the best views in San Francisco as you sip on a martini and try one of their famous popovers.
Address: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121
Website: Sutro Baths
9. Try your hand at putt putt golf at Urban Putt
If you’re looking for a fun, game centric date night then head to Urban Putt in the Mission District. Urban Putt is the first and only indoor miniature golf course that features 14 holes in an old Victorian house that was once a mortuary! Each hole is Bay Area themed, such as the Coit Tower and the Painted Ladies. Work up an appetite as you try to best each other’s putting game and then head over to their bar for craft cocktails and upscale carnival food. If you’re looking for a more robust meal afterwards, they have a full restaurant upstairs that serves classic California fare.
Address: 1096 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
Contact: (415) 341-1080
Website: Urban Putt
10. Peruse books at City Lights Bookstore
For the more intellectual date, head to the North Beach district and stroll through the many books in the famous City Lights Bookstore. This independent bookstore and an official historic landmark that was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin supported independent speech, alternative culture, and progressive politics. The Beat Generation legacy of anti-authoritarian politics and thinking still today has strong influence in the store. After you book lovers have enjoyed the three storey bookstore, head next door to Vesuvio, a historical bar and monument to jazz, poetry, and the good life of the Beat Generation. Grab a drink as you sit in a place that was frequented regularly by famous beat poets such as Jack Kerouac.
City Lights Bookstore
Address: 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Opening Hours: 10 am to 12 am.
Website: City Lights Bookstore
The romantic city of San Francisco
Get swept away by the panoramic views, delicious cuisine, rich history, and fun activities — and you might just fall in love with the city as well as your date! From miniature golf, picnics in the park to romantic evenings out, San Francisco has a wealth of ideas to woo your date. Even just taking a stroll through the city and admiring the beautiful architecture, you’re bound to run into either a delicious place to grab something to eat or a nearby park to relax in.
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