Things to do in San Francisco

Date Ideas San Francisco

Romance wafts through the San Francisco air — ignite it with these electric date ideas.

When the flowers bloom brighter and the wind tastes sweeter, you might already be lost in the throes of romance. Across the vibrant streets of San Francisco, passion abounds in tender flurries, just waiting to touch down on an unsuspecting pair.

New partners and long-tended flames alike can fuel their attraction in the city’s fiery atmosphere. But where to start? In a wonderland of couple-friendly attractions, choosing things to do in San Francisco can be a challenging feat.

But your love will flourish with our things to do in San Fran, whether you’re the outdoorsy, foodie, or creative type. Here are some top date ideas — San Francisco style.

Romantic Date Ideas

Send a shooting spark down your soul with a date steeped in romance. These romantic restaurants in San Francisco are sure to generate a spark.

1. Dinner at Foreign Cinema

Hollywood’s shining glory extends far into California’s northern half. Get a taste of the limelight at Foreign Cinema in the Mission District, a chic restaurant with a penchant for drama.

This is dinner and a movie made elegant with a hard lean into the warmth and intimacy that makes the classic date combo an enduring favorite.

Every month the folks at Foreign Cinema select a golden age film to inspire their latest culinary pursuits. Dedication to cult classics makes this one of the hottest foodie experiences in San Francisco.

The ever-changing menu relies on locally sourced treasures to accompany the impeccably prepared seafood and dry-aged steaks. In the open-air seating studded with string lights and warmed by a glowing hearth, you might just think you’ve stepped into a movie.

2. Waterbar

Amidst an ocean of Bay-based seafood restaurants, Waterbar manages to come out on top. The toasty eatery sits almost directly beneath San Francisco’s Bay Bridge for views of twinkling skyline just beyond the water.

Naturally, Waterbar’s extensive menu is fish-forward. Take turns trading oysters and lobster claws as you cozy up on the heated patio, gazing first at each other, then at the busy city in the distance. Stoke your spirits with creative cocktails that shine with mix-ins such as elderflower and chocolate.

3. Zuni Café

On a quaint San Francisco street corner sits a charming bistro with red-brick walls and a sizable collection of local artwork. Zuni Café has drawn crowds to its bright and spacious interior for nearly half a century.

A wood-burning oven and copper bar signify Zuni’s meticulous attention to every detail. Here, creative twists on classic fare dot the menu. Treat your other half to a midday rendezvous in front of Zuni’s wall of windows.

At lunchtime, the restaurant comes to life with patrons in search of food that's simply delicious. For a casual, yet scrumptious outing, Zuni is one of San Francisco’s best date spots.

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Une publication partagée par Zuni Cafe (@zunicafe)

Outdoor Date Ideas

Share a new adventure on a date in the San Francisco sunshine.

4. Row Boats at Stow Lake

Stow Lake’s ivy-crossed stone bridges, lush greenery, and cherry blossoms have turned this natural space into an escapist’s wonderland.

Tranquil amblers can watch koi in the water below as they stroll past the red-walled Chinese Pavilion. It's quite possibly San Francisco’s most beautiful park.

Stow Lake Boathouse rents vessels by the hour. Grab your oars for a loop in a row boat, or rely on your own four feet in the curved seats of a pedal boat. As the ducks quack and petals float on gusts of wind, there might be more than flowers blooming here.

5. Biking Across the Golden Gate Bridge

The cresting cables and rusty orange vermilion of the Golden Gate Bridge are iconic pieces of a monumental skyline. Nearly two miles long, this feat of engineering heroically spans the strait connecting the bay with the neighboring Pacific.

To turn the bridge into a whimsical San Francisco date spot, all you need are four wheels. Helpful bike rentals allow you and your boo to zoom your way from end to end of the Golden Gate.

With the wind whipping across your faces and blue skies tapping the distant horizon, your souls will soar. Make the return trip by ferry for spectacular views from a sunset cruise.

Photographer: Umer Sayyam

Cultural and Artistic Date Ideas for Couples in San Francisco

Let your minds wander in tandem on a date dashed with creativity.

6. Night at the Museum: California Academy of Sciences NightLife

By day, the California Academy of Sciences is a purposeful building dedicated to the spread of scientific knowledge. By night, this mission remains — dressed up in the lights and pounding music you might expect from a bumping nightclub.

Here, you’ll groove alongside over 60,000 other creatures — only some of them human. Masterful DJs and performers command the crowd every Thursday. Off the dance floor, cultural demonstrations and interactive exhibits mark the fusion of club and museum.

Snacks and cocktails round out the night’s needs; you’ll leave satisfied, gleefully exerted, and knowledgeable with some impressive new facts.

7. Jazz Night at Club Deluxe

Clinking glasses and lively chatter blanket the scene at San Francisco's Club Deluxe — until the music starts. Piano virtuosos and charming upright bassists jazz up patrons nightly at this authentic jazz bar.

Lit by red lights and accompanied by charismatic crooners, this night spot will make you feel like you're back in the 1920s. Sit close to your date in the small space and take in every emotion-fueled set. While you’re at it, sip on a spirited house cocktail.

Cozy and Intimate Spots for a Night Out in SF

What’s better than cuddling up? Get comfortable at these snug-friendly spots.

8. Wine Tasting at Winery Collective

The tasting room at Winery Collective is lit with a golden glow, basking the bar in gentle warmth. Step into these brick-lined halls and you’ll enjoy the peaceful tranquility under the outdoor bustle.

Wine tastings here put you at the whims of the sommelier. With wit and know-how, they’ll guide you and your partner through a tasty flight of local and high-end wines. Smooth reds and crisp whites fill the glasses as mouths drown in oceans of cultivated flavor.

Swirl your pours side by side and take in the tannins as one. Then, choose a bottle of wine to take home and keep the fun going.

9. Coffee at The Buena Vista

Established in 1916, The Buena Vista is San Fran’s quintessential corner bar. Among its earthy wood walls and storied countertop is a century of dramatic nights and close conversations.

Here, Irish coffee is a house specialty. Spending decades perfecting it, the bar now serves up hundreds of cream-topped spirits to thirsty San Franciscans each night.

A date here means a chance to cozy up and get chatting. Over caffeinated cups, get lost in each other’s company while San Francisco’s after-dark crowds pass by. Plus, hearty bar fare, such as hot soup in a soft bread bowl, makes for an impossibly delicious meal for two.

Unique and Quirky Date Activities in San Francisco

There’s no test of true love like a wonderfully weird afternoon. See for yourself at these hidden gems in San Francisco.

10. Urban Putt

There's simply no date like a putt-putt rendezvous. With a touch of whimsy and a dash of nostalgia, Urban Putt is mini golf in its finest form. Plus, it tops the list of creative double-date ideas in San Francisco.

Every putt is a traipse through color and texture — neon skulls, miniature railroads, and replicas of iconic buildings create a visual verve that begs to be explored.

It’s time for some healthy competition. Armed with a putter and a ball, put your mini-golf strategy to the test against your partner. Then, settle into a booth at the adjoining restaurant for gloriously tasty tacos and crispy calamari. The loser buys the drinks.

11. The Gregangelo Museum

Finally, a museum after our own hearts. A sliver of our token flair has embedded itself in the spirit of The Gregangelo Museum. San Francisco’s bastion for the weird and wacky, this gallery is art at its most avant-garde.

Join hands and traverse this maze of surrealist wonders. Tours here are a journey through riddles, imagination, and the unknown. Each installation is a flurry of color and strangeness; look close to catch the curious secrets within.

At the foot of a sphinx and inside the Garden of Youth, you and your beau are in for a full-sensory afternoon of shocking discovery.

Une publication partagée par Andrew De Los Santos (@andrewtourssf)

Scenic and Relaxing Dates

Tear your eyes away from your beau long enough to take in these spectacular sights.

12. Sunset Picnic at Baker Beach

Sand shifts underfoot as the Golden Gate Bridge disappears into the ridges beyond. When you’re at Baker Beach, you’ve got a ground-up view of the towering structure as it stretches past the clouds.

This mile of pristine shoreland boasts unparalleled views. In all of San Francisco, there’s no better place to tote a blanket and basket.

Complete with fresh bites and mouthwatering morsels, a Baker Beach picnic is one to remember. Lounge, graze, and chat among the winds and waves as the sun sets over the Bay.

13. Ferry Ride to Sausalito

Across the pond from San Francisco sits Sausalito. This quaint, waterfront village has a big heart and a long history, just right for a fun day trip. Hop on the ferry for a scenic cruise over to the colorful pier and the streets beyond.

It’s a meanderer’s life on this busy boardwalk. Stroll and see the city’s selection of cool galleries and gleaming boutiques. Then, take a peek at the quirky lane of houseboats left over from the 19th century. When flavor calls, you can’t go wrong with Sausalito’s collection of world-class restaurants.

Photographer: David Klein

Trendy Dates

Embrace what’s hip at these popular pit stops for San Francisco couples.

14. Cocktails at Trick Dog

Creative cups worth waiting for are on the menu at Trick Dog. This converted warehouse embraces its industrial roots with a smoky gray bar and chic sky-high windows.

A thoughtful menu features unique mixers with atypical flavors for the patron looking for something new to love. Try tequila shaken with marigold and bee pollen or whiskey and miso mixed with corn tea.

Snacky plates sate cravings with expertly sizzled dogs and burgers, featuring unexpected flavor twists. Let loose with a Chakra shot — on the weekends, leashes lift and the place gets lively.

15. Dessert at Ghirardelli Square

Before Ghirardelli was a grocery store staple, it was little more than a brick building in San Francisco. Like its chocolate, the space has flourished.

Ghirardelli Square is now a haven for chocolate lovers, still dishing out the original recipe in all its sweet, sugary forms. Embrace romance with a hot fudge sundae to share.

Let your spoons mingle as they plunge into the meticulous stack of vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and a bright red cherry. The creamy-toasty-fluffy combo brings out the best of cocoa’s nature. Unquestionably, it’s bliss in a cup.

Photographer: Brett Wharton

16. Exploratorium After Dark

Science, technology, and art swirl into a candy cane of awe and wonder at Pier 15's Exploratorium. Fit for families in the daytime, Thursday nights turn the lights low for an adults-only after-dark extravaganza at this fun date idea.

At sunset, over 600 interactive exhibits ignite in a sea of neon lights. Here, you’ll see the world around you as you never have before, journeying across light and sound.

DJs set the mood, and excellent craft cocktails keep spirits high as you traverse this ever-changing exhibit. At the Exploratorium, there’s no telling what you’ll discover together.

Cozy Up at San Francisco’s Romantic Rendezvous

Flirtation flares under the clear blue skies of San Francisco. On historic streets beneath storied landmarks, a close connection seems written in the stars. But sparks fly hottest in the dim of a quiet theater just before the curtain rises.

Here, anticipation climbs before it’s released in an explosion of light and color, all affected by our stunning team of performers. Let us lift you from your seat in a soaring exploration of imagination.

Our acrobats twist and flip amidst a swirl of visual splendor, relaying gripping narratives through dynamic movement. Supported by a carefully crafted assortment of music and sounds, each performance stretches the bounds of what humans and art can accomplish.

Anything is possible at our shows in San Francisco — especially love.

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