7 romantic San Francisco date ideas
Why leave your heart in San Francisco when you can bring your love along with you? The City by the Bay’s enchanting culture, architecture and cuisine—coupled with picturesque water and city views—make it the perfect place for a romantic getaway or night on the town. Whether you take a sunset sail or simply bike through the park, San Francisco is an ideal destination to grab a long-stemmed rose and share with your special someone.
1. Explore the Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers
Shakespeare is romantic. Flowers are romantic. For a pair of literature lovers, not much could top an arm-in-arm amble through The Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers in Golden Gate Park. The botanical spread includes more than 200 flowers and plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, from the poppies of Cleopatra and Antony to the daisies of Love’s Labours Lost. Fans of the Bard will have the chance to experience one of their great loves in a whole new way while sharing their passion with their human love.
2. Shop the Ferry Building marketplace
Spend a day strolling hand-in-hand through San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building-turned-marketplace. The space opened to ferry passengers in 1898, and now showcases booths where local makers sell artisan cheeses, freshly baked bread, gourmet chocolate and more. Since opening, it’s become one of San Francisco’s most popular year-round attractions. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, shop for romantic dinner ingredients with your date at the farmer’s market outside the Ferry Building, where Bay Area farmers sell fresh California produce and tasty prepared foods.
3. Stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge
Sure, it’s touristy, but for good reason. The Golden Gate Bridge first opened in 1937 and reigned as the world’s longest suspension bridge for nearly 30 years. Today the walk across is just as dazzling in fog or sun as it was then, offering breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and downtown on clear days. Take the 1.7-mile walk across to historic Fort Baker, a former army outpost that’s now part of the national park system. Bring your own picnic to eat on the open lawn.
4. Tandem bike or pedal-boat in Golden Gate Park
Rent a tandem bike and cruise two-by-two through San Francisco’s famed hippie outpost, Haight Ashbury, and into lush Golden Gate Park. Ride the well-maintained bike loop past museums, botanical gardens and a Japanese tea garden before stopping by the bison paddock where a herd can be found grazing. Up the romance by renting a two-person pedal boat at the park’s Stowe Lake for a secluded float past a waterfall and under arched stone bridges.
5. Taste wines on the bay
Capture the best of the San Francisco Bay Area — local wine and stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge — in one romantic sail. Wine Tasting on the Bay offers couple an array of wine-filled sailing options, from public afternoon tasting tours to private proposal cruises. And of course, the company partners with a number of Napa Valley wineries to make the experience as authentically San Franciscan as it is romantic. Just be sure to book your cruise in advance, as entire days worth of events regularly sell out. If the experience touches your heart enough, you and your partner can even reserve a boat for your wedding.
6. Dinner and a movie at Foreign Cinema
The romantic dinner-and-a-movie date gets high-class treatment at Foreign Cinema. This Mission District mainstay showcases classic and modern films projected outdoors under the stars alongside gourmet, California-sourced cuisine. Pair a glass of Napa wine with “urban picnic” dishes such as Smoked Santa Barbara Salmon, warm mixed olives and baked goat cheese at this alternative to a romantic restaurant.
7. Cocktails at Top of the Mark
Sip pre-dinner cocktails as the sun sets while taking in 360-degree views of the skyline and the San Francisco bay from the Top of the Mark in the Nob Hill neighborhood. This legendary bar has been continuously popular since its 1939 opening on InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel’s 19th floor, and its classic martini menu harkens back to its storied past as a haven for World War II servicemen and celebrities. Linger longer for a nightcap in this romantic hotel and experience live jazz with the city skyline as your backdrop.