33 BEST Date Ideas In San Francisco By A Local! 2023

Are You Looking For The Best Date Ideas In San Francisco?

We asked Bay Area local Emily from Pets Around The World for her best ideas for romantic adventures.

I’ve called the Bay Area home since my early 20s. Between my friends and I, we’ve had our fair share of romantic escapades. The enchantment and intrigue of San Francisco create the perfect place for you to connect with that special someone.

So, whether it’s your first date or you’re celebrating a decade together, here are 33 standout date ideas for you! There’s something here for everyone. From romantic evenings, to daytime fun and outdoor adventures, these experiences can help you create your own magic by the bay. 

San Francisco is a city that has always captured our hearts, so I hope these date ideas are your ticket to a love affair with both the city and your partner!

33 BEST Date Ideas In San Francisco

As the sun dips below the horizon, San Francisco offers endless ways to have fun and get to know your partner better. Here are some ideas that promise to add a dash of magic to your evening.

1. Sail into the Sunset 🌅

Picture the golden hues of the setting sun reflecting off the water as you and your partner cruise around the San Francisco Bay.

💡Pro Tip: These cruises are seasonal and not offered in winter so be sure to reserve ahead of time.

Opt for a 1 ½-hour intimate catamaran experience, closer to the water starting at $80, or elevate the evening with a 3-hour dinner and dancing cruise on a larger vessel for around $150. It’s an idyllic backdrop for romance and deep conversations.

2. Culinary Adventure 🍕🍜

Embark on a culinary journey through San Francisco’s iconic neighborhoods. Choose between the Little Italy food tour, available every day starting around $80, or the Chinatown tour, offered only on weekends. 

As you stroll through the neighborhoods, you’ll sample a variety of dishes that’ll not only satisfy your taste buds but also offer a fun way to discover what your date enjoys eating.

It’s an adventure in flavors and a casual way to get to know each other better.

3. Science After Dark 🌌

Enjoy an adults-only evening at “Science After Dark,” hosted every Thursday night by the California Academy of Science (21+) and the Exploratorium (18+). 

When you visit the Exploratorium, marvel at the mesmerizing “Tornado” exhibit as you enjoy live music in the background. 

It’s a night of intellectual stimulation and adventurous fun, complete with adult beverages and a kid-free atmosphere.

4. Sausalito Escape 🛥️

Start your date with a scenic ferry ride to Sausalito, offering a unique vantage point of San Francisco’s skyline. Once you arrive, walk to Bar Bocce for sourdough pizza, firepits, and a game of bocce ball. 

Open from late morning until 10 pm, this laid-back spot doesn’t require reservations.

Just like the changing skyline views on your ferry ride back, this date offers a chance to see each other from new angles, enriching your understanding of one another.

5. Dear San Francisco at Club Fugazi 🎪

Get ready for a date night that’s as exhilarating as it is unforgettable at Club Fugazi’s Dear San Francisco. This 90-minute show runs from Wednesday to Sunday, with two performances on weekends.

Club Fugazi artists fly through the air in a unique live performance perfect for a date in San Francisco.

It’s not your typical theater; instead, the jaw-dropping acrobatics and original music create a pulse-pounding atmosphere that will leave you both feeling more alive and connected to each other!

6. Urban Putt-Putt Adventure ⛳

Located in the vibrant Mission district, Urban Putt offers a unique date night experience with its high-tech 14-hole mini-golf course. 

Take your date to the steampunk-inspired venue, open every day until at least 10 pm, and discover if your partner is a gracious winner or a good sport in defeat. 

💡Pro Tip: After 8pm Urban Putt is 21+ to ensure a more adult atmosphere.

Enjoy tasty food and drinks as you navigate the course. 

7. The Knockout Bar 🎶

Knockout Bar in Bernal Heights is your go-to spot for an eclectic mix of entertainment. You can see performances from live rock ‘n’ roll to Soul DJ’s. You can also be the performer on their karaoke nights.  There’s something for everyone. 

The club is open every night until 2 am. You can check the event schedule to see if there is a cover charge.

It’s a fantastic place to discover what makes you and your date tick, whether it’s a shared love for hip-hop or an adventurous dive into something new like burlesque.

8. A Michelin-Starred Evening ✨

San Francisco is one of the top foodie destinations in the world with 28 Michelin-starred restaurants, each offering a unique fine dining experience. 

Long-time favorite Gary Danko is renowned for its impeccable service – so personalized that waiters have been known to dash out for batteries for diners in need!

For seafood aficionados, Angler offers not just top-notch fare but also breathtaking views of the bay. 

The 28 star options offer a global palate that ranges from elevated Mexican cuisine to noodle nirvana, there’s something for every taste. These dining experiences are perfect for special occasions and will require advance reservations.

9. Dance the Night Away💃

Step into Hawthorn Lounge, a swanky nightclub and lounge in the heart of San Francisco, for elevated nightlife. With multiple rooms, each playing a different style of music—from hip-hop to EDM—you’re sure to find something fun to dance to. 

💡Pro Tip: Arrive before 11pm for free entry! After 11pm the cover is $15.

If you’re in the mood to splurge, opt for table reservations and bottle service. So put on your heels and get ready for a night that’s as fun as it is sexy.

10. A Tropical Paradise🍹

Step into a tropical oasis without leaving the city at the Tonga Room, located in the Fairmont Hotel. Sip on fruity cocktails topped with umbrellas as you enjoy Polynesian-inspired snacks.

The highlight? A floating band on a mini lagoon and a dance floor that invites you to let loose. 

The mini lagoon in the middle of the Tonga Room, a fantastic date spot in San Francisco.

Open from Wednesday to Saturday, this iconic spot even earned praise as “the greatest place in the history of the world” by the late Anthony Bourdain

Extend the magic by staying at the Fairmont, where hotel guests enjoy no cover charge. Perfect for over-the-top romance and special occasions, this is a date night you won’t soon forget.

11. Trivia Masters 🤓🏆

Get your thinking caps on and head to trivia night for a date that’s as challenging as it is fun. Choose between Nickie’s in Hayes Valley on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM or The Sycamore in the Mission every Monday at 7:15 PM. 

It is a great way to learn about the types of information your partner is most interested in and an excellent opportunity for teamwork.

Answer questions, enjoy some drinks, and you might even earn some prizes. It’s a win-win for a memorable date night!

12. Dinner and a Movie 🎬

It’s a classic with a twist.  Elevate the quintessential “dinner and a movie” date at Foreign Cinema. This warm and inviting restaurant offers indoor and patio seating, with string lights and warmers for that extra touch of romance. 

Designed like a 1920s movie theater, it serves up scratch-made, seasonal dishes while screening an eclectic mix of films—from 1940s classics to low-brow comedies. The movie selections rotate around every three weeks. 

💡Pro Tip: Open seven days a week with dinner from 5pm, reservations are highly recommended for this romantic date night spot.

Plus, those movie moments provide the perfect opportunity to glance at your partner and see if they found that scene just as funny or moving as you did.

13. A Night of Theater Magic 🎭

Step into the world of high-caliber performances at San Francisco’s top theaters, the Orpheum and Curran.

These venues are not just about the stage; the architectural beauty sets the tone for a magical evening from the moment you enter. 

From Broadway hits like The Lion King to Hamilton, the lineup is always a showstopper. While tickets can be pricey and usually require advance booking, they make for an unforgettable special occasion date.

💡Pro Tip:  If spontaneity is more your style, try snagging rush tickets two hours before the curtain lifts.

It’s a date night that promises drama, excitement, and a touch of elegance.

14. Mission Bowling Club🎳

Add a dash of friendly competition to your date night at Mission Bowling Club. This full-service restaurant features a bar stocked with craft cocktails and a renowned burger menu. 

💡Pro Tip: For an adults-only experience, this spot is 21+ Monday – Saturday after 6pm. Reservations open a week in advance, but walk-ins are welcome.

 A 50-minute bowling session starts at $63 per lane in the evenings.

Check their events page for live bands or special themed nights. It’s a fantastic setting to gauge your competitive spirit and supportive nature.

Daytime Date Ideas San Francisco

San Francisco’s daytime offers a lot to explore, even better when you’re with someone special. Take a look at these handpicked daytime date ideas that show what the city has to offer.

15. SF On-Screen 📽️

For the film fans, how about a date that’s straight out of the movies – literally? 

First, each of you picks a favorite movie or TV show set in San Francisco, maybe a thrilling classic like Vertigo or a nostalgic sitcom like Full House, and have a cozy binge-watching session at home. 

Then, hop on the San Francisco Movie Sights City Tour. The tour bus shows clips as you pass by the actual locations. 

While you could drive yourselves for a more affordable experience, navigating San Francisco’s tricky streets and finding parking isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. Let someone else do the driving so you can focus on holding hands and enjoying the scene unfolding. 

16. Walk the Mosaic Staircase 🌅

For a fantastic (and free!) date idea, spend the afternoon visiting the enchanting Mosaic Staircase, also known as the Moraga Steps, located on 16th Avenue in the Sunset District. 

This community-created art is beautiful and whimsical, perfect for hand-in-hand moments and Instagram-worthy snaps. Use this caption generator to come up with fun ideas for your social media posts.

A view from the bottom of the Moraga Steps, a free date idea in San Francisco.

Pause at the end of each section to soak in the views. Once you reach the top, continue your ascent along the road for a breathtaking panorama of San Francisco and the ocean. 

End your romantic adventure with a cozy coffee or a boba tea in the nearby Inner Sunset. 

17. The Wave Organ 🌊

If you are looking for a unique and off-the-beaten-path place to take your date, the Wave Organ in the Marina District offers a secret romantic spot. Tucked away at the end of a jetty near Crissy Field, this outdoor acoustic art installation comes alive as the waves of the San Francisco Bay pass through it. 

With 25 organ pipes of varying sizes, the waves create a symphony of natural sounds that are not entirely musical.  The installation even includes a built-in bench, making it an ideal spot for a picnic and deep conversations. For the best experience, visit this free outing during high tide, and on a clear day, you will get some incredible views as a bonus. 

18. Spice it Up 💕

Ready to add a dash of adventure and intimacy to your relationship? Head over to the Vibrator Museum located inside Good Vibrations in Nob Hill. Open every afternoon from 12:30pm – 2:30 PM and again from 3:30pm – 6:30 PM.  

This small museum offers a fascinating look into the history of female sexuality. But don’t stop there—explore the Good Vibrations store to see the modern options. 

Interested in learning more? They offer both in-person and online classes on a variety of topics, welcoming “all genders and identities, sexualities, abilities—every body!” This date is perfect for fostering open and honest communication while having a little fun. 

19. Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral 💫

Seeking a date that goes beyond the surface? The Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral offers a unique date idea for spiritual connection and deep conversations. 

You can walk the labyrinth at various times with both indoor and outdoor options. The outdoor labyrinth is free and open 24/7, while the indoor labyrinth is open in the afternoon until 5pm and has a $12 admission for adults.

Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has a single, two-way path. The journey consists of three stages ending in connection with a higher power or the world’s healing forces.

As you navigate this transformative experience, you’ll find it enriches your spirit and your connection with your date. It’s a beautiful way to explore how becoming a better version of yourself opens the door to deeper intimacy. 

20. Views and Happy Hour with an Italian Flair 🍸

Ready for a date that combines breathtaking views with a dash of Italian romance? Start your adventure by making your way to Coit Tower

You can hike up Telegraph Hill via the Filbert Street or Greenwich Street stairs, both offering scenic routes and a chance to spot The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Once at the tower, you can explore the murals for free or pay a small fee to take the elevator up for a 360-degree view of San Francisco. It’s a popular spot, but you might find a quiet moment for a smooch at the top.

After soaking in the vistas, head to Fior d’Italia in Little Italy, less than a mile away.

💡Pro Tip: Time your outing right for happy hour at Fior d’Italia 4pm – 6pm. While the wine list is impressive, try the unique tiramisu martini!

Parking can be challenging, so consider public transport or parking in a nearby garage. Use the walking time between the two spots to deepen your conversation. 

21. The Japanese Tea Garden🌸

Discover tranquility and romance at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. This landscaping masterpiece offers a serene setting for leisurely walks and deep conversations with your date. 

A Japanese temple nestled in the foliage and trees of the Japanese Tea Garden overlooking a still pond.

If your relationship is far enough along that you envision a future together, the garden’s beauty might even spark dreams of your own shared outdoor space. 

💡Pro Tip: Plan your visit during cherry blossom season in March and April for peak storybook romance.

Open year-round with varying hours, admission starts at $14 for adults but is free for San Francisco residents.

22. Slide and Dine 🛝

Ready for a fun date idea? Embrace your inner child before enjoying some French flair. 

Kick off your date at the Seward Street Slides, which is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday.

Adults are technically supposed to accompany kids, but why not if you’re both up for a little rule-bending? Don’t forget to bring cardboard; it makes the slide experience more exhilarating.

After your slide adventure, head to Zazie, a French bistro about a mile away in Cole Valley. It’s a brunch hotspot, so expect a wait – especially on weekends.

While reservations aren’t an option, you can use the wait time to catch up and get to know each other better. 

Once seated, you’re in for a treat. You will have a delicious meal if you opt for their famous benedicts or a pancake flight for the indecisive.

23. Coffee & Curves ☕

Start your day at Saint Frank Coffee in Russian Hill for a perfect combo. Open from 7am until 6pm on weekdays and 4pm on Sundays, this isn’t just another coffee shop.

Saint Frank aims to bring people together through the joy of coffee, making it an ideal spot to build a connection. 

The space itself is inviting – clean, light, and airy. First, order their tasting flight, which showcases their coffee of the moment in four distinct preparations: latte, espresso, hot black coffee, and cold brew. Savor each sip and decide on your favorite to take on the go.

Once you’ve got your coffee, make your way to the world-famous Lombard Street, just a 0.4-mile walk away. Known as the “Crookedest street in the world,” Lombard Street offers curves and stunning views of the city. It’s a charming experience that pairs perfectly with your chosen brew. 

24. Iron Chef Challenge🍅🫑

Hit up Alemany Farmers Market on Saturdays or Fort Mason Center Farmers Market on Sundays for an Iron Chef-inspired date.

Here’s how to play your own version of Iron Chef:

You and your partner each pick a “secret ingredient” for the other person to cook with. Then, you return home, and you and your partner must create a dish featuring that ingredient.

The catch? You can only use what you find at the farmer’s market. It’s a fun way to engage in a little friendly competition while working together to create something delicious.

This makes for a fun date with a dash of friendly competition and a sprinkle of teamwork, leading to a delicious meal.

25. The Ferry Building🍦

The bustling Ferry Building is a food lover’s paradise. Check for special events or simply dive into the popular food hall. While the venue is open until 8 pm, some individual stores close by 6 pm, so I suggest you go during the day. 

To have a more unique experience, create a progressive dinner where you both take turns selecting a course from different eateries.

The iconic Ferry Building in San Francisco features a food hall perfect for a day date.

For a fun twist, you don’t have to eat in order! Start with one of the unique ice cream flavors at Humphry Slocombe and end with some oysters.

It’s a fun and delicious way to explore flavors and learn what the other person enjoys eating.

26. Murals and Treats🌯

Immerse yourselves in the Mission District‘s tapestry of art and flavors. Start your journey with the vibrant murals along 24th Street and its side streets: Balmy Alley, Cypress Alley, Osage Alley, and Lilac Street, which are must-sees. 

While you can visit the murals on your own, If you would like to know more about the stories and history behind the art, consider joining a guided tour.  

Along the way, try out some fantastic Latin American food. There’s a constant battle over the best burrito, and everyone has a different opinion, but you might give La Taqueria or Pancho Villa Taqueria a try. It’s a fun way to discover each other’s food preferences.  

Grab a scoop of ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery and relax in Dolores Park, taking in the city vibes. This half-day adventure is perfect for couples looking to explore art, food, and learn more about each other.

27. Ice Skate in Yerba Buena⛸️

Ask someone on a fun and casual date to Yerba Buena’s ice skating rink, perched atop the Moscone Center in the bustling SOMA district. 

Public skates happen almost daily, usually in the afternoons, but times can vary – so check the schedule. Each session is usually under $20, including skate rentals. 

The rink’s open design lets in plenty of natural light, offering a unique blend of indoor and outdoor skating vibes. See if you can skate hand-in-hand without taking a tumble!

After your icy escapade, warm up with hot chocolate on-site or explore nearby dining options. 

Parking can be tricky, so public transport is recommended.

Outdoor Date Ideas San Francisco

San Francisco’s mild climate makes it a year-round playground for outdoor fun. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, these outdoor date ideas are perfect for soaking up the city’s natural beauty with someone special.

28. Paws & Waves🐾

Looking for a date that includes you and/or your partner’s dog? San Francisco has some of the most incredible dog-friendly spots that are also great for people to visit.

Head to either Fort Funston on the city’s western edge or Crissy Field in the Marina for an off-leash adventure. Both spots offer stunning views of the San Francisco coastline and lots of space for your pup to roam freely.

It’s a win-win: you and your date enjoy the views and fresh air, and your dog gets to… do dog things!

Dogs running and frolicking on the beach with water lapping behind them on a dog friendly date in San Francisco.

This date is especially important because you want to see if your furry bff gives their paw of approval. 🐾  

While both places are free to enter and accessible on public transportation, having a car makes getting to these locations a little easier. 

29. Island Getaway⛴️

Craving an escape without leaving the Bay Area? Angel Island is your answer.  With just a 30-minute scenic ferry ride from the San Francisco Ferry Terminal, this island offers a natural oasis and a refreshing change of scenery. 

Pack a picnic in a backpack – there’s hiking to do, so keep it light.  Choose a cozy picnic spot at the island’s base and enjoy the views while you eat. 

There are 13 miles of moderate trails to walk together. If hiking is not your thing, hop on the tram or rent bikes to explore, and don’t miss the Immigration Station to honor the history of those held on the island. 

This date will be an incredible day of adventure and connecting through nature and history.

30. Boating on Stow Lake🚣‍♂️

Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park: a picturesque setting, like a scene from a storybook.  For a fun and romantic date, consider renting a rowboat or pedal boat starting at $26 per hour. 

Glide under stone bridges and past sunbathing turtles while testing your teamwork skills. 

If you don’t want to boat, you can still take a scenic walk around the lake and up to Strawberry Hill waterfall offers an enchanting view. 

Since you’ll be having such a good time and won’t want the date to end, there are tons of restaurants, bars, and cafes in the nearby Richmond district to choose from. One of my personal favorites is Burma Superstar which now has a parklet for outdoor dining. 

31. Hike Lands End🌳

Lands End is a slice of natural paradise at the edge of San Francisco, perfect for those who appreciate getting outside together and stunning vistas.  

Start at the visitor center above the Sutro Baths ruins – worth exploring before hitting the trail. Springtime is exceptionally vibrant with yellow wildflowers. The 3.4-mile loop offers easy to moderate trails and jaw-dropping views of the Golden Gate Bridge at every turn.  

A view from the hike at Lands End with yellow flowers covering a slope down to the ocean.

Feel free to take detours to various lookouts and memorials.

These spots are not just photo ops but also perfect places to pause, put your arms around each other, and be amazed at how lucky you are to be together in such a beautiful place.

33. Golden Gate Bridge🌉

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge by foot or bike is an exhilarating experience that’s more than just a scenic stroll.

You’re high up with panoramic Bay views, feeling the bridge’s vibrations as cars whiz by. All this makes for a very physically intense experience. 

This is not a good setting for deep conversations, but it’s perfect for those “hold onto each other” moments. 

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge, an iconic San Francisco landmark.

The full crossing takes about 45 minutes on foot, less by bike. 

The bridge is open to pedestrians during daylight hours and is free of charge. For a change of scenery, you could also consider walking to Sausalito and taking a ferry back. 

Don’t miss the outdoor museum at the headlands to delve into the bridge’s history.

Where To Stay In San Francisco

San Francisco is a sprawling city with diverse neighborhoods, each offering its own unique charm. When planning your stay, it’s smart to first pinpoint the activities or sights you’re most interested in. This will help you choose a lodging location that minimizes travel time and maximizes fun.

Most hotels cluster in the city’s urban core and the scenic Bay area, particularly near Fisherman’s Wharf. These locations offer excellent access to public transportation but be prepared for steep daily parking fees if you’re bringing a car.

A view of the courtyard at the Marina Motel in San Francisco.

📍Best Budget Spot: Marina Motel has a floral archway framing the entrance to this Marina-based lodge. Cute gardens and a cobblestone courtyard are a stone’s throw from some of San Francisco’s outdoor highlights. Did I mention there’s free parking?

📍Best Mid-Range Spot: Argonaut Hotel is an old-world nautical-themed hotel right in the middle of all the excitement. Easy walking distance to Fisherman’s Wharf and stunning Bay views from the windows

📍Best Luxury Spot: The Fairmont San Francisco is an example of luxurious elegance that makes an ideal setting for a romantic getaway. Sitting on top of Nob Hill means it has some of the city’s best views. Combine with an evening in the Tonga room for a fabulous evening of fun.   

San Francisco is an excellent place for dogs to visit, too! So, if your pup is joining you on your weekend getaway, there are lots of options. Check out these dog-friendly hotels in San Francisco to see what fits best for you.  

San Francisco: FAQs

Dive into our FAQ section to get the lowdown on everything from safety to the most romantic spots in the city.

Is it safe to walk around San Francisco during the day?

Yes, San Francisco is safe to walk around during the day. While it is important to be cautious, as with any city, many of the issues in San Francisco are localized to specific areas that you’re not likely to visit and aren’t on this list.

What do you need to know before going to San Francisco?

The city’s weather can be pretty unpredictable. Even in the summer, mornings and evenings can be chilly, so layering is essential. 

Driving yourself can be challenging. Be prepared for steep streets and potentially high parking fees. Also, public transportation can be crowded and limited as you move west, so consider using ride-sharing services when needed.

San Francisco is a city of hills, so comfortable walking shoes are a must. 

What is the most romantic thing to do in San Francisco?

The most romantic thing to do in San Francisco boils down to knowing what your partner enjoys. Personalized experiences often trump generic ones. 

If you’re looking for a suggestion based on our curated list, consider the “Island Getaway” date on Angel Island. The combination of a scenic ferry ride, secluded hiking trails, and a picnic with breathtaking views of the Bay Area can make for an incredibly intimate and memorable day.

It’s a little escape without leaving the city, offering both adventure and serenity—perfect for couples looking to deepen their connection.

Conclusion: Date Ideas In San Francisco

Some of my favorite memories are the dates I’ve had in this incredible city with my now husband. Over the years, we’ve had tons of fun together in San Francisco because we planned things specifically with each other in mind.

From scenic hikes to cozy coffee shops, these date ideas are more than just a checklist; they’re an invitation to create meaningful memories of your own.

So, don’t just dream about the perfect date – make it happen! Grab your partner, pick an adventure from this list, and get going. Your next great love story is just around the corner in a city as vibrant as San Francisco.

And if you’re in the city for a weekend away, make sure you make the most of your 3 days in San Francisco with this itinerary.