It can be downright frustrating to try and figure out the best date ideas in San Francisco. There’s so much to choose from, whether you want to do something totally out there or air on the classic side of things. From nature-focused activities to delicious foods, there are plenty of things to do.
Best date ideas in San Francisco
Not sure what the best ideas in San Francisco are? No problem, here are our top picks for all budgets:
1. Take a cable car ride together
San Francisco’s cable cars are an iconic part of the cityscape, and a ride on one is a must-do for any visitor (or local). What better way to enjoy the city than by taking a romantic ride together on a cable car? The gentle swaying and clanging of the car as it moves along the rails is sure to set the mood for a special evening. This classic city experience makes for one of the most unique San Francisco date ideas that you can only do here.
2. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge
Another iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see. The views of the bay from the bridge are simply stunning, making it a great place to take photos or just hangout together. Don’t want to go on the bridge? No problem! Try taking a walk at the beach to get a good look. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby if you want to grab something to eat making it an easy-going weekend date idea.
3. Visit Alcatraz Island
If you’re looking for an edgier, spooky date idea, then Alcatraz Island might be the destination for you. It makes for one of the most fun San Francisco date ideas for the right person. While this prison is long abandoned, it’s now a tourist attraction. You need to make sure to book ahead of time, tours also include the tours to and from the island. Not only can you explore a spooky destination, the views of San Francisco from the island are simply stunning.
4. Have a picnic in Golden Gate Park
Picnics are a cutesy and affordable choice if you’re looking for outdoorsy fun date ideas. This beautiful park offers plenty of stunning scenery to enjoy, and an entire green space to spread out your blanket and have a bite to eat. And with the amazing weather San Francisco is known for, there’s no better place to spend an afternoon or evening than Golden Gate Park!
5. Visit the California Academy of Sciences
Who says dates can’t be fun and educational? The California Academy of Sciences is definitely worth checking out. This world-renowned natural history museum has something for everyone, from interactive exhibits to fascinating lectures and beautiful gardens. Plus, it’s located in the heart of Golden Gate Park, so you can enjoy it after your picnic. If you get yourself a CityPass, you can include it in your ticket.
6. Go on a wine tasting tour
No matter what your date’s interests are, there’s a wine tasting tour out there for them. If they’re into history, why not go on a tour of some of the area’s oldest vineyards? Or if they’re more interested in the modern side of things, check out some of the newer wineries that have been popping up all around San Francisco. Either way, you’ll get to spend the day learning about and tasting different wines from all around the state.
7. Take a ferry to Sausalito
Sausalito is a charming town just across the bay from San Francisco. You can take a ferry over and explore the shops and restaurants. It’s a romantic and fun date idea to kick of your very own love story. The trip across the bay is beautiful, and there are plenty of restaurants and shops to explore once you’re over there.
8. Go to a Giants game
How about a date at a Major League Baseball game? The San Francisco Giants are one of the most popular teams in the country, and their games are packed with excitement. Grab a pair of tickets, and spend the day at the ballpark. You’ve got live entertainment, good company, and delicious snacks.
9. Check out Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place for a date in San Francisco. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to explore. Not to mention you can walk along the pier and enjoy the views of both the Bay and Golden Gate bridges. Don’t forget to catch a glimpse of Alcatraz Island while you’re there.
10. Watch the sunset at Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach is the place in the city to have a romantic evening watching the sun set. With its sandy beaches and stunning views, it’s the perfect date night spot. While you’re around the Ocean Beach area, consider checking out the Sutro Baths. While these are in ruins now, they’re a popular spot for cliff jumping and offer great city views.
11. Visit Union Square
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Union Square is a great date spot. It offers something for everyone whether you’re looking to plan a night with friends or a romantic evening. There are bars and restaurants, shopping and entertainment options — making it a great place to find whatever you need.
12. Visit Ghirardelli Square
Home to the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory (yum!), this historic landmark is located in the heart of the city. Besides scrumptious treats, it also has great shopping and delicious places to eat. Whether you’re taking a romantic stroll or riding a cable car, Ghirardelli Square is a great date idea in San Francisco.
13. Visit the Palace of Fine Arts
Located in the Marina District, the Palace of Fine Arts is a great place to go on a date. Originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, it’s now a popular spot for weddings and events. It offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and makes for a popular tourist attraction.
14. Go to Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks offers stunning views of the city and is perfect for a romantic evening. The winding roads up to the summit make for an adventurous ride. Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to take in all of San Francisco’s beauty. So if you’re looking for something low key, this is the spot.
15. Explore Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest in America. It features narrow streets, colorful shops and delicious food, it’s really a feast for the senses. Besides getting some authentic Chinese food, you can explore another culture and grab a few trinkets to bring home.
16. Visit the Haas-Lilienthal House
Haas-Lilienthal House is a San Francisco Bay area landmark, making it a popular and fun first date idea. This classic Victorian house was built in 1886, and survived the 1906 earthquake. Visitors to the house can tour around on Saturdays or Sundays. The best part is, at $10 a piece, tickets are affordable for those on a budget.
17. Visit Muir Woods
Just outside of San Francisco, you’ll find Muir Woods. Featuring winding trails that meander around towering redwoods and a peaceful atmosphere, it makes for one of our favorite free date ideas. Even though you have to take a short drive out of the city to get there, it feels like it’s worlds away… but without the massive road trip.
18. Go roller skating
The Church of 8 Wheels is a roller skating rink in the Mission District of San Francisco. It’ll make for a totally rad and unique date ideas. While they’re not open every day of the week, with a little planning and a date who’s up for some fun it’ll be a memorable experience.
19. Head to the Exploratorium After Dark
The Exploratorium is a hands-on technology and science museum in the city designed for people of all ages. But on Thursday night they offer an After Dark experience that’s just for adults. Explore that child-like wonder with your date, but do it with a drink in your hand in this grown up playground.
20. Dust off the mini golf clubs
You probably don’t own mini golf clubs, but luckily you don’t need them. San Francisco has a number of great places to play indoor mini golf, and they all let you rent clubs! It’s one of those adventurous date ideas that’ll make you feel like a kid again, but (hopefully) without the awkwardness of your first middle school date.
21. Stroll Lover’s Lane
Lover’s Lane is probably a destination best left for the third or forth date, otherwise you might imply something you don’t mean. You can find this scenic spot in Presidio. It takes about 30 minutes to walk, and has stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
22. Check out The Walt Disney Family Museum
You might not be in Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little Disney action. Included in the San Francisco CityPass is The Walt Disney Family Museum. It’s must-see for any Disney or animation fan. It walks visitors through how Walt Disney created some of the most iconic characters and movies of all time. You’ll learn about his life, his work, and his legacy.
23. Tour the Point Bonita Lighthouse
The Point Bonita Lighthouse is a hidden San Francisco gem. It’s only accessible by a short hike, and then you have to cross a suspension bridge to get there. You need to book tours in advance, which take place at sunset — perfect for a date. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, you might be able to spot some marine life, including seals and porpoises.
24. Peek inside de Young Museum
The de Young Museum is a popular tourist spot in San Francisco. You’ll find it in Golden Gate Park. It features art from all over the world, and even has an observation tower with 360-degree views of the city. It’s also included in a CityPass, which means there’s no need to pay again!
25. Shop a flea market
Unique and affordable, the flea market can make for an exceptional date activity. There’s an opportunity to uncover all kinds of treasure, get to know your date on a deeper level, and peruse the local booths. You two might even come across a hidden gem or two that’ll make the afternoon even more memorable.
26. Hit up the farmer’s market
Not only does San Francisco have flea markets, but it’s got plenty of farmer’s markets too. You can find them all over the city, and they have everything from fresh produce to handmade goods. It’s the perfect place to take a date if you want to do something active and outdoorsy, but don’t want to go too far from the city.
27. Track down a food truck party
Food truck parties are a great way to experience different foods all in one place. They tend to be more affordable than your average sit-down joint, and offer a more lively experience. The best part is you don’t have to agree on what you want to eat, everyone can get what they want!
28. Get your game on at an arcade bar
Dates should be fun, and what’s more fun than getting lost in a game? An arcade bar is a great way to mix adult and childlike fun. You can show your competitive side without getting too serious about it. There are a few places you can hit up in San Francisco, and most of them also serve pretty delicious food as well.
29. Play tourist for the day
Tourist for a day is a good game to play when you’re just getting to know someone. Even if you’ve lived in the city your entire life, chances are there’s plenty for you to explore. Visit all the iconic landmarks, take a ride on a cable car, and eat all the best tourist food. It’ll be a great date option that everyone will remember. Make sure to take lots of pictures!
Ready to plan your next San Francisco date?
The perfect San Francisco date is out there for everyone, regardless of what your ideal date looks like. Whether you want to grab a bite to eat, see something cool, or watch the sunset, the city has plenty to explore and experience.