Known for its chilly summer evenings, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and gorgeous seaside views, San Francisco is a dater’s dream city. And while the vibe is decidedly laidback in The City by the Bay, being intentional about date plans will help you get ahead in a metropolis where 61% of its adult residents are single.
Dating in San Francisco: Stay Outdoors
Take advantage of the Mediterranean-like climate and enjoy the great outdoors. Picnic in Golden Gate Park, surrounded by its million trees. Visit the beautiful Victorian greenhouse, the Conservatory of Flowers, and the carousel on the park’s eastern edge. Watch remote-controlled boats race each other, stroll through the Japanese Tea Garden and the San Francisco Botanical Garden, or just toss a Frisbee with your date.
Check out the stunning views from Coit Tower — and the great murals inside — atop Telegraph Hill. If you’re feeling fit, walk down the 800 at the North Beach hill, keeping an eye open for the brilliant-hued parrots made famous by the documentary, “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.”
If you’re up for a four-hour drive, take a day trip to Yosemite National Park and hike to a waterfall together.
Dating in San Francisco: By the Water
It’s an iconic tourist attraction, but that doesn’t mean you can’t meet there for a romantic seaside date. Beat the crowds and meet up at Fisherman’s Wharf in time for a breakfast date. Grab a coffee, walk through the neighborhood, check out the sea lions near Pier 39, and then head to a nearby breakfast spot — because everyone loves breakfast. (TIME Magazine insists Mama’s in North Beach serves the best breakfast in town.) Or stick around for the busier lunch hour and dine on the area’s famous Dungeness crab and clam chowder.
Dating in San Francisco: On the Water
Would you rather be on the water than beside it? Take a Bay cruise, a relaxing trip that will take you and your date around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge.
If you’re looking for something a little more active, rent a boat, take a windsurfing lesson, or join the surfers on Ocean Beach.
Dating in San Francisco: Sport
Love athletics? Catch a San Francisco Giants game at AT&T Park, one of the few ballparks known for its good food, or, if football’s more your thing, cheer on the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park.
Hop on your bikes and explore the city via its 200 miles of bike paths and lanes. Play tennis in Dolores Park. Or, for new thrills, head to iFLY SF Bay Indoor Skydiving and experience human bodyflight.
Dating in San Francisco: Flirt
For non-first dates — you don’t want to scare him/her off — add a little playful flirtatiousness to the itinerary. Sign up for the “Lip Service” kissing class at Good Vibrations and rediscover the art of making out.
Discover your new kissing knowledge over snickerdoodles at Hot Cookie in the Castro, where the walls are plastered of photos of patrons modeling their Hot Cookie underwear. Or eat dinner on a bed at the ultra-sexy Supperclub.
Dating in San Francisco: Play
Embrace your inner kid and take your date to San Francisco’s legendary science museum, the Exploratorium. Make your way through the pitch-black tactile dome — you can only navigate by touch — then blow the biggest-known soap bubble.
Animal lovers should head to the 100-acre San Francisco Zoo, the birthplace of Koko the gorilla. Be sure to visit Stephen Jr., the bald eagle named after Stephen Colbert.
Dating in San Francisco: Tour
Explore the city through a tourist’s eyes, riding San Francisco’s iconic “moving landmarks,” the historic cable cars.
If the fog isn’t obstructing the gorgeous views, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge together.
Take a ferry to Alcatraz then let a self-guided tour take you through some of its abandoned locations.
Dating in San Francisco: Be Entertained
Turn a standard movie date into something a little more impressive by heading to Castro Theater. The 1920s movie palace screens art and repertoire films, complete with a live Wurlitzer player some nights.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts showcases works — art, film, music, etc. — by innovative artists, community players and general out-of-the-box thinkers. It’s a center that calls itself “multi-inter-intra everything” and embraces big ideas not necessary seen at mainstream venues. You’ll always find something new and exciting here.
Former bordello Great American Music Hall is a great spot to catch some live jazz — Duke Ellington once played here!
Discover the hippest indie band no one’s heard of at The Independent, one of San Francisco’s premiere music venues. If you’d prefer something a little more “tried, tested and true,” reserve tickets for a big-name show at War Memorial and Performing Arts Center.
Dating in San Francisco: Kick Up Your Heels
Don’t just listen to music; dance to it! Find free swing dancing at Lindy in the Park in Golden Gate Park every Sunday afternoon. Still in the mood to move? Sunday nights at club El Rio celebrates Salsa Sundays.
Dating in San Francisco: Wander and Eat
Just because most dates require a food break at some point doesn’t mean that you need to reserve a table at a swanky spot.
Some neighborhoods, like 24th Street in Noe Valley or Union Street in Cow Hollow are peppered with cafes, boutiques and bars. Chinatown makes for another foodie-friendly neighborhood. Head to an area packed with potential date spots and choose a new spot together.
The Ferry Building, at the foot of Market Street is home to the country’s best farmers’ market (on Tuesdays and Saturdays). In recent years, the waterfront venue has been redeveloped into a gourmet marketplace packed with fabulous dining options, even on non-market days. From oysters to dark chocolates, you can even find sexy food should the mood dictate it. Even the pickiest of daters will be able to find something to satiate their cravings.
Learn more about San Francisco singles!