39 BEST San Francisco Date Ideas for 2024

Published on:

*This article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you.

TL:DR: My top three favorite dates:

  • First Thursday Tenderloin Art Walk with pizza from Outta Sight
  • Flying Trapeze class at Circus Center with dinner at Cha Cha Cha
  • Pedal Boats at Blue Heron Lake (Stow Lake) with dry-fried wings from San Tung

Ah, San Francisco: the city of romance! (Or is that Paris?)

I grew up in SF, but it took me a while to fully appreciate my hometown’s magic. When I was a kid, San Francisco was my entire world, and it all seemed commonplace. 

A man and a woman smile at each other as they sit on a beach at sunset, the golden gate bridge visible behind them, on one of the top date ideas in San Francisco.

In my early teens, I became consumed with finding the most romantic place in the city to have my first kiss. I figured that most parts of San Francisco simply weren’t romantic enough. The best-laid plans often go astray, and my first kiss came about during a game of Truth or Dare with my 8th-grade class in a Balboa Park backyard. And no– it was not very romantic.

In the 20-odd years since then, I’ve learned much about love, life, and San Francisco. Most importantly, I’ve learned what a special place it is and how many fun and romantic activities it offers.

Planning a date in San Francisco? I’ve got 39 solid San Francisco date ideas that will sweep your date off their feet.

A view of a beach at sunset with the Golden Gate Bridge visible in the distance.
A woman in a leopard-print coat smiles over her shoulder while standing in front of the House of Prime Rib at dusk.

Table of Contents

#1 Best Casual First Date

Three sculptures made from fallen logs next to a picnic table in a park with a clear blue sky behind.
A view of a canyon full of green grass and rocky terrain under an overcast sky.

Casual San Francisco Date Idea #1: Philz Coffee or Muddy Waters

“Grabbing coffee” is the classic, low-pressure first date. San Francisco has tons of new and trendy coffee shops, any of which would be suitable for a casual first-date meet-up. 

But these hip new cafes are often sparse, minimalistic, and focused on providing bespoke beans or co-working spaces for remote workers. Perhaps not the most ideal date territory.

I offer you two options for a classic, cozy SF coffee shop to invite your potential sweetheart to. 

Though the original Philz location has sadly closed, many other Philz locations are all over the city, giving you a convenient option in nearly every neighborhood. I recommend their mint mojito iced latte– it’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before; I dream about it. (A coffee drink that freshens your breath? Perfect for a date).

The other option is Muddy Waters, which recalls an earlier era in SF. This is the SF coffee shop of my childhood (literally– it’s been there for 24 years). 

Muddy Waters is a place where you can have a deep conversation. The furniture is chipped and mismatched, the coffee is strong, and the baked goods are gooey.

Complete the date: Browse novelty pirate goods at 826 Valencia and the taxidermied oddities at Paxton Gate.

Casual San Francisco Date Idea #2: A walk through Glen Canyon

A stroll in the park is the perfect, low-stakes way to get to know someone. You don’t have to spend any money; you can leave whenever you want. But if things are going well, a long walk can take on the feel of epic adventure.

Glen Canyon is one of my favorite parks in San Francisco. Although the neighborhood is quiet and residential, it’s in the city’s geographic center, so it’s convenient to many parts of the city. 

The canyon is a tiny slice of California wilderness tucked inside an urban landscape filled with copper-colored chert rock formations, stunning vistas, swaying eucalyptus trees, coyotes, and blackberry brambles. An easy path winds through from top to bottom.

Tip: Enter at the secret entrance on Turquoise Way and walk down through the canyon to the recreation center. The whole route will be flat or downhill, and you’ll end up near Glen Park BART, where you can grab burritos at La Corneta.

Complete the date: Grab a burrito or quesadilla at La Corneta Taqueria.

Casual San Francisco Date Idea #3: Grabbing a Drink at El Techo or Martuni’s

The third classic first date is “grabbing a drink.” It’s fun, festive, and can be as long or as short as you like. Taking your date to an extra-special bar can add a wow factor without the need for elaborate planning.

El Techo is a rooftop bar and restaurant at Mission and 21st that serves Latin-American street food-style bites and delicious cocktails. 

During happy hour, they have great deals on sangria, margaritas, and small plates. Heat lamps and awnings make the al fresco dining room cozy in all weather.

Head to Martuni’s at Valencia and Market for a different but equally celebratory vibe. This lively piano bar buzzes with cabaret-style music every night of the week– alongside expertly crafted martinis, of course.

Complete the date: If things are going well over drinks, grab Nepalese food afterward at Base Camp (if you’re at El Techo) or Dancing Yak (if you’re at Martuni’s).

#2 Best Epic First Date

A man in a black down jacket and a backpack looks back over his shoulder while standing on a set of wooden stairs that descend towards a beach.
A man and woman sit across from each other on a picnic blanket on the beach, sharing a pizza, with the golden gate bridge in the background.

Epic San Francisco Date Idea # 1: Sunset Picnic at Baker or Marshalls Beach

San Francisco is chock-full of breathtaking views. It’s one of the main aspects that gives SF its romantic magic. 

If you want to sweep someone off their feet, pack a picnic and head to Marshalls Beach for an epic sunset picnic overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

This remote beach is a little further up the coastline from Baker Beach towards the bridge, and you’ll have to take a short hike along the Batteries to Bluffs trail. 

Make sure you know when the sun is setting, and time your date accordingly! You’ll want to arrive before sunset to give yourself enough time and ensure you’re not trekking back in the dark.

Please be aware that this beach, particularly the end that’s closest to the bridge, is a long-established gay nude beach. Everyone is welcome here, but respect the community that frequents it most. 

Do not behave like my YMCA summer camp group, who came upon a lone naked man here once and lost our minds. It was pandemonium as fifty young children screamed and pointed, and the poor nudist ran for cover. Don’t do that.

Complete the date: When the sun sets, head to a romantic dinner at Violet’s, a stylish and sultry American restaurant on Clement.

Epic San Francisco Date Idea #2: Salsa Dancing at the Cigar Bar

Cigar Bar & Grill is a lively bar and restaurant in North Beach that serves classic pub fare with a Cuban twist. True to its name, there’s a smoking room in the back for sampling cigars. 

Cigar Bar frequently hosts salsa dancing lessons and an evening of live salsa music. You and your date can learn a few steps and then dance the night away, letting the universal language of dance do the flirting for you.

Complete the date: Have a romantic Italian meal at Mona Lisa Restaurant before traveling to Cuba for your Salsa lesson.

Epic San Francisco Date Idea #3: Mission Cliffs

“Epic” can mean different things to different people. If you’re dating a sporty, outdoorsy type, a climbing lesson at Mission Cliffs might be the perfect adventure.

Mission Cliffs is an indoor rock-climbing gym on Harrison. You can join a class, book a 1-hour private lesson, or rent equipment and start climbing if you’re experienced. 

Rock climbing is an adventurous activity that will get your heart rate up and add a little thrill to your afternoon.

Complete the date: Keep the “Mission” theme going and have dinner at Mission Chinese afterward. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming facade– the food is next level. 

#3 Best Sober Date

A blonde woman in a yellow sweater smiles as she peers through a circular opening in a wall of lush garden greenery.

Sober San Francisco Date Idea #1: Hot Chocolate Tasting at Dandelion

Dating can be tricky to navigate if you don’t drink– or if you want to get to know someone without impairment. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make a date special without booze.

Dandelion Chocolate is an artisanal small-batch chocolate company that manufactures locally at its Mission District factory. It offers classes and tasting experiences such as “Tea and Chocolate” and “Making Desserts with Dandelion Chocolate.” 

For an additional fee, you can make these experiences private.

Complete the date: After your dessert, head to Farmhouse Thai Kitchen for dinner, where the colorful and elaborate dishes are incredibly festive. 

Sober San Francisco Date Idea #2: Church of Eight Wheels

The Church of Eight Wheels is a roller rink in an old church in the Lower Haight. The tall stained glass windows remain, but the pews are gone, creating a lively space for skating with a dance party vibe.

Expect retro tunes, disco balls, and a friendly atmosphere here. But, a word to the wise: check how confident your date feels on skates before taking them here. 

Unlike the ice rinks I’m used to, there are no side walls to hold onto while you get your balance; the walls are lined with benches. If you’re not a confident skater, you may find it almost impossible to get your footing here (speaking from personal experience– I still had fun, though!)

Complete the date: Share a pie at Little Star Pizza for a classic birthday party vibe. 

Sober San Francisco Date Idea #3: Dogpatch Games

Dogpatch Games is officially a game store, but it’s more of a gaming community center that offers tons of play space available by the hour. You can then access their extensive games library of over 1300 titles.

Board games, collectible card games, and RPG games reign supreme here. Think D&D, Magic the Gathering, Settlers of Catan, and others of that ilk. If the object of your desire is a gamer, Dogpatch Games is sure to impress them.

Complete the date: A casual meal at Souvla rounds out this date. Don’t sleep on the frozen Greek yogurt with sour cherry syrup or baklava crumbles + honey!

#4 Best Romantic Date

A view of white life-saver on the side of a blue boat, with the San Francisco skyline in the distance.

Romantic San Francisco Date Idea #1: Bay Boat Tour 

Nothing says romance like watching the sunset from the deck of a boat. There are multiple different cruise companies, so you can take your pick

Most bay cruises leave from the pier at Fisherman’s Wharf, and the boat tours are generally 1-2 hours long, taking you beneath both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Afterward, a fancy dinner overlooking the water will be a cherry on top.

Complete the date: Continue the grand romantic evening with dinner at Scoma’s, a long-running seafood restaurant with waterfront views.

Romantic San Francisco Date Idea #2: Champagne tasting at the San Francisco Champagne Society

Everybody knows champagne is the most romantic beverage. Something about the popping corks and sparkling pale-gold liquid elevates any evening and makes it special.

The San Francisco Champagne Society is a reservation-only champagne lounge. For $125 per person, you can book a private tasting where you’ll sample three different champagnes curated for you from their ever-changing menu. 

You can even add caviar or cheese to up the swankiness even further, making it a perfect Valentine’s Day date.

Complete the date: Head to dinner at Bo De Ga, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant. Try their tasting menu for an extra special twist!

Romantic San Francisco Date Idea #3: La Traviata

Tucked away between the taquerias and dollar stores of Mission Street, La Traviata is a long-standing Italian restaurant (My parents came here in the 1970s when they were dating!). 

It’s stayed largely unchanged over the decades. We’re talking white tablecloths, complimentary fresh-baked bread, and skilled waiters. 

The soundtrack here is always opera to match the hundreds of photographs of Opera’s biggest stars that inundate the walls.

It’s not just the atmosphere that’s on point here. The deliciously authentic menu is also surprisingly affordable. 

Complete the date: After dinner, see a movie at Alamo Drafthouse.

#5 Best Budget San Francisco Date Idea

Four white plastic to-go containers full of dim-dum on white doilies sit open on daisy-studded grass.

Budget San Francisco Date Idea #1: Dolores Park on a sunny day

Dating does not need to cost you much. Dolores Park is the perfect place to hang out on a sunny day. Take your date to enjoy a clear view of Downtown and the Mission from the park’s sloping, grassy lawns. 

When the weather’s nice, the park is usually full of people, dogs, and frisbee games, giving it a festive feeling.

You can sit in the shade of a palm tree and picnic. The surrounding neighborhood has tons of cheap eats, so adding a meal shouldn’t break your budget.

Complete the date: Get quesadillas from El Buon Sabor and eat them in the park.

Budget San Francisco Date Idea #2: Museum of the Eye

The Museum of the Eye is a free museum dedicated to the science of sight. Operated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this small museum is a fun, slightly nerdy, offbeat activity.

Since the museum is in a picturesque part of town right next to the cable car turnaround, making the trek to it feels like a departure from the ordinary– and it won’t cost you a cent!

Complete the date: Grab some Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista for a low-cost end to the day.

Budget San Francisco Date Idea #3: First Thursday Tenderloin Art Walk 

As a broke artist, I can confirm that art openings are the ultimate cheap date. We’re talking free booze, but classy. 

You can simultaneously impress your date with how cultured you are while sipping drinks you didn’t have to pay for. You might even see some art you really love.

The Tenderloin may be rough around the edges, but it’s also a lively, creative community with a deep history. 

Every First Thursday of the month, the neighborhood’s galleries and boutiques open their doors for art openings, and many will have complimentary wine and beer for guests. 

Start your evening at Tilted Brim, a warm and welcoming boutique on Larkin that will make you feel like you’re a part of the local community. Then, stroll around to the other locations.

Complete the date: A slice from Outta Sight provides an affordable meal at one of SF’s best new pizzerias.

#6 Best Unique San Francisco Date Idea

A woman with orange and yellow hair wearing a brown plaid blazer, burnt orange beanie, and jeans smiles at the camera as she stands on sculptural rocks with a harbor and seaside cityscape in the background.

Unique San Francisco Date Idea #1: The Wave Organ

Way out on the tip of a jetty sticking into the SF Bay, there’s an acoustic sound sculpture that interacts with the waves to produce sounds. The Wave Organ is the work of artists Peter Richards and George Gonzalez, and it was produced during a residency at the  Exploratorium in 1986.

It feels like an ancient Roman ruin crossed with a playground: mysterious, otherworldly, and interactive. It’s also a bit of a walk, leaving plenty of time for flirtatious chatting. 

The Wave Organ produces the best sounds at high tide, so plan your visit accordingly.

Complete the date: A breezy yet refined lunch at Sessions at the Presidio will round out the day.

Unique San Francisco Date Idea #2: Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum

For an overtly cheeky yet still high-brow good time, visit the Antique Vibrator Museum!

This museum is part of Good Vibrations, a long-running local sex toy shop with a sex-positive, safe-space atmosphere. The antique collection belongs to the shop’s owner. 

Pieces of the collection are on display at store locations around the city, but the bulk of it lives in this museum. Inside the red-walled room, glass cases are filled with vintage displays of antiquated sexual devices.

Visiting this museum will surely raise eyebrows and elicit giggles, making it a great date!

Complete the date: If you’re trying to make a grand gesture, have a special meal at House of Prime Rib or opt for Bell Tower for a more laid-back vibe.

Unique San Francisco Date Idea #3: Flying Trapeze class at Circus Center  

Quick storytime: my mom was a clown in a local circus in the 1970s, so growing up, my sister and I took circus classes. Circus Center is in a cavernous brick building opposite Kezar Stadium, and I attended a circus day camp here when I was seven. 

The big finale of the camp was the flying trapeze, and I still remember it as one of the most exhilarating moments of my life.

Circus Center still offers a drop-in Intro to Flying Trapeze class. These classes are open to all levels (like I said, I did it when I was seven). You’ll be strapped in and safe (although there are size and weight limits, FYI). 

I can’t think of a more exciting and romantic class to take as a couple to break you out of your comfort zone and get your hearts fluttering!

Complete the date: Recover from your flying trapeze class with a pitcher of sangria and a plate of wings at Cha Cha Cha.

#7 Best San Francisco Date Idea for Foodies

A close-up of a gourmet pizza in a cardboard box sitting on a picnic blanket.

San Francisco Foodie Date Idea #1: Sample a tasting menu at Mister Jiu’s

All foodies love a tasting menu, right? Mister Jiu’s is a Michelin-starred contemporary Chinese restaurant located on the edge of Chinatown.

Their tasting menu features inventive spins on classics such as “soy milk ‘burrata’ Dungeness crab, squash, hachiya persimmon.” Their cocktail list is also impressive, with seasonal concoctions inspired by the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

Refined and upscale but not at all stuffy, Mister Jiu’s is a fun culinary adventure. 

Complete the date: Moongate Lounge is the cocktail bar attached to Mister Jiu’s. Start your date with an aperitif here, or head over for a nightcap after your meal.

San Francisco Foodie Date Idea #2: Off the Grid

Once a low-brow venue for fast food and street food, food trucks have gained huge popularity over the last decade or so.

Nowadays, it’s perfectly normal to find gourmet eats from the side of a truck. Off the Grid is a collection of food trucks that gather at various locations across the city. You can check their website to find out where and when the next gathering will be.

Off the Grid has a festive street fair vibe with a wide selection of culinary delights.

Complete the date: After you’ve had your fill at the food trucks, grab a pint at one of SF’s local breweries, such as SF Brewing Company.

San Francisco Foodie Date Idea #3: Take a food tour 

Food tours are for tourists, right? Actually, they can also be an awesome way to dig into the culture of your everyday surroundings.

In this particular tour, you’ll sample the tastes of the Mission District, taking you to four locations with a tasty bite at each one.

You’ll eat traditional SF-style burritos but also try cuisine from other immigrant communities with a history in the neighborhood, like Italian and Irish. 

Complete the date: Rest your tired feet over some creative cocktails at Evil Eye.

#8 Best Daytime Date in San Francisco

A young woman in a dark fleece pullover smiles over her should in front of a circular formation of wild-blown trees that frame a view of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Daytime San Francisco Date Idea #1: Pedal Boats at Blue Heron Lake (Stow Lake)

If you’re looking for daytime San Francisco date ideas, you should look to SF’s many parks for inspiration. 

Stow Lake, recently renamed Blue Heron Lake*, is in Golden Gate Park. It’s an idyllic and serene lake with an accessible island in the middle called Strawberry Hill. Turtles sun themselves on the rocks by the shores. 

You can rent pedal boats ($32.5 per hour) or rowboats ($26 per hour), then drift around on a lazy afternoon, perhaps reading poetry aloud to your beloved while they paddle you around. Classically romantic, right?

*Note: Though Stow Lake has been well-known to locals for over a century, few are aware of its (now former) namesake. William Stow was a loudly antisemitic California Assemblymember in the 1800s  whose policies were extreme, even for the time. The new name feels very appropriate, as Great Blue Herons do nest here in the treetops of Strawberry Hill– my fourth-grade class did a whole project on them!

Complete the date: Have some mouth-watering dry-fried chicken wings at San Tung, a local favorite.

Daytime San Francisco Date Idea #2: Lands End Walk

Lands End is a wild area on the city’s northwest edge overlooking the ocean. Windswept Monterey Cypress trees flank many winding trails along the edge of the bluffs.

Walking here feels like an adventure, even more so because the park contains Sutro Baths, the ruins of a 1920s bathhouse. 

I’ve always found this place to be one of the city’s most magical places and the perfect backdrop for romance, particularly at sunset. A rock formation in the ocean has a perfect heart-shaped hole going through it, which glows pink and orange each day as the sun sets.

Complete the date: After your walk, head to El Mansour for a sensual Moroccan meal complete with belly dancers.

Daytime San Francisco Date Idea #3: Go to an Art Museum (MoMa)

I’m an artist, so perhaps I’m biased– but I really believe that museums are a great setting for dates even if you’re not a big art enthusiast. 

Museums are suitable for a first date or a married couple’s romantic outing. Being quiet and contemplative at a museum is okay, but you’re free to talk. 

Looking at art can unlock your personal psychology, philosophy, and emotions: the building blocks of love. If you don’t like the artwork you’re looking at, your shared dislike can be a bonding experience!

MoMa has an extensive permanent collection of 20th-century and contemporary artwork, plus an active roster of special exhibitions. SF museums have free days once a month, so check if the next one is coming up.

Complete the date: When my mom would take me to museums when I was growing up, we’d always have a little treat at the museum cafe afterward. I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else on a museum outing!

#9 Best Evening San Francisco Date Idea

Two tropical cocktails sitting on a table in a dark bar.

Evening San Francisco Date Idea #1: Museums After Dark

In SF, museums are open late on Thursday nights, often with cocktails or live music. 

No kids are allowed at museums after dark. At the Exploratorium, SF’s interactive science museum, that means you can play with the science displays freely without worrying about hogging them from curious children. There are bars on the museum floor, making it easy to snag a cocktail as you mill about. 

The pitch-dark tactile dome is open during these evening events. Explore this sensory deprivation obstacle course hand-in-hand with your date!

Complete the date: Make it a complete evening with a meal at Osha Thai.

Evening San Francisco Date Idea #2: Tiki bar crawl

From speakeasies to arcade bars, there are many themed bars in San Francisco. Tiki bars are particularly plentiful, and many are close to each other on the northern side of the city. A tiki bar crawl turns a simple night out into a fun game.

We recommend starting the crawl at the Tonga Room, as the Fairmont Hotel’s longstanding themed bar is the most upscale, and you may want to get a reservation.

Next, head to Bamboo Hut (a fifteen-minute walk) to enjoy delicious fried chicken from SF Chicken Box across the street. Zombie Village will be a short Uber ride from there.

Complete the date: SF Chickenbox is across the street from Bamboo Hut, and their fried chicken is some of SF’s best. Don’t forget a mochi cornbread muffin! They are life-changing.

Evening San Francisco Date Idea #3: SoFar Sounds

SoFar Sounds is a group that curates live concerts in unusual spaces. It happens in multiple cities, including SF.

These are intimate pop-up shows; the actual addresses aren’t revealed until 36 hours before the show, adding an element of surprise and mystery for you and your date!

Complete the date: SoFar shows happen in different locations every time, so check out our recommendations for the Best Ramen in SF, Best Sushi in SF, Best Korean Corn Dogs in SF, and Best Pizza in SF to find a place to eat near your location.

#10 Best San Francisco Date Idea for Longterm Couples

A hand holds up a playbill for 'Book of Mormon' in a crowded theatre with the stage visible beyond.

Longterm Couples Date Idea #1: Seeing a comedy show (Cobb’s)

I got married a year and a half ago, but I started dating my husband 13 years ago. I know the joys and pitfalls of a long-term relationship.

Shyness and awkwardness are long forgotten, but the challenge now is keeping things exciting. If you eat dinner with someone every night for 13 years, how do you elevate an evening to feel like a date night? 

Sometimes, you just need a good laugh to shake things up. Cobb’s has been around since the early 80s, so you can imagine all of the notable names who’ve performed here. 

They have a full line-up of shows nearly every night of the week, featuring established comics as well as up-and-comers.

Complete the date: Grab dinner at Abacá before the show to sample some exquisite Filipino cuisine.

Longterm Couples Date Idea #3: Seeing a Broadway show

Similar to a comedy show, going to The Theatre is a great way to shake up your routine with an extra-special experience.

In San Francisco, touring productions of big Broadway musicals play at the Golden Gate Theatre and the Orpheum Theatre. You can check out this season’s offerings here

If musicals aren’t your thing, you can catch big productions of plays at the American Conservatory Theater or smaller independent theaters like the New Conservatory Theatre Center.

Complete the date: Tommy’s Joynt is one of the only remaining Haufbraus in the city, where you can order your roast beef dinner cafeteria-style and enjoy your casual meal in a grand, oak-paneled room. 

Longterm Couples Date Idea #2: Dinner at Foreign Cinema

Foreign Cinema is a conceptual restaurant that offers dinner and a movie all in one. 

They screen films in the restaurant, creating an immersive experience that blurs the lines between food, art, and film. 

Since 1999, they’ve crafted an “evolving menu” of upscale yet breezy California cuisine with an Italian twist. Foreign Cinema is an excellent way to elevate ‘having dinner’ to special heights.

Complete the date: Save some room for some of SF’s best ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe. 

#11 Best Artsy San Francisco Date Idea

A man looks at impressionist paintings in gold frames hanging on a sage green museum wall.

Artsy San Francisco Date Idea #1: Gregangelo Museum 

Trying to romance an art lover? Take it from me– an artist married to another artist– seeing a truly unique artwork together is a surefire way to spell romance.

The Gregangelo Museum is precisely that. This offbeat art experience is the home of local artist Gregangelo, who’s become a psychedelic immersive art installation and is operating his entertainment company, Velocity Arts SF, out of this space. 

To visit, you have to book a tour in advance, and Gregangelo offers many different types of tours. If you’re unsure, there is a 360-degree virtual tour online to give you a taste of what you’ll see beforehand.

Complete the date: Goat Hill Pizza, and their signature sourdough pizza crust, is an SF institution, and they have a West Portal location a few blocks from Gregangelo.

Artsy San Francisco Date Idea #2: Take an art class (Workshop SF for DIY crafts, Sharon art studio)

Get your hands dirty and get creative together. Workshop SF in the Haight offers creative classics in various skills, such as basket weaving, resin casting, leatherworking, stained glass, calligraphy, and beyond.

If your date loves to make things, you can be sure they’ll have a good time at this outing. It’s a chance to create something together—what could be more romantic than that?

Complete the date: Enjoy Ethiopian food and a party atmosphere at Club Waziema before or after your class.

Artsy San Francisco Date Idea #3: The Audium

The Audium has been running avant-garde sound bath shows every weekend since the 70s. The project began when founders Stan Shaff & Doug McEachern began experimenting with sound in the late 50s, and the current space opened in 1970.

This custom-built theater is an immersive sound sculpture. Hundreds of speakers are positioned throughout the room, and you listen from your seat in the pitch black. The experience is almost like a sensory deprivation tank: it’s transportive.

Complete the date: Have a pre-show dinner at Japantown– take your pick from any of the eateries along Restaurant Row. 

#12 Best San Francisco Date Idea for Music Lovers

A woman with brown hair sings into a microphone and plays the guitar on a stage in front of a white backdrop that reads 'hop along' in script letters.

Music Lovers Date Idea #1: Live Jazz at Black Cat

Every professional musician I know has a deep love and appreciation for jazz. Whether that’s freeform jazz, old standards, or new fusions– jazz is essential.

The Black Cat is a jazz supper club where you can enjoy a deliciously fancy meal, expertly crafted cocktails, and world-class jazz musicians. 

Check their calendar and purchase tickets in advance!

Complete the date: Cocktails, dinner, and live music? The Black Cat is a one-stop shop, a complete evening in one place.

Music Lovers Date Idea #2: SF Symphony Nights

Enjoy some live classical music and enjoy one of the city’s top cultural institutions: the San Francisco Symphony.

Keep it classic with a straightforward orchestral show, or go to one of their themed shows, like the Lord of the Rings screenings, accompanied by a live symphony orchestra.

You can even get dressed up to make it an extra special night.

Complete the date: Max’s Opera Cafe is a long-running favorite with NY deli-style sandwiches, comfy booths, and a celebratory atmosphere.

Music Lovers Date Idea #3: A show at The Fillmore

There are so many historic music venues in SF where you can see big names. The Fillmore is one of the most historic of these music venues. 

The gorgeously ornate building dates back to 1912, but its heyday begins in the 1960s. Everyone from the Grateful Dead to the Steve Miller Band, Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix have graced this stage.

Today, there’s always something good to see, so check the calendar and buy a ticket to wow that special someone.

Complete the date: Enjoy a stylish pre-show dinner at The Anchovy Bar, a sleek seafood restaurant just around the corner.

#13 Best San Francisco Date Idea for Bookworms

A view over the shoulder of a light-haired woman dress in black, lounging on a white couch reading a book.

San Francisco Bookworm Date Idea #1: City Lights Bookstore 

City Lights is a historic North Beach bookstore crucial to the SF literary scene. 

Founded by the famed poet laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti, it’s a living monument to the Beat era.

City Lights isn’t just a historical attraction, though– it’s still a thriving bookstore. You can browse the selection (surprise your date by buying them a book?) or, if the timing lines up, you can attend a reading here.

Tip: Litquake is SF’s literary festival. In October, when it takes place, there are tons of readings and events throughout the city. They also have a calendar of year-round readings and events you might want to check out!

Complete the date: No beat-themed North Beach visit would be complete without a drink at Vesuvio, the historic poets’ hangout full of gorgeous stained glass and sultry alcoves.

San Francisco Bookworm Date Idea #2: American Bookbinders Museum

Bookbinding is where art and literature collide. The American Bookbinders Museum is dedicated to the art of bookbinding.

This art form’s long, deep history is on display here, with permanent exhibits of historic books and antique tools and a rotating calendar of special exhibitions.

Complete the date: Keep the bookish good times rolling with cocktails at Novela, a nearby literary-themed bar.

San Francisco Bookworm Date Idea #3: SF Center for the Book

If the American Bookbinders Museum is a hit, follow it up with a trip to the SF Center for the Book. This art space is dedicated to bookbinding, letterpress, and beyond (letterpress is a printmaking technique for text derived from Gutenberg’s printing press).

They offer events, exhibitions, and workshops. You can check out a show at the gallery or sign up for a class together. So, if the Bookbinders Museum inspired you, you can try it here!

Complete the date: Round out the date with burgers and beers (and maybe a punk show!) at Thee Parkside.


Author photo of Elina Ansary, a woman with short pink hair against a white background. Elina is an editor and California travel expert of The Atlas Heart

Elina Ansary

Elina’s offbeat, colorful sense of style has been a mode of self-expression for as long as she can remember. As a visual artist, she travels the world, and her shoes have to keep pace. With an upscale NY art gallery exhibition today and research adventures in Italian ghost towns tomorrow, Elina has high standards and prioritizes style, versatility, and comfort. Her online shopping addiction has led her to test dozens of shoes over the past few years, and she’s always up to date on the latest trends.

Looking for more San Francisco travel inspiration? Check out our related articles below!

Pin this image for future reference

Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


Leave a Comment