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5 first date ideas in San Francisco

Off the Grid
Photograph: Gamma Nine Photography Off the Grid at Fort Mason Center

Everyone (yep, everyone) agrees that San Francisco is one of the most romantic cities in the world, but love can’t blossom without a great first date. Here are some surefire ways to wow that Tinder match and make the most of your inevitable chemistry.

Urban Putt Miniature golf is a classic first date idea. This indoor course is a pint-size version of our fair city, complete with a Transamerica pyramid and cable car. Show off your putting prowess or charmingly fail the course; either way, there will be plenty of time to get to know one another while partaking in a non-sweat-inducing physical activity. Take the edge off with a beer, or extend a promising date into an on-site dinner. 

Off the Grid According to lore, the way to the heart is through the stomach. Off the Grid’s Friday night food truck party at Fort Mason is a terrific way to get to know your date by getting to know how they feel about various kinds of grub. Hand-held artisan cuisine provides a dater with the opportunity to show off an impressive palate and knack for balancing food. Beer, wine, live music and cute jacket weather round out this delightful dinner date. 

Musée Mécanique This free museum is just off the main drag of Fisherman’s Wharf and is a perfect spot to meet a blind date. Bring along a big bag of quarters and explore the delightful Bayside warehouse filled with vintage arcade games. Frisky folks can sneak a peek at turn-of-the-century PG-13 porn, while gifted gamers can wow new dates by racking up wins. A photo booth is ideal for capturing this first meeting—and perhaps even a first kiss. 

Tonga Room Touristy and over the top, the Tonga Room is San Francisco’s fanciest tiki bar. Bypass the food and down some liquid courage before hitting the pirate ship dance floor. A romantic thunderstorm precedes each set from the cover band, and the location in the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill is ideal for a post-date stroll. Head to the fountain in the park across the street to seal the deal. 

Crissy Field Appear athletic and outdoorsy by taking your date on a nice long walk along Crissy Field. You can’t beat the views of the entire Bay, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, plus walking and talking allows you to get to know one another without any awkward eye contact. Stop for a snack at the Warming Hut, but don’t stop there. Half a mile farther down the path is Fort Point, a free museum directly underneath the Bridge with a fun and fascinating history.