The best first date ideas in San Francisco

Plan to woo the new romantic interest in your life with our guide to the best first date ideas in San Francisco

Photograph: Courtesy California Academy of Sciences

While coffee shops and wine bars are fine first date ideas, you may want to try something a little more out of the ordinary to really woo your boo. These first date ideas in San Francisco will really get you out of your element, whether you choose to admire the views on the bay, take a foodie walking tour or golf the city skyline. Good luck! 

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First date ideas in San Francisco


Edible Excursions

From the San Francisco Ferry Building to the "Gourmet Ghetto" in Berkeley, get the skinny on the Bay Area's top restaurants while sampling delicious bites with your date. Edible Excursions offers curated foodie experiences like the Mission Tour with VIP front-of-the-line access to Bi-Rite Creamery, Dandelion Chocolate and Tacolicous as well as culinary adventures in Japantown, Berkeley and Oakland. To really impress your date, book a private custom tour through your favorite neighborhood. 


Nightlife at California Academy of Sciences

Thursday nights at Cal Academy are a great opportunity to bring out your inner child (cocktail in hand). Nightlife offers a variety of food and bars, plus themed nights like SF Beer Week (Feb 15), Noise Pop (Feb 8) and Robots (Mar 22). If the evening goes well, admire the stars on the museum's living rooftop.

Golden Gate Park

SF Walking Tours

History buffs should check out Wild SF Walking Tours to get the inside scoop on local history including the Radical SF tour in the Castro and Mission and the Chinatown Underground tour through the back alleys and hideouts of the country's oldest Chinatown. All the tours are led by entertaining historians who fully embrace the eclectic nature of the city. Sign up for the free love tour with someone you might just end up falling in love with. 


A Day in Golden Gate Park

If you've booked a daytime first-date, there aren’t many places more magical than Golden Gate Park. You can always plan easy activities like boating on Stow Lake, wandering the botanical gardens and having a romantic picnic before visiting the Conservatory of Flowers, or just spend an hour wandering hand in hand through the gorgeous trails. Our favorite? Visit the observation tower at the de Young—you don't need a museum ticket to check out the dramatic view. 

Golden Gate Park

The Civic Kitchen

Making dinner for someone is a commitment, but cooking with someone can be an amazing ice-breaker, especially if you choose a class that includes wine pairings. The Mission's newest cooking school offers hands-on classes for the aspiring home cook (and your date) including everything from Indian street food and pickling to the wonders of wontons and celebration cakes. 


Presidio Bowl

This hidden gem has a small-town feel with some serious techy upgrades you didn’t even know you wanted. For the selfie-obsessed, touch-pad screens take three photos of each guest, then copies each face onto animations that do things like cry after an embarrassing streak of gutter balls. The food is typical bowling alley fare (hot dogs, pizza, and fries), but the chicken wings are a must-have. 


San Francisco Zoo

Make an afternoon at the Zoo even more fun by having an up-close experience with one of their friendly creatures through IfOnly. Wander among the lemurs in the forest habitat, feed baby penguins or hang out with the hedgehogs at the Koret Animal Resource Center. If you want to admire the 2,000 exotic animals from afar, admission is only $16 for San Francisco residents.


Urban Putt

An ever-changing course of colorful tees and flags will keep you close and moving throughout your date. Take a break for some fried chicken and waffle skewers and a highball before round two, then get back out there for the rematch. 

Ferry to Sausalito

Ferry to Sausalito

Meet up at the Ferry Building, grab a snack at Cowgirl Creamery, Japanese takeaway at Delica or something else divine and head for the dock. The Sausalito ferry is not just transportation for tourists and commuters, it can be the perfect way to spend time on the bay and enjoy a picnic with your potential bae. While in Sausalito, rent bikes and play tourist for a few hours, wandering the town like a mini-vacation. On the return trip, you can make your plan for a second date or simply continue into the evening.


ODC Dance Classes

Want to know the easiest way to get close to someone? Go dancing! Get your groove on with your date at one of these super fun dance class. With options like Bollywood ($15) and salsa ($15–$20), pick something you can both have fun with (and laugh at yourselves). 



Terri G

But how do I get set up on a blind date?!