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Published August 3, 2023

10 Unexpected Date Ideas in San Diego

Say no to boring dates! Try these ten out-of-the-box date night ideas in SD. 🌆❤️‍🔥

by San Diego Bucket List


San Diego is a city brimming with romantic potential, from its lush gardens and stunning sunsets to its tantalizing speakeasy scene. If you're looking for a date that's out of the ordinary, you've come to the right place!

Whether you need a great spot to wow a new match or are looking to get out of a Netflix-and-Chill rut with your long-term partner, we have lots of ideas to help you combat boring dates. From sailing the bay to hiking through canyons, we rounded up ten unique ways to experience America’s Finest City that will take you beyond the traditional.

The Best Unexpected Date Ideas in San Diego

See a Stand-Up Comedy Show

Nothing breaks the ice on a date than having a good laugh together. A pandemic success story, PB Backyard Comedy has now hosted over 100 shows and was voted one of the best comedy shows in SD by The San Diego Tribune! Next up is the “Going Dutch” event series, which will be focused on comics sharing dating stories and answering questions submitted by the audience.

Where: 832 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA
More information.


832 Garnet Avenue, San Diego, CA 92109, USA
Stand Up Comedy by PB Backyard Comedy
Starting at $15

Book now


Sushi Making Classes

The couple that cooks together stays together! Get all the senses engaged and learn the ins and outs of sushi-making from a professional chef in this hands-on class. You’ll learn to prepare the perfect rice, select the fresh ingredients properly, and learn the art of rolling. Everyone will make three variations: Spicy Tuna, California, and a special veggie roll. At the end of class, you can chow down on your creations with a refreshing beer from Blue Fire Brewing.

Where: Location varies; see event page for details.
More information.


Multiple locations
Sushi Making Classes - SD
Starting at $59

Book now


Champagne Brunch or Dinner Cruise

To really impress or to celebrate a special occasion, check out this champagne dinner or brunch cruise on the sparkling San Diego waterfront. The Flagship Cruise sails include multiple courses, free-flowing champagne and mimosas, and live music. It will be a day out your date won't soon forget.

Where: Broadway Pier: 990 N Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA
More information.

990 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, California, USA
Champagne Brunch Cruise & Dinner on the Bay
Starting at $84

Book now


BYOB Ceramic Paint Night

Get creative together at Claytime, a multi-media art studio nestled in Ocean Beach. You and your date will choose between painting your own margarita glass, vase, or sun plaque. This class is also BYOB, so bring your favorite drink to sip on while you make your one-of-a-kind creations!

Where: 1863 Bacon St, San Diego, CA
More information.

1863 Bacon St, San Diego, CA 92107, USA
BYOB Ceramic Paint Night
Starting at $50

Book now



Glow Boats

For a fun night out, go for a night ride on the San Diego Eco Pedal Boats! The boats come—you guessed it—lit up and glowing with colorful LED lights. You'll enjoy paddling around together and taking in the glittering city lights. And, if you’re looking to kick it up a notch, take advantage of the Bluetooth speakers and disco ball!

Where: 2803 Emerson Street, San Diego, CA
More information.

Eco Boat Rentals, Emerson Street, San Diego, CA, USA
Eco Pedal Boat-Glow Boat Rentals
Starting at $95

Book now



Grab Drinks at a Speakeasy

You can get drinks anywhere, but slipping into a glamorous speakeasy makes it feel a little more special. San Diego is home to a number of hidden speakeasies, and two of them—Young Blood and Raised by Wolves—were listed among America’s top 50 bars in the last two years alone. Plus, there’s something so seductive about leading dates through a secret passageway and into an intimate cocktail bar.

Where: Various locations.
More information.


Picnic at Balboa Park

It’s not all sand in America’s Finest City, there are also beautiful grassy stretches in Balboa Park to enjoy! (Which, btw, happens to be North America's most photographed place). Golden Hill Community Park, Marston Point, and Pine Grove Picnic Area all make for good picnic spots. We recommend a post-picnic stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden before you go!

Where: Balboa Park Main Entrance: 9th Avenue and J St., San Diego CA
More information.


See a show at the Moonlight

Take your boo to a Broadway-level production, minus the plane ticket. The Moonlight Amphitheatre is a state-of-the-art outdoor venue located within Brengle Terrace Park. Guests can snag amphitheater seats or reserve lawn seats. Feel free to bring your own picnic while you enjoy the show, or grab some food from the eatery, which claims to have “The World’s Best Grilled Cheese.”

Where: 1250 Vale Terrace Dr, San Diego, CA
More information.


See a Drive-In Movie at Santee Theater

Movies are a classic choice—but a drive-in element makes for a nice twist on the traditional date night experience. The Santee Drive-In boasts giant screens showing four current films a night, and there’s a snack bar on tap. Plus, each car gets access to two different movies for the price of one!

Where: 10990 N Woodside Ave, Santee, CA
More information.


Hike Annie’s Canyon (via Solana Hills Trail)

If you and your sweetie are adventure buddies, Annie's Canyon is a short, fun, and enjoyable hike in Encinitas. The trail will take you through the famously aesthetic slot canyon and mushroom caves near San Diego for you both to marvel at.

Where: 498-450 Solana Hills Dr, Solana Beach, CA
More information. 


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