food & drink · music & nightlife · attractions & tours · outdoor activities ·
Published January 24, 2024
The Best Unexpected Date Ideas in San Francisco
Say no to boring dates and explore a new side of San Francisco with someone special. ✨
by San Francisco Bucket List
Take a city bursting with eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. Mix in some of the world’s top-rated restaurants and bars, stimulating activity venues, and breathtaking views, and what do you have? An incredible range of romantic, unique, and fun things to do with a hot date.
There's no excuse to get stuck in an endless cycle of Netflix and chill in a city as vibrant as SF! Whether you're looking to impress a budding SO, want to delight a new dating app match, or are treating a long-term love, we’ve got you covered with non-boring, unexpected date ideas to help you keep date night exciting.
20+ Unique Date Ideas in San Francisco
Enjoy an Evening of Jazz
Listen to some mood music at a jazz show right on Stow Lake. Lakehouse Jazz is a unique and intimate concert experience in iconic Golden Gate Park at a hidden boathouse. Listen and learn jazz from some of the best musicians in the Bay Area and enjoy everything from 1920s Swing to Latin Jazz, Funk, Fusion, Hip Hop, and original compositions.
Where: Stow Lake Boathouse: 50 Stow Lake Drive East San Francisco, CA
Take a Tufting Class Together
Tutu is about a half hour outside SF in Palo Alto, but we promise it's worth the drive. Learning something new and doing something creative together are great ways to build a connection with your date. Tutu offers various classes and workshops to try your hand at tufting. From small rugs to large wall hangings and skateboard decks to handbags, there's a class sure to get your creative juices flowing. You can also take a textured painting class and make your own terrazzo housewares.
Where: 3239 El Camino Real Suite 100, Palo Alto, CA
Play a Few Rounds at Urban Putt Miniature Golf Course
Urban Putt elevates a nostalgic staple date inside this electric Mission District location. Play a round or two at this entirely indoor mini-golf course with glowing black-light walls and hand-designed, high-tech infrastructure at each of the 14 holes. Start at the cocktail bar to grab drinks for the course, then enjoy your night of neon putting.
Where: 1096 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA
Take a Seaplane Adventure Over SF
If you're looking for something truly unforgettable (and want to seriously wow your date), consider booking a seaplane tour. You'll take off from the water at Sausalito's Richardson Bay and fly over iconic SF landmarks like the Golden Gate National Reserve, the Point Bonita Lighthouse, and the Golden Gate Bridge herself!
Then on above Crissy Field, Downtown San Francisco, AT&T Park, and the infamous island prison of Alcatraz. Finally, your flight will be completed with a pass by the historic Angel Island before making a smooth landing back in Richardson Bay.
Where: Mill Valley, CA
Enjoy a Decadent Evening at Dandelion Chocolate
Modeled after the tea rooms of Paris, the 16th Street small-batch chocolate factory turns cocoa eating into a romantic outing. Watch the organic bean-to-bar process while savoring a hot chocolate or other decadent treats. On your way out, pick up a curated gift box for at-home snacking. Can’t get enough? You and your date can try your hand at truffle making with one of Dandelion Chocolate’s online experiences.
Where: 2600 16th St, San Francisco, CA
Bowl a Strike at Mission Bowling Club
A self-described “boutique bowling alley,” Mission Bowling Club is an artfully designed and award-winning restaurant and bar with six retro lanes for you and your date to enjoy. Dinner could be an upscale comfort meal like their mouthwatering Mission Burger or a fun snack like corn dog bites. For a more intimate atmosphere, visit after 6 pm, when the alley is only open to those 21 and over every day but Sunday.
Where: 3176 17th St
See a Show at The Mellow Haight
The Mellow Haight—a houseplant store by day and a private venue by night—has been curating and producing unique concerts in intimate settings for the past three years. Enjoy a memorable night with your date, surrounded by lush green plants, greenery, and a laid-back vibe. Produced by local musicians and composers, these sessions feature original music and arrangements by the best musicians, DJs, and composers of the Bay Area, as well as touring artists. Always new artists, always a surprise!
Where: 1401 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA
Reserve a Table at Alchemist Bar & Lounge
Top-notch craft, steampunk decor, and whimsey converge in SoMa to bless us with the Alchemist. You can lead your date by the hand to this secretive second-floor location and enjoy hand-crafted cocktails utilizing “medicinal” tinctures and house-made infusions. If you tire of lounging in the richly dark leather couches (doubtful), you can try your hand at shuffle-puck or watch the projected silent films on the back wall.
Where: 679 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
Catch a Film at Foreign Cinema
Foreign Cinema puts a modern twist on dinner and a movie. Right at home in the hipster Mission District, this restaurant projects classic films on an outdoor screen while patrons enjoy dinner. Step out to the rosily lit patio, adorned with romantic string lights and candle-lit tabletops, to enjoy the specially crafted dishes as much as the ambiance.
Where: 2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
See A Magic Show
Experience the extraordinary at The Magic Patio, a hidden gem nestled in the Mission district. This is not an ordinary magic show—prepare for an unforgettable evening of mind-bending magic and mind-reading in an intimate venue, where you'll be seated just inches away from the stage. This spot is BYOB, so feel free to bring your drink of choice and round out the night with a bite to eat after getting your mind blown by 7 minutes of seemingly impossible illusions and mysteries.
Where: Magic Patio: 3264 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
See a Performance at The Fillmore
The Fillmore’s beauty will romanticize any band or performance you and your sweetie want to see. Step into the main stage area to enjoy the show under a mystic purple aura adorned with colorful crystal chandeliers across the ceiling. Need a break? The upstairs auditorium hosts a quieter bar area and walls filled floor-to-ceiling with album posters to marvel at.
Where: 1805 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA
Check Out NightLife at the Academy of Sciences
Meet your partner’s inner child at this date spot with an elevated twist. Every Thursday evening, this enchanting museum dims the lights for those 21+. Explore the exhibition's depths—including over 40,000 live animals—and round out your evening dining under the stars.
Where: 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA
Play a Round of Ping Pong at SPIN
By combining an unusual mixture of sport, design, and entertainment, SPIN is the original ping pong social club. Whether you're a ping pong pro or this is your first go at table tennis, it's sure to be a good time. Grab your boo and go out for a night of friendly competition—loser buys drinks.
Where: 690 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA
Skate Hand-in-Hand at the Church of 8 Wheels
This is a fun one—San Francisco’s ultimate roller disco is one you can’t miss. Lit up in neon in Golden Gate Park, the rink makes the perfect setting to get silly and bust some moves with your date. Get groovy in the daytime with people of all ages, or wait until the sun goes down for an adults-only atmosphere. This unique spot is sure to leave a lasting impression on your partner.
Where: 554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA
Go Rock Climbing at Dogpatch
If you’re trying to work up a sweat with your sweetie, look no further than Dogpatch. Get active at this rock climbing hotspot, which stretches over 20,000 square feet of climbing terrain. Go for an open gym format or look into the specialized classes Dogpatch offers. This date is going to leave you and your date breathless.
Where: 2573 3rd St, San Francisco, CA
Set Sail Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Sail away with your lover on this one-of-a-kind, romantic outing. Experience San Francisco by water, with unmatched views of the iconic skyline, Alcatraz Island, and a ride under the Golden Gate Bridge. Fingers crossed you’ll get a glimpse at some marine life like sea lions and dolphins!
Where: Pier 39, San Francisco, CA
Create a Masterpiece at Public Glass
Unleash your inner creativity at Public Glass. This center for glass and art education offers five different glass-making classes. You and your date can turn up the heat with flameworking or glass-blowing lessons. On the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, you can try your hand at cold working. No matter what you choose, this spot will help get your artistic side thriving.
Where: 1750 Armstrong Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Take a Cooking Class Together
Instead of eating out or ordering in, try something new together and sign up for a hands-on sushi-making class. Learn how to make perfect sushi rice, choose fresh ingredients, and master the art of the roll. You can also choose from a variety of beverages, so you’ll get to enjoy your handmade Tuna, Salmon, and California Rolls while sipping wine, sake, or beer.
Where: Hotel Majestic 1500 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA
Try Your Hand at Axe Throwing
Tap into your wild and adventurous side and try your hand at axe throwing. Rooted in ancient warfare and trailblazing, this surprisingly fun and exhilarating experience makes for a very memorable date night. AxeVentures Berkely has trained coaches and instructors to help you get the hang of it and perfect your aim. A little flirtatious competition is never a bad thing.
Where: 2566 Telegraph Ave. Suite D, Berkeley, CA
Laugh the Night Away at a Comedy Show
Nothing encourages connection like laughter. Shake things up and get ready to laugh the night away together at an Underground Comedy show. Intimate and underground, the show is hosted at the world-famous Palace Theater (home of the renowned immersive show, The Speakeasy) and showcases comedians featured in The New Yorker, on Comedy Central, SNL, Netflix, and HBO.
Where: The Palace Theater: 644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA
Create a Custom Jewelry Piece at the Pearl Factory
Gifting jewelry is great, but taking your date to create their own piece of jewelry? That’s a whole other level. Pier 39 Pearl Factory lets you choose out a seemingly ordinary oyster shell and watch as it transforms into a beautiful pearl ring, necklace, earrings, or bracelet. Perfect to commemorate special occasions, this date spot combines a unique and memorable activity with a gift you can keep for years to come. That’s what we call a win-win.
Where: Pier 39, San Francisco, CA
Take a Scenic Hike Together
According to most dating apps, everyone and their dog loves hiking, so put those profiles to the test and get outdoors at one of SF's scenic hiking trails. Start at Corona Heights Park, which provides tennis courts and BBQ pits (bring cold drinks and snacks to enjoy!). From there, take one of several half-mile routes that summit on a red, rocky crown overlooking the city. A stunning display of wildflowers will surround you as you climb, and you'll be rewarded with a 360-degree view.
Other hikes to check out include Lovers' Lane in the Presidio—the name says it all—and Mount Sutro, a hidden gem in the heart of San Francisco, where you can follow narrow winding trails through the dense forest filled with century-old trees.
Where: Roosevelt and Museum Way
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