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The Most Romantic Spots in San Francisco

Updated on July 8, 2012
Nothing says romance like red roses.
Nothing says romance like red roses. | Source

"I Left My Heart in San Francisco"

When a love song has been made about your city, you know you're in a place of romance. While Venice may rank as the most romantic city in the world, San Francisco vies with the best of them when it comes to the topic of love. With beautiful beaches, parks, monuments, cafes, and a thriving night-life, San Francisco takes the cake for having the most to offer for lovebirds.

Something for Every Couple

What is romantic to one couple is as personal and distinct as each couple. For a person in love with the outdoors, a trek through beautiful Muir Woods or a drive by the coast would be a gift of love. For someone who loves theatre, dinner in a candlelit restaurant and a night out to see the latest play would be reason to celebrate. A perfect date takes into consideration the beloved, and yet there are certain special places that by their very beauty, story, or background, can inspire love to take root and blossom.

Ride a cable car and take your camera and your love.
Ride a cable car and take your camera and your love. | Source

Cable Cars

What could be more romantic than taking a cable car? San Francisco's world famous cable cars take you from downtown Market St. and Powell St. to Fisherman's Wharf, where you can enjoy clam chowder in San Francisco Sourdough bread bowls and then pop into Ghiradelli Square and enjoy world famous chocolate sundaes. Pier 39 is also in the area and makes for a fun shopping experience, along with watching the sea lions that love to congregate below the pier by the boat docks.

For your return trip take the cable car back up Hyde and stop and see the Crookedest Street in the World ~ Lombard Street. Quite impressive for a first date, especially for those new to the city.

The Golden Gate Bridge ~ beautiful place for a first kiss.
The Golden Gate Bridge ~ beautiful place for a first kiss. | Source

The Golden Gate Bridge

What better way to see a spectacular California sunset than on the Golden Gate Bridge? Just head out to catch the sunset and then head back. Wear layers to combat the wind; even on a sunny day the wind can be cool. Or, for the more adventurous, you can bike the bridge during the day and then tour the art galleries and small, quaint shops of Sausalito. Beware on the bike back there will be hills to climb so the faint hearted might want to take a ferry back instead.

Take your date for a stroll through the San Francisco Botanical Garden.
Take your date for a stroll through the San Francisco Botanical Garden. | Source
Bison live in Golden Gate Park.
Bison live in Golden Gate Park. | Source

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is home to so many attractions that it's hard to pick just one. Situated perpendicular to Ocean Beach, and running the length of the divide between the Richmond district and the Sunset, Golden Gate Park is one of San Francisco's most beloved areas. Below are my five favorite romantic spots that are found inside the park.

Stowe Lake Stowe Lake is a beautiful lake surrounding a hill that includes gazebos, trees, and flowers. Visitors can rent a paddle boat and paddle under stone bridges and watch geese, ducks, turtles, and the occasional squirrel and heron. You can also hike to the gazebos which are painted in an Oriental style for quiet moments with your beloved.

The Japanese Tea Garden A beautiful garden with flowers and plant life, arranged in the Japanese style. Not to be missed if you want to treat your date to a lovely place.

The Botanical Garden This garden is filled with walkways and paths that meander through beautiful landscapes of trees, blossoms, and bushes separated by peaceful lawns and a small lake. Another great choice for lovebirds that like a restful, beautiful garden to relax in.

The Arboretum Golden Gate Park also has an arboretum which houses exotic plant life like orchids and lilies and is home to hundreds of butterflies. This is a fun place to take a first date.

The San Francisco Bison While bison might not strike you as romantic, seeing them in the middle of the city can be impressive! For those who are adventurous, make a fun, unforgettable date of seeing the bison in the park. They live in an enclosure around 33rd to 35th Avenues inside the park. Follow the posted maps to find them.

Farmer's Markets make fun weekend dates.
Farmer's Markets make fun weekend dates. | Source

Stroll Through a Farmer's Market

San Francisco is home to many Farmer's Markets, so just take your pick. Nothing like supporting local farmers and enjoying fresh, organic produce. You can collect your dinner menu together in the morning and crack out your gourmet cooking mastery at night. Did someone say chocolate dipped strawberries?

One Night Love Poem

A love poem I wrote to my first love about the night I fell in love.

Take a Hike

Take a hike with your beloved one at Land's End near in the Outer Richmond. Remember to bring your camera to snap pics of the Golden Gate in the distance and the ocean below you. The views are incredible. The path will wind you around to The Palace of the Legion of Honor, also a great stop to see beautiful fine art. Later you can eat in the Inner Richmond, along Clement or Geary, where there are plenty of restaurants to suit any palate.

Outdoor Movies at Dolores Park

Bring a picnic and a blanket and catch an old-time movie at Dolores Park in the summer evening. These events happen weekly and are popular with locals. A fun first date.

Act Like a Kid

Another fun and popular San Francisco first date is the cement slides at Seward Street Slides. Bring your own cardboard to slide down.

A summer performance at Stern Grove.
A summer performance at Stern Grove. | Source

Summer Music at Stern Grove

Every Sunday in the summer at Stern Grove, an outdoor theatre space in the Sunset, you can picnic with your loved one and enjoy free concerts.

Bring your own fruit and wine and enjoy your loved one's favorite type of music ~ every week is a different artist or genre.

A great way to relax and start a romance.

Baker Beach
Baker Beach | Source

San Francisco Beaches

Another place to catch a beautiful sunset is in the Sunset district, at Ocean Beach. This sprawling beach is home to the Beach Chalet, which has two levels and a great atmosphere. Eat at the top and ask for window seating so you can enjoy the beautiful view of the beach and sunset.

Baker Beach is one of my favorites. You get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge as well as of the ocean and San Francisco cliffs. A great place to spend a warm summer day with your beloved.

Another beautiful setting for the first San Francisco kiss.
Another beautiful setting for the first San Francisco kiss. | Source

The Lyon Street Stairs

A popular early morning hangout for the exercise crowd, the Lyon Street staircase includes a gigantic art heart and a beautiful view of the bay. Inside the beautiful Pacific Heights neighborhood and surrounded by San Francisco mansions, you'll find the Lyon Street staircase next to the Presidio at Lyon St. and Broadway. Take your cameras for the view and check out the heart at the bottom of the staircase ~ the perfect romantic spot for a first kiss or two.

Fine and Fun Dining Romance

Those Italians, last I heard, knew a thing or two about romance. So check out North Beach for plenty of Italian restaurant establishments to choose from. If you'd like a more quiet, fine dining Italian experience, I recommend Cesario's near Union Square. With beautiful décor and candlelight, you can't go wrong for an exquisite evening there.

For a fun and unique date experience, try The Stinking Rose. Garlic is the theme there and the décor is great! Ask to sit in the caravan-styled section. A perfect place for a great date.

Enjoy San Francisco Entertainment

San Francisco is home to many independent theatres which makes for popular and fun date nights. There's also music at The Fillmore or The Independent, and plenty of nightlife venues to check out for some dancing fun. Check out Punchline for a comedy night.

San Francisco Sweet Spots

Grab your loved one and head to a dessert restaurant in San Francisco. There are plenty to choose from including restaurants dedicated to desserts.

For a fun and spicy stop, check out Hot Cookie in the Castro. Ghiradelli Square near Fisherman's Wharf, as mentioned before, makes a great date hangout.

Nothing says love like chocolate indulgence.

Leave Your Heart in SF

As you can see, San Francisco has plenty to offer for the romantic-hearted. Start making plans and take that first date or your long time love out on the town for an adventure to be remembered.

A Love Note to the City

Comments on The Most Romantic Spots in San Francisco

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    • carozy profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks Joanne! You should definitely check out the stairs, especially on a nice, clear day so you can see the view of the ocean from there. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • profile image

      Joanne M Olivieri 

      5 years ago

      You've captured the essence of SF here in this hub. I have to check out the Lyon stairs, as I didn't even know it was there and I've lived here all my life. Thanks for another beautiful hub.

    • carozy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      I know exactly what you mean. San Francisco has it's own beautiful and romantic appeal. I'm glad you are close by to enjoy it!

    • Globetrekkermel profile image


      6 years ago from CALIFORNIA

      I live near San Francisco more than half of my life, and honestly, having travelled quite a bit all over, I still believe and feel San Francisco is the most romantic place for lovers. I may sound biased and even bigoted but even after almost 30 years of living near here, I am still in awe on the allure and beauty of San Francisco. Paris? nah!!!! London? yikes! it stinks!!( sorry londoners) lol!..NEW YORK? HEAVENS, NO! not even close! L.A? don't even dare! lol! .TONY BENNET didn't sing I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO for nothing.HA HA HA !.. I LOVE YOU SAN FRANCISCO ! I can go on and on raving about San Francisco but I leave that to the people that will come visit here.

    • carozy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you plinka!

    • plinka profile image


      6 years ago from Budapest, Hungary

      San Francisco always reminds me of Monk TV Series. :-D I know, It's ridiculous and not very romantic, but in fact it's quite popular in Hungary. :-) I love the image of the Golden Gate Bridge and the mystic mist around it. It has an elegant alignment and the contrast between the orange bridge and the dark bluish-grey river is also great. I wish I could get there. Great hub, voted up!

    • carozy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm glad you liked it and hope you make it back here some day!

    • rebekahELLE profile image


      6 years ago from Tampa Bay

      LOVEly hub! I enjoyed reading it and remembering some of the places I visited a number of years ago. I loved Muir Woods, it was another world. I also loved Golden Gate Park. What a wonderful idea for a hub, and you given so many different settings for all the different kinds of dates. Makes me want to visit again, and of course, stop in and say hi to the HP gang.

    • carozy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      That's good advice. Thanks for stopping by. And I agree, romance is just outside the front door! :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      I live in SF. romance is just out my front door. I tell my friends, enjoy the "tourist traps" but use your money elsewhere in the city.

    • carozy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for stopping by and I hope some day you do stop by in person to San Francisco!

    • carozy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Glad you liked it. The SF Bay Area is beautiful and has so much to offer. Thank you for the vote up and interesting too :)

    • howtotextagirl profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      I definitely want to visit San Francisco, and hopefully check out some of these romantic spots.

    • Bob Zermop profile image

      Bob Zermop 

      6 years ago from California, USA

      Lovely hub. I've lived in the Bay Area and have been to many of these spots, but this is a new way to see many of them for me! Voted up and interesting.


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