The Bay Lights

The Bay Lights (©SF Travel)

Most Romantic Things to Do in San Francisco

By Rachel Ward on 03/03/16, updated 02/10/17
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San Francisco can be a truly dreamy city. Here are the spots to visit for romance and distinctly San Francisco charm. 

Crissy Field

Crissy Field with Alcatraz in the background. (©Mason Cummings)

Attractions

Crissy Field

This former airfield is now one of the city’s most scenic and popular recreation areas. Admire the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge as you walk along the waterfront past beaches and marsh.

Palace of Fine Arts

(©Christine Dorfer/San Francisco & Marin Photography)

Attractions

Palace of Fine Arts

This Beaux Arts monument with a grand rotunda was built for the 1915 World’s Fair and is now a popular site for wedding photos. The path around the swan lagoon makes for a lovely stroll.

Gaspar Brasserie
Restaurants

Gaspar Brasserie

French brasserie Gaspar sets an amorous tone with glowing vintage chandeliers, tufted leather banquettes in a rich shade of cherry and a pressed tin ceiling.

B. Patisserie
Restaurants

B. Patisserie

Treat yourself at B. Patisserie, where the décor is modern but the exquisite pastries are made using traditional Parisian and Viennese techniques. Valentine’s Day ushers in particularly dazzling creations.

The Presidio

Aerial look at The Presidio from the East.

Attractions

The Presidio

When you explore this retired military base that’s now a 1,500-acre national park, make sure to meander down eucalyptus-shaded Lovers’ Lane. Look through the trees and you might spot nature sculptor Andy Goldsworthy’s “Wood Line,” a winding arrangement of branches in the forest.

The Hidden Vine
Nightlife

The Hidden Vine

At this wine bar tucked away in an inconspicuous nearby alley, you can sink into one of the comfy couches with a glass of wine in hand or play a game of bocce under the stars.

The Bay Lights

(©SF Travel)

Attractions

The Bay Lights

Take a nighttime walk along the Embarcadero to admire the Bay Lights, a shimmering art installation of 25,000 LED lights installed on the Bay Bridge.

Stow Lake

(©Artik234/Shutterstock)

Attractions

Stow Lake

Rent a pedal boat or rowboat at the Stow Lake Boathouse and glide under an old stone bridge and past an island with a Chinese pagoda and waterfalls. The concessions window sells pink popcorn.

Recchiuti Confections

(©Recchiuti Confections)

Shopping

Recchiuti Confections

Head to the Ferry Building for Recchiuti chocolates. They come in unusual flavors and are as beautiful as they are delicious.

Exploratorium

(©Bruce Damonte)

Attractions

Exploratorium

Take a jaunt along the Embarcadero waterfront to the Exploratorium, a state-of-the-art science museum where every exhibit is a hands-on, interactive activity (perfect for parties of two). The museum hosts the adults-only After Dark gathering on Thursdays, where drinks are served and the focus turns to potentially racy themes.

Located on the 19th floor of the Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill, this posh cocktail lounge and restaurant offers 360-degree views of downtown San Francisco, the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

Waterbar

(Courtesy Waterbar)

Restaurants

Waterbar

This scenic happy hour and dinner destination sits under the Bay Bridge along the city’s waterfront. Enjoy a glass of wine and oysters on the patio or terrace as you take in panoramic views of the bay and Treasure Island.

(©Sonya Yu)

Nightlife

Tosca Cafe

A 2013 renovation livened things up at this North Beach institution that opened as a dive bar in 1919. Now an award-winning restaurant frequented by celebrities, Tosca is still known for its “house cappuccino”—hot chocolate and brandy—a holdover from Prohibition.

Twin Peaks

(©Michael Warwick/shutterstock)

Attractions

Twin Peaks

The second highest point in San Francisco, Twin Peaks offers the best views in town. The entire city is laid out before you, and on clear days your line of sight extends to the East Bay. Take a walk along the pedestrian-only eastern portion of Twin Peaks Boulevard for a variety of perspectives.

20 Spot

©Alex Farnum Photography

Restaurants, Restaurants

20 Spot

Candlelit and elegant, the space is ideal for a date, but a measure of offbeat personality shines through too—in the vinyl playing on a record player, the postwar design of the furnishings and the eccentric art on the walls.

Mason Pacific
Restaurants

Mason Pacific

Named after its location at the intersection of Mason and Pacific along the cable car line on Nob Hill, this intimate bistro offers a seasonal menu of small plates and a few main courses that incorporate Italian, French and Asian flavors.

Angel Island

(©California Parks Company)

Attractions

Angel Island

This small island just off the Tiburon Peninsula offers hiking and biking trails, campsites, picnic facilities and spectacular views of the city.

Legion of HonorLegion of Honor

(©FAMSF)

Attractions

Legion of Honor

A three-quarter-scale adaptation of the 18th-century Palais de la Légion d'Honneur in Paris, this museum sits high on the headlands above the Golden Gate—where the Pacific Ocean spills into the San Francisco Bay.

This elegant restaurant in the Castro neighborhood serves traditional tapas and modern Spanish dishes in a dimly lit, thoughtfully decorated dining room.

(©Gallery of Jewels)

Shopping

Gallery of Jewels

Enter any of the store’s three locations and you’ll find cases of designer jewelry handcrafted by more than 100 local, regional and international artists. The boutique offers a variety of metals, stones and mediums.

Wellness

Nob Hill Spa

It feels like you’re sitting on top of the world at this resort-style spa perched auspiciously at the top of California Street in the Huntington Hotel. Every service under the sun can be found here, from massage to the special Scen Tao holistic treatment.

Map of Most Romantic Things to Do in San Francisco

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