Acclaimed American-Armenian novelist, William Saroyan puts it best, “If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life. San Francisco is a world to explore. It is a place where the heart can go on a delightful adventure. It is a city in which the spirit can know refreshment every day.”
San Francisco may only be 7 miles by 7 miles, but it is bustling with events, a diverse food scene, parks, and people from around the world. Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, we have narrowed down a top 10 list of activities to impress your significant other.
1) URBAN HIKE FROM SUTRO BATHS TO LANDS END
Considered the best hike in San Francisco, Lands End Trail will awe any urban hiker. Located at the Southwestern area of the city, this 3-mile out-and-back walk affords sweeping views of the Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. Park near the Cliff House, then explore Sutro Baths before hiking out towards China Beach. If you are a sunset chaser, make sure to bring an extra jacket. See our outerwear and sweater collections to stay warm!
2) GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE BIKE RIDE AND MARIN HEADLANDS VIEWPOINT
The Golden Gate Bridge is arguably San Francisco’s most iconic landmark. It’s unique rusty red towers connect Marin County to the City. Bike across the bridge for fresh air, and often an appearance from our dear friend, Karl the fog, as you make your way to Battery Spencer overlook (a historical site which was one of the main protection points for San Francisco’s harbor from the 1900s until WWII). See what this beautiful city looks like from across the Bay and venture through the Marin Headland’s retired military bunkers.
3) WANDER THROUGH THE CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS AND BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Conservatory of Flowers opened its doors to the public in 1879 in Golden Gate Park. It hosts 1,700 species from aquatic and tropical plants, including a 100 year old giant Imperial philodendron. Stroll through this Victorian structure to admire their world-renowned collection and be immersed in the popular Butterfly Zone.
Just steps away and also in Golden Gate Park, are the Botanical Gardens. With 8,000 varieties over 55 acres, meander through these beautifully laid out gardens for fragrance and multi-floral romantic experience. Special collections include the rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias, and succulents. Detour over to the Garden of Fragrance, which was designed in 1965 for people with visual impairments; the aromas will heighten your senses.
4) VISIT THE RECENTLY RENOVATED SFMOMA
On May 14th 2016, The SFMOMA re-opened its doors in the heart of downtown San Francisco, after nearly 3 years of closure and transformed renovations. With 3x the gallery space as before, the museum boasts 145,000 square feet of art-filled spaces that are sure to wow your significant other. This 80+ year old establishment of contemporary art has an incredible selection of special, interactive, and permanent exhibits (such as the Pritzker Center for Photography). Insider tip: book a reservation ahead of time to their top-rated restaurant by Chef Corey Lee, In Situ.
5) NIGHTLIFE/AFTER DARK AT A MUSEUM – THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND EXPLORATORIUM
After-hour museum nights make for a hot date opportunity. Visit the Academy of Sciences or the Exploratorium for weekly (Thursdays) themed nightlife events to channel your inner child and be mesmerized by the sciences. As an adult, embrace the privilege of being able to stay up late and have access to the events’ open bars. Insider tip: get to the Academy of Sciences early to reserve a ticket for their Planetarium show which quickly sell out.
6) STREET ART WALK OF THE MISSION WITH PRECITA EYES
The Mission District is a major hub for trendy restaurants, stores, art, and has been the Hispanic district for many generations. 40 years ago, Precita Eyes, a non-profit, was founded to preserve and cherish the community’s culture and history through their gorgeous murals displayed across the Mission. Every weekend, Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitor Center offers guided mural walks to explore the highlighted artists featured throughout the neighborhoods.
7) SWEET TREATS: DANDELION CHOCOLATE OR TARTINE MANUFACTORY
For those who have a sweet tooth, Dandelion Chocolate and Tartine Bakery/Manufactory are decadent spots to let your better half know how much you care. Dandelion Chocolate is apart of the new-American wave of high quality chocolate makers with their bean-to-bar, small-batch process located in San Francisco. Visit their chocolate factory cafe on the popular Valencia Street to pickup a bar, enjoy an adorable sampling of desserts, and their amazing hot/frozen chocolate drinks. Also, check out their website for chocolate tours and classes.
Tartine Bakery/Manufactory is an popular pastry and bread destination for locals and out-of-towners alike. Founded by renowned pastry chef and baker, Elisabeth Pruiett and Chad Robertson (featured on Mind of a Chef), this dynamic duo make world-class baked goods that will make your mouth water for days. Avoid the constant line at Tartine Bakery located on 18th and Guerrero and head to their Outer Mission location (called Tartine Manufactory) for more of a cafe atmosphere. Insider tip: make sure to walk through the Heath Ceramics Factory which is directly connected to Tartine to buy a beautifully crafted kitchen gift.
8) COOKING CLASS AT CIVIC KITCHEN
What could be more romantic than a cooking class? Get a hands-on experience at the newly built Civic Kitchen for collaborative meals. Also conveniently located in the Mission District, see their list of classes ranging from “Italy by Ingredient” to “Intro to Live – Culture of Fermentation,” which will certainly appease your appetites.
9) WINE FLIGHT AT THE PRESS CLUB
Being so close to Wine Country (Sonoma and Napa), the wine scene is not to be missed while in San Francisco. Bring your date out to the sophisticated wine bar and lounge, Press Club, which happens to be walking distance from the SFMOMA. The luxurious ambiance offers a perfect night for intimate conversation over artisanal wines and small plates.
10) URBAN PUTT OR MISSION BOWLING CLUB FOR INDOOR SPORT
For couples who love activities, your evening is best suited for some fun and games at Urban Putt or Mission Bowling. Urban Putt is the only miniature golf indoor option in San Francisco, including a wonderful drink and cocktail bar. Residing in a converted Victorian building in the Mission, it can be a busy spot most evenings, but always full of entertainment and good fun. Not far away, you can knock down some pins at the trendy Mission Bowling Club, which offers delicious New-American comfort foods with a variety of craft beers and libations.
As the saying goes, “I left my heart in San Francisco;” so why warm up someone else’s heart with these top 10 lovable San Francisco activities? Share the fun and experience all of what San Francisco has to offer.