10 Best Date Spots in San Francisco

Bellota

 San Francisco is an inheritably romantic city. That fog? The Bay Lights? Come on. It’s hard to not get swept up in the romance. But more often than not, first dates happen at a few particular bars around town. Not that they aren’t great—15 Romolo has a speakeasy swagger that feels right for a romantic meet up—but you’ve probably been to them multiple times…on multiple dates. So if you want to switch it up, these are your spots. 

  • 01 of 10
    Off the Grid
    ••• Off the Grid

     Neighborhood: Haight-Ashbury
    Stanyan St. & Waller St.

    Sure, you might have gone to Off-the-Grid at Fort Mason for a first date and dealt with one too many awkward silences while waiting in the long lines for pierogis. The good news about this festival is that it’s not crawling with crowds. Held on Thursday nights, this much smaller gathering still has the romantic string lights and band, but you also won’t have to fit for a table.  

  • 02 of 10
    Balboa Theater
    ••• Balboa Theater

     Neighborhood: Outer Richmond
    3630 Balboa St.
    Telephone: (415) 221-8184

    Time for movie night! This little three-screen theater is steeped in San Francisco history—check out the old school photos in the lobby before or after the show—but still shows the latest blockbuster hits. 

  • 03 of 10
    ••• Kay G/Yelp

    Neighborhood: North Beach
    1402 Grant Ave.
    Telephone: (415) 963-1713

    Saddle up at the bar of this little hole-in-the-wall of a beer spot. The lighting is low, the crowds are small and the bartender is more than willing to give you a few suggestions if you or your date are rookies. 

  • 04 of 10

    Fat Angel

    ••• Crisy G/Yelp

     Neighborhood: Fillmore District
    1740 O’Farell St.
    Telephone: (415) 525-3013

    Beware: there is usually a long wait here, so if you’re the one to suggest it, make sure you get there early (nothing is worse than waiting out in the cold for a table on a first date). But once you’re in, it feels like you’ve come to a very chill, cozy house party where the wine flows from the taps and flatbreads reign supreme. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Sundance Kabuki Theater
    ••• Kennejima/Flickr/CC 2.0

    Neighborhood: Fillmore District
    1881 Post St. 
    Telephone: (415) 346-3243

    Loosen up a little bit with a glass of wine and a movie. You can reserve seats ahead of time, which means you can relax with an extra glass before the movie starts. 

  • 06 of 10
    Bellota
    ••• David C/Yelp

    Neighborhood: SoMa
    888 Brannan St.
    Telephone: (415) 430-6580

    If you’re looking to impress and have a steady cash flow then this is your spot. It’s one of the hottest culinary tickets in town, and yet it’s somehow surprisingly easy to get a reservation for two on short notice. The trick? Sit at the bar, which surrounds the open kitchen. It’s both intimate and entertaining, in case there are any lulls in the conversation. But you’ll both be blown away by the food, which is straight up amazing, trust us. 

  • 07 of 10
    Interior Greenbelt, San Francisco
    ••• Ann S/Yelp

     Neighborhood: Cole Valley
    Stanyan St. and 17th St.

    If you want to surprise your date with San Francisco hidden park, this is your spot. Interior Greenbelt is a whopping 72 acres of trails tucked within eucalyptus forests that has very few visitors. The trails are meandering and not strenuous, perfect for slow strolling and getting to know each other. 

  • 08 of 10

    Neighborhood: Golden Gate Park
    1199 9th Ave.
    Telephone: (415) 661-1316

    If you’ve got a San Francisco address on your I.D. (or just want to bring along a utility bill), you’ll get into this city treasure for free. Take your time to stroll through the gardens, but make sure to ask at the front what’s in bloom at the moment. It’s also full of romantic park benches to relax on—the classic move. 

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Ideale
    ••• Julia K/Yelp

     Neighborhood: North Beach
    1309 Grant Ave.
    Telephone: (415) 391-4129

    Everything about this spot screams romance. First of all, it’s Italian (hello Lady and the Tramp moment!). Second of all, it’s owned by an extra friendly Italian who loves to chat you up and give you little extras if you’re super nice and the food—fresh housemade pasta and tasty charcuterie—is absolutely divine and great for sharing. 

  • 10 of 10
    Original Joe's
    ••• Roxmarie G/Yelp

     Neighborhood: North Beach
    601 Union St.
    Telephone: (415) 775-4877

    You may think of this place as a tourist trap or somewhere to take your parents while they’re in town, but there’s a secret hack that makes this place surprisingly romantic: just get drinks. First of all, their cocktails are strong and reasonably priced (house manhattans and martinis are a mere $9). The low tables with green leather chairs are both cozy and intimate—bonus points if you snag a table by the roaring fire place but people-watching out the window is equally entertaining. If the date is going well you can always put your name in for a table or keep it casual and snag a slice of sheet pizza from Golden Boy and snuggle on a park bench in Washington Square Park.