26 Unforgettable Romantic Things to Do in San Diego for Couples

January 6, 2022

Sun-soaked days of white sand beaches, ocean-bound fun, and animal-themed thrills come together to make San Diego a romantic destination for any adventure-ready duo.

Treat you and your better half to 70 miles of pristine beaches, an inventive culinary scene, and the charm of the historic Gaslamp Quarter when you visit 'America's Finest City.' 

Whether you choose to 'ooh and ahh' over cuddly koalas at the world-famous San Diego Zoo or pop some champagne on a swoon-worthy Sunday brunch cruise around the Bay, San Diego certainly brings laidback luxury and pizzaz to any romantic getaway.

Romantic San Diego Hotels

Psst, do you want to know the secret to any ideal couples vacation? A stellar hotel room! Amp up the romance when you treat your sweets to any of our premier San Diego Hotels & Resorts.

Lounge in cozy luxury at a swanky resort and racquet club with full-day spa services, or embrace gothic revival architecture and history at a classic Gaslamp Quarter Hotel.

Wherever you choose to relax and recharge, make your accommodation reservations confidently, knowing you are always guaranteed our lowest rates

Most Romantic San Diego Restaurants

Besides housing some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, San Diego boasts an outstanding creative culinary scene. 

The combination of local ingredients, candlelight ambiance, and satisfying sunset views make any of our favorite San Diego eateries a dynamite choice for date night.

Out door dining area with blue chairs and wooden tables with a pink sunset over the ocean behind it at VAGA Restaurant & Bar in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: VAGA Restaurant & Bar via Facebook

VAGA Restaurant & Bar

Searing ocean vistas and spectacular sunsets? Check and check. Savor any special occasion when you dine at VAGA and enjoy the dishes of James Beard Finalist and Top Chef alum Chef Claudette Zepeda. First, indulge in brisket buns and Crispy Dan Dan Pasty. Then, finish off with the spiced Baja Sea Bass. 

AVANT

Revel in wine country style dining at AVANT, where much of the produce comes from the on-property orchard and garden. Begin by strolling the spacious property before settling in for the evening. Enjoy Tartare of Venison, Italian White Truffle, Wagyu Short Rib Cappelletti, and an Elk Tenderloin. But, of course, cocktails reign supreme here. Try out any of the resident mixologist's creations, including the citrus-forward 'Chasing Yesterday' or the peppery 'All Puffed Up.'

Related Post: San Diego Hidden Gems: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Secret Spots

Charles + Dinorah

Craving a more modern, relaxed ambiance that screams 'California cool.' Chill out with a cocktail or two by the kidney-shaped pool at Charles + Dinorah. Start by sipping their signature 'Black Pearl' made with cutwater dark rum, Campari, pineapple, and lime. Then, order mussels and fish tacos to share before moving on to their pan-seared salmon or creamy eggplant tikka. 

Most Instagrammable Spots

fountains at balboa park in San Diego, California, USAInstagram husbands, wives, and partners relax! We've taken the guesswork out of compiling San Diego's most scenic spots to bring you the most romantic couples' vacation pics yet:

  • Balboa Park - a San Diego staple. Your Instagram won't be complete until you snap some sweet selfies in front of the park's museums, flower fields, and picturesque gardens.
  • Artelexia - vibrant, funky, and color-forward street art at this Mexican craft store makes for some seriously radiant snaps. Just be sure to pick up a souvenir or two to support the artistry of Artelexia. 
  • Scripps Pier at La Jolla Beach - this famous pier is one of the largest research piers in the nation, and the contrast of crashing waves and old wooden structure is pure social media perfection. 
  • Seaport Village - San Diego is synonymous with the sea, and nowhere gives off more cute coastal vibes than Seaport Village. Document the waterfront views and the famous Rock Balancing Man and thank us later. 

Best Sunset Spots

A bright orange, pink, and purple sunset with the Ocean Beach Pier in the background and rocks on the right hand sign in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: San Diego Reader via Facebook

Bold red, orange, and violet strokes paint the sky on any San Diego evening. 

Witness the magic, majesty, and romance of this natural event when you grab a blanket and head with your love to any of our favorite San Diego sunset spots:

  • Shelter Island Marina Walkway
  • Sunset Cliffs
  • Ocean Beach Pier
  • Sunset Point Park

Related Post: A Weekend in San Diego: How to Plan the Perfect Trip

Sightseeing

The Grand San Diego Tour

Make the most out of your time on the west coast when you make a reservation for two with The Grand San Diego Tour.

Don't miss a moment of romantic San Diego enchantment when you embark on this 6-hour sightseeing tour.

Full of 'cant miss' historic hot spots and renowned landmarks, Best Coast Tours are led by verified Golden State experts. They will ensure you fall head over heels for this coastal city.

First, wander from the white sand beaches of La Jolla to the Spanish settlement of Old Town. Then head to the iconic Gaslamp Quarter on this comprehensive tour.

Empty that memory card as you'll be sure to want photos and videos galore of:

  • Embarcadero
  • Coronado Island
  • Balboa Park
  • And Little Italy

Wide shot of the front of The San Diego Museum of Art on the The Grand San Diego Tour in San Diego, California, USA

Baja Mexico Grand Tour

Ole! Seeking some South of the border action? Then, prepare that passport when you and your partner hop the border and complete a spicy Baja Mexico Grand Tour

Revel in awe-inspiring azure waters of the Pacific, the music of the mariachi, and the colorful handmade goods at the Avenida Revolution while on this 10-hour full-day tour of Tijuana, Puerto Nuevo, and Rosarito Beach.

Enjoy historical and cultural significance stops such as the Tijuana Bullring, the Tijuana Zoo, and the Tijuana Tower. Meanwhile, satisfy your hankering for seafood when you dine oceanfront on deep-fried lobster served with rice, beans, and an ice-cold margarita. 

After a mariachi serenade or two, your group will move on to the stunning Rosarito Beach. Formally known as the Mexican Hollywood. Feel free to frolic, swim, sunbathe, horseback, or ATV ride** at this bountiful beach community before you return home to San Diego.

Leave the U.S. behind and enter a land of vibrant customs and culture when you visit Tijuana, Mexico.

**These optional activities are not included in the tour price.

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in San Diego

Theme Parks & Zoos

San Diego Zoo

An overload of all things cute and cuddly makes for an idyllic day at the San Diego Zoo. Surprise your animal-loving beau when you explore over 100 acres of habitats, exotic plants, and endangered species.

The San Diego Zoo is a world-famous international, nonprofit conservation organization. Allowing visitors from all over to glimpse at African elephants grazing in the Savanna, Koalas in the Australian forest, and Bonobos in the rainforest.

Meander through tropical botanical gardens, African Rocks, and the heartwarming Koalafornia Adventure before taking a break to catch a live performance or 4D Theater show.

Finally, don't forget to catch a ride on the Balboa Park Miniature train or soar on the Skyfari Aerial Tram!

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to the San Diego Zoo: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Travel to the wild without ever leaving California when you hightail it to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with your cutest travel companion.

Swipe on that sunscreen and set forth for a safari adventure where you'll witness the rich biodiversity of this 1,800-acre reserve.

Choose from a plethora of sensational safari options, including:

  • Cart Safari
  • Sun Up Cheetah Safari
  • Wildlife Safari
  • Roar & Snore Safaris
  • Ultimate Safari
  • Behind the Scenes Safari
  • And Flightline Safari

Meanwhile, view over 2,600 endangered animals. Get up close and personal with African rhinos, antelope, cheetahs, and more. 

Try reserving a swoon-worthy Balloon safari for an extra dose of romance and share a birds-eye view of the park with your beloved

Zoo keeper holding a wide eyed brown lemur at the San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California

photo credit: San Diego Zoo via Facebook

SeaWorld San Diego

Splash around for a day (or two) of sea-worthy fun when you and your significant other celebrate your love at SeaWorld San Diego. Aquatic adventure, excitement, and mountains of marine life await you at this spacious open-air park.

First, scream yourself silly on the multi-launch Manta coaster. Then, spend some time perfecting your penguin waddle or face the ocean's most dangerous predators at the Shark Encounter.

With over 100 acres of sea lions, dolphins, and rays to discover, you'll never want to leave this ocean-obsessed theme park

Are you looking for a truly unforgettable experience? If so, try breaking bread with a killer whale and book an exclusive Dine With Orcas experience?

Related Post: What to Pack for San Diego: The Ultimate List

Romantic San Diego Cruises & Adventures

Speed Boat Adventure Tour

Fulfill your favorite 007 fantasy when you reserve a Speed Boat Adventure Tour for you and your speed-loving sugarplum. James Bond has nothing on you while you cruise along through the sparkling waters of the San Diego Bay. 

This unique tour puts you in the captain's seat of your very own F13 mini-speed boat. Undoubtedly allowing you to appreciate San Diego's finest sites from a new perspective.

Zip along your 13-mile cruise of the Big Bay, observing the picturesque beauty of sights such as:

  • San Diego downtown skyline
  • Seaport Village
  • Coronado Bridge
  • Historic ships at the Maritime Museum
  • The Cruise Ship Terminal
  • The Famous Star of India
  • And the many critters that call San Diego Harbor home

Your adrenaline-packed day in the bay includes speed boat instruction, safety basics, rules of the water, and tour hand signals.

San Diego Harbor Cruise by Flagship

Ahoy mate! Climb aboard the love boat when you choose to sightsee with a romantic San Diego Harbor Cruise by Flagship. Feel the cool ocean breeze on your skin and the smell of saltwater in the air as you and your 'captain' cruise around San Diego Bay.

Capture such notable sights and storied San Diego landmarks as:

Select between three fully live narrated cruises ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours in length:

In addition, all cruises include a complimentary souvenir photo to memorialize your high seas adventure.

Sail stress-free, as you are in skillful hands with San Diego's longest-running harbor cruise company

Yacht sailing for Voyager Yachts Dinner Cruise - San Diego, California, USASunday Brunch Cruise by Flagship

Calling all brunch babes! Pop that champagne and pour out a mimosa for your McDreamy on the Sunday Brunch Cruise by Flagship.

Crispy bacon, maple soaked french toast, and complimentary champagne? Life doesn't get much sweeter than brunch aboard a Flagship yacht—ring in an unforgettable romantic San Diego weekend on your 2-hour brunch cruise.

Feast on an entirely new menu featuring breakfast favorites, vegetarian options, and a brand new Bloody Mary bar. Meanwhile, revel in 25 miles of scenic waterfront views, iconic sights, and live entertainment.

Related Post: The Best Things to Do in San Diego at Night

Hops on the Harbor

IPAs, lagers, and ales, oh my! Whatever your craft beer preference, Hops on the Harbor is a suds-filled way to spoil the beer lover in your life. Combine the pleasure of sampling new brews with the panoramic beauty of the waterfront on this 2.5-hour beer-focused harbor cruise.

Each month different renowned San Diego breweries are welcomed aboard for an evening of food, drinks, and hop-filled education.

Your premium dinner experience includes a five-course tasting menu that will be expertly matched with beer selections. So eat, drink, and be merry as you meet the masters who brew these luscious concoctions and witness sights such as the Coronado waterfront.

Not a fan of the brew? No worries, as Flagship, also provides an extensive wine list and full cocktail bar on board for your imbibing pleasure. 

Winter Whale Watching Adventure by Flagship

There is nothing more breathtaking than witnessing the majesty of the mightiest mammals of the ocean up close. Watch Gray Whales in their natural habitat when you and your love join Flagship cruises on a Winter Whale Watching Adventure

Mysterious and massive, about 20,000 of these gentle beasts commit an impressive migration each year from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja, California, and back. Take part in this centuries-old migration when you engage in the education, excitement, and beauty of a whale-watching excursion. 

Bring out those binoculars and prime yourself to view various marine life, from Gray Whales to dolphins and barnacles. Your 3.5-hour tour is packed to the brim with fun animal facts and detailed whale information from a naturalist.

Spot whales in style and comfort, as you will have plenty of space to repose on the two-story whale-watching yacht, complete with an open-air sundeck.

Related Post: Whale Watching in San Diego: A Winter Highlight

Food & Culture

A man and a woman in sun glasses eating pizza on the Brothels, Bites, and Booze Food Tour in San Diego, California, USA

Brothels, Bites, and Booze Food Tour

Fans of 'Drunk History' will be dazzled by this inventive and inspiring tour that teaches you all the San Diego history not featured in the textbooks! In addition, food and brew obsessed couples will be thoroughly bewitched by the Brothels, Bites, and Booze Food Tour

Traverse the historic Gaslamp Quarter on this 2.5-hour food-based walking tour that peels back the curtain on this district's colorful past.

Hear the salacious and scandalous stories regarding San Diego's red-light district and the most popular prohibition-era brothels. Discover what drew these women into this lifestyle and the famous gangsters who became their most profitable customers.

This fully inclusive tour features stops at 4-8 restaurants or gourmet shops as well as 2-3 sample-sized beer pairings. Come hungry as you will be sampling international cuisine ranging from Baja-style fish tacos to Greek gyro quesadillas to a wonderfully cheesy homemade sausage flatbread.

Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones Food Tour of San Diego

Is your love language tacos? Then, spread the passion for everyone's favorite Mexican import when you and your better half book a Tequila, Tacos, and Tombstones Food Tour.

Fire up that appetite and perhaps a few shots of liquid courage as you prepare for an evening of ghostly tales, mariachi, and Mexican cuisine. Your 2.5-hour taco-filled tour seamlessly blends California's early settlement history and creative cocktails.

Listen carefully as your guide shares stories of Mexican Independence and the California Gold Rush as you sample authentic specialties such as tacos, fresh salsa, and piping hot corn tortillas.*

Meander through Old Town and gaze in awe at the native architecture of the adobe homes and 19th century Greek Revival Buildings.

Luckily you will be able to sample many tequila-based cocktails before heading to the El Campo Santo Cemetery and Whaley House, which has been named the most haunted house in America.

Related Post: 5 of the Best Things to Do in Old Town San Diego

Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego

Fixing for a way to pull out all of the romantic stops for your significant other? Satisfy their sophisticated side with a Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.

Sip and savor the best roses, whites, and reds on this full-day 10-hour wine tasting tour. An ideal special occasion date, this luxury forward excursion whisks you away to the Guadalupe Valley for a day of vineyard visits.

This private tour experience features stops to three artisan winemakers and a chef-prepared five-course Baja Mediterranean-style lunch. All wine tastings are included in your tour ticket price, and possible stops include (but are not limited to)**:

  • El Mirador - scenic viewpoint perfect for snapping some photos of the bay of Todos los Santos, Ensenada 
  • Villa Montefiori
  • Baron Balche
  • Finca Altozano - lunch stop
  • And Vina de Liceaga

**Vineyard stops are subject to change based on availability and weather conditions.

Mexican Street food, Tijuana Day trip from San Diego

Do you and your epicurean obsessed love go gaga for street food? Ditch the tourist traps and discover the real Mexican street food scene on your thoroughly authentic full-day Tijuana tour. Spend 7 hours in pure foodie heaven on the Mexican Street food, Tijuana Day Trip from San Diego.

After crossing the border, you will be greeted by your friendly guide, your entry point into all things, Tijuana. Unravel this major Mexican city's unique culture, customs, and food as you visit places of interest, such as the Tijuana arch and local produce markets.

Chow down on a variety of tacos, churros, and elote (street corn), all washed down with your choice of Mexican beer or margarita. 

From alleyways to museums, you never know where your next tasty bite will come from! So pace yourself as you will be indulging in 3 full meals and drinks over the course of the day.

Related Post: When is the Best Time to Visit San Diego?

A mild Mediterranean-style climate, an abundance of water-bound activities, and lasting Mexican influences make the 'birthplace of California' a sensational travel destination.

Smitten significant others of all ages will have a hard time deciding between hops-filled sunset cruises of San Diego Bay, or speeding away the day on their own F13 mini boat.

Whether you are a couple longing for a laidback taco sojourn through Old Town or fiending for a genuinely unique south-of-the-border experience in Tijuana, San Diego is the perfect place for any romantic reprieve.

What Did We Miss? What Other Romantic Things Have You Found to Do in San Diego?

Let us know in the comments below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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