21 Unforgettable Romantic Things to Do in San Francisco for Couples

January 6, 2022

A velvety blanket of fog greets you and your paramour as you gaze passionately out at the steep rolling hills, historic cable cars, and iconic structure of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Everything from San Francisco's mild Mediterranean climate to the exalted food and wine scene is prime for a romantic adventure. 

It should come as no surprise then that the City that inspired free love and 60s counter-culture has now made a home for itself as the go-to getaway for romance.

Couples from all walks of life congregate in the Golden Gate City to escape from Alcatraz, soak in the mighty Muir Woods, or indulge in delightful dim sum in Chinatown.

From feisty foodies to fervent hikers, no one can resist the charms of the 'Paris of the West.'

San Francisco Hotels

Is there anything better than cozying up with your Casanova in a fully outfitted hotel suite? Whether you seek luxury linens, jacuzzi tubs, or gothic-style architecture, choose from our many romantic San Francisco Hotels.

Stay in the impressively charming boutique hotel, The Marker, or rest your heads steps from the action and exciting nightlife of Union Square at Hotel Abri.

Wherever you and your love bug choose to reside, reserve your lodgings with confidence, knowing you are always guaranteed our lowest rates.

Most Romantic Restaurants

From stunning Bayfront views to sumptuous seafood to Michelin star-rated chefs, the culinary scene in San Francisco is truly a dream come true. Add to the mix moody lighting, art deco ambiance, and opulent decor, and you have a golden (gate) ticket for a night of romance:

Related Post: 12 San Francisco Hidden Gems You Don't Want to Miss

Empress by Boon

Sweeping views of North Beach, lavish Asian-inspired decor, including a tea lounge that sits under an antique octagon-shaped pergola from Taiwan make dining at Boon a genuinely unforgettable experience. This former historic banquet hall dishes up a mouthwatering Cantonese tasting menu from Michelin Star chef Ho Chee Boon as well as impressive cocktails like the 'Days Gone Bai' and the 'Empress at Sea.'

Foreign Cinema

Take "dinner and a movie" to a new swoon-worthy level at this San Fran staple that screens subtitled films on the back wall of their enchanting courtyard, complete with heat lamps and twinkling string lights. Bask in the charming cinephile ambiance as you devour local oysters, caviar, and whole roasted Dungeness crab.

BIX Restaurant

An expert tuxedo bar staff, mood lighting, and live jazz made BIX a go-to spot for a masterfully crafted cocktail or locally sourced farm-to-table meal. Keep things classic by ordering the steamed mussels with sourdough or steak tartare before moving on to the heavenly Crab Tagliatelle.

Looking at the exterior of Waterbar with people sitting in their out door dining area under large umbrellas and a beautiful view of the water and bridge behind it with lights on in San Francisco, California, USA

photo credit: Ryan Beck via Facebook

Waterbar

There are views, and then there's Waterbar! Impress your date when you snag a table at this undeniably sexy establishment featuring astonishing waterfront views, floor-to-ceiling aquariums, and a heated patio. Splurge on the 'shellfish indulgence' a towering array of blue crab, lobster, ahi tartare, tiger prawns, clams, oysters, snow crab to share, or else feast on the Pan Roasted Black Cod.

Most Instagrammable Spots

Instagram husbands, wives, and partners relax! We've taken the guesswork out of compiling San Francisco's most scenic spots to bring you the most romantic couples' vacation pics yet:

  • Golden Gate Bridge - it's one of the most photographed bridges in the world for a reason, and its bold color, sweeping cables, and 746 ft tall towers make for some seriously IG-worthy content. 
  • Golden Gate Park - a serene oasis in the middle of the City, this artfully landscaped park boasts lovely lakes, meadows, and even a Camelia Garden. 
  • Lombard St. - full of nooks and crannies, this famous street is surefire social media success, with its eight sharp hairpin turns framed by Russian Hill homes and carefully manicured gardens. To get the most bang for your photo buck, head to the highest part of the street to capture sights of San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge, and Coit Tower.
  • The Painted Ladies - aka the Full House, these rainbow-colored domiciles are picture-perfect with vibrant hues and an eye-popping Victorian aesthetic. 

Related Post: San Francisco Bucket List: 13 Things to Do in the City by the Bay

Best Sunset Spots

view of San Francisco, California USA skyline from the Twin Peaks subdivision

Searing purple, red, and pink hues make for some outstanding sunsets in the City by the Bay. 

To score your very own unforgettable cotton candy sky, follow along with our list of best places to sneak in a sensual sunset soiree:

  • Bernal Heights
  • Crissy Field
  • Twin Peaks
  • Sutro Baths

Sightseeing Tours

Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive - Full-Day Tour from San Francisco

Prepare your vintage headscarf and don those movie star shades as you and your glamorous boo spend an entire day cruising in style.

Leave the driving to the experts as you and your partner appreciate the awe-inspiring scenery on one of the most scenic roads in California on your Monterey, Carmel, and 17-Mile Drive - Full-Day Tour from San Francisco.

Daydream about the stately mansions on Pebble Beach, squeal over the otters and penguins at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Then, pursue the chicest of wares in Carmel-by-the-sea. All on your 11-hour luxury motor coach tour.

Incredible tour highlights include stops at:

  • Pigeon Point Light Station
  • Davenport
  • Monterey Bay
  • Cannery Row
  • 17-Mile Drive
  • Lone Cypress
  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • Carmel Plaza

View looking down at the Painted ladies at sunset with the city behind them in San Francisco, California, USA

Painted Ladies San Francisco City Tour

Groovy baby! Fire up that peace sign and those bell-bottoms as you and your babe embark on a thoroughly retro Painted Ladies San Francisco City Tour.

Your fully outfitted vintage Volkswagen bus is the perfect vehicle to parade you through storied neighborhoods and landmarks such as Chinatown, Union Square, Pacific Heights, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Golden Gate Park Twin Peaks, and more. 

Jam out to tunes from the 1960s and 70s as your knowledgeable guide spills the tea on the Painted Ladies and the Golden Gate City's fascinating history.

Afternoon tours will be treated to tastes of Californian white wine and local craft beer as your wide-eyed bus traverses the hilly terrain of San Fran. 

Since each restored VW bus-only sits up to 7 people, these nifty vehicles can enter many historical hot spots that larger tour buses cannot, including Alamo Square (Painted Ladies), Lombard Street, and the narrow alleys of the Mission.

This intimate small group tour can be reserved for private parties as well. 

Related Post: 11 Entertaining Things to Do in San Francisco on a Rainy Day

Cruises & Trains

Cruise boat Old Blue on the water with people on the top deck for the Escape from the Rock Cruise Boat tour in San Francisco, California, USA

Escape from the Rock Cruise

Grab a windbreaker and your bubba's hand as you brace yourself for a bone-chilling adventure around Alcatraz.

Your Escape from the Rock Cruise is a 90-minute engaging tour that does a deep dive into what was once the most feared prison in the American penal system.

Sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and all around the infamous Alcatraz Island as you listen to the free multi-language audio tour.

Gasp in horror as you are regaled with real terrifying tales regarding life in prison and renowned escape attempts from its most notorious criminals, including Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson.

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Enjoy fresh ocean air, up-close wildlife encounters, and a day at sea with your beloved. Embark on an aquatic day of sights, scenery, and photo frame-worthy camera ops on a Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Venture into the azure waters of the Bay for your one-hour picturesque cruise. After a movie-worthy departure from the historic Fisherman's Wharf, you will hit the water and sail right under the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz, and by the Marin Headlands wildlife reserve. 

Keep those peepers peeled for local fauna as you are likely to spot seagulls, pelicans, sea lions, and possibly even harbor porpoises or whales.

Skim the horizon and be on the lookout for such sights as:

    • The buzzing neighborhood of North Beach
    • The famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park
    • The historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier
    • The San Francisco Maritime National Park 
    • And more!

Skunk Train

Whether you are sitting side by side with your lover as you watch the lush scenery of the redwood forests whiz past or raising a glass to cheer your renewed love in a quaint concession car, there is something thoroughly romantic about a rail car rendezvous. 

Transport you and your turtle dove to a bygone era when you spend an afternoon aboard the historic Skunk Train

This 1885 era rail vehicle has remained unchanged for over a hundred and thirty years since it began its lumber operations and scenic sojourn through the redwood groves, picturesque trestle bridges, otherworldly tunnels, and Noyo River Canyon.

Lovestruck train passengers today get to enjoy the same unaltered pristine views that would have been visible at the California Western Railroad's (aka Skunks) inception.

Plucky riders can choose from up to 5 distinct ways to prevail in the Skunk's historic charm, including:

  • Pudding Creek Express - a staggeringly beautiful 75-minute, a 7-mile round trip along the Pudding Creek Estuary.
  • Wolf Tree Turn - a 2-hour journey traveling over the highest point of the rail line and departing from Willits. 
  • Railbikes - put the pedal to the metal on these old-fashioned two-person railbikes that make for a romantic one-and-a-half-hour adventure along the Pudding Creek Estuary to Glen Blair Junction.
  • Railbikes on the Noyo - a brand new excursion that will take you and your paramour deep into the mystery and majesty of the old-growth redwood groves and flowing Noyo River.

Related Post: How to Plan Your Perfect San Francisco Honeymoon

Outdoor Adventures & Hikes

Couple posing for a photo together with wooden stairs leading up into the forrest behind them in Muir Woods in San Francisco, California, USA

photo credit: Daniel Neal Photography via Facebook

Muir Woods & Sausalito Half Day Tour

Dappled sunlight streaming through towering Redwoods, quiet moments communing with nature, and an enchanting Sausalito reprieve make for an idyllic couples afternoon.

Get the best out of nature and the City on your 4-hour Muir Woods & Sausalito Half-Day Tour.

There's nothing like the ancient majestic beauty of the Muir Woods. So, spend an hour and a half in this revered 'living museum' of ancient old-growth forest just 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco. Then, pause to commemorate these coastal redwoods while snapping a photo or two of these living legends whose growth used to cover the entire west coast.

Post Muir Woods National Monument, let your knowledgeable guide give you the lowdown on the charming Mediterranean-style town of Sausalito. 

It is often heralded as one of the most romantic spots in Northern California due to its bevy of houseboats, quaint shops, and delectable restaurants. 

Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour

Cupid called, and he's booking you on an intimate cycling tour! Pull-on that helmet and prime yourself for those rolling hills when you and your partner depart on a Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour

There are amazing Bay city views, plenty of outdoor exercise, and many iconic landmark stops? Say less! 

Bike the day away on your small group 3-hour cycling tour, which features stops at:

Your biking affair will conclude in scenic Sausalito, where you can choose to stay and perhaps sample some of Fred's famous bacon or take the ferry back to San Francisco.

Worried 3 hours of conquering hills may be a little tough on those legs? If so, guests can easily upgrade to an e-bike for a nominal fee. 

Wine Tours

Sonoma County Tasting Pass

Merlot, Cabernet, and Chardonnay, oh my! Sip, cheers, and toast to the love of your life when you book a full day (or more) of wine tasting in Sonoma.

The Sonoma County Tasting Pass is your grape getaway into the wild world of wine tasting. 

Choose from 1, 2, or 90 day passes and let the sampling begin. Not just limited to vino, your premier pass also includes renowned craft breweries, cideries, and micro-distilleries. 

With so many award-winning wineries to choose from, you'll want to spend more than just a day sipping tasting flights and savoring exclusive discounts on bottles. 

Muir Woods and Sonoma Wine Country Tour

Beer and wine are fine, but how about combining your imbibing with a mystical and magical trek through the Muir Woods?

Unwind in the fanciful oasis of Redwoods with the Muir Woods and Sonoma Wine Country Tour. A stellar mashup of wine tasting, hiking, sightseeing, and more. This 10-hour full-day tour is sure to impress.

Snake your way through the rugged coastal mountains of the Marin Headlands and past Mt. Tamalpais (the highest point in the North Bay region). Spend a little over an hour traversing the redwood forests and documenting their giant size before moving on to wine country.

Your fully inclusive tour includes all wine tastings. Therefore, you and your sweetie can sample a wide array of white, red, and dessert wines. Wineries toured may consist of:

  • Homewood
  • Larson
  • Cline Cellars
  • Robledo

Following your vino sampling, check out the historic Sonoma town square. Next, peer at the Mission San Francisco de Solano, and do some quick window shopping. Finally, wrap up your day at the romantic seaside Sausalito.

friends clinking wine glasses together at La Belle Amie Vineyards in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour from San Francisco

Vamp up the va-va-voom with a full day of wine tasting with your dearest. Revel in the lush rolling hills and stunning scenery of wine country. Meanwhile learning the ins and outs of the winemaking process as you tour vineyards, barrel rooms, and more.

A vino-soaked escape that pours out amour, the Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour from San Francisco is a luxurious way to see both the smaller vineyards and the family-run estates. 

During your tour, stroll merrily through Sonoma Plaza. Enjoy lunch at a darling cafe, and be sure to save room for your three tastings at three distinct wineries. 

Tour featured vineyards may include:

  • B.R. Cohn Winery
  • Roche Winery
  • Madonna Estate

Related Post: San Francisco Packing List: What to Bring & What to Skip

Food Tours

Secret Food Tour of San Francisco's Mission District w/ Private Tour Option

Any food-loving twosome knows that the Mission is synonymous with delicious eats. But there are way more than famous burritos to taste in this renowned San Francisco district.

Put your palates in skillful hands when you reserve a Secret Food Tour of San Francisco's Mission District w/ Private Tour Option

Be sure to come hungry. This 3.5-hour culinary walking tour will not only illuminate the Mission's eclectic cultural legacy but provide mouthwatering samples. Enjoy bakery-style cookies, clam chowder, and local ice cream during your time.

Amateur sommeliers will appreciate the gems of invaluable knowledge imparted about California wine. Meanwhile, history buffs will savor tidbits and fun facts regarding the Mission's unique architecture and cultural heritage.

More incredible Mission tour highlights include stops at:

  • Mission Dolores
  • Balmy Alley Murals
  • Clarion Alley Murals
  • SF Armory

San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch

Dynamic, vibrant, and bursting with history! San Francisco's Chinatown is not to be missed. Take a couples trip to East Asia when you traverse the hidden gems of this well-known neighborhood together.

San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch is the tastiest way to get to know this district. 

From Buddhist temples to a traditional herbal pharmacy to a famous fortune cookie factory. This tour is an electrifying mix of food, culture, and history.

Feast your eyes on the vibrant paper lanterns and pagodas of this area. Meanwhile, your expert guide unveils the truth behind Chinatown's history and present-day authenticity. Finally, educate yourself about the use of ginseng root and taste a factory-fresh fortune cookie. 

This tour also offers an optional update to a 9-course Dim sum lunch—a mouthwatering way to wrap up your day. 

Related Post: 21 Absolutely Free Things to Do in San Francisco

Aerial Experiences

Golden Gate Tour

Let your love take flight on the Seaplane Adventure Golden Gate Tour. Soar high above the clouds and soak in the splendor of the Golden Gate city on this 30-minute aerial tour.

Shake up your traditional sightseeing date and spy San Francisco's landmarks from your secure plane. During your flight, you'll take in indescribable views of: 

  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • Alcatraz
  • Crissy Field
  • Downtown San Francisco
  • AT&T Park
  • Angel Island

Seaplane flying in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, USA

Norcal Coastal Tour

Looking to up the amorous ante? Spend even more time in the sky when you board your intimate seaplane for a deluxe 60-minute flight. The Norcal Coastal Tour is an extensive aerial experience like no other.

Canoodle with your favorite cutie as you cruise past Marin County, Tamales Bay, and the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse.

Have your camera at the ready! You won't want to miss a minute of the stunning Northern Californian coastline. Perhaps you'll even spot some whales. 

Related Post: 5 of the Best Museums in San Francisco

Sunset Champagne Tour

Pop that bubbly, and maybe even the question, on the most romantic of all aerial adventures, the Sunset Champagne Tour

Picture a postcard-worthy sunset of the most brilliant golden hues. Meanwhile, your cozy seaplane takes off for a 40-minute journey through the Great Bay Area.*

Clink glasses and lock eyes with your baby as you enjoy a crisp, cool glass of Northern California's finest champagne. 

This romantic evening tour is ideal for setting the stage for a dreamy dinner in Sausalito afterward.

*This tour follows the same route as the Greater Bay Area Flight but is timed to coincide with the sunset.

Iconoclastic architecture, history, and an unparalleled culinary culture make San Francisco a romantic haven.

From the laidback hippie vibes of Haight Ashbury to the jaw-dropping scenery of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge from above. Nobody can deny the allure and magnetism of the City by the Bay.

Whether you and your lover choose to sip Chardonnay in Sonoma or passionately pedal old-fashioned railbikes across Pudding Creek. The romance of San Francisco is waiting for you. 

What Other Romantic Things to Do in San Francisco Have You Found?

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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