24 Bay Area Dates That Don’t Involve Dinner | San Francisco, Oakland, Sausalito + Berkeley

|January 20, 2017

San Francisco is a restaurateur’s paradise. Any food lover or local can find a place to grab a bite and enjoy a shared meal with a loved one. But every now and then, we need to venture beyond our go-to date night staple. So, if you’ve already tried out our list of romantic SF restaurants, try a few of our food-free date ideas!

San Francisco  

1. Spend Thursday night at the Exploratorium or at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

At The Exploratorium, your $15 general admission ticket gets you access to the museum from 6 – 11 p.m. Each Thursday there’s a special, thought-provoking event and you’ll get the chance to play with hundreds of hands-on exhibits, crawl through the pitch-black Tactile Dome, and more.

The Academy of Sciences hosts live music, creatures and cocktails every Thursday night for anyone aged 21 and up. Check the theme for your date night and come prepared to explore one of the city’s best scientific museums!

Date Ideas in San Francisco

Photo courtesy of © Exploratorium

2. Hop on the Midnight Mystery Ride for a bike date like none other! On the third Saturday of every month, the lead rider announces your meet-up location and everyone gathers at midnight. All you need is a bike, a sense of adventure, and perhaps a few provisions to share. Rides are about five miles on average, and no one knows the destination but your leader!

3. Take your own Skeeball Tour of San Francisco  using this map from Joey the Cat and play some of the best classic arcade games along the way. If you’ve never been inside Musée Mécanique (made famous by The Princess Diaries), this is a great opportunity! You’ll also be able to grab a few delicious drinks and sing Karaoke at Silver Clouds.

4. Play mini-golf late into the night at Urban Putt in the Mission. You can challenge your date to a game (or two) and play until midnight — or 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays! Following your game, head to the Urban Putt bar for a glass of wine, beer or a crafted cocktail.

Date Ideas in San Francisco

Photo courtesy of Urban Putt and Mark Johann

5. Practice Archery at Golden Gate Park. Bring your own equipment or rent it from San Francisco Archery Shop just a couple blocks away, then spend the day learning something new together!

6. While you’re in Golden Gate Park, take a boat ride on Stow Lake. Rent a row, paddle or electric boat and head to the water for a classic romantic activity. If you’re on a group date, rent the six passenger pedal boat so you can all get in on the fun!

7. See a classic film at the Castro Theater where you’ll also get to hear a pre-show organ concert!

8. Go old school with a visit to the roller disco at Church of 8 Wheels. Stop by from 1 – 2 p.m. on Saturday for a quick lesson, then impress your date that evening at their weekly 21+ Black Rock Roller Disco. It’s just $10 to enter and $5 to rent a pair of skates for this timeless date night idea!

9. Or, catch a movie at the oldest operating theater in SF — the Roxie! Here, you can see alt-classics alongside new independent films and limited release movies.

Date Ideas in San Francisco

Photo courtesy of The Roxie Theater

10. Team up with your date on one of Watson Adventures’ Public Scavenger Hunts. Check the calendar and buy tickets for a Murder Mystery tour, an exploration of local neighborhoods, a hunt inside the San Francisco Zoo, and more!  

11. Spend time at One Kearny for one of the best views in downtown San Francisco. Leave your ID at the front desk, then ride the elevator to the rooftop terrace (for free!). From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the space is open to the public and offers a 270-degree view of the city!

One Kearny Club San Francisco

Photos courtesy of One Kearny Club


12. Spend Friday night at the Oakland Museum and get half price gallery admission, a cash bar, live music, dance lessons, and plenty of Off the Grid food trucks to choose from when you inevitably get hungry! For up-to-the-minute event updates, check the museum’s Facebook page.

13. If you want to learn more about your date’s musical tastes, catch a live show at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records and peruse albums, cassette tapes and CDs. Check the store’s Oakland event calendar or stop by anytime to shop in Oakland or San Francisco!

14. See your favorite musicians at the Fox Theater. Originally a movie house, the theater was renovated in 2009 and is now a favorite destination for touring artists. Check the calendar and get a concert experience you’ll never forget!

15. Watch a movie in the historic Grand Lake Theater. Surrounded by vintage decor, you can see box office hits, classics and limited release selections.

16. Take a workshop together at SkyHigh Odditorium an aerial arts school, yoga studio, art gallery, music production lab and more. You can also catch a live show or stop by to explore the space.

17. Wrap up your Oakland date by brewing your own beer at Diving Dog Brewhouse. Choose your recipe, put it all together, and pop it in the fermenter! This option has a built-in second date when you come back to bottle your brew.

Diving Dog Brewhouse Oakland, CA

Photo courtesy of Diving Dog Brewhouse and Collin West


18. Hop on the Golden Gate Ferry to Sausalito and be taken on one of the best ferry trips in the world, according to the Society of American Travel Writers! Buy your tickets online and enjoy the view across the water.

19. Stop by Bar Bocce once you arrive. Skip the restaurant scene, and instead grab a cocktail or a craft beer and hit the bocce courts along the waterfront.

Bar Bocce Sausalito, CA

Photo courtesy of Bar Bocce and Gary Newman

20. Take your own wine tour of Sausalito. The city’s three wine tasting rooms —  Bacchus and Venus, Madrigal Family Winery and Real Napa — represent the best of the Bay Area with samplings from Wine Country.

Madrigal Family Winery Tasting Room Sausalito, CA

Photo courtesy of Madrigal Family Winery


21. Catch a live show at Berkeley Repertory Theatre nearly every night of the week. Find out what’s playing now so you and your date get a chance to see selections from the country’s most critically acclaimed performances.

Date Ideas in Berkeley

At Berkeley Rep, Michael Doherty (Jason/Tyrone) in the West Coast premiere of Hand to God; photo by Joel Dockendorf/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

22. If movies and art are more your style, stop by Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Here, you can see a film, meet a filmmaker, catch a lecture, listen to live music, or peruse gallery art.

23. While you’re in Berkeley, visit the world’s largest independent record store, Amoeba Music. Learn more about your date’s musical taste while you look through Amoeba’s eclectic collection of modern releases and vintage favorites. Check the calendar before you go for signings, concerts and other events!

Amoeba Music Berkeley

24. Schedule your date for Saturday or Sunday and ride through Tilden Regional Park on The Steam Train. The train will take you on a tour of the park’s prettiest spots and afterward, you can explore the park’s Botanic Garden, plant nursery or ride the merry-go-round!

Share your go-to Bay Area date ideas.

If you have a favorite date destination, let us know!  

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McGuire Real Estate

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