Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve got a hot date coming up. There’s nothing more exciting (and scary) than a first date – when the pressure is on to make a great first impression.
If you’re already coupled up, then comes the expectations of wowing the person you’re already with. So, whether you’ve just swiped right or need to spice up your current relationship, here is an easy guide to help you plan your best date ever.
1 – Outdoor Fun
San Diego is lucky enough to have beautiful weather year-round and numerous outdoor activities to match. Find out just how much of a nature-lover your date is and go from there. If they’re more of a walk-in-the-park type of outdoor enthusiast, treat them to a date at Balboa Park.
With over 1,200 acres, you and your date can stroll through the park’s beautiful gardens and century-old architecture, which are well-lit at night. The park is also home to attractions like a carousel, mini train, zoo, and theater, which means plenty of good romantic spots.
2 – Brunch (Or Lunch) on the Wild Side
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s a little early for a first date. If you don’t want to meet up late at night, brunch or lunch is your next best bet. Break away from the date night classics and impress your date with San Diego’s foodie favorites. Pizza and pasta places will always be there, but there are plenty of other tasty spots your date probably has never been to before.
Kindred South Park is known for having some of the best cocktails in town paired with a death metal vibe. With generous portions of plant-based comfort fare and affordable prices, your night will definitely be memorable, even if you’re date isn’t vegan. Be sure to try the Memphis BBQ jackfruit sandwich.
Urban Solace is another reliable standby for delicious food at all hours and great atmosphere. If your date doesn’t immediately fall in love over their cinnamon roll, this isn’t the person for you.
3 – Wine-and-Dine
Date night is one of those rare opportunities to dress-up a little and go-big with the restaurant choice. Bertrand at Mister A’s Restaurant is a known romantic hot-spot in town sure to “wow” your date (so be sure to make a reservation well in advance). Take the elevator to the top floor and you’ll witness huge jetliners sweeping through the skyscrapers of San Diego, plus stellar views of the city skyline and Bay. The restaurant even has a dress code, making it feel more romantic and formal.
If your date is a fan of farm-to-table, impress them with a visit to Cyclops Farms. They host monthly dinners with local produce as well as beer and wine tastings, complete with a view of the ocean at sunset, it really doesn’t get any more romantic. You can’t get a reservation online though, so you’ll need to visit the farm on Saturday mornings for more information; grab some organic produce while you’re there!
4 – “Do You Want to Grab a Drink?”
It’s totally fair if you don’t want to put too much effort into a date, and that’s where the go-to classic comes in: meeting for a drink. It’s cliché for a reason–you can keep things simple and easy, plus it leaves room to go somewhere else if the date is going really great. Show your date just how cool you are with a meet-up at ¡Libertad! Tacos a la Brasa in Hillcrest. It’s a French-inspired speakeasy bar, hidden behind a door in the back of a great taco joint.
Blind Burro also houses a secret tiki bar known as the Cat Eye Club. If you know your date is a beer-lover, make your way on through San Diego’s best breweries on the North Country Brewery Tour. A tour guide will safely take you to favorites like Latitude 33, Stone Brewery, Breakwater Brewing Co., plus more. And remember, if drinking isn’t your thing, you can always suggest meeting for a cup of coffee.
5 – “Dive-In” to Date Night
Every Wednesday evening at the iconic Pearl Hotel, is your chance for a memorable date night. You’ve heard of a drive-in theater, but this retro-inspired hotel hosts a Dive-In theater movie-night where classic films are projected poolside. Head there early for dinner at the newly updated Charles and Dinorah restaurant. You can (and should) make a reservation. And if you’re extra adventurous, you can hop into the pool to watch the movie.
6 – Rock the Boat
Nothing says romance quite like viewing the San Diego skyline from the water at sunset (there’s an added bonus if you’re under a full moon). The Hornblower Cruise makes this possible with their dinner cruise, complete with a glass of Champagne, a three-course dinner, and amazing dance floor under the stars. The Bahia Belle, which departs from the Catamaran Resort, cruises back and forth across the bay multiple times in the evening. With great drinks and entertainment, you and your date will make great memories on the water. Plus, legend has it that kissing under the Coronado Bridge will bring good luck, so make your moment happen.
Balboa Park: https://www.balboapark.org/
Kindred South Park: http://barkindred.com/
Mister A’s Restaurant: https://www.asrestaurant.com/dress-code/
¡Libertad! Tacos a la Brasa: https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/tacoslibertad
Pearl Hotel: https://thepearlsd.com/
Hornblower Cruise: https://www.hornblower.com/port/overview/sd+fullmoonidc
Bahia Belle: http://www.bahiabelle.com/
Written by Abigail Golder