How to Plan the Perfect Romantic Getaway in San Francisco
San Francisco is one of the most romantic cities in the US, if not the world. With its charming architecture, incredible food and restaurant scene, world-class hotels, dreamy views and vistas, its proximity to California wine country, and its unbeatable nightlife. It’s easy to fall in love with San Francisco and even easier to plan a weekend getaway to San Francisco with your sweetheart to enjoy this romantic city. This post is the perfect for those looking for San Francisco couples itineraries. Discover the top places to add to your must-do list with your significant other.
Most Romantic Getaway San Francisco City Edition
It’s easy to see how heading off to wine country or the surrounding bay area countryside could ramp up the romance, but there are so many places to discover within San Francisco that are key for romantic weekend getaways San Francisco style. While the bay area is perfect for lovebirds, this section’s guide is focusing on the city itself. These are our top tips and places for San Francisco romantic getaways.
Most Romantic Hotels
One of the first things that you’ll want to do when planning San Francisco romantic getaways is look into the best and most romantic hotels. Finding a hotel with a good location is key. Although, finding a hotel that fits your wants and needs as a couple may take precedence. Are you looking for a rich nightlife? Or, are you and your partner more daytime adventure seekers? How about a hotel with the best spa options? All of these questions will determine where you should lay your head at the end of the day. Those looking for luxury in the big city are in luck. There are a number of romantic hotels that are akin to a couples retreat San Francisco style and have world-class spa options. Some of our favorites are the Fairmont, Riu Hotel, Caza Hotel, and Hotel Nikko. Each of these hotels have unique offerings and are located in the perfect spots.
Restaurants and Romance
Nothing will get couples more in the loving mood than a meal at a romantic restaurant. San Francisco is a mecca of delicious food. It’s hard to find a bad meal anywhere you go and when you’re planning romantic San Francisco getaways, planning out where to eat is very important, especially when you want to secure that reservation. We know that dinner can be the most romantic time to book a meal, and there is no shortage of amazing places to eat. However, you still need to plan your breakfast and lunch meals for you and your partner. When looking for the best breakfast on Fisherman’s Wharf, look no further than Eagle Cafe. Not only is Eagle Cafe steeped in history, it also has an incredible view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, not to mention breakfast staples for everyone. If you’re looking to get in the loving mood in the evening time, you may be looking for a place that serves up oysters, and some killer cocktails. Couples in San Francisco love Fog Harbor Fish House for dinner on the water, it is a must do for any romantic getaway in San Francisco.
Cable Cars Around the City
Imagine this, you and your love cruising around the hills and neighborhoods of San Francisco on a historic cable car. Lean in close as you hang onto the cable car poles and take in the unbelievable views of the city. We recommend the Powell – Hyde line, hitch a ride from the shopping go-to area at Union Square, and then head down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Not only will you get to partake in a quintessential San Francisco experience, you’ll also be on your way to one of the most visited destinations in the city, PIER 39. Cable cars are a great way to get around, just make sure you bring a jacket!
If you didn’t get enough of the views from the cable car ride, take a stroll throughout the charming streets of San Francisco to find the best vantage points of the golden gate bridge, the Transamerica building, or just views of the city. One of our favorite lookout spots is Coit Tower. Not only can walking up to the Coit tower be a great workout, once you reach the top you’ll take in a stunning 360 view of the entire city. Twin Peaks is another place to get spectacular views of the city. The way to get the best view is to hike the .7 mile trail to the top of this 922 ft. elevation peak. Not only are there killer views, but there is diverse plant and animal life. For those not wanting to make the trek to Twin Peaks, Ina Coolbrith Park is another lovely outlook. There are plenty of hidden views throughout San Francisco, just look around and you’re sure to see a notable SF landmark.
Lovers Lane in the Presidio
Something named Lover’s Lane is definitely making the list for any couples retreat San Francisco list! The Lover’s Lane trail in the presidio is the oldest foot trail in the area dating back to the 1800’s and is a charming path that is lined with eucalyptus trees. It’s the perfect place to go walking after eating a hearty breakfast or lunch at Eagle Cafe. The path got its name from when it was used as a shortcut for Spanish soldiers and missionaries to get to their sweethearts who were located in town about 3 miles away. It makes for an enchanting lovers stroll. Walk the path with your own sweetheart and be thankful that Uber exists now!
Golden Gate Bridge
It’s San Francisco’s most defining landmark, and we think it’s the most beautiful bridge in the US. Its unique color and fog drenched mornings make it all the more romantic. There are so many ways that you can enjoy this staple San Francisco bridge whether it’s at sunset, from a distance, or from a boat. All the better, we recommend walking across the bridge. The total length of the bridge is 1.7 miles. No small feat, but it can be a beautiful way to get your cardio in for the day. On average it takes about 35 minutes to cross the bridge and no romantic getaway in San Francisco is complete without a crossing! Pro tip: take public transportation to the bridge! Take any Golden Gate Bridge transit bus with the number 10, 70, 92, 93, and 101. Otherwise, it’s easy to get there by Uber. We do not recommend driving yourself since parking is limited.
Make it a Coffee Date
There is nothing more romantic than heading into one of the many coffee shops around the streets of San Francisco and getting your favorite warm drink, especially during a chilly or foggy SF morning. Cozy up to your person and go on a coffee date to enjoy the high quality of coffee throughout the city. If you’re interested in the best coffee San Francisco has to offer make sure to check out our complete guide. We talk about everything from the importance of coffee in our society to San Francisco coffee culture to our favorite places to visit. Grab a coffee to go and complete a walk around the neighborhood. If you’re around PIER 39, Biscoff Coffee Corner offers a diverse menu for caffeine and non-caffeine drinkers alike, plus some quick pastries to grab for those on the go. There’s also no better place to people-watch with your partner. If you prefer a slower morning, get a caffeine drink to enjoy in your favorite coffee shop and take in the culture of San Francisco.
Watch some wildlife at PIER 39
If you and your partner find yourselves on PIER 39, you have to take in the amazing wildlife that can be found sunbathing surrounding the pier. When you grab a coffee from Biscoff, head to the end of the Pier to get a good look at our world famous friends. The sea lions will always have a home on PIER 39.
Cruise the Bay
Share special moments with your person while cruising the San Francisco bay. There is nothing more quintessential San Francisco than being on the bay and looking back at the city skyline. Sail past Oracle Park, Pier 39, cruise around Alcatraz all while cuddling up with your significant other.
Golden Gate Park
Head to Golden Gate park to discover the Japanese tea garden, rose bushes or just to take a stroll. If you’re up for it, plan a picnic. Stop off at one of the many delis and fill up on cheese and charcuterie, and wine and bring a blanket and enjoy the over 1000 acres of park. It’s a massive park with so much to discover. The conservancy of flowers is absolutely a highlight. The California Academy of Sciences, and the De Young museum are also located within the park and are fantastic activities to do with your partner. Rent a pedal boat with your partner and cruise around Stow Lake.
Indulge in a San Francisco classic. Reminiscent of the 1950’s when you would share a milkshake with the one you were going steady with, Ghirardelli offers a way for you to get close with your love. Grab two straws and stroll Ghirardelli square with your sundae. This decadent treat is sure to make you feel closer as a couple.
Catch a Game
Who says that sports can’t be romantic? Catching a Giants game can get anyone in a loving mood. Not only are there some incredible food choices inside the ballpark, it’s the perfect excuse to cuddle up with your person when the temperatures drop (which they usually do). Make it extra romantic by getting your message of love up on the big screen. Head here to plan the perfect sweet note for the whole ballpark to see.
Romantic Getaways near San Francisco
Now that you and your partner have explored all the romantic activities in San Francisco, it’s time to venture out of the city to some close-by romance hot spots. The romantic getaways near San Francisco are thankfully close by and can either be just quick day trips from the city or can be overnight escapes. Near or far the areas surrounding San Francisco are filled with romance.
California Wine Country
The most famous California wine country areas are in close proximity to San Francisco. Less than an hour away you can be surrounded by vineyards, sipping award-winning wines, and enjoying spending time with your partner.
Head to Sonoma, less than an hour away from San Francisco, for a beautiful escape from city life. Sonoma wine country is known for its Burgundian varietals so be on the lookout for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay although smatterings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are also popular in this region. Seek out a tasting that features your favorite varietals or one that offers a food and wine experience for you and your partner. Nothing could be more romantic than a hot air balloon ride over the valley at sunrise.
For those looking for extra luxe experiences Napa Valley is where you and your sweetie should head. There is no shortage of high end experiences, from the world famous French Laundry to the cult wineries that call Napa home. If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience, Napa might be the place for you. There is amazing cuisine and wine as well as a fun downtown area and high end luxury spa experiences.
Mendocino wine country, while a bit further north, is surrounded by giant redwoods and amazing coastal views and perfect for the couple that enjoys more of the outdoors.. Plan a tasting or two and then head to the rugged coast line for a walk along the shore. Or head to Redwood National Park to visit the old growth redwoods and the tallest tree in the US.
Hike in Marin County
For those couples who like the outdoors Marin County is home to some of the best hiking in the area. Marin is very close by so it’s perfect for a quick morning trip from the city with ample time to be back for dinner. However, Marin is also a lovely area to stay in for a night or two, especially for any couples who love the outdoors. Mount Tam or Muir woods are crowd favorite hiking spots. Note that you have to have a reservation in advance for any parking in Muir Woods.
More breathtaking views await you and your person in Sausalito. This town is reminiscent of Italy. Spend the day here shopping at small boutiques, galleries, or looking at the houseboats. Take a stroll along the water or get ice cream at the local ice cream spot. There is so much to do and see and this is the perfect place to enjoy each other’s company. If you’re looking to escape the fog, Sausalito tends to be a great place that is just across the bridge!
Outside the Bay – Lake Tahoe
If you have a bit more time to explore the outer reaches of California, then you should definitely head to Lake Tahoe. We love Tahoe because it can be romantic in both the wintertime and summertime. In the summertime in Tahoe offers so many activities for the active couples. From biking, hiking, boating, and golfing there is no shortage of things to do. However, the winter can be even more romantic. Imagine sharing a glass of wine after you spent all day hitting the slopes. Only three hours away from San Francisco, this is a wonderful place to visit with your partner.
Whether you are a couple that is searching together for the best places for a romantic getaway in San Francisco or you are planning a surprise trip for a loved one, we hope this guide helps you with activities that should not be missed while you’re visiting. We do hope you’ll give us a visit at Eagle Cafe on PIER 39 for the best breakfast on Fisherman’s Wharf.