Romantic Destinations in San Francisco

Whether it’s the history, the charm or the beautiful views, San Francisco is a romantic city, sure to sweep anyone off their feet, that is if you know where to go. Below is a guide listing some of the most romantic destinations in San Francisco. From a quick bite to eat at a fresh marketplace to some of the most lavish dining around, strolls through lush botanical gardens or a trek across the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s all found in San Francisco.

Golden Gate Park

The Golden Gate Park is the perfect place to take a date in San Francisco with more than 1000 acres to wander and roam and have a quiet little picnic. The concept for the park arose in the 1860s when west coasters wanted something to compete with New York’s Central Park. The Golden Gate Park was planned on a plot of “outside land” that was considered basically useless and the city leaders believed the park would draw more housing developers to the area and help it expand away from the coast. The park had a bit of a rocky start but by 1886 it was on track and already drawing a crowd. Some of the major features of the park are the Japanese Tea Garden, the Music Concourse Area, De Young Museum, Academy of Sciences, AIDS Memorial Grove, Stow Lake, Spreckels Lake, Conservatory of Flowers, Kezar Stadium, John F. Kennedy Drive and an area so romantic it deserves a notice of its own, San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum.

Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

The Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a unique oasis of nature’s bounty and extraordinary beauty in the middle of an urban jungle. Encompassing 55 acres the more than 7,500 plant varieties from around the world thrive in a lush and lavish environment that stirs the soul. Initially planned in the 1890s the gardens didn’t begin to come to fruition until Helene Strybing supplied the funding in 1926. Plantings began in 1937 and the arboretum opened in 1940. In addition to providing great vistas for strolls hand in hand with your sweetheart, Strybing Arboretum or the San Francisco Botanical Garden as it’s also called, hosts a variety of educational programs for anyone who wants to participate.

Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most iconic structures in the United States, the Golden Gate Bridge provides some remarkable views of the coastline and the city. There are many ways to take in the beauty of this sweeping span whether you’re content to sit on the banks and gaze at it from afar or if you and your sweetheart want to traverse the span it’s a romantic spot that begs to be photographed.

Ride the Cable Cars

Probably the best noted feature of San Francisco are the cable cars, unfortunately the early beginnings of these romantic trolleys was actually quite gory. Andrew Smith Hallidie witnessed a horrible accident on the slippery grades of the city as a horse drawn streetcar slid backwards and drug five horses to their death. Already well versed in using heavy cables to suspend bridges or pull ore carts from mines, he put that knowledge to use and developed the cable car system. Currently there are basically only three lines running through San Francisco and they’re mostly populated by tourists, which is convenient as they will probably take you exactly where you want to go.

Lotta’s Fountain

Lotta’s Fountain is the oldest surviving monument in San Francisco and was donated by famed singer/dancer Lotta Crabtree in 1875. She was one of the country’s most popular stage performers at the time and became very well noted by performing for miners during the rush. The great earthquake of 1906 destroyed much of the city of San Francisco but Lotta’s Fountain remained and became a noted meeting place for locals. Located between Market Street and Union Square, Lotta’s Fountain is a great stopping point on your way to a nice romantic dinner in either district.

Ferry Building Marketplace

There is always something happening at Ferry Building Marketplace so if you’re looking for an exciting hub of activity then this is your must see destination. Come hungry and ready to shop as the marketplace is filled with shops and delightful local cuisine, including fresh from the wharf fish and artisan cheeses. Joining many historical sites in San Francisco, the original Ferry Building got its start in the late 1800’s as it was replaced the older, wooden Ferry House. Throughout the ages the popularity and necessity of the ferry has waxed and waned and so has the marketplace but its currently undergoing a resurgence of sorts as it not only serves as a ferry building but also a gathering place for locals and tourists looking for incredible local gastronomic fare and a little shopping spree.

The Garden Court

For a completely romantic, lavish and opulent dining experience take your sweetheart to The Garden Court. Originally The Garden Court served as the carriage entrance to the grand Palace Hotel, it was designed to wow guests with its stunning beauty. Unfortunately the 1906 earthquake took its toll on the Palace Hotel and the carriage entrance was closed for three years of repair, when it reopened it had been transformed into The Garden Court, capped with a dome of stained glass, decorated with Austrian crystal chandeliers and graced by extraordinary architecture. Luckily the menu competently vies for attention and diners are treated to a romantic meal like no other.

Baker Beach

No romantic escapade is complete without a trip to the beach. With San Francisco’s sweeping coastline there are a number of beautiful beaches but Baker Beach is one of the tops. Reaching only about a mile long, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge it affords great views of the bridge while its other views are probably what it’s most noted for. Baker Beach is host to a nude beach on its northernmost side. A perfect destination for the frisky couple who loves to frolic in the ocean.

When taking a trip to San Francisco with romance on your mind, remember who your sweetheart is, because as you know, it’s too easy to leave your heart in San Francisco.

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