We live in a technological age where information abounds, with so many opportunities literally at our fingertips. However, sometimes a good old-fashioned outing is the perfect nostalgic change of pace that you’ve been craving. With that in mind, we decided to log off, ditch the traditional dinner reservations and take some cues from the past.
We’ve collected some suggestions for quirky old-school date ideas that are guaranteed to woo that new hottie you’ve just gone official with or remind your partner just how important they are to you.
Go Play Outside: If you want to get away, think about an impromptu camping trip where you can roast marshmallows, grill on a campfire and tell ghost stories or grab sandwiches to-go and head up to Bernal Heights Park. There’s a tree swing at the very top of the hill. Take a stroll through the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Roller skate in Golden Gate Park. If you lost your skates years ago, or they are in your parents’ garage, rent a pair for as little as $5 an hour or $20 for the day from Golden Gate Park Bike and Skate. They also have inline skates too for just a few bucks more. Bring your own neon-striped knee-high socks.
Play Like an Adult: There are plenty of unconventional bars that will give you the excuse to play. Brewcade, a brewpub with classic arcade games and pinball machines, is the best spot to warm up to your date with some healthy competitive smack talk. Urban Putt, a mini golf oasis for full-grown imbibers, is another choice that brings a whole new meaning to “drinking games.”
Carnival boxers on display at the Musée Mécanique (Photo by Cathy Lynch)
Pretend You’re a Tourist: The Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place to play make believe. Dig out that old polaroid camera, put on your tourist cap, and make a daytime date out of re-exploring the area. Start out by grabbing a bite from one of the many seafood-themed restaurants dotting the pier or snag dessert from Trish’s Mini Donuts at Pier 39 before perusing the bounty of kitsch in the area. Make your way over to the Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, where flashing rainbow lights and blaring pop music make navigating the reflective labyrinth surprisingly difficult. Take a ride on the double-decker carousel at the end of the pier, then make your way to the Musée Mécanique where you can find coin-operated musical instruments and antique arcade games in all their vintage glory.
Get Those Endorphins Pumping: We’re talking about stepping outside your comfort zone here. Relive those awkward moments with more confidence than you had in middle school. Strap on ice skates and visit the skating rink (there’s bowling, too) at Yerba Buena, smack dab in the middle of downtown SF. Bounce around in the House of Air, an enormous indoor trampoline park in the Presidio, and if you’re really feeling it, challenge your date to a good ol’ game of dodgeball.
Play with Food: Remember what it felt like to learn an entirely new skill you didn’t even know you were interested in? There are plenty of classes couples can explore where you will learn something and also get your hands dirty. Instead of simply gifting chocolate, take a tour or cooking class together and learn to make the stuff at Dandeloin Chocolate.
Kiki’s Delivery Service at Alamo Drafthouse
Get This Show On The Road: Going to the movies can seem overrated when you can just as easily stay home to “Netflix & chill” but that may mean you missing out on some one-of-a-kind acts. There’s Broadway, and then there’s improv. Studios in the city, like Stage Werx, offer live shows with improvisational actors that are sure to leave an impression—whether that means you’re ridiculously confused or laughing uncontrollably. Or rewatch your teen and childhood VHS favorites on the big screen with Alamo Drafthouse’s Signature Series. Check their calendar to see if your favorite films made the list and find us at Princess Bride and Miyasaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, popcorn in hand.