The most romantic time of year is just around the corner! It’s time to grab some decadent chocolates, buy a bundle of flowers, and wield a giant teddy bear to sweep the love of your life off of their feet. But why limit yourself to one person? Valentine’s Day is all about spreading the love amongst ALL of the important people in your life.
So whether you’re enjoying the single life, planning an awesome Galentine’s day with your lady friends, or reveling in the joys of your passionate relationship, check out some of these fun events happening in San Francisco!
Fine Dining in San Francisco
Welcome to my favorite part of Valentine’s Day. Nothing says “I love you” to this little foodie more than a delicious meal and a wonderful restaurant! Venture over the water with your San Francisco bae or visit a hidden pocket of deliciousness in any of our scattered neighborhoods. You’ll easily woo your date at one of these perfect venues!
Sail the high seas with any number of the available cruises setting sail this Valentine’s Day. Choose from a morning brunch, a four-course dinner, or a charming champagne cruise overlooking the setting sun as you cruise along the bay and look over to the twinkling San Francisco skyline in the arms of your favorite person.
Try a romantic trip out to wine country on the Napa Wine train. These vintage cars rattle past vineyards and offer spectacular views of California’s rolling hills and sprawling grasslands. With a friendly staff and generous pours, this three-hour ride will zip right on by and leave you craving for more. Get the rest of your wine fix at the SF Chronicle’s annual public wine tasting. The juices will be flowing and your taste buds singing by the time you end this boozy Valentine’s.
But best of all, you’ll find plenty of scrumptious dining options throughout the city. With hundreds of restaurants and plenty of street fairs, it’s hard to choose a few locations. But a few honorable mentions have to go out to some of my favorite dining locales; Foreign Cinema in the Mission, Absinthe in Hayes Valley, and Cafe Jacqueline in North Beach.
Foreign Cinema is beautiful. A favorite for most SF residents, this eccentric restaurant offers couples cozy tables lit by flickering candle light. Take a seat in the courtyard beneath string of dangling lights or seat yourself in the inner rooms beneath vintage chandeliers. You’ll find delight beneath the silent streaming images of classic films playing against the wall!
Absinthe is the dramatic venue that could only pop up in San Francisco. Serving up a delicious menu of French and Northern Italian meals, Absinthe is best known for serving up potent cocktails containing their liquor namesake. I challenge my adventurous couples to tackle this intense venue and grab a sip of that infamous green fairy. Just don’t fall mad!
We end at the cozily quiet Cafe Jacqueline. This unassuming restaurant is tucked away in a little alley off of North Beach’s well-trod paths. Their shining gem is the array of perfectly baked souffles scattered through the menu. Each one boasts a savory decadent taste that’ll leave you craving for more. Perhaps you’ll even meet the chef; Grandma Jacqueline is responsible for every exquisite souffle that graces your table. The peaceful atmosphere of this family-run restaurant is sure to mark this night as a special evening.
Valentine’s Day For Friends
My twitterpated roommates have a whole day devoted to them. For now, I’m going to have a nice chat with all my single and ready to mingle people! Whether you’re looking for a day of solitary reflection or want to goof around with your friends and enjoy the wonders of the city, we’ve gotcha covered! I’ve scoured through the reliable online guidebook at FunCheapSF for fun and affordable events in the city limits!
As a person drawn to all things food related, I’ll gravitate towards the Free Sexy Comedy and Pizza Night at 50 Mason Social House. Just the name has everything going for it! Free? Check. Comedy? You got it! PIZZA?? Why are we still waiting here? Sexy comedy isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. I know it. You know it, which is why I’m going to add this: it’s also Beer Week here in SF.
We love to drink every type of beer known to man in this city. Why do you think myWebRoom has a Beer Snob Collection? So of course we have a 10-day festival dedicated to all of our local breweries, pubs, beer gardens, and of course to our fierce rivalries with other Golden State brew masters. Valentine’s Day marks the penultimate day the the festivities with an open air beer picnic! Grab a few of your buddies and head out to sample a dizzying array of flavors from three of Sonoma’s best breweries and mix things up a little with the first ever inclusion of a craft cider. For just a couple of extra dollars, you can even get commemorative glass with unlimited pours. Oh my, oh my, this day keeps getting better and better!
But would this really be a San Francisco Valentine’s day if you didn’t end up stripped down to your knickers? Share a extra little love for all the little people this year and race for a good cause in the Cupid’s Undies Run. Self-described as “where a little crazy meets charity,” this race teams up with the Children’s Tumor Foundation for some of the funniest fundraising you’ll ever do. Don your bedroom’s finest and dash through the city streets towards the bright red finish line, a generous bar, and the craziest party in the bay!
Chemistry + Love = Science!
Yes, science! I do love science – especially when you put a drink in my hand. Luckily for me (and you), both the Exploratorium and the Cal Academy have a special batch of fun brewed just for you. Whether you’re in your group of friends or part of a romantic duo, this is bound to be plenty of fun.
Cal Academy’s Nightlife is especially themed for the night, though. In a Beer Week-meets-Valentine’s event, their Feel the Chemistry event is filled with multiple bars, special planetarium shows, an occasional lecture, and several cozy spots for you and your partner to snuggle up to each other. Dazzle one another as you venture through all of the Earth’s rainforests and peer at the multicolored scales of tropical fish from beneath arching glass domes. Be sure to grab one last cocktail before you head up to the rooftop garden. The broad views of the city are sure to make your night before that mischievous fog comes rolling back in. The chill will just make you want to snuggle deeper into your sweetheart’s arms as the lights of San Francisco flare to life all around you!
Celebrate in the Street!
Keep in mind, my coupled friends, you have the entire day to be romantic. Spice up your love life with a healthy balance of sweet, exciting, and unusual events. After all, the Gregorian gods have smiled upon us! This year, Valentines Day falls smack dab in between President’s Day, the Chinese New Year, and the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. There is just one important thing to know about San Francisco if you’re new to the city or are a first time visitor: we leap at the chance to throw a good party!
And what festivities we’ll have. Take Saturday to see the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and the Vietnamese Lunar Firecracker show in our famous Chinatown! An estimated 100,000 visitors from around the globe are gonna show up to admire exquisite dance, art, and cultural displays amidst a sea of aromatic blooms and dangling ornaments.
The night will end at the street festival with a spectacular display of exploding firecrackers. Drag all of your friends between the booths to play a myriad of street games, sample traditional Vietnamese street fare, and conquer your fear of the stage at the karaoke contest. Or hold your loved one close at the end of the night and watch the nearby sparks shimmer in their eyes.
Of course, the hustle and bustle of the street fair may not be entirely what you’re looking for! I know I prefer a quiet day of reflection. Lucky for us that all of the national parks are free to the public thanks to President’s Day. Nearby Muir Woods National Park offers beautiful secluded paths and towering trees in which to lose yourself with the person or people of your choosing. Heck, make a whole day of it!
The brilliant minds at SFGate and the SFist said it best when they mentioned the beauty of SF’s Land’s End. Spend your morning in the woods and take a lovely stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge.
The route will slowly change into a well worn dirt path through the Presidio as you make your way through some of SF’s most beautiful parks and sights. Eventually, you’ll find yourself overlooking a sandy shore at Baker’s Beach or racing to solve the famous Land’s End Labyrinth.
Explore the caves near the ruins of the Sutro Baths and race from the fog by ducking into the Land’s End Lookout. There, you can stand at the ceiling-to-floor length windows with a steaming hot beverage cradled in your hands and watch as our old friend Karl creeps over the ocean and up the hills of SF. Those last rays of sunlight will surely get your heart a fluttering as it bows in fiery orange glory!
Pillow Fighting to For the Right to Party
Come one, come all! This impromptu battle of flying feathers was born a few years ago as an Anti-Valentine’s Day celebration and has since become a staple event for singles, friends, and couples. My own unabashed love for this city was born at Justin Herman Plaza beneath the Ferry Building’s clock tower. Imagine it! A flock of people wielding down pillows gather around the square and watch the minute hand slowly wind up to 6PM. When that last second passes, everyone rushes into the square to beat each other in friendly competition. It is fun, it is electrifying, it is just a tad terrifying. In short, it is everything that is wonderful about San Francisco rolled up into one frenzied pillow fight.
Romance With a View
Although we are a geographically tiny city, there are tons of things to see and explore. I definitely passed up a ton of great event, art openings, delicious foods, and crazy gatherings. Check out the fun folks at FunCheapSF for more ideas, or cast an eye out over these blogs and websites to get a broader sense of the city and it’s views. Plan a picnic by the Palace of Fine Arts, appreciate the vista as you sit on an old rope swing at Billy Goat Hill, catch your breath from the top of Twin Peaks! This city is beautiful and is sure to make the perfect romantic backdrop for your Valentine’s Day.
FunCheapSF is a great resource for finding awesome stuff around the bay at any time of year! Having fun doesn’t always have to break your bank!
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