Scenic view from the La Jolla shores in San Diego

29 San Diego Date Ideas in 2023 (By a Local)

If you’re looking for some fresh and exciting San Diego Date ideas, then I’m here to help!

San Diego is an awesome city to meet someone new or keep a lasting relationship full of fun and excitement. The warm weather of America’s Finest City has fostered a thriving outdoor culture and lots of creative and unique San Diego activities.

I’m a San Diego local, and I know first hand that the city is brimming with unique restaurants, cultural spots, and natural beauty. There are tons of fun date options to pick from, and in this article I’ll dish some of my favorites! 

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29 Date Ideas in San Diego

Seaport Village

Enjoy a delicious waterfront meal and then check out the charming shops and sailboats in the harbor

People relaxing at the San Diego’s Seaport Village during sunset
San Diego’s Seaport Village is a great sunset spot

📍 Google Maps | Seaport Village’s Website | 💗 Best for: First dates

Seaport Village, located on the San Diego Bay, gives spectacular views of the marina and is the perfect place to spark some romance.

Have a romantic dinner at a waterfront restaurant and then walk the grass-lined trail through the park that leads to the picturesque Embarcadero — a waterfront park where you can sit and watch the sunset as sailboats glide by.

💖 Read Next: Best Romantic Getaways in California

San Diego Zoo

Stroll the enormous zoo and marvel at all of the animals

A polar bear diving on the water in San Diego Zoo

📍 Google Maps | 💘 Best for: Adventure dates

If you or your date love cute animals, then a day of walking the San Diego Zoo is the perfect date idea. Looking at all the animals will be a great bonding experience. 

Whether your favorite animals are elephants, lions, or polar bears, the San Diego Zoo offers the perfect place to share an unforgettable experience with your partner.

Sunset Cliffs

Take a romantic walk on the beach at San Diego’s best sunset spot

View from the Sunset Cliffs in San Diego
Sunset Cliffs is the best sunset spot in San Diego

📍 Google Maps | 💗 Best for: First dates

Don’t underestimate the prototypical “long walks on the beach at sunset” date. Especially at Sunset Cliffs, which consists of gorgeous seaside cliffs that offer the perfect perch for watching the sun set over the pacific ocean. 

Take some snacks and lay a blanket on the sand to complete the romantic date night with your special someone.

Balboa Park

Explore Balboa Park’s beautiful buildings, secret gardens, and intriguing history! 

Colorful sky over the Balboa Park in San Diego
Balboa’s many hidden gardens are the ideal spots to stroll and sit and talk on a date

📍 Google Maps | Balboa Park’s Website | 💗 Best for: First dates

Balboa Park is romance embodied. The park contains some of San Diego’s most beautiful Spanish-style architecture and peaceful gardens and alcazars. 

Here, you can sit and appreciate the scenery and San Diego sunshine, or take a walk. Balboa is one of my favorite casual date ideas because it feels like you’ve traveled to coastal Spain.

The park also has tons of museums such as the Timken Museum, the Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Us, and, my favorite, the Japanese Friendship Gardens.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

The best view of beautiful San Diego is from up above with your partner

Colorful hot air balloon over San Diego
Make an unforgettable memory soaring up in the clouds

📍 Google Maps | Compass Balloon’s Website | 🎈 Best for: Anniversaries

Does your love make you feel like floating? Well, you can make that literal by going for a sunset hot air balloon ride over America’s Finest City. 

There is no better vantage point of the stunning San Diego coastline and I can’t imagine a more romantic evening than being up in the clouds with your partner. 

Petco Park

Share your love of the San Diego Padres with a high-energy baseball date night

The author with her boyfriend watching a baseball game in Petco Park
My boyfriend and I love going to Padres games together…  he for the baseball and I for the food

📍 Google Maps | Padres’ Website | ⚾ Best for: Casual dates

Cheering on San Diego’s beloved baseball team is one of my favorite date ideas in the city. The games are always high energy and spark a sense of excitement. Even if baseball isn’t your favorite sport, Petco Park offers tons of drinks and food options as well as stunning views of the san Diego skyline and the San Diego Bay. 

The stadium is located in downtown San Diego within walking distance from numerous bars and restaurants where you can continue the date after the game.

Belmont Park

Embrace your inner child at the beachfront Belmont amusement park 

View of the roller coaster in Belmont Park

📍 Google Maps | Belmont Park’s Website | 🎢 Best for: High-energy dates

If you are looking for a date that allows you to let loose and embrace your inner child, then the historic Belmont Park, located in Mission Beach, is the perfect spot.

The beachfront amusement park dates back to 1925 and boasts tons of San Diego history and character, especially its iconic wooden roller coaster, the Giant Dipper. At the top of the roller coaster, you can take in the views of Mission Beach and Mission Bay. 

The park also has a boardwalk with restaurants, rides, an arcade, and shops, so you can easily have a full day of fun at one of San Diego’s top historic landmarks

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Connect simultaneously with each other and with nature at San Diego’s clifftop nature reserve

View from the Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Diego
Enjoy some of the most beautiful of San Diego’s coastline!

📍 Google Maps | Torrey Pines State Nature Preserve’s Website | 🥾 Best for: Adventure dates

If you and your date are up for a little adventure, then explore  San Diego’s most beautiful coastline at Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve.

With tons of San Diego hiking trails that offer gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, it makes for a great active date that promises plenty of outdoor fun. 

Kate Sessions Park

Enjoy a picnic with a view of San Diego’s gorgeous coastline

People having a picnic at Kate Sessions
Kate Sessions Park is my favorite San Diego picnic spot

📍 Google Maps | 💗 Best for: First dates 

A romantic picnic in the park with sweeping views of Mission Beach? Yes, please! 

Grab a blanket and some snacks and find a shady spot on this grassy hilltop park. Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time or you’re looking for a casual date spot with your significant other, Kate Sessions is one of my favorite date ideas in San Diego.

Rooftop Cinema Club

Catch a movie under the wide-open San Diego sky

📍 Google Maps | Rooftop Cinema Club’s Website | 🍿 Best for: Movie dates

One thing about San Diegans is universally certain, and it’s that we want to be outdoors enjoying beautiful weather as much as possible. Thankfully, Rooftop Cinema Club, located on the Embarcadero, has delivered a way to enjoy a movie night under the stars. 

The venue sits atop a rooftop and has a giant screen with lawn chairs. You can also enjoy local beers, wine, and great food.

Rady Shell

Nothing brings people together like catching live music — Rady Shell’s waterfront setting just adds to the romance

People enjoying a concert in Rady Shell
San Diego’s newest concert venue is a must-visit

📍 Google Maps | Rady Shell’s Website | 🎶 Best for: Dates with a show

San Diego’s newest concert venue, the Rady Shell at Jacob’s Park, is located right on the bank of San Diego Bay. 

The Rady Shell’s unbeatable waterfront location gives you both a visually and auditorily captivating experience to share with your partner. The only downside to this venue is that you won’t be able to decide between watching the sunset, the sailboats, or the performer. 

The Rady Shell also opens its doors for free during the San Diego Symphony’s rehearsals and is one of the most awesome free things to do in San Diego

Rock Climbing

Cheer each other on as you work together to scale to new heights! 

A woman enjoying rock climbing in San Diego

📍 Google Maps | Mesa Rim’s Website | 🧗 Best for: Adventure dates

Climb to new heights with your partner! If you love being active together, then rock climbing is a great activity. It requires communication, teamwork, and trust, but most importantly, it’s so much fun to cheer on and encourage each other.

I climb at Mesa Rim, which has a few locations throughout San Diego.

San Diego Bay Sailing

Nothing says romance more than a sunset sail around the gorgeous San Diego Bay

View while enjoying the San Diego Bay Sailing
The best view of downtown San Diego is from a sailboat on the bay.

📍 Google Maps | ⛵ Best for: Special occasions

Take advantage of San Diego’s natural beauty, which always promises to take your date to the next level. 

Make an unforgettable memory with your person with a sail around the San Diego Bay, one of the most romantic date ideas that the city has to offer. Rent a sailboat and try your hand at sailing yourself or go for a sunset sailing tour for a more relaxing and luxurious experience.

Hotel Del Coronado

Treat yourself to a luxurious day at the hotel restaurant, pool, and spa

View from the pool area of Hotel Del Coronado at night

📍 Google Maps | The Hotel Del Coronado’s Website | 💆 Best for: Special occasions

Enjoying some relaxation quality time is a great way to bond with your significant other at one of the top places to stay in San Diego. The Hotel Del Coronado, located right on the beautiful Coronado beach, is a luxurious and romantic hotel and spa that makes for a fantastic San Diego date idea. 

Have a refreshing spa day, sit at the beachfront pool, and then grab drinks at the Sun Deck or a romantic meal at the hotel’s renowned restaurant, Serẽa.

For the full experience, book a stay at the Hotel Del Coronado

Share a Slice of Pie in Julian

Enjoy a slice of San Diego’s best apple pie in a quaint mountain town

View of people posing for a picture after their hike
Julian pies draw people from all over San Diego during Fall

📍 Google Maps | Mom’s Pie House Website | 🥧 Best for: Destination dates

Take a day trip from San Diego to the quaint mountain town of Julian to try some of the best pie you’ll ever taste.

I recommend visiting in Fall when the Mom’s Pie House has fresh apple pies — the thought has my mouth watering at this very moment. The adorable town is a great destination for a change of scenery from San Diego’s beaches, especially when the weather starts to turn crisp.

If you’re looking to make it an overnight trip, then some of my favorite San Diego camping spots are in and around Julian.

The Marine Room

Share an exquisite meal with the most unique and stunning views in San Diego.

📍 Google Maps | The Marine Room’s Website | 🍽️ Best for: Special occasions

One of the most unique fine-dining restaurants in La Jolla, The Marine Room is as famous for its culinary offerings as it is for its location on the sand of La Jolla Shores beach (no, this is not an exaggeration, the restaurant is literally on the beach). 

There’s nothing quite as picturesque or romantic as dining on exceptional seafood as the waves lap at the window next to you.

👉 Pro Tip: Coordinate your reservation during high tide, when the waves often reach the restaurant’s windows.

Park & Rec

For a fun evening of drinks and dancing, look no further than Park & Rec

📍 Google Maps | Park and Rec’s Website | 🕺🏿 Best for: High-Energy dates

Get your groove on at one of my live music bars in San Diego. Park & Rec has a cute patio dining area and bar that serves great food and drinks that are enough to make it a great date night destination. 

What sets the restaurant apart, however, is its garage/stage area tucked in the back patio that hosts live music on the weekends. 

Bernardo Winery

Enjoy some of San Diego’s local wine at San Diego’s oldest winery

A couple enjoying their day in Bernardo Winery

📍 Google Maps | Bernardo Winery’s Website | 🍷 Best for: Anniversaries

The historic Bernardo Winery began producing wine in 1889 and continues the tradition today. While here, not only can you enjoy quality San Diego-made wine, but you can also tour the historic wine-making buildings, complete with 130-year-old wine barrels. 

The grounds are so beautiful that they are commonly used as a destination for proposals and weddings. 

Go to a Drive-In Movie

See a movie with a twist at one of San Diego’s nostalgic drive-in theaters

A woman hanging her legs out of the car window while on a drive-in movie

📍 Santee Drive-In Google Maps and Southbay Drive-In Google Maps | Santee Drive-In Theater’s Website and Southbay Drive-In Theater’s Website | 🍿 Best for: Movie dates

Put a fun spin on a typical dinner-and-a-movie date and watch a movie at one of San Diego’s two drive-in theaters. 

Here, you can park your car in front of a giant outdoor movie screen, tune your radio to the indicated channel, and enjoy. For an elite setup, put a blow-up mattress in a truck bed and cuddle up for the flick.

San Diego County is home to two drive-in theaters, one in Santee and another in South Bay. 

Craft Breweries

Take advantage of San Diego’s revered craft beer scene

A chalkboard with the menu of Pure Project
Pure Project in North Park has an adorable patio, perfect for a day date

🍻 Best for: Day dates

San Diego is a playground for craft beer lovers. More than 150 craft breweries call the city home and together make up a prospering and ever-evolving beer culture. 

Pick your favorite San Diego breweries and go on a self-guided tasting tour, or book a guided San Diego beer tour for a curated experience.

👉 Pro Tip: My favorite brewery for a date is Pure Project in North Park, which has an adorable outdoor patio area (not to mention great beer), as well as a fantastic food truck on-site.

San Diego’s Wine Country

Wine and dine through San Diego’s very own wine country

People holding their wine glasses in San Diego

📍 Google Maps | Winery Tours Offered by Viator | 🍷 Best for: Destination dates

The Temecula Valley is one of the area’s best-kept secrets and most accessible romantic weekend getaways from San Diego

Southern California’s wine country is only an hour outside of San Diego where nearly 50 wineries are nestled in rolling hills. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but to ensure you get to experience all of the best, take a guided winery tour.

Couples Spa Day at the Catamaran

Treat yourself and your partner to some luxurious R and R 

A man enjoying a massage at a Spa in the Catamaran

📍 Google Maps | The Catamaran’s Website | 💆 Best for: Anniversaries

Everyone needs to relax and get pampered once in a while, and it’s even better when you can do it with your significant other. The Catamaran is an iconic hotel and spa located in Pacific Beach that embraces its coastal atmosphere. 

The luxurious spa uses traditional techniques and treatments and techniques inspired by Asia and the East Pacific. Book a massage, facial, body wraps, and much more.

Comedy Store

Love and laughter go hand in hand, and the Comedy Store is the place to embrace both

📍 Google Maps | The Comedy Store’s Website | 🎭 Best for: Dates with a show

The Comedy Store, located in La Jolla, is one of the best date ideas for couples who love to laugh together.

The venue welcomes some of the most famous and well-known jokers to the stage on weekends and you can enjoy local comedians during the week.

La Jolla Cove

For nature lovers, kayaking La Jolla’s coast is the ultimate San Diego date idea 

People kayaking in La Jolla Cove
Kayaking around La Jolla Cove is one of the best adventure dates in the city

📍 Google Maps | 🚣‍♀️ Best for: Adventure dates

For adventurous couples, kayaking around La Jolla Cove and exploring La Jolla’s iconic sea caves is a must.

The cove is frequented by playful sea lions, sea turtles, colorful fish, and sometimes even friendly sharks. If you have a kayak or even a standup paddleboard, feel free to make your own adventure. Of course, if you’d like some guidance, there are also guided La Jolla tours.

Moonlight Amphitheater

Enjoy a summer musical or play in the romantic, open-air Moonlight Amphitheater

📍 Google Maps | Moonlight Amphitheater’s Website | 🎭 Best for: Dates with a show

Located in Brengle Terrace Park, in Vista, Moonlight Amphitheater is one of the most idyllic venues to enjoy theater in San Diego.

Each Summer for the past 40 years, the company puts on 5 incredible Broadway musicals under the open sky. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the grass before the show begins to take the experience to the next level.

Take a Behind-The-Scenes Tour of Birch Aquarium

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of cute penguins and brightly-colored sea creatures at the Birch Aquarium

People watching the sea animals in Birch Aquarium

📍 Google Maps | Birch Aquarium’s Website | 🐠 Best for: Adventure dates

Birch Aquarium is one of the most renowned aquariums in southern California, showcasing the groundbreaking work of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It’s a great place to learn more about San Diego’s native coastal residents and, of course, interact with some cute animals.

The aquarium offers private behind-the-scenes tours where you can meet penguins or seahorses.

Little Italy Summer Film Festival

Immerse yourself in the most romantic culture and watch a classic Italian film under the stars

📍 Google Maps | Little Italy Summer Film Festival’s Website | 🍿Best for: Movie Dates

Nothing says romance more than classic Italian movies under the stars. Every Saturday during summer you can bring a blanket and a picnic and watch classic Italian movies at the open-air Amici Park Amphitheater. 

You can also take advantage of Little Italy’s lively bar and restaurant scene and grab a drink before the movie.

Taco Tour in Tijuana

If authentic tacos are your love language, you’ll find this tour the key to your heart 

Mexican tacos on a plate with lime

📍 Google Maps | Tijuana Taco Tours Offered by Viator  | 🌮 Best for: Destination dates

Some people’s love language is words of affirmation… and for others of us, it’s tacos. For those of you who fall into this category, a taco tour in Tijuana is sure to get the sparks flying. Crossing the border from San Diego is simple and, once you’re there, you’ll have access to some of the best fish, carnitas, and al pastor tacos you could hope for.

You can either do this date on your own, but the tour is great because you’re guaranteed a wide variety and a great selection of TJ’s best.

The Diversionary Theater

Attend a performance at the third oldest LGBTQ+ theater in the U.S.

📍 Google Maps | Diversionary Theater’s Website | 🎭 Best for: Dates with a show

The DIversionary Theater in University Heights has a long history of celebrating love by creating a fun and accepting space for anyone and everyone. 

The theater is known for its high-energy cabaret performances, plays, and musicals and also occasionally hosts open mics and comedy shows that make for an incredible date night.


There are plenty of fantastic date ideas in San Diego to choose from thanks to the city’s eclectic culture.

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