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16 Romantic Things to do in San Diego

16 Romantic Things to do in San Diego

From harbor cruises and surf lessons to dive-in theaters and magic shows, here’s a list of the most romantic things to do in San Diego.


6 min read

May 20, 2021

Given the 70 miles of glimmering coastline, vibrant downtown, and delicious cuisine, San Diego is the place to take your date. Romance is found at every corner, leaving you with unforgettable memories (don’t get us started on the photo-ops). From harbor cruises and surf lessons to dive-in theaters and magic shows, here’s a list of the most romantic things to do in San Diego. 

The Best Date Night Ideas in San Diego

Apple picking is a classic couples activity. Whether it's a first date or you're well into the relationship, roll up your sleeves and pick 'em all.

1. Go Apple Picking in Julian

As far as romantic things to do in California go, this quirky idea is one for the ages. Take your loved one on a super sweet date to Julian and enjoy the hour and a half drive from the gorgeous La Jolla. With scenic grasslands and mountains for days, this gorgeous town is as American as apple pie. And speaking of apples, why not pick a few at the countless orchards dotting the Julian area—Apple Starr Orchard and Volcan Valley Apple Farm are the best in the area. Come by in autumn to see blends of green, red, and yellow making the orchards explode with colors. 

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2. Catch a Dive-In Movie 

We’re sure you’ve heard of drive-in theaters, but have you heard of dive-in theaters? Every Wednesday night, the iconic Pearl Hotel invites guests to hop into its lavish pool, unwind, and catch a flick from both in and underwater. Classics such as Jaws, The Parent Trap, and Wet Hot American Summer have all been featured at the dive-in theater. If this sounds like something you and your S.O. might enjoy, get your hands on California swimsuits, take a dip in the pool, and enjoy one of the most romantic things to do in San Diego.

La Jolla Cove is rich in marine life—the small and picturesque cove is popular with snorkelers, swimmers, scuba divers, and photographers.

3. Explore La Jolla Cove

From breathtaking sunsets to towering cliffs, every corner of La Jolla Cove is infused with magic. Not only is it one of the most photographed places in SoCal, but the cove is also a dog-friendly beach. Watch your four-legged companion befriend adorable sea lions as you bury your feet in the warm sand—it doesn't get better than this.

4. Explore Arts District Liberty Station at Night

Trade in the traditional dinner and a movie and let a stroll down this district capture your heart forever. Filled with working artists, dancers, and musical performances, Arts District Liberty Station glimmers with romance around every corner. Whether it’s a visit to the Visions Art Museum or an evening walk, this pedestrian oasis guarantees a magical time.

5. Go to a Comedy Show

If breaking the ice is not your forte, how about letting a comedian put in the legwork? Home to an abundance of comedy clubs and improv show venues, San Diego invites you to share a laugh with your potential boo. From the historic The Comedy Store La Jolla to Finest City Improv in Downtown San Diego, you’ll have plenty of chances to woo your date and make the experience memorable.

A magician never reveals his secrets—but we can. The key to a successful romantic date is planning something that's out of the box.

6. See a Magic Show

Reward yourself with a night of mysterious stories, sleight-of-hand, and humor in Old Town’s best-kept secret—the Red Spade Theater. Founded by magician Sebastian Figueroa, the theater accommodates only 28 guests, making for an intimate and cozy setting. Prepare to have your jaw dropped by the astonishing magician, whose showmanship and mind-reading ability verge on the impossible. 

7. Go Back in Time at Hotel Del Coronado

For over a century, the iconic Hotel Del Coronado has drawn lovers from near and far to fall in love inside its charming walls. If booking a room at this opulent resort puts a strain on your budget, don’t worry—you can still get a slice of romance without staying overnight at this historic gem. Grab something to eat and listen to live music in the old-fashioned Babcock and Story Bar, and treat yourselves to a luxurious couples’ spa treatment. This Coronado destination is as romantic as it gets. 

Turn your date night from boring and basic to fun and exciting by taking your special someone salsa dancing at Seaport District.

8. Learn How to Salsa at Seaport District

Bust your salsa moves in the beautiful outdoor courtyard at the Headquarters at Seaport District. Every month, a local musician plays a repertoire of classic salsa, merengue, cumbia, bachata, and Cuban music during the evenings. Pull your partner close and sway to the beautiful music—picturesque backdrops are guaranteed by America’s Finest City. 

9. Browse the Shops in Seaport Village 

With a waterfront stunner like Seaport Village, we can totally see why San Diego’s a top choice for the romantics out there. Take the beautiful sights and combine them with eclectic shops and you get one of the best things to do for couples in San Diego. Stroll around, window shop, and head to the nearby Embarcadero Park for a lovely picnic—this is how you crush the game.

A date in Balboa Park can easily turn into a day-long adventure thanks to the abundance of activities and adventures.

10. Choose Your Own Adventure at Balboa Park

With 12 museums, several open spaces, gorgeous gardens, and fabulous restaurants, Balboa Park invites you on a date that's flooded with opportunities. Whether you want to take pictures next to century-old architecture, have an artsy discussion at a museum, or hold hands amidst beautiful flower beds, the romantic Balboa Park is the quintessential spot for a date night in San Diego. 

11. Hike The Trails at Torrey Pines State Reserve

Impress your one and only with your athleticism on a hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve, one of the coolest places to visit in the Golden State. The 2,000-acre stunner is so magnificent that by the time you reach the top, you’ll feel a rush of endorphins taking over your body. Take your partner's hand and meander through the various trails in search of the most magnificent vistas. Spoiler alert—you won’t be searching for long. 

Sun's out, surf's up! Show your date how to ride the waves, take advantage of the swells, and have the time of your life at the Oceanside Pier.

12. Surf at the Oceanside Pier 

The historical Oceanside Pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast, measuring almost 2,000 feet. This location is blessed with southern and northwestern swells due to its shifting sandbars, with curling rights and lefts making frequent appearances during the summer months. Grab your surfboard and take your date out to a blissful day at this San Diego surf oasis.

13. Play Old School Arcade Games in La Mesa

If Pac-Man and Space Invaders bring up happy memories, head on down to Coin Haus with a pocket full of change. Located in La Mesa, this 2,400 square foot fun house holds 29 retro arcade games and a 50-tap self-serve system. Tackle the spooky Ghostbusters machine or watch your score creep up as you play Game of Thrones pinball—geek out and get down for this date.

Whether you’re new in town or simply looking for an exclusive experience, you will find everything you need in the Gaslamp Quarter.

14. Get Lost in the Gaslamp Quarter

If your date loves wandering aimlessly, admiring art, and taking in gorgeous scenery, this lively neighborhood will make sparks fly. Stretching over 16 blocks, the Gaslamp Quarter has it all—restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, theaters, anything you can think of. Admire 19th and 20th-century Victorian buildings and live it up at San Diego’s nightlife hub; the opportunities are endless.

15. See Animals at The San Diego Zoo

They say adorable animals make the best wingmen. Don’t believe us? Head to San Diego Zoo to test out this theory. Tucked away in Balboa Park, this world-renowned destination is one of the most fun coupley things to do in San Diego. Not only is this wildlife sanctuary among the Golden State’s finest, but it also boasts unforgettable “behind-the-scenes” experiences with your favorite animals.

16. Enjoy a Rooftop Mocktail Under the Stars

There’s only one thing more beautiful than San Diego, and it’s San Diego at night. The Nolen boasts a bird’s eye view of the dazzling city lights. This San Diego date spot is one of those places that makes everything seem like a movie, setting the stage for an unforgettable kiss. But before the credits roll, don’t forget to sip on a mocktail to top off the most romantic thing to do in San Diego at night.

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