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15 Super Fun First Date Ideas to Plan in NorCal

15 Super Fun First Date Ideas to Plan in NorCal

Between all the exciting outdoor recreation and creative indoor fun in NorCal, you’ll never run out of fun first dates ideas.

Roubina Al Abashian


5 min read

August 11, 2021

Meeting for coffee or planning a dinner and movie date is so 2020—as if that would land you a second date. It’s time you show your date how romantic and fun you are. So, it’s time to say goodbye to the old-school ideas and say hello to new and out-of-the-box dates. Between all the exciting outdoor recreation and creative indoor fun in NorCal, you’ll never run out of fun first dates ideas.

Perfect First Date Ideas In San Francisco 

The charming little Stow Lake, with its pedal boats, waterfall, and Chinese pavilion, is one of the locals' favorite places.

1. Row a Boat on Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park

Going to Golden Gate Park is probably a given, but rowing a boat at Stow Lake is one of the most unique things to do in San Francisco, let alone with a special someone. Rent a boat from Stow Lake Boathouse and get to know your date better as you float on the waters. Despite the fact that Golden Gate Park is a popular spot, Stow Lake is an S.F hidden gem and a pleasant surprise your crush won’t expect on a first date. 

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2. Stroll along Crissy Field

Looking for a romantic place to go on a first date? This one tops all free date ideas in California. A stroll at Crissy Field is one of the most beautiful things you can do with your crush. Enjoy stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge—but we both know that your date is the best view. 

The California Academy of Sciences is a research institute and natural history museum that's among the largest in the world.

3. Enjoy a Night at the Museum 

S.F is brimming with museums and art galleries, and every once in a while, they open their doors and invite visitors to enjoy live music, food, and craft beverages. Check out the California Academy of Sciences on Thursday nights and you two might end up going on an adventure Ben Stiller style. 

4. Have Fun Bowling at Presidio Bowl

Out of all the fun first date ideas, bowling is the most underrated. And when in S.F., Presidio Bowl is your go-to option. The 12-lane bowling alley offers snacks and features a foosball table and video games. What better way to spend the ideal first date?

Slip out of your hiking boots or Birks and step into your dancing shoes. This fun first date idea is always a hit.

5. Take up a new hobby at ODC

For everyone looking for exciting first date activities that’ll spice things up right away, dancing is the way to go. Sure, you can dance at any of S.F. clubs, but it’s so “been there, done that.” Try taking a professional dance class at ODC and learn the basics together. Who knows? You might even grow on both a professional and personal level. 

Places To Go On A First Date In Wine Country

6. Explore Wine Country on a Train

Going all fancy is the perfect first date idea, which is why taking the Napa Valley Wine Train is as romantic as it gets. Take your date on this gorgeous au naturel tour paired with freshly prepared, mouthwatering dishes. Feel like million bucks aboard the train and try to solve a murder mystery together. Either way, this is a cute first date idea that’ll go down in history.

7. Admire Napa from a Hot Air Balloon 

Want to impress your date big time? Out of all the things to do in Wine Country that don't involve alcohol going on a hot air balloon. Go on a unique sightseeing tour with Napa Valley Aloft and enjoy the stunning views from up above—now that’s how you begin a relationship on a high note.

How about you skip the dinner date and take it outdoors? Go kayaking with your date and enjoy nature at its finest.

8. Go Kayaking on the Russian River 

Calling all nature lovers, we promise that kayaking on the Russian River is an ideal first date idea. Get to know the adventurous side of your date while kayaking on the scenic river. River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips will take you on a unique trip that’ll surely be one of the best things you’ll ever do in Napa.

Romantic First Date Ideas In Sacramento

9. Watch a Movie or Two at West Wind Sacramento Drive-In

Take Netflix and chill on a whole new level and catch a flick at a drive-in theater at Sacramento’s best spot. West Wind Sacramento Drive-In is the largest family-operated movie theater chain in the world and it’s totally worth giving it a go. Enjoy watching cult classics, munching on snacks, and perhaps even cuddling on your first date? Some might call it cheesy, but we think it’s one of the best summer date night ideas.

Wow your date with a luxurious dinner aboard the historic delta King.

10. Dine Aboard the Historic Delta King 

Luxurious riverside dining is always a romantic first date idea, especially if you want to leave a great first impression. Where else to do exactly that than aboard the historic Delta King steamboat? Indulge in outstanding cuisine, enjoy a wonderful ambiance, and take in the scenic views—this dining experience will surely capture your date’s heart.

11. Volunteer Together at a Local NGO

Nothing brings people together than joining hands for a greater cause. Check out the many volunteering opportunities in the State Capital to give back to your community together. Besides, there’s no better way to know someone than seeing them lending a helping hand. There you have it—a fulfilling, fun, and free date idea in Sacramento.

Looking for an artsy date idea? How about you set up your own couples painting date night, whether in a class or at home?

12. Get Creative with Colors

Another creative and fun first date idea is literally tapping into your creativity. Plan the best first date ever by participating in Yaymaker’s Paint Nite events for a date that’ll make you go Yay. To add icing to the cake, you get to take your art piece home and be reminded of the unique date idea you came up with.

Casual First Date Ideas in Mendocino

13. Explore Sea Caves on a Kayak

Have you seen the sea caves in Mendocino yet? If not, planning to do it on a first date is a great opportunity to do something for the first time. Resort to Mendocino Kayak for the ultimate adventure—exploring the sea caves. You’ll leave Van Damme Cove on a kayak and start your journey towards the caves along the coast. Enjoy!

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

14. Go Horseback Riding at Ten Mile Beach

You’ve probably never thought about taking your crush horseback riding for an awesome outdoor date idea. That’s why we suggest planning a memorable ride at Ten Mile Beach and wow your date with your romantic side. Enjoy the oceanfront ride with Ricochet Range Ranch’s well-trained horses that are suitable for first-timers. 

15. Enjoy a stroll at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is home to the most beautiful native plants and is a must-see spot on the North Coast. Your date will appreciate the tranquility and charm of this paradisiacal spot while getting to know you. But plants are not all that the garden offers—a short walk to the cliffs exposes you to wonderful ocean views, where you can sit and relax. That’s definitely a romantic first date idea you’d want to go on. 

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