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25 date night ideas in San Diego

Got a new fling but don’t know where to go? Hoping to spice things up with your longtime partner? We’re here to help plan your next date night in San Diego.

A couple poses under a neon sign that reads "Stay Classy San Diego."

Show love for San Diego, cinema, and your special someone.

Photo courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club

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Kids, this is the story of how I met your mother, and it was all thanks to SDtoday.

OK, so maybe that’s not exactly how the 2000s sitcom went, but if Ted Mosby had consulted us for date night ideas, we could’ve shaved the show down to two seasons (and saved his kids a lot of time). Regardless, whether you’ve met “the one” or are hoping to impress someone new, we’ve got 25 local date night ideas that are legen — wait for it — dary.

Wolfie's Carousel Bar's carousel

One of the best date spots around.

If the way to their heart is through their stomach

  • If you want sky-high views of San Diego Bay while you dine, make a reservation for two at Seneca Trattoria. The restaurant specializes in Italian-style cuisine and sits on the 19th floor of the Intercontinental San Diego in the Marina District.
  • Wave in views of the Pacific Ocean as you eat at the Marine Room in La Jolla. This dining room offers cocktails and small plates — with an emphasis on coastal cuisine — and don’t be surprised if the tide hits the windows as you eat.
  • Head to Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream in North Park or Point Loma to get a flight of ice cream cones — maybe try a 32-cone flight if you’re really hungry.
  • Enjoy a meal with a side of history at Wolfie’s Carousel Bar in Little Italy. And yes, the centerpiece carousel really moves, but slow enough that it won’t leave you spinning.
  • Give your date top-notch views of downtown San Diego and San Diego Bay at Mister A’s. The fine-dining restaurant sits atop the Manchester Building in Bankers Hill.
The Comedy Store neon sign and stool

The perfect date if laughter is your love language.

Photo via @paulscalone

For the ones who want a night out on the town

  • If you want date night to rock, head to one of San Diego’s small music venues like downtown’s House of Blues. Here, you’ll find shows by big-name performers or dance parties paying homage to your favorite acts.
  • Spend the night laughing together at a local comedy club. Many comedians have gotten their starts by performing at The Comedy Store in La Jolla — the writing is literally on the wall.
  • Get a standing ovation by surprising your date with tickets to see a play or musical at a local theater. Broadway San Diego is in the middle of its 45th season, and more shows kick off its 46th season in September.
  • Boo-k a Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour and learn about the history of downtown San Diego or Old Town through a much spookier lens.
A view of the sunset coming in at Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach

The only thing that makes Sunset Cliffs better: going with the right person.

If you love the great outdoors

  • San Diego’s sunsets are priceless, but watching the sun go down at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park makes for a romantic date, and it’s completely free.
  • Learn about San Diego together by taking a SEAL tour. The 100-minute ride will cover local history and take you on a sea and land journey.
  • You could spend a whole day exploring Balboa Park and discovering its history and beauty. Stop and smell the roses at the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden or get colorful at the Spanish Village.
  • Score the perfect couples picture by hiking Mt. Woodson Trail to Potato Chip Rock. Not your speed? There are plenty of hikes in San Diego County for all skill levels.
  • Learn to go with the flow and book a 90-minute surf lesson from San Diego Surf School.
  • Beach day? Make it a beach date — we are in San Diego, after all.
Little Italy food hall sign

Question: Where can you find food and trivia?

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

For the ones who like to play games (just not with your heart)

  • Prove that you’ve got game by winning a prize at one of Belmont Park’s carnival-style games. Or, score points and get a little competitive with a trip to the arcade.
  • Book a session at Smash City Rage Room in North Park and let out all of your frustrations by breaking everything around you — just try to leave your hearts in tact. You can also try your hand at axe throwing while you’re here.
  • Show off your smarts at trivia night. Little Italy Food Hall gets quizzical most Mondays, but there are many local establishments that host trivia on a weekly basis.
  • Prove you’re a hole-in-one by playing golf at The Loma Club. Don’t worry, you can always opt for mini golf, and food and drinks are available on site.
View of the San Diego skyline from Rooftop Cinema Club

Who would you like to share this view with?

Photo by Eric Scires via Rooftop Cinema Club

If you want an “old fashioned”-style date

  • A 1950s-style date is just a sock hop away at one of San Diego’s retro diners. If you’re near Liberty Station, Corvette Diner is always a rockin’ option.
  • Watch a movie under the stars with views of San Diego Bay at Rooftop Cinema Club on the fourth floor terrace of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.
  • The secret’s out, party like its 1929 at a local speakeasy. You have several options in San Diego, but if you find yourself shopping at Westfield UTC, Raised By Wolves is a good choice.

If you’re really hoping that it works out

  • If you like long workouts on the beach, sign up for a fitness class at Hotel del Coronado. Classes like Beach Yoga and Beach Body Workout let you break a sweat while the ocean waves at you.
  • The couple that sweats together, stays together — for the duration of a hot Pilates class, at least. If you can take the heat, try a class at SALT Pilates in Bankers Hill or Del Mar.
  • We kid you not, you can sign up for goat yoga at Sugar Sweet Farm in Encinitas. Furry friends will join you during class, and you might even score a cuddle session at the end, with a goat, of course.

If you wanna show off by knowing all the hottest events in town

  • Sign up for our daily newsletter, where we call out our top picks of things to do around town. Your date doesn’t have to know we’re behind it, you can take all the credit.
  • Stay up-to-date on the coolest local events around San Diego with our events page (and check out this guide for our tips on navigating the page).

What did we miss? If you know a perfect date spot that’s not on the list, guide us in the right direction using this survey.

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