Fun, Creative, Unique Date Ideas in San Francisco: Walks, Take Out Orders, To Go Drinks, Picnics, Urban Hikes & Bike Rides During Coronavirus, Covid-19. Best Date Spots SF.
New places listed regularly, check back for updates!
(Read this prior post to get a glimpse into what dating in San Francisco is like before Covid-19).
As an online dating photographer and consultant SF Bay Area, I work with clients to capture photos but offer great date ideas to give them the best foot possible to relax, be themselves and open up to others. During Covid-19, I am making a few ideas available to all.
Here are my favorite places around San Francisco neighborhoods for nearly every occasion, budget, lifestyle on those socially distant dates.
Please note there are many, many other places I recommend beyond those listed below including more intimate locations, seasonal or weekly one-off events, hidden gems and date ideas beyond early dates – these are exclusively available for my clients.
Philz Coffee + Salesforce Park Walk
Salesforce Park remains relatively empty these days given the empty surrounding offices. With a Philz Coffee downstairs, a nice sheltered walk with views of the buildings, varied plant life and abundant picnic spaces make this a good option in the area.
Bix is opening up Gold Street for dining. It’s one of my favorite streets in all of SF. Nothing quite like a warm night here sipping on martinis, espresso martinis or negronis.
Gioia Pizza Slices + Hayes Valley Neighborhood Walk
Lots of take out options murals, green space and boarded storefront art make this area a popular place to walk around. If you want a quick delicious easy snack for take out, slices from Gioia are your best bet.
Philz Coffee Truck Marina + Wave Organ – Marina Green / Crissy Field
Great area to walk and explore on a clear day. Views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the San Francisco skyline. Iced coffee from Philz is always a great idea.
Nopa Fried Chicken Picnic – Alamo Square
This limited time offering from Nopa is perfection. The honey sriracha dip is divine.Couple a side of broccoli and an order with cocktails or beer to go and you got yourself a picnic. The fried chicken does get a little messy so go for the burger if you want to be a little more polished you food.
Bar Crudo – Alamo Square
Another Coronavirus limited menu offering are tacos from Bar Crudo. They have several options that are easy to transport for a picnic up the street. My favorite is the carne asada taco – pair this with a nice cold IPA or lager and you are good to go.
Fool’s Errand – Alamo Square
If you don’t want to commit to a meal, go straight to the booze picnic here at Fool’s Errand with a great selection of wine and craft beer to go. Follow John and crew on IG for the latest beer and wine selections added regularly.
Dear Inga Smokehouse – Dolores Park
Dear Inga opened back up on June 20th for takeout! Smoked meats, fish and fermented dishes galore. Place an order and enjoy it at Dolores Park. Don’t forget your beer and cocktails! My favorites so far from the limited items I have tried are the brisket, smoked trout salad and grilled summer squash. The Inga Dip Sandwich is a must – one of my items on this list.
UPDATE 7/31 – Contactless dining is now offered in the front (3 tables, spaced out on a very wide part of 18th street).
Whitechapel Pop-Up Weekend Bar
Bi-Rite Ice Cream & Nopalito 18th Street Take-Out Window.
Nopalito across from Dolores Park: https://www.toasttab.com/nopalito-on18th–3690-18th-st/v3
Victorian House Tour + Ice Cream Bar Sundaes – Cole Valley
Many of the popular Victorian homes are located on Waller, Cole and surrounding streets of the Upper Haight and Cole Valley. After a long walk, there is nothing quite like a refreshing sundae or scoop of ice cream at this old school ice cream bar. Even before Covid-19, this was a popular date idea for those that like to wander and explore.
Arsicault Croissants, Inner Richmond
Arsicault was closed for almost two months during Shelter in Place, but they are back up and running and you will be hard-pressed to find a better pastry in the city than warm gooey chocolate croissant from here.
Limited coffee options so if you are like me, have your partner get coffee next door at Breck’s. Take your order to go into Golden Gate Park if you can manage to eat them beforehand if not, walk it off at the park or do some grocery shopping at the farmer’s market on Clement Street.
Dumpling House, Castro
Dumplings make me happy, especially on a cold day in SF. This is one of the best takeout places in the Castro and you will be happy you ordered from here. You can take your food up to Tank Hill or Corona Heights park that are largely locals only parks so not as crowded as Twin Peaks.
San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market
Select vendors remain open for takeout during lockdown but at least you can support local business, get some fresh air and take in the scenic views up and down the Embarcadero with a nice walk.
Padrecito – Cole Valley
Padrecito is opening up shortly and will feature plenty of options for takeout (food and drinks), making it an ideal place for a picnic in Golden Gate Park, Panhandle areas. Popular options include the duck tacos and Copa Verde cocktails.
Equator Coffee – Fort Mason
Great grab and go spot to walk over the hill to Fisherman’s Wharf, hang out at the park with views of the bridge or walk down along the water toward the park. Be sure to check out the Shakerato (frothy iced espresso drink, perfect for a warm day in the city).
Jackson Place Cafe – Jackson Square
Hidden exposed brick courtyard cafe only open during business hours during the week. It’s a little more romantic and intimate during slow times without all the crowds getting in the way so you can actually focus on the calm details of the buildings and alleyways.
Buena Vista Cafe – Fisherman’s Wharf / Pier 39
Upgraded coffee from Graffeo and handmade whipped cream make Irish Coffees the perfect drink when you realize you underdressed and are freezing cold with your family on vacation. A destination place even for locals. Although to-go options can never replace the bar stool experience, this is still one of my personal SIP options.
Ocean Beach Walk / Golden Gate Park Bike Rides
A large section of the park is off-limits to cars on Sundays making it easier to ride bikes around the park. Stops to see the Bison, Trouble Coffee or bites at Hook Fish are a great way to round out a date.
During Shelter in place, large sections of JFK and John F. Shelley Drive are closed 24 hours a day.
Devil’s Teeth Baking Company
I could have lumped this place with Ocean Beach but I needed to call this place out for their amazing breakfast sandwich. It’s arguably the best in the Bay Area (two scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado and lemon-garlic aioli on a house made buttermilk biscuit). You will thank me later.
Hole in the Wall Coffee, North Beach
Easy, convenient place to grab a coffee to go as you explore North Beach, Jackson Square and Chinatown. Be sure to try their Coconut cold brew served in a coconut (perfect for a hot day).
Swan Oyster, Russian Hill
One of my all-time favorite places is now offering to take out orders. No more waiting in line or wondering if you will get a seat before things sell out. This is a great place to grab smoked fish and other delicious bites to go for a picnic in Fort Mason or anywhere along the water.
Tartine Manufactory Fried Chicken, Mission
Not near a park but there are benches around the building or you can transport elsewhere to enjoy but the fried chicken from Tartine is one of my favorite quarantine meals thus far. I am not sure if NOPA and Tartine will stop offering fried chicken if things ease with SIP so get your fix while you can. A side of carrot hummus pairs great with the chicken and bring a knife if you order the bread loaf.
As for cocktails, the boulevardie drink is amazing. It’s strong, it’s balanced (not too sweet) and refreshing. I can drink this all day.
The bento boxes are perfect for transportation and takeout and now with an easier way to order food (online ordering system vs call in) you are able to secure a delicious meal and easily transport it with you wherever you go. Everything is better in a bento box.
Liholiho launched their new takeout menu and new items are added regularly. If you haven’t had a chance to snag a reservation pre-covid, now is your chance to try out some new dishes from these folks who always put a smile on your face when dining here. There is also food kits and cocktails to go.
Place an order and walk up the street a few blocks and picnic at Huntington Park in front of Grace Cathedral.
San Francisco Crosstown Trail Hike
Shared Spaces, San Francisco
San Francisco is slowly rolling out shared streets that will shut down select streets throughout the city allowing businesses to offer expanded outdoor seating space. Valencia Street (pictured below) and Grant Avenue are the first two locations to launch. Click on the photos for details.
For other date ideas pre-Covid quarantine, here are some of my favorite spots to explore around the city.
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
Dating Profile Critique
For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.
For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog for more helpful advice: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/
Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/
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