by Allie Pape - 10 Reviews - 45 List
First dates are awkward to begin with--and, let's face it, they don't always turn into second dates. With that in mind, we recommend a first-date mantra: Have fun, no matter your companion. These San Francisco first date ideas will provide plenty of entertainment even if your paramour turns out to be less than perfect. And if the chemistry is right, they're also fun, flirty and occasionally outrageous ways to kick off a promising relationship.
Updated: July 04, 2011
If you've been to the Folsom Street Fair, you know San Franciscans can be rather light on inhibitions. For those pursuing a non-traditional relationship, or considering a "casual encounter," Tuesday nights at the Kabuki Spa can provide a revealing glimpse into your future (or lack thereof). It's the only time the spa is co-ed, allowing you to get a good look at a potential partner before you take the plunge.
Laughter is great at smoothing over differences and building bonds, but tickets to see a favorite comedian can be pricey (and you're taking the risk that your date doesn't share your sense of humor). For a cheaper alternative, try the $10 Thursday performances at this local comedy school. The variety of acts caters to every taste, and if any performers are particularly poor, you can bond over giggles at their lack of talent.
Sunday brunch makes a nice alternative to loud, crowded evening spots, but long lines can mean running out of conversation topics before you even get a table. Tell your date to meet you at this Outer Sunset spot, which has outstanding food (try anything with the house-made bread) and nary a line. If you hit it off, take the long N-Judah return trip together; if there's no chemistry, a quiet walk on nearby Ocean Beach can be a good chance to ponder your next encounter.
Dinner and a movie takes on a whole new meaning at this top-ranked Mission institution, which screens foreign and independent films in its courtyard during dinner service. If the conversation turns out to be less than sparkling, you'll both have an acceptable distraction.
Some people try to be the most perfect version of themselves on a first date, while others let it all hang out in the hopes that they'll find a partner who likes them, warts and all. For those in the latter camp, there's no better honesty impetus than an evening at the Mint, where you'll quickly learn about your date's taste in music, crooning skills and alcohol tolerance.
If you like art but find a day trip too serious, consider making a date for Friday Nights at the de Young. Each Friday, the museum stays open until 8:45pm, offering dinner, drinks, live music and access to the exhibits. Depending on the schedule, the museum may offer themed performances and beverages designed to pair with the exhibit, too.
Your online dating profile says "Must love dogs," and your date has a pooch of his or her own--but picking up doggie deposits at the park doesn't exactly spell romance. Zazie has the solution: special Monday-night dinners for dog owners on their gorgeous back patio, without any of the lines common at the popular weekend brunch. Go ahead, re-enact "Lady and the Tramp."