Romantic Things to Do in San Diego

Attractions for Lovebirds in America’s Finest City

San Diego creates a laid-back yet romantic vibe for couples, as 70 miles of coastline give way to a major cityscape with a thriving cultural arts scene. Whether you're planning a weekend away from the kids or a date night for two while vacationing with the little ones, San Diego offers a host of attractions that will keep the flame burning. Constant tepid temperatures make romantic outdoor excursions possible year-round, from sailing upon the sparkling blue waters of the San Diego Bay, to exploring the lush grounds of Balboa Park, to snuggling on the city’s sunny beaches. World-renowned theaters and museums also provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic night on the town.

Romance on the High Seas

Italy comes to San Diego via the Gondola Company (503 Grand Caribe Causeway, Coronado, CA). Take a two-person, 50-minute gondola ride through the narrow canals and waterways of the Coronado Cays. Every cruise includes blankets and Italian music. Couples may also purchase or bring their own bottle of wine. For added romance, book a cruise that begins at sunset. Hornblower Cruises and Events (970 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA) offers various excursions throughout the San Diego Bay, including dinner cruises with views of downtown’s sparkling city lights, Sunday champagne brunches and cocktail cruises with live music and dancing. The line’s fleet ranges from massive yachts that accommodate up to 1,200 guests to cozier vessels for just 50 passengers.

A Day at the Park

Just five minutes east of downtown, Balboa Park (1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA) offers 1,200 acres of green space and more than 15 museums, many of which are housed inside ornate Spanish-Renaissance buildings. Ponder works by such masters as Goya and Rubens as you tour the San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA), or take in a show at the critically-acclaimed Old Globe Theatre (1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA)—from Shakespearean drama to Broadway-bound musicals. Stroll hand-in-hand with your loved one through the lush grounds of the Japanese Friendship Garden (2215 Pan American Rd. E, San Diego, CA), pausing to admire its koi ponds and cherry trees. It’s free to explore the Alcazar Garden, a formal space lined with boxwood hedges, and the fragrant Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, home to more than 1,600 roses.

Beach Lovers

Set at the base of rugged limestone cliffs, La Jolla Cove (1100 Coast Blvd., San Diego, CA) is a quaint beach just 15 minutes north of downtown San Diego. The surrounding waters are calm and feature strong visibility, so visitors, in addition to swimming, can spend an afternoon snorkeling to see colorful garibaldi, yellowtail and rays. Rent kayaks and paddle into the nearby caves or access the cozy spot on foot when the tide is low. Enjoy a romantic picnic on the sand or take a leisurely walk through the park located atop the cliffs.

Elegant Accommodations

Enjoy a relaxing and romantic stay at the Hotel del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA), a historic resort set along the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Located on a land-tied island just 15 minutes across the bay from downtown San Diego, the 1888 hotel covers 28 acres and is set inside an enormous Victorian Queen Anne building dotted with red-roofed turrets. Book a stay in a luxurious guest room or a private cottage, some of which feature fireplaces, balconies, deep soaking tubs and ocean views. Take advantage of the nearby beach by renting bikes and beach chairs or reserving the fire pits for snuggling and roasting s’mores.

Dining With a View

Set out for a date night at Island Prime (880 Harbor Island Dr., San Diego, CA), an upscale steakhouse on the eastern tip of Harbor Island. Resting on stilts and jetting out into the San Diego Bay, the building features a glass-enclosed patio with sweeping views of the water and the skyline across the bay. Dine indoors and admire the elegant interior complete with wood-beam ceilings, chic mid-century light fixtures and candlelight. In addition to steaks, the restaurant serves seafood and an extensive wine list. C-Level (880 Harbor Island Dr., San Diego, CA), the restaurant’s casual lounge, offers a similar menu and outdoor seating as well.

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