9 Best Date Ideas in San Diego (2024)

In need of some date ideas in San Diego? We’ve rounded up our favorite date spots in America’s Finest City to help you nab a second date.

If you’re looking to find your person in America’s Finest City, then you’re in luck. After all, San Diego, California, is celebrated for year-round warm temperatures, sunny coastlines, delicious cuisine, craft breweries, and so much more. 

What does that mean for you? It means you have so many amazing options when it comes to fun and interesting date spots in this coastal city! 

Whether you want to take your date to explore one of the scenic areas, check out a trendy spot, or go somewhere fancy, you’ll find so many inspiring date ideas in San Diego. Not sure where to start? Check out our list of our favorite SD date spots that are almost certain to help you score a second date

1. Stroll at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

If you’re interested in a romantic yet casual date night in San Diego, make your way to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in the late afternoon. As its name suggests, this seaside spot is perhaps the most enchanting place to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Pack a blanket and a picnic and find a spot on the cliffs where you and your date can enjoy a front-row view of the colorful spectacle. And if you want to keep the good times rolling after dusk, zip over to nearby Ocean Beach for dinner and drinks at one of the many local establishments like Wonderland, Surflodge, or South Beach. 

2. Cruise the Mission Beach Boardwalk

In search of a laidback cheap date idea in San Diego? Bring your bikes to the Mission Beach Boardwalk and spend the afternoon cruising around the waterfront. You and your honey will have a blast exploring the 3.5 miles of boardwalk with the sand and sea to one side and shops and restaurants on the other side. You can stop for ice cream at Big Kahuna’s or grab something stronger from the Lahaina Beach House. And if you’re really in for a thrill, head over to Belmont Park and brave The Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster, the Vertical Plunge, and Beach Blaster at this seaside amusement park!

3. Brewery Hop Downtown

If you want the first date conversation to flow, you might consider hitting up one (or several) of San Diego’s finest breweries. After all, San Diego has earned quite a reputation for its craft brewery scene. While there are breweries all over town, if you’d like to enjoy a few within walking distance of one another, make your way Downtown, where you’ll find iconic breweries such as Ballast Point Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Tap Room, and Resident Brewing Co, among many others! After all those tastings, just be sure to grab a bite to eat and arrange a sober ride home. 

4. Take Surf Lessons in Pacific Beach

For this fun and exciting sober date idea in San Diego, get ready to make a splash! We recommend booking surf lessons in Pacific Beach so you and your partner can learn the art of hanging ten—or at least standing up on a surfboard. You’ll have a ball getting some exercise, enjoying the great outdoors, and learning something new with your date. Once you’ve had your fair share of waves for the day, head to Oscar’s Mexican Seafood for some of the tastiest tacos in town, and then spend the rest of the day soaking up some rays on the beach. 

5. Explore the Museums at Balboa Park

A visit to Balboa Park is another one of our favorite date ideas in San Diego because it offers so much for you to do and see. Of course, the park is known the world over for its picturesque gardens, but it’s also home to countless museums and attractions, from the Museum of Photographic Arts, Spanish Arts Plaza, and the Contemporary Arts Institute to the Comic-Con Museum, Fleet Science Museum, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum. And if you and your date are San Diego residents, you can enjoy free admission to certain museums and exhibits every Tuesday! 

6. Dine at VAGA Restaurant & Bar

If you’re imagining a private table for two with sweeping views of the coastline, then it’s time to make dinner reservations at VAGA Restaurant & Bar. Nestled on the bluffs in Encinitas, this decadent restaurant serves the finest cuisine, from achiote and sour orange chicken to BBQ lamb loin. You and your date will have your choice of surf or turf meals paired with innovative cocktails like Beet Down, made with gin and beets, or The Ritual, where whiskey meets a hazy IPA. 

7. Watch for Whales

You’ve probably heard all the buzz around the orcas that have turned Southern California into their new breeding ground, so why not try to catch a glimpse of the majestic beasts for yourselves? You and your date can board a whale-watching cruise for the chance to see the black-and-white dolphins in their natural habitat. But even if you don’t see orcas, you may spot dolphins, fin whales, gray whales, sea lions, seals, and plenty of other kinds of marine life during your cruise around the coast. 

8. Cheer on the Padres

Interested in a casual date night in San Diego? Then, get tickets to see the Padres play at Petco Park downtown. Even if you and your date aren’t sports fanatics, you’ll find yourselves cheering your hearts out as you root for the home team. After all, there’s something so lively and exciting about watching a baseball game in a stadium surrounded by fans. Whether the Friars win or lose, mosey over to one of the local watering holes for a drink to unwind after all the excitement. 

9. Cheers at Polite Provisions

For a successful first date, consider sipping cocktails at the ever-trendy Polite Provisions. This apothecary-themed bar invites you and your honey to enter an old-timey drug store, where you’ll find tinctures, elixirs, and tonics. The perfectly curated decor is only topped by the exquisite and thoughtful handcrafted cocktail menu that features creative spins on everything from whiskey sours to negronis. Whether you go for gin or rather rum, there’s something on this menu for everyone!

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