Visiting San Francisco? There’s much more to see than the Golden Gate Bridge. While the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars are San Francisco’s main icons, this vibrant Californian city wears many different faces. From dreamy Haight Street to bustling Chinatown, here are some romantic things to do in San Francisco and the coolest places in San Francisco to visit as a couple.
Romantic things to do in San Francisco
In the mid 1960’s, young people from all over the world gathered in the name of love and peace at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets.
So it’s fitting that one of the romantic things to do in San Francisco is a walk down memory lane. It’s also one of the coolest places in San Francisco to visit as a couple.
For breakfast, head to the Pork Store Café (1451 Haight Street) in the Haight Ashbury district and wash down a stack of blueberry pancakes with a hot mug of coffee.
Trendy places to hangout in San Francisco
There are shops with dreamy names like Dreams of Kathmandu selling hippie relics from that flower-power era in Haight Street, which is also lined with boutiques, vintage clothing shops and trendy internet cafes.
Pop into Body Time (San Francisco’s version of the Body Shop) for oils and creams made in San Francisco.
Ceiba is a hippie’s haven with funky clothes, jewellery, sculptures and eclectic art works by local designers and artists.
It also has a record label that carries psychedelic trance, ambient and downtempo CDs.
For a true feel of the city’s hippie past, stroll past the house at 710 Ashbury Street where rock band the Grateful Dead once lived.
You won’t be able to look inside though, as it’s now a private home.
Cool spots in San Francisco for foodies
Enjoy dim sums for two in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The largest Chinatown outside Asia is a bustling cultural metropolis with hundreds of the world’s best Chinese restaurants.
Watch the chefs at the Imperial Palace (816 Washington Street) dumplings in the open kitchen before tucking into some dim sum. Their steamed dumplings are extremely fresh and very tasty.
After lunch, browse through Chinatown’s eclectic collection of shops for knick knacks like porcelain teapots, silk blouses and mahjong sets.
Stroll into the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (56 Ross Alley) to watch the ladies at work.
Although there are other fortune cookie bakeries in the city, this factory has a history that goes back to 1962 and is the only place where fortune cookies are still hand made.
Drop into the Vital TeaLeaf (1044 Grant Avenue) a Ginseng oolong energy boost.
It’s a tea-lovers paradise with large glass jars that display over 300 different kinds of tea, ranging from the $2500 per-kilogram bamboo green tea to the more affordable and popular lychee black tea. Tastings of some of the teas is free.
See Cool Places in San Francisco by Tram
There’s no doubt one of the romantic things to do in San Francisco is to ride the cable car to Nob Hill and wander around San Francisco’s poshest neighbourhood.
When cable cars made the hilltop accessible in the 19th century, railroad barons and gold-rush millionaires flocked to Nob Hill to build their mansions.
To really understand San Francisco, you’ll need to brush up on your cable car history. The place to do that is at the Cable Car Museum (1201 Mason Street)
Located in a historic building that is itself the heart of the cable car system, the museum has engines and pulleys that pull the cables into the building. Entry to the museum is free.
Another romantic thing to do in San Francisco is a bicycle tour of the hotspots.
Coolest place to stay in San Francisco
Admire the grand mansions of Nob Hill before stopping for cocktails beneath the crystal chandeliers of the Ritz Carlton, where you can sink back among plush Victorian décor while you listen to jazz and gaze at the San Francisco skyline.
The grand 17-columned building began life in 1909 as the headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.
Cool places in San Francisco after dark
Ride a cable car down the hill to the E&O Kitchen and Bar (314 Sutter Street) where you’ll find the best Southeast Asian fusion grill in town.
Decorated with trinkets from the orient and a Spanish guitarist, the restaurant has a moody vibe that epitomises multicultural San Francisco.
Devour a bourbon-flavoured Southern Chocolate Pecan Pie while watching a show at Biscuits and Blues (401 Mason Street) one of the USA’s top blues clubs.
The club has a constantly changing line-up of top blues performers from all over the nation but make sure you book as it’s a popular spot.
Discover San Francisco
Looking for more things to see in the USA? Start with a California road trip along Highway 1 in search of top spots to explore then head to the ski fields of Lake Tahoe for adventure activities and charming ski resorts.