There’s no sugarcoating it, kids these days really need to step up their date game. And a particular note to the fellas reading this, an Instagram DM about meeting up at a random party simply won’t cut it. A date is your chance to have a conversation, feel one another out, and gauge whether or not there’s a connection. It gives you an opportunity to show off your personality, your sense of humor, your values, goals, hopes, and dreams.
Now, dating may seem scary, but it needn’t be. You don’t have to dive straight into the deep end with a multi-hundred dollar meal at Addison. Nor should you pull the clichéd Jr. High movie date where you simply sit in silence next to each other and maybe hold hands or awkwardly make out for a few seconds. Think about changing it up. Instead of trying out some date night ideas, try asking your lady or guy to go on a daytime date with you.
Whether you’re looking to spend a buck or are functioning on a shoestring budget, San Diego has myriad places that are sure to offer a good time. You can choose a day out on the water or one of the many San Diego tours. Either way, you can’t go wrong! Interested in more? Keep reading to discover some date ideas in San Diego.
Soak Up the Sun
Instead of simply going to the beach, step up your game and head on down to Mission Bay’s Sport Center for some fun water sports. Nestled in the heart of PB and MB, the aquatic center gives you access to the Mission Bay’s beautiful waters. This locally owned and operated aquatic sports center has a full fleet of water toys you can rent. For those of you on a larger budget, consider going for the:
- Jet skis
- Power boats
- Sail boats
- Pontoon boats
If you don’t want to spend as much, they offer manual watercraft such as:
- Standup Paddle Boards
- Pedal boats
And if you don’t feel like getting wet, not a problem! Rent a bike and ride along the bay, enjoying the warm sun and beautiful scenery. There’s a 12-mile bike path around the entirety of the bay that comes recommended by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.
Take a Hike
San Diego has a variety of beautiful vistas and locations you can hike to. Whether you want ocean views or picturesque cityscapes, there are almost too many spots to choose from. Regardless, a hike lets you get some exercise, have plenty of time for conversation, and the opportunity to take in some gorgeous scenery. Imagine taking in the beauty of a waterfall or watching a sunset from the cliffs with your date. Talk about a romantic view!
Some famous hiking spots in San Diego include:
- Beach Hike – Looking for a leisurely hike that won’t kill either of you? Torrey Pines State Park’s Razor Point Trail is the perfect place to hike because it’s only 1.3 miles long. The trails are easy to hike, and the ocean views are sure to take your crush’s breath away. As an added benefit? You’ll end up right on the beach.
- Potato Chip Rock – Want to see how your date handles a challenge? A popular spot is the “Potato Chip Rock” hike, AKA Lake Poway to Mount Woodson hike. This is no simple trek. It’s 6.4 miles to get to the iconic Insta-spot, so start early, wear sunscreen, and pack plenty of water and snacks.
- Mission Trails Regional Park – Located in the heart of the city, MTRP is an oasis of hiking loops to take you out of the city and into nature. If you’re looking for an adventure, try the Mission Trails 5-Peak Challenge. Take a selfie at all five mountain peaks, and you can become 5-Peak certified.
Also, for those of you who make fun of hikers who you see with poles… don’t knock it ‘til you try it. They’re lifesavers. Seriously, they will save your knees, particularly on the downhill sections.
Scope out the Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest and most well-run zoos in the entire world. They’re renowned for their ecological and conservation efforts, and they’ve made a concerted effort to educate the children of San Diego on the importance of animal preservation.
Located in Balboa Park, the beautiful 100 acres are home to some 3,500 animals of more than 650 exotic species and subspecies. Whether you want to see lions, tigers, or bears (oh my!), the SD Zoo is unmatched in its diverse array of wildlife.
Share a private moment on the Skyfari Aerial Tram. Go on a botanical tour or a guided bus tour. Catch a show and then maybe go pet some animals. Whether you want to see the polar bears or greet the giraffes, you’re sure to have a blast!
Did you know the zoo is located inside Balboa Park? After a fun-filled day looking at animals, feel free to explore San Diego’s treasured park—you’re bound to experience something new every time.
- Explore any of the dozens of gardens tended to throughout the park
- Grab a craft beer and marvel at sculptures at Panama 66
- Learn about local artists at the Spanish Village Art Center
- Visit one of 19 museums throughout the park
There’s shopping, restaurants, classes, live music, and so much more packed into one incredible park.
Grab a Drink at the Historic Hotel Del Coronado
Just across the bay from downtown San Diego lies the resort island of Coronado. Only connected by a tombolo known as the Silver Strand, Coronado is host to a famous landmark, the century-old Hotel del Coronado.
Built in 1888, this beautiful oceanfront hotel is one of the few surviving examples of a wooden Victorian beach resort. Featured in a variety of books, television shows, and movies, the famous resort has been host to royalty, presidents, nobles, and celebs alike.
As you might imagine, rooms don’t come cheap, but you’re only buying drinks, so you’re off the hook. After you grab drinks and a view, you and your date can walk the hotel grounds, check out the pool, or stroll around Coronado proper with an ice cream in hand. This little island may feel small, but there’s a ton to do. There’s a number of places to eat at Coronado Island along with relaxing activities. Opt for a daytime date here and you’ll surely enjoy the best of Coronado.
Sample Some Wine and Cheese
If you and your date are both oenophiles (wine lovers), then there’s nothing like wine tasting in San Diego or at one of the beautiful vineyards spanning the county. This gives you the chance to do an activity, have a drink, and a chat all at one time, which is much more relaxing than just going to the bar.
If you’re looking for the perfect spot, we suggest Bernardo Winery. Located at 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, this cozy little winery seems tucked away from the world. The grounds are beautiful, the wine is amazing, and the food is delicious. Try a $16 five sampler tasting and pair it with one of their cheese platters. Once you find a wine you like, feel free to buy a bottle, relax, and converse.
A word of advice, instead of simply typing in, “date ideas San Diego” and picking your favorite option, consider tailoring the daytime events to your date. Although these are all fabulous options, the day will be made more special, the more personal you can make it.
Whatever date ideas for San Diego you pick, don’t overthink them. Ask your date questions about his or herself (most everyone’s favorite subject is themselves) and be confident—they went on a date with you for a reason. Combining good conversation and the perfect daytime date will give you the best recipe for success.
San Diego. Mission Bay Bike Path. https://www.sandiego.org/articles/biking/bike-path-mission-bay.aspx
MTRP. 5-Peak Challenge. https://mtrp.org/5-peak-challenge/
Historic Hotels of America. Hotel Del Coronado. https://www.historichotels.org/hotels-resorts/hotel-del-coronado/history.php