Keep romance alive with a vampire-themed bar, pumpkin picking, art experiences, and more.
Updated on 9/27/2021 at 5:13 PM
Okay, so “hot vax summer” was a bit of a bust in SF, mostly because we don’t celebrate the season known as “summer” when everyone else does, but also because ever-evolving and (re)tightening restrictions, like the return of the indoor mask mandate and proof of vaccination requirements for bars, restaurants, clubs, large events, etc. At the time, those sent a lot of us running back into the arms of our familiar friends, but now that we’re pretty used to the current rules (and since they don’t seem like they’ll be going anywhere anytime soon), it’s time for us to get back out there and do fun things in the name of not dying alone.
Whether you’re scouting prospects for cuffing season or spending QT with your significant other, we’re here to help you maximize any time not spent working at your dining room table or sitting on your couch. Which is where we come in with this list of actually fun fall date ideas, all of which will still actually be fun even if your date is just your bestie or yourself. And only one of which involves a pumpkin patch.
Want to find out if your date’s a screamer? Take them to this fully immersive haunted journey that combines theater, mazes, special effects, and an endless parade of witches, nuns, and demons jumping out at you when you least expect it. Oh, and also some full-frontal nudity. Enjoy a drink at the Fang Bang—an ‘80s/new wave/goth/vampire bar—or at least know that you’ll very much need one when you finally escape the hellscape that is the “Immortal Reckoning.” If you prefer to drink among vampires and not have the living daylights scared out of you, the Fang Bang bar is open to anyone—you don’t need a ticket. There will also be a Terror Ball, a Halloween party hosted by Peaches Christ, on October 30th.
Beach Blanket Babylon was one of the best things about San Francisco for decades, so it’s fitting that the first act to follow it in the historic Club Fugazi is a love story to the City. “Dear San Francisco: A High-Flying Love Story” is produced by a world-renowned circus and arts collective, which, yup, means you can expect to see all kinds of daring and impossible feats up-close and personal (it’s an intimate theater), all told in tableaus that pay homage to this crazy, wonderful town and the beauty and characters that embody it. Come hungry and thirsty because there will be small bites, wine, and beer to enjoy ‘cause this SF circus is very much for adults.
Take a stroll with your date through the Barlow, 12 acres of spots that are perfect for getting to know someone (or hanging out with someone you already know). Take a tour of the Spirit Works Distillery before enjoying a tasting flight or a cocktail. Enjoy a delicious lunch at Blue Ridge Kitchen, a farmhouse-style wood grill and cocktail bar with the best ahi tuna tartare you’ll ever eat, a bomb smash burger, and a drunken fried chicken that looks like it came from a Flintstone’s dinosaur chicken (it’s huge) but is still the perfect combo of crispy and juicy. Pop into Region to discover and taste 50 small production Sonoma wines from self-serving machines (each wine is offered in one-ounce, two-and-a-half-ounce, or five-ounce pours, and you can also do it the traditional way with a human being pouring for you). Grab a beer at one of several breweries, a couple of which have live music on the weekend. And be sure to pick up a wedge of proper British-style aged cheddar from WM Cofield Cheesemakers to enjoy later (trust us).
Half Moon Bay
You know what most people in the country don’t get to do? Go to a pumpkin patch on the coast. But since you’re in NorCal, you can do just that at the (self-proclaimed) “pumpkin capital of the world,” Half Moon Bay. There are a bunch of farms to choose from, but Andreotti Farms is the place to go if your date is doubling as an Instagram photo opp, and Arata’s is the spot if you enjoy a crazy hay maze. Make a day of it by hiking on one of Half Moon Bay’s gorgeous trails, enjoying some local craft beer at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, and eating some truly fantastic Peruvian food while enjoying waterfront views at La Costanera. (The cebiche mixto is possibly the best cebiche you’ll ever eat and tastes even better with a pisco sour.)
Go to some classic theatrical and musical performances
Live shows are finally back, and, in many cases, we’re going old school. “Jesus Christ Superstar” is playing at the Golden Gate Theatre from October 13–November 7. “My Fair Lady” is at the Orpheum from November 2–November 28. The San Francisco Symphony season offers a slew of concerts featuring music by Beethoven, Debussy, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Mozart. And the San Francisco Opera is also back live with a brand new production of Beethoven’s only opera and music by Mozart.
Keep it simple and go out to dinner at one of SF’s newest hot spots
You really can’t go wrong with dinner and drinks, especially if you take it up a notch by showing your date you’re in the know. Go casual and lively at Wilder, a new spot in Cow Hollow from the Westwood crew where brunch can get a little rowdy (in a good way, of course). Impress at Empress by Boon, a modern Cantonese restaurant in a stunning and historic banquet hall (if you can get a reservation, that is). Keep it simple with excellent pizza, pasta, and cocktails on the roof at Fiorella’s newest location in the Inner Sunset. Immerse yourself in a fairytale at Merchant Roots’ newest fall-themed dinner, Stone Soup, an extraordinary meal you really just need to experience for yourself. Enjoy a modern twist on classic American favorites at Luna in the Mission. Travel to Mexico at the Traveler at 25 Lusk, a drinking and dining experience that will eventually “go” all over the world. Visit Greece at Michael Mina’s beachy new spot, Estiatoro Ornos, where you’ll find coastal vibes, fun cocktails, and SF’s only “fish sommelier.” Sip on spritzes and snack on cured meats and stinky cheeses at Chezchez from the Trick Dog team. Or make it a little cozy and romantic (but still fun) at Linden & Laguna, a new—decidedly unpretentious—wine bar in Hayes Valley with probably the most affordable and legit good wines you’ll get at any wine bar in the city and flatbread pizzettas that taste a million times better than whatever that other wine bar you go to serves.