San Francisco is arguably one of the United State's most romantic destinations (though Hawaii and Charleston give it some stiff competition). If you and your lover are planning on leaving your hearts in the city by the bay this Valentine's Day, refer to this list of the city's most romantic things to do.
1. In a city surrounded by water and with such a distinctive skyline, lovers would remiss not to board a boat, especially at dusk. Any of the those that depart from the wharves and piers can provide a great experience. Adventure Cat, a catamaran sailboat company at Pier 39, offers an affordable ($45) sunset cruise which includes hors d'ouevres and two cocktails as it sails under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. Several marriage proposals have already happened aboard the wind-powered vessel. www.adventurecat.com.
2. To get a couple's massage, head to the Healing Arts Center & Spa at Cavallo Point (near Sausalito) for the Cavallo Point Signature Massage in the dual-treatment room. A signature aromatherapy blend sets a relaxing, romantic mood, and the skilled therapists will have both of you leaving without a care in the world. www.cavallopoint.com/spa.php.
3. Crissy Field offers many opportunities for romance: pack a wine-and-cheese picnic; bike to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, where you'll see softly crashing waves, surfers, and the occasional sea lion down below; fly a kite together; grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate at the Warming Hut (a pleasant cafe along the path); or simply stroll and hold hands while taking in the beautiful coastal scenery. www.crissyfield.org.
4. If you're trying to impress, wine and dine your date at one of the city's finest establishments. Make reservations in advance for the elegant epicurean odyssey that awaits at Michael Mina. At Fifth Floor, enjoy wine flights and shared bites under the guidance of Emily Wines, one of America's very few female master sommeliers (yes, that's her real last name). At Luce, marvel at chef Dominique Crenn's sheer creativity; her desserts, especially, are like nothing you've ever seen. For Valentine's Day, she's offering a four-course champagne dinner accented by live jazz ($229 per couple). www.michaelmina.net, www.fifthfloorrestaurant.com, and www.lucewinerestaurant.com.
5. After your meal to remember, make the evening even more unforgettable by surprising your date with tickets to a show at the city's renowned opera or ballet, or to one of the Broadway hits presented by SHN at the opulent Curran, Golden Gate, or Orpheum theaters. www.shnsf.com.
6. Be at Ocean Beach, preferably at sunset (you can tandem-bike out there if you're up to it), with a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate. After you've cuddled sufficiently, head to Cliff House, a restaurant that provides a lovely dinner over the water. www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park.asp?park=68 and www.cliffhouse.com.
8. Sit side by side on a cable car as it takes you up and down the hills of San Francisco. www.sfcablecar.com.
9. Get high. There are a few great places to do so in San Francisco. If you're in the mood for a romantic drink with a 360-degree view, try the Top of the Mark at the top of Nob Hill. The Carnelian Room at the top of the Bank of America building offers an unparalleled perch from which lovebirds can take in the whole city. Or climb the many steps through parrot-laden trees up to Coit Tower, then take the manned elevator to the top of the tower and canoodle while enjoying the view. www.topofthemark.com and www.carnelianroom.com.
What are your favorite romantic things to do in San Francisco? Please share your thoughts in the space for comments below.