Lots to Love About Valentine’s Day in San Francisco 2016

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From fine dining to picnics in the park to sailing the bay at sunset, San Francisco offers romantic experiences to help couples feel the love this Valentine’s Day. The San Francisco Travel Association offers suggestions, both classic and current, below and at http://www.sanfrancisco.travel.

CLASSIC ROMANTIC ACTIVITIES

Romantic San Francisco’s sweeping views of the bay provide a perfect setting for a Valentine’s weekend get-away. Here is a list of other classic, San Francisco activities to add to a passionate holiday.

The first glance
The view of the city when approaching downtown San Francisco from the airport confirms the promise of excitement and beauty. Enhance the ride into this lovers' paradise and splurge with bubbling champagne poured by a chauffeur in a stretch limousine.

Between the sheets
Many San Francisco hotel suites provide super plus beds with thick down comforters, sensuous bathtubs for two, intimate parlors with fireplaces, fresh flowers, breakfast for late risers, 24-hour gourmet room service and the ubiquitous "Do Not Disturb" sign.

If you MUST leave your room.
Discover the charming multicolored Victorian houses stretching along the hills of Pacific Heights or the historical grandeur of Nob Hill on guided walking tours. For thrill seekers with soaring hearts, climb aboard a helicopter for a bird's eye tour of the city or take a flying lesson.

Get lost!
Explore the nooks and crannies of San Francisco by ducking down hidden streets and walkways to discover unique boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Or get physical on bicycle lanes and footpaths crisscrossing Golden Gate Park, a nature lovers' urban oasis with quiet meadows and serene lakes.

A bridge to take your breath away
High above where the Pacific meets San Francisco Bay spans the Golden Gate Bridge. Walkers and bikers should dress with flexibility on this famous crossing — cool ocean breezes, blue skies and sunshine, or misty fog.

Discover treasure
To find a memorable keepsake, Union Street features turn-of-the-century Victorians renovated into shops and Hayes Valley is known for its eclectic stores and galleries. The Mission District, dubbed “the hippest neighborhood in America” by Vanity Fair, is a haven for burgeoning artists and stylish “only in San Francisco” designs.

Picnics for two
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine - along with a blanket and picnic basket - are all that is needed to enjoy a casual brunch or dinner with a backdrop of a sunset at secluded China Beach or Baker Beach. It's a short ferry ride to Angel Island, which allows visitors to hike or bike this forest-covered isle offering spectacular views of the city. Another choice in Marin County is Muir Woods with its ancient redwoods, offering a myriad of trails and secluded spots for lovers.

Satiable cravings.
San Francisco is a fantasy world for food lovers. Bustling Chinatown serves traditional dim sum (meaning “heart's delight”); North Beach restaurants offer San Francisco's own cioppino with interludes of live Italian opera on the side; straight off the boat, Pacific seafood is as fresh as it comes at Fisherman's Wharf; and formal restaurants with white linen, silver-laden tables and panoramic views present some of the finest dining experiences in the world.

Dancing on water
An alternative to the traditional land-lovers dinner is a romantic dinner cruise. Charter companies provide a delectable dinner and night of dancing to live music aboard beautiful yachts sailing past Sausalito, Fisherman's Wharf, and under the illuminated Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.

Bay city sunset
From Coit Tower's 360° view, or the high-rise aerie of a hotel view lounge, the glowing sun in the west slips into the Pacific between the arches of the Golden Gate Bridge. A spectacular metamorphosis comes with nightfall when the view sparkles with evening lights from the city and stars above.

Cable cars by moonlight
After a night at the ballet, opera, symphony, theater or dance club, linger in the night air for a while. Embark upon a moonlit cable car ride back to the hotel with the clanging bells heightening the romantic mood of the evening.

WINE AND DINE

Cocktails and a View at Top of the Mark
Known for their signature martinis and magnificent views of San Francisco, the Top of the Mark rooftop bar is the perfect place to complement the most romantic evening. Arrive for pre-dinner drinks and experience the sun setting on the San Francisco skyline, or linger for a nightcap with the twinkling lights of the city beckoning. http://www.topofthemark.com

Urban Wineries
Enjoy a first-class wine tasting experience at one of the many new urban wineries located within San Francisco’s 49 square miles. Bluxome Street Winery offers weekend tours and tastings of five wines paired with charcuterie. http://www.bluxomewinery.com

Illuminate Your Night
Lovers can gaze upon artist Leo Villareal’s monumental light sculpture The Bay Lights, illuminating the western span of the Bay Bridge. Dine at Epic Steak, Waterbar or Chaya Brasserie for a five-star dining experience, complete with a beautiful view of this stunning lights installation.
http://thebaylights.org/

DAY DATES

Take a Stroll on Lover’s Lane
Take your date off the beaten path and hike through San Francisco’s historic Presidio. Open spaces, trails and inspiring vistas provide plenty of opportunity to be alone with your loved one while enjoying the quiet beauty that can only be found at the Presidio. Steal a kiss on Lover’s Lane and experience the sunset from Baker Beach. Guided tours are available through Urban Hiker SF, or explore on your own.
http://www.urbanhikersf.com

Ferry Building Marketplace
Sample artisan cheeses, sip Blue Bottle Coffee and feast on Tomales Bay oysters – the Ferry Building Marketplace is the perfect day-date destination.
http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

Picnic in the Park
For the budget-minded, bring a picnic lunch and rent a paddle or row boat and go for a romantic ride around the beautiful, 12-acre Stow Lake. Also in the park, share the love by making a handmade, pressed flower card at the Conservatory of Flowers and watch as the penguins build their nests out of heart-shaped valentines at the California Academy of Sciences.
http://www.calacademy.org
http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org

Golden Gate Bridge
Take a romantic stroll on San Francisco's most famous bridge. Or for the more adventurous couple, rent a bicycle built for two with Spinlister, Blazing Saddles or Bay City Bike. Bike over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Sausalito and enjoy a quaint, waterfront lunch. Too tired to bike back? Take the ferry from Sausalito to San Francisco.
http://www.spinlister.com
http://www.blazingsaddles.com/san-francisco
http://www.baycitybike.com

Asian Art Museum
The Asian Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. Its holdings include more than 18,000 objects spanning 6,000 years of history and representing countries and cultures throughout Asia. Spend the day surrounded by objects of beauty, many made from precious materials, and discover a new passion for art.
http://www.asianart.org

VALENTINE'S DAY EVENTS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Local Tastes of the City Valentine Tours
With a place as romantic as San Francisco, there will be special tours every day in February. Starting in the most obvious part of San Francisco for romance, San Francisco's North Beach, guests will try the food and learn how it’s made, including coffee, truffles, bread, pastries and special deli treats.
http://www.sffoodtour.com/valentines-day-tour.html

Legion of Honor Museum
Enter the romantic world of impressionist art at Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, on display through May 15, 2016, at the Legion of Honor. Among the many significant paintings on view is Man and Woman (1900, Musée d’Orsay), in which the artist has depicted his lifelong companion and one of his constant subjects, Marthe de Méligny. In the 70 works in the exhibition, the natural world merges with the bright colors and light of the South of France, where windows link interior and exterior spaces, and where intimate scenes disclose unexpected phantasmagorical effects. http://legionofhonor.famsf.org/pierre-bonnard

Union Street has a Crush on You Valentine Wine Walk
Feb. 9
The Tasting Event will include merchants offering wine samples and special treats inside their stores throughout Union Street from Gough to Steiner and on Fillmore Street from Union to Lombard. Participants will receive a wine glass and map with all of the tasting locations.
http://unionstreetsf.com/happenings

California Academy of Sciences’ Creature Crush Nightlife
Feb. 11
From animal attraction to human nature, explore the science behind sex, and encounter live animals that have evolved remarkable and often surprising techniques for attracting mates and producing offspring, then take a stroll through the Animal Attraction aquarium gallery.
http://www.calacademy.org

Exploratorium: Lovesick Cinema
Feb. 13
Contemplate infatuation and its aftermath in this cinematic celebration of love in all its guises. These family-friendly animations and short films creatively frame the relationships that define our lives, from the familial to the romantic.
http://www.exploratorium.edu

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Feb. 13
A record-setting 5,500 pours are ready to be tasted. Sniff, swirl and sip – then chow down to cleanse the palate. http://winejudging.com

Hornblower’s Valentine's Cupid's Champagne Brunch and Dinner Cruises
Feb. 13 and 14
Love is on the water this Valentine’s Day. Spend your afternoon on Hornblower’s Cupid's Valentine’s Day Champagne Brunch cruise and enjoy an elaborate buffet featuring a wide selection of brunch favorites. Sip free-flowing bubbly and bottomless mimosas. Relax to the romantic styling of the live entertainment on board, or step onto the outer deck for the breathtaking sights of the San Francisco Skyline. Set sail for a special Hornblower Valentine’s dinner cruise and feast on a delicious buffet dinner while sipping your choice of wine and beer. You and your sweetheart can dance the night away to the DJ entertainment or step outside to enjoy the best views of the breathtaking San Francisco city skyline. Delight in the entire experience of this romantic dinner excursion for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day.
http://www.hornblower.com/home/sf

Commodore Valentine’s Day Cruise
Feb. 13 and 14
Romantic dinner and dancing while cruising San Francisco Bay. Enjoy a gourmet buffet with white glove service, dancing, and night time views of the “City by the Bay.”
http://www.commodoreevents.com/valentines-day-cruise.html

Gourmet Walks for the Sweet Tooth
Feb. 13 and 14, tours run 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Bring your sweetie on a Gourmet Walks’ special Valentine’s themed tour the weekend of Feb. 13 and 14. Choose the Cupcake and Chocolate Tour or the Hayes Valley Valentine's Sweets Tour – or both! Generous tastings will leave couples on a romantic chocolate high.
http://www.gourmetwalks.com

Conservatory of Flowers’ Aphrodesia After Hours
Feb. 14
Come for a special after hours celebration of the libido enhancing power of plants. Strolling through the Conservatory’s lush and steamy tropical jungle, visitors can get up close and personal with many living examples of the plants purported to be aphrodisiacs and will also have an opportunity to smell and taste some of the spices that have long been treasured for perking up more than the meal. Enjoy a free glass of champagne or try one of three stimulating specialty cocktails at the cash bar.
http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/special-events/aphrodisiacsFeb2016

Special Valentine’s Day Shows at AsiaSF
Feb. 14
Go a little wild and have some fun on Valentine’s Day at AsiaSF. The special Valentine’s Day shows include a champagne toast, four-course pre-fixe menu, performances by The Ladies of AsiaSF and free admission to the dance club and lounge after dinner. Dinner shows begin at 6 and 8 p.m.
http://asiasf.com/valentines-day

Heroes & Hearts Luncheon
Feb. 18
This annual luncheon honors community heroes and serves as the unveiling for the new series of 2016 Hearts in San Francisco art sculptures. Proceeds of Heroes & Hearts benefits San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. http://sfghf.org/events/heroes-hearts/

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit http://www.sanfrancisco.travel, read the Visitors Planning Guide or call 415-391-2000. San Francisco Travel also operates Visitor Information Centers at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street at the corner of Powell and Market streets and on the lower level of Macy’s Union Square. For more information, visit http://www.sanfrancisco.travel.

American Express® is the official Card partner of the San Francisco Travel Association.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 40 international cities on 34 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 77 cities in the U.S. on 13 domestic airlines. SFO offers free upgraded Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit http://www.flysfo.com. Follow SFO on http://www.twitter.com/flysfo and http://www.facebook.com/flysfo.

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Laurie Armstrong
San Francisco Travel Association
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