Who says you have to go to San Francisco for a great date?
Here are six places on the Peninsula for a fun and special first (or fiftieth) date.
For the old soul
The Stanford Theatre in downtown Palo Alto has been a blast from the past since 1925. Tickets are under $10 and a huge popcorn is only $3, so load up on snacks and cuddle up to watch some of the most romantic movies of all time. Before and after the 7:30pm showing, the beloved organist plays, and you’ll feel transported to the 1950s with your honey (minus the gender and race inequality).
After the movie, go a couple doors down to Scoop Microcreamery, grab a cone and sit in Lytton Plaza just across the street, where there is almost always live music playing. Twinkling lights adorn the trees on University Avenue, and all your troubles just melt away.
// 221 University Avenue, Palo Alto CA 94301
For the active-minded
This is a hard hike. Especially when it’s hot out.
However, if you’re the adventuresome type, and you’re willing to battle crowds, Mission Peak is an amazing date. Exercise creates endorphins, and the feeling of accomplishment when you finally make it to the top of the mountain with the entire Valley in front of you is one that is unforgettable. Shoot for a cooler day or either early in the morning or later, after the sun sets, and you can get some gorgeous pictures to commemorate the day.
It can be a little hard to get there, so here’s some turn-by-turn instructions.
// 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont CA 94539
For the creative ones
We’re all adults here. At least at Create, Mix and Mingle you are.
No matter your skill level, it’s sure to be fun at Create, Mix and Mingle, where their weekend painting classes are 21 and up — most with a glass of wine included in the price. The purpose of the class is not to create the most spectacular masterpiece, but to let loose and enjoy the people around you while having fun creating something that will last a lifetime. Also, painting is just romantic in of itself.
// 1888 South Norfolk Street, San Mateo CA 94403
For the inner child
For those of you who’ve got a bit of a competitive streak, mini golf is the perfect place for flaunting your skills. Nothing’s more fun than chasing after tiny little colored golf balls in a beautifully decorated course — and you can choose whether or not to keep score. It’s fun to be able to have some playful trash talk, and it’s fun people-watching all the middle schoolers on their first date. I promise it’ll make you feel great about puberty.
// 855 E El Camino Road, Sunnyvale CA 94087
For the artsy, introverted type
A few years back, I walked in here and there was no cell phone reception. I freaked out. It was great.
Cantor Arts Center is one of the best free museums in the Bay Area. It houses the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of Paris, and always has a cycle of beautiful artwork. Did I mention that it’s free?
Not only is the museum itself amazing, but the gardens surrounding the center are artwork themselves, including works by Andy Goldsworthy. Pack a picnic and head out to Stanford campus for a beautiful and inexpensive date.
// 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford CA 94305
For the go-getter
Shoreline is one of those catch-alls. You can pack a picnic and sit on the shore, rent a paddleboat and peruse the lake at your own pace, take a sailing lesson, eat in the bistro or go birdwatching.
Right off of 101 and next to the Baylands, Shoreline is the create-your-own-adventure of dates. It’s gorgeous any time of day, and even though there’s little kids learning how to kayak right next to you, it’s fun to laugh about how much better they are at this than you. The flora and fauna surrounding the lake is beautiful, and there’s no doubt that this is one of the things you’ll only find in the Bay Area.
// 3160 N Shoreline Road, Mountain View CA 94043