What does the concept of “date night” really come down to? It’s about interrupting your usual routines, so you and your partner can be together in a new way, in a new environment, and reconnect with renewed perspective. For a long time, my spouse and I would go out to dinner and a movie, and it really felt like “going out”—especially when we would hire a babysitter and take an evening away from the kids. Now, with the kids long out of the house, we still do this every few weeks, but it no longer feels special; it has become part of our regular fun routine. What we really need once in awhile is a change of pace and a fresh way of experiencing each other.
Date nights help us to revive our connection with our loves outside of the usual routine of life, to transcend the possibility that we’re taking each other for granted. And the immense benefits of setting aside time for dates aren’t limited to couples still caring for children; couples of all ages can take time out together in order to relieve stress, get a break from daily responsibilities, practice communication and problem-solving in an enjoyable setting, and explore new sides of their partners.
The hurdles we used to have to overcome on our way out for the evening, like childcare, may have been replaced with different ones, like limited mobility, altered eating habits, or lower energy levels, but there are also fewer date night options for couples of older ages. Or, rather I should say “seemingly” fewer date night options. Especially in San Francisco, where the food culture is vast and enticing, older adults have so many creative opportunities—we just have to know where to look for them.
San Francisco’s Tasty Variety of Date Night Ideas for Older Couples
Maybe you both really love restaurants and revisiting your favorites often. But, if your shared pastime is starting to feel a little same-old, same-old, it’s time to spice things up by stepping out into the city and all the flavors San Francisco has to offer foodie couples.
Explore a New Dining Adventure
Spicing things up might be as simple as trying out a new place to dine. Collect recommendations not just from friends, who may have favorites too similar to your own, but also from strangers, tourists who have already been hunting for the best dining experience, and acquaintances who have interests unlike your own. Here are some unique options to get you started:
- Boulevard: If you haven’t yet been to Boulevard on Mission Street, it’s time to give it a try. It has a diverse menu—so you’re sure to find something you like or maybe something you’ve never tried—and a uniquely romantic atmosphere to transport you out of the city for a couple of hours. Just be sure to make a reservation here because it fills up fast.
– Address: 1 Mission Street
– Phone: (415) 543-6084
– Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Foreign Cinema: Let’s not dismiss dinner and a movie just yet: Foreign Cinema on Mission offers a novel eating experience that will definitely change the pace of date night. Eat in a beautiful outdoor space tucked away from the street and decorated with string lights while you watch a curated film on a giant wall screen. Browse the schedule of upcoming films and then make a reservation.
– Address: 2534 Mission Street
– Phone: (415) 648-7600
Try an Unfamiliar Ethnic or Fusion Cuisine
San Francisco offers a world-class variety of traditional and innovative cuisine. Even if you’ve been adventurous explorers in the past, there’s bound to be something you haven’t yet tried. Plus, as we get older, our taste buds tend to lose potency, and we actually need stronger and more diverse flavors to surprise and satisfy us.
- El Mansour (Moroccan): This delicious Moroccan restaurant encourages the tradition of eating with your hands after washing with rose water. While you eat, belly dancers perform—and might even offer some belly-dancing instruction if you’re feeling really adventurous.
– Address: 3119 Clement Street
– Phone: (415) 751-2312
– Email: email@example.com
- The OpenTable search engine: OpenTable allows you to explore local restaurants online, including menus and reviews, and then make reservations. You can narrow your search by geographic area, cuisine type, and price range. But don’t narrow your scope! Let this well-rounded digital concierge lead you toward novel and adventurous eating experiences.
Sign Up for a Cooking Class Together
Continue to share your love of good food together, but do so on the other side of the counter. Register for a cooking class, put the dates on your calendar, then look forward to this weekly adventure into cooking up what you’ve always enjoyed eating together.
- Cozymeal cooking classes: Check out the public classes that Cozymeal has to offer. You and your partner could learn to bake classic San Franciscan breads, multi-course meals, or desserts. Classes are taught by a range of chefs, so if you try one out and love it, you can sign up for another and experience it in a whole new way!
– Classes take place in various locations around the city
– Phone: (800) 369-015
- First Class Cooking: Emily at First Class Cooking has set out to advance the healthy eating trend by teaching people to prepare their own wholesome and delicious meals. She offers classes focused on diverse cuisines and in small group settings, so you’ll likely experience some individual attention as you practice preparing something brand new.
– Address: Teacher Emily’s home at 1 Bluxome Street
– Phone: (415) 573-2453
– Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen Together
In a lot of ways, food is at the center of our relationships and our community. If you have loved sharing meals with each other, why not share that love even further. Together, you can volunteer in one of San Francisco’s soup kitchens to prepare or share a meal with someone in need. In volunteering your time as a couple, you may just find a unique new way to experience life and food and generosity together.
- Project Open Hand: Project Open Hand offers volunteering opportunities every day of the week because they prepare thousands of meals for those in need each day. You can opt to help out with preparing food (which would be a great way to put your cooking class skills to good use), assembling meals on a conveyor belt, or helping to clean and maintain the kitchen. There may also be opportunities to volunteer to deliver meals to those in need, help out with administrative tasks, or even work in the organic greenhouse.
Older Couples Reignite Relationships with Inventive Date Nights
The idea of “date night” is completely relative. An activity that reinvigorates one couple may be old hat for another. Explore what San Francisco has to offer with an open mind, and don’t wait until you’re feeling bored or disconnected—let this exploration of activities and each other be a priority, so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to rekindle your relationship’s romantic spark.
Truly unique date nights—unique for you—are a fun and accessible way to keep exploring life’s surprises and your relationship’s joys without an age limit. Whether you’re visiting a brand new hot spot, taking some out-of-town visitors to one of your old favorites, or turning familiar cuisine into a novelty picnic in a park with a view, you’ll be introducing fresh experiences and livening up your regular fun time. San Francisco is the perfect place to exercise your creativity because the possibilities for imaginative date night ideas are endless.
For more local ideas and inspiration, visit Institute on Aging’s blog, or contact us directly. Our mission is, and has always been, to reimagine aging as a time for adventure, exploration, and delicious food.