Leave your heart in San Francisco this Valentine's Day
By: Alexandra Cave
From “Woo at the Zoo” to the Eternity Ball, there is a reason for everyone to leave their heart in the City by The Bay this Valentine’s Day.
VALENTINE’S DAY EVENTS IN SAN FRANCISCO
After Dark: Heartworks
Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon St.
What are the limits of your heart? Come find out at the Exploratorium’s After Dark: Heartworks on Feb. 2, 6 to 10 p.m. Take in the wonder of Michael Sturtz’s Daluvmacheen, a giant man-made metal heart powered by a washing machine engine. Help create a series of chain reaction machines – themed on the various emotions connected with love – then witness them in action. The evening will also feature film screenings, presentations and much more. 18 years and older.
Aphrodesia After Hours
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park, 100 John F. Kennedy Dr.
Sip an intoxicating elixir by Cocktail Lab or a hand crafted brew by Comrades Brewing, enjoy live music by Le Quartet de Jazz, stroll through a lush jungle of dazzling orchids, and snuggle up in a vintage photo booth. Learn about the dark art of chocolate making with TCHO's chief chocolate wizard, who will take guests on a journey from the cacao tree to the candy bar, exploring the key variables that influence chocolate quality. 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. 21 years and older.
Union Street has a Crush on You Valentine Wine Walk
Union Street from Gough to Steiner and Fillmore St.from Union to Lombard
This second annual tasting event will include restaurants and merchants offering wine samples, finger foods and special treats.
Heroes & Hearts Luncheon
AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza
This annual luncheon honors community heroes and serves as the unveiling for the new series of 2012 Hearts in San Francisco art sculptures. Proceeds of Heroes & Hearts benefits San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. Tickets are $300.
Animal Attraction NightLife
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Dr.
Catch a sneak peek of the Academy's new Animal Attraction aquarium gallery, about the incredible mating strategies of the animal kingdom—from hermaphroditic banana slugs to cannibalistic praying mantids. Plus, talks on animal sex of the Zodiac signs, the sex life of frogs, the science of orgasm and more. Tickets are $12. 6 to 10 p.m. 21 years and older.
San Francisco Beer Week
Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th St.
The ultimate beer-lover’s fest lasts 10 mouthwatering days, including beer hikes (you sip before you step) to women-only tastings.
The Love Train
Feb. 10-11 and Feb. 14
Napa Valley Wine Train, 1275 McKinstry St., Napa, CA
An unforgettable, classic experience on board the Napa Valley Wine Train is the perfect gift to share with your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. Prices range from $119-$164 per person and include dinner, chocolate, sparkling wine and strolling musicians.
Opens Feb. 11
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Dr.
From fish that can change sex to insects that eat their mates, explore some of the wildest mating strategies in the animal kingdom in this revealing new exhibit. Delve into the science of sex and encounter live animals that have evolved remarkable and often surprising techniques for attracting mates and producing offspring.
Valentines’ Day and Weekend at the Exploratorium
Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 14
Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon St.
Looking for a new Valentines’ date activity with that special someone? The Exploratorium has it covered with the Valentine’s date tour – featuring guided walks through the museum’s most romantic exhibits, film screenings and special Valentine’s Day dissection programs (flowers and cow or pig hearts).
San Francisco Zoo’s “Woo at the Zoo”
San Francisco Zoo, One Zoo Rd.
Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 14
Contrary to common belief, the animals will not “mate on cue” during the Zoo’s adults-only affair (21 years and older), but one will learn the many facets to the birds and the bees of the animal kingdom.
Ride with Your Valentine on a Bicycle-Built-for-2
Bike and Roll, 899 Columbus Ave.
Take your valentine on a tandem bicycle for a beautiful ride through San Francisco on the Bay Trail, over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, and return by ferryboat. Daily discounted rate is $45 per day (25% off normal rate).
Castro Hosts Largest Showing of AIDS Memorial Quilt in 25 Years
2278 Market Street, http://www.aidsquilt.org
Courtesy of Under One Roof, the NAMES Project Foundation, the AIDS Emergency Fund, and San Francisco businessman Petyr Kane, sections of the renowned AIDS Memorial Quilt will be shown at various locations in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. Honoring those loved and lost over the past three decades, the exhibition is the largest San Francisco showing of the quilt since its original home on Market Street closed in 1999. The primary Market Street exhibition will be open to the public free of charge from 12 to 8 p.m. A traditional unfolding ceremony will be held at 12 p.m. on Feb. 12, during which a traditional “reading of the names” of those memorialized will take place.
Love Hurts: Litquake Preps You for Valentine’s Day with Readings from Some of the Most Wretched Passages on Love and Lust Ever Written
Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St.
Litquake commemorates the year’s most overrated holiday with 10 Bay Area authors reading their favorite overwrought prose from classics by the likes of Harold Robbins and Paul Theroux as well as selections from The Story of O, and that mother ship of romance and substance abuse, Valley of the Dolls. Tickets are $10.
Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason
Whether married, divorced, engaged, or single – the Eternity Ball black-tie gala has something for all to enjoy. Come dressed to impress in a ball gown, wedding or bridesmaid dresses, or tuxedo. Afterwards, join hundreds of revelers at the Festival Pavilion for a giant reception, all inclusive of cocktails, food and dancing. Tickets for the Eternity Ball start at $100 per person. Part of proceeds from the Eternity Ball will benefit the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation®.
Epic Romance Presented by BATS Improv
Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center
BATS Improv presents a special Valentine's Day performance of their newest improv show, Epic Romance. Epic Romance is a sweeping and completely improvised “film”, performed live, in the style of Gone With the Wind and Doctor Zhivago. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Show starts at 8 p.m.
Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street, 2nd floor
Created and directed by Luis Bravo, Forever Tango features a world-renowned cast of dancers and musicians who bring an intoxicating sense of excitement and passion to the stage. Through music and dance, the production traces the tango's colorful history, from turn-of-the-century Buenos Aires bordellos to its acceptance into high society. Tickets range in price from $45 to $70. Tickets for the special Valentine’s Day Gala (Feb. 14) are $80 and include Gala performance, post-performance dancing with the cast and orchestra of Forever Tango and two beverages.
MATCHA – Sensuality
Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St.
Explore Asian aphrodisiacs through food, drink, scent and touch. Join a docent conversation on topics such as tantra or luxuries of the Maharaja courts. Enjoy henna body art and relax with an Ayurvedic head massage. Tickets are $10. 5-9 p.m.
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Feb. 18Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center
A record-setting 5,500 pours are ready to be tasted. Sniff, swirl and sip – then chow down to cleanse the palate. Tickets range from $65 to $80.
Local Tastes of the City Valentine’s Tour
Through the month of February
Tours will start in San Francisco’s most romantic neighborhood, Little Italy, to sample the food and learn how it's made. The tour includes tastes of coffee, truffles, bread and pastries, special deli treats and olive oil.
Raymond Pettibon Inspired Valentine’s Treat
Through the month of February
SFMOMA, 151 Third St.
Blue Bottle Coffee on the SFMOMA rooftop will serve a heart shape crème fraiche parfait with maraschino cherries and cherry brandy gelee ($5); a special dessert created just for Valentine’s Day inspired by a Raymond Pettibon painting on view at the current SFMOMA exhibition “The Air We Breathe.” Other love related artwork may be viewed on the second floor.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
12 Fourth St.
Fifth Floor is offering a special seven-course tasting menu, available for $95 (wine pairings, tax and gratuities not included). For Valentine’s Day, a special nine-course tasting menu is also available for $130.
“Just for Lovers” Dinner
Feb. 10-11 and Feb. 14
Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel, 609 Sutter St.
Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s dinner for two in the steakhouse atop the club, overlooking Union Square. Listen to romantic live piano music and indulge in the prix fixe menu from Executive Chef Paul Lozito. Menu includes a shared dinner for two, served in three acts. In addition, the Marines Memorial Theatre is featuring the romantic comedy “How We First Met,” playing at 8 p.m. (night of Feb. 14 only). Dinner is $150 per couple plus tax and tip. Theatre tickets start at $40.
The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery St.
Enjoy sparkling wine tea served complete with a strolling violin. 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $48.
This signature brunch includes live music, sparkling wine and an array of savories and sweets. 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $75.
Sip, Sup, Swing & Sway
Experience an unforgettable evening including a five-course dinner, dancing and music by the Kent Strand Band, featuring the vocals of Pamela Rose. Reservations available from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 for pre fixe dinner and $100 for pre fixe dinner with wine pairing selections.
Valentine’s Dinner at Top of the Mark
Feb. 11 and Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m.
InterContinental Mark Hopkins, www.intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com
For $395 per couple, guests will enjoy a bottle of Moet Chandon Rosé, an appetizer and a four-course plated dinner. Diners will also enter to win the “Pack Your Bag Contest”: pack an overnight bag for a chance to spend one night in the presidential suite. Winner will be announced at the end of dinner.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s “Valentine’s Day by The Bay”
Feb. 11-14390 Capistrano Rd., Princeton-by-the-Sea, CA
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, a beloved destination known for small-production craft beer, sustainable coastal cuisine, scenic outdoor patio fire pits and live music, heralds the arrival of Valentine’s Day with a special menu crafted by Chef Gaston Alfaro alongside beer pairings by Brewmaster Kirk Hillyard.
Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen
401 Taylor St., 415-775-7979
Anti-Valentine’s Day Celebration
For the ultimate anti-Valentine’s celebration, Jasper’s kicks off their monthly movie nights with the showing of “True Romance” at 9 p.m. Chef Adam Carpenter’s snack menu features spicy kettle corn popcorn, chicken wings, baked Jasper’s oysters and a special “It’s not you, it’s me” cocktail
Couple’s Valentine’s Day Dinner
For a fun night out, Jasper’s is offering a special menu available for $99 per couple (includes two glasses of sparkling wine, tax and gratuities). Menu highlights include Dungeness crab, oysters, lobster pot pie, baked mousse and more.
Harry Denton’s Starlight Room
450 Powell St., 415-395-8595
Dress to impress, grab your special someone and head over to Harry Denton’s Starlight Room to celebrate Valentine’s Day in an unforgettable way. Singer/songwriter Tasche will perform hits from his new CD “A Love Worth Fighting For.” Tickets are $70 per couple and include a table, two glasses of Moet champagne and chocolate dipped long-stemmed strawberries. 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. For $10 per person, guests may enjoy the live music.
Valentine’s Day at Parallel 37
The Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St.
Experience an unforgettable Valentine’s Day with Chef Ron Siegel’s special six-course menu at the newly-opened Parallel 37. Each couple will receive two different menus for a playful sharing experience. Tickets are $125 per guest; $79 for wine pairing. Seatings begin at 5:30 p.m.
Pier 33, The Embarcadero
Offering a four-course prix fixe menu for Valentine’s Day, guests will enjoy views of the San Francisco Bay over dinner. Dinner is $80 per person and does not include beverages, tax or gratuity.
One Market Restaurant
1 Market St.
One Market will serve a four-course dinner for $75 per person. Michelin star Chef Mark Dommen’s specialties will include dishes such as Sweetbread Ravioli, Applewood smoked bacon, Roasted Liberty Farms Duck Breast, Carmelized Apple Tart, and Calvados gelée, apple cider “slush.” The menu will also include a cheese course.
The Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant
1000 Great Hwy.
The Beach Chalet will serve a special four-course a la carte limited menu which includes Oyster Rockefeller, sautéed Rosefish, Porterhouse steaks for two, crispy stuffed chicken breast, pan Seared Sonoma County duck breast and Passion fruit and Tarts. Order three or more courses and a glass of champagne is included.
CLASSIC ROMANTIC ACTIVITIES
Romantic San Francisco’s sweeping views of the bay is 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. To enhance the ride into this lovers' paradise, couples can splurge with bubbling champagne poured by a chauffeur in a stretch limousine.
Between the sheets
Many San Francisco hotel suites provide enchanting canopy beds with thick down comforters, silk sheets on request, 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 Victorians 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.
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 for the unknown on this famous crossing — cool ocean breezes, blue skies and sunshine, or misty fog.
Sensational sensual art.
Lovers intertwine in the romantically inspired sculptures "Fantaisie" and "Pavlova and Novikoff in La Peri" at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The city's other art havens are sure to offer additional inspiration, and there’s a whole collection of five-foot-tall hearts decorated by local artists all over the city, a legacy of the Hearts in San Francisco fundraiser.
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 (sourdough, of course), a jug of wine and thou — along with a blanket and picnic basket — are all that's 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 wonderland of trails and secluded spots for lovers.
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 at midnight.
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.
For more information on tours, one-of-a-kind sights and other attractions in San Francisco visit http://www.sanfrancisco.travel/todo/.
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