25 Fun Oakland Date Ideas to Wow Your Partner

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Modern city buildings next to a lake and a blue sky with clouds
There are many fun things to do on a date in Oakland, California

Couples that are looking to do something different will be pleased to hear that there are many unique and fun Oakland date ideas to enjoy. Whether you're living in the city or visiting, there'll be something on this list of date activities for you!

Just a few things to do together include taking a gondola ride on Lake Merritt, seeing a movie at Grand Lake Theatre, and dining on the waterfront at The Forge Handcrafted Pizza. To discover all the things to do in this Northern California city, keep reading for 25 date activity suggestions.

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🏨 Top accommodations in Oakland

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25 Date Ideas in Oakland

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Check out our highlights video of Oakland date ideas.

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Oakland Date Ideas Map

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Best Date Spots in Oakland

One of many fun Oakland date ideas is wandering around Jack London Square
Wandering around Jack London Square is one of many fun Oakland date ideas

Explore Jack London Square

Jack London Square is the ideal place to go on a date as there's an array of things to do together there. The entertainment district on the waterfront features numerous bars and restaurants and a movie theater.

Weekly farmers and crafts markets are also hosted here during the day. Of course, you and your other half can admire the views of Oakland Inner Harbor during your visit as well, whether you go during the day or after dark.

🏨 Accommodations nearby Jack London Square

Learn new things at the Chabot Space and Science Center

The Oakland nickname, Athens of the Pacific, was created in the 19th century due to the many museums and other cultural institutions in the city. Today, this name still holds true as Oakland is home to an array of museums and educational centers.

One of these places is the Chabot Space and Science Center, which houses an array of interesting interactive science exhibits for you and your date to enjoy. Topics covered include space travel, solar systems, and the science of light. After looking around the exhibits, head to the planetarium or watch a science film in the theater.

View exhibits at the Oakland Museum of California

There are many unique attractions to visit with your partner in Oakland, like the Oakland Museum of California. The museum showcases artworks, including many by local artists.

There are also exhibits on cultural topics and issues and Oakland's history and culture. In addition, interesting events are held frequently during the afternoons and evenings, like art shows, discussions, and musical performances.

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A redwood forest with a path through the middle and the sun coming through the trees
Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is home to beautiful coast redwood forests

Hike in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

Outdoor activity enthusiasts will want to plan a date at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. This park is part of the East Bay Regional Park District and sits in the hills to the east of Oakland.

You and your date can hike a range of trails that will take you through beautiful forests, including coast redwood forests. Wildlife sightings are also likely, with animals like deer, raccoons, and eagles calling the park home.

Visit the African American Museum and Library

The African American Museum and Library is another fascinating museum to visit together in Downtown Oakland. This museum focuses on preserving African American history and houses a range of artifacts and over 12,000 books, papers, and other publications. As you look around, you can also see some videos on topics relating to African American culture and history.

The interior of a museum with airplanes and exhibit plaques
The Oakland Aviation Museum features restored aircraft, including military planes

Look around the Oakland Aviation Museum

Located at Oakland International Airport, the Oakland Aviation Museum is an interesting attraction to visit together. This museum covers US aviation history and features resources from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. As you look around, you'll also see some restored aircraft.

Tour the Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate

There are many unique landmarks in California, like the Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate. This Neoclassical mansion was constructed in 1899 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It's now open to the public for tours.

During a tour, you can explore the 37-room home and wander around the beautifully manicured gardens. Visiting the home around Christmas is especially festive as the house features pretty holiday decorations.

Wander around Grand Lake

Grand Lake is a vibrant neighborhood that sits next to Lake Merrit. It's a cool place to wander around with your date, whether you're meeting during the day or at night.

As you explore, you'll find all kinds of businesses, from independent shops and cute bakeries to trendy bars. You definitely won't have trouble finding things to do together in the Grand Lake area!

Oakland Date Night Ideas

An old-fashioned movie theater with a red sign that says "Grand Lake" at night
Grand Lake Theatre is the ideal place for a romantic movie date

Watch a movie at Grand Lake Theatre

A movie date night is always a good idea! If you and your other half want to catch a movie together, the Grand Lake Theatre is a unique place to go.

Opened in 1926, the retro theater retains its early 20th-century charm while showing modern movies, including most new releases. Before the film, you can grab classic movie snacks like candy and popcorn.

🏨 Stay nearby Grand Lake Theatre

Get drinks at Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon

You can find many cool places for a drinks date in Oakland, like Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon. This Oakland landmark dates to 1884 and features a mix of 19th-century and contemporary design and decor styles.

To drink, you can order beer, wine, or cocktails, which you can enjoy inside the cozy saloon or on the outdoor patio. If sitting outdoors, you can also bring your dog along to join you on your date!

Listen to music with drinks at Bar Shiru

Bar Shiru is another of Oakland's most stylish and unique places to go for a drinks date. This Japanese-inspired bar is also the first hi-fi vinyl-listening bar in the Bay Area.

After ordering unique alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktails, you can enjoy the bar's music, which focuses on jazz and soul records. If you don't want cocktails, Japanese whiskey, sake, craft beer, and wine are available.

🏨 Stay near Bar Shiru

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An old-fashioned theater building with a red sign that says "Fox Theater"
The Fox Theater hosts many fantastic musical acts

Catch a show at the Fox Theater

If you want to plan a unique and memorable date night in Oakland, going to the Fox Theater is a must. The live music venue is housed in a 1920s building and hosts a range of acts covering numerous musical genres.

Before or after the show, you can also grab food and drink at the art deco-style The Den bar. Purchasing VIP tickets also offers access to the stylish Telegraph Room lounge and bar.

Laugh together at a comedy club

Whether you're planning a first date or want something fun to do with a long-time partner, going to a comedy club makes for a great date night idea.

Comedy Oakland is one of the most popular venues in the city and hosts a range of comedians, from local performers to nationally known names. As you enjoy the show, you can order drinks and bar snacks.

Oakland Date Night Restaurants

The exterior of a restaurant with patio seating next to a path and trees
The Forge Handcrafted Pizza serves delicious food and offers harbor views

The Forge Handcrafted Pizza

The Forge Handcrafted Pizza is a modern and laid-back spot serving delicious wood-fired pizzas as well as various appetizers and salads. There are also some other main course options, like pasta dishes or burgers.

To accompany your food, you and your date can share a bottle of wine or opt for craft cocktails. Best of all, there's patio seating that offers beautiful views of Oakland Inner Harbor.

🏨 Stay near Forge Handcrafted Pizza


Another of the most romantic restaurants in Oakland, CA, is Mua, a trendy eatery serving small plates and craft cocktails. Just a few of the things to try include grilled romaine caesar salad, crispy tofu with black bean sweet-chili sauce, and garlic chili prawns.

As these plates are meant to be shared, you and your date can try many menu items together! With your food, you can choose from classic and house-created cocktails, and wine, beer, and lemonade are also available.

🏨 Accommodations near Mua

Iron and Oak at the Oakland Marriott City Center

Whether you're staying at the Marriott or not, Iron and Oak is an excellent romantic date spot. The contemporary eatery serves dishes like kale and quinoa salad, fish tacos, and freshly made pizzas. You can also indulge in dessert, with sweets like tiramisu and caramel cheesecake on the menu.

Vegan Mob

If you and your date want to enjoy some comfort food, going to Vegan Mob can't be missed. The restaurant serves classic comfort foods like fried chicken, mac and cheese, deep-fried grilled cheese, and much more, all made using exclusively plant-based ingredients.

While there is some seating at Vegan Mob, it's just a five-minute walk from Lake Merritt. Picking up your order and enjoying it lakeside is a highly romantic thing to do!

Romantic Things to Do in Oakland

A lake next to grass, a path, trees, and small white buildings
Taking a gondola ride on the scenic Lake Meritt is highly romantic

Enjoy a gondola ride on Lake Merritt

With Dolce Vita Gondola, you can enjoy a taste of a vacation in Venice without having to get on a plane! The gondola company operates on Lake Merritt, allowing you and your date to take in the scenic lake views in the most romantic way possible.

As you sail around, you'll also spot wildlife, including many bird species. After your gondola ride, you can stop for drinks and a meal at a lakeside restaurant like Grand Lake Kitchen.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to Lake Merritt

Relax at Piedmont Springs Spa

Unwinding at Piedmont Springs Spa with some treatments is a relaxing date idea. The spa is located on the edge of downtown and offers massages, facials, and body scrubs.

After your treatments, you can enjoy the steam room and sauna or go outside to relax in the spa's hot tubs.

A garden with a pond, grass, and rose bushes in various colors
The beautiful Morcom Rose Garden features around 6,000 rose bushes

Stroll through the Morcom Rose Garden

The Morcom Rose Garden is one of the most romantic Oakland date spots and the perfect place to go for a scenic walk together. The eight-acre rose garden features over 6,000 rose bushes of various colors and varieties.

As you stroll around, you'll also discover some fountains and sculptures, and the pretty gardens make an excellent backdrop for couples photos.

Admire the plant displays at the Bonsai Garden

Another of the pretty gardens to visit together in Oakland is the Bonsai Garden. At the Japanese-style garden, you'll see over 100 mini bonsai trees and can even learn how to take care of your own bonsai tree at home.

The attraction sits next to Lake Merrit, so you can enjoy the lake and surrounding park when you've seen all the Bonsai Garden has to offer.

Things to Do Near Oakland, CA, for Couples

A red suspension bridge over the water with a city in the distance
San Francisco is only 15 minutes from Oakland and is a fun place to visit for a date

Go to San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most famous destinations in the United States and is conveniently located just 15 to 20 minutes away from Oakland, across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It's the ideal palace to go for a day trip or even just a fun night out!

Notably, you'll find many romantic things to do in San Francisco, like wandering around the Japanese Tea Garden, having a movie date at Foreign Cinema, or going on a sunset sail around the San Francisco Bay. If you want to sightsee, there are also many San Francisco tours to book.

🏨 Stay nearby San Francisco

Drive to San Jose

San Jose is another excellent destination for a day or overnight trip. The city is located about 50 mins to an hour from Oakland when driving. During a visit, you can go to various museums and historical sites.

Other things for couples to do in San Jose include going to unique shops and having dinner and drinks at one of many bars, restaurants, and breweries. Some places to check out include the San Jose Museum of Art, the SoFA District, and Santana Row.

🏨 Stay near San Jose

A large white building with columns and a dome next to grass and trees
Sacramento features many interesting attractions like the State Capitol Building

Plan a trip to Sacramento

Are you looking for more nearby cities to visit together? If so, add Sacramento to your list! The state capital of California has something for every couple.

Things to do on a date in Sacramento include going to the World Peace Rose Garden, hanging out at River Walk Park, and catching a Sacramento Kings game.

This destination takes around an hour and 15 minutes to reach and could work as a day or overnight trip location, depending on how many attractions you want to visit.

🏨 Nearest accommodations to Sacramento

Head to Berkeley for the day

If you want to plan a quick trip to another city, going to Berkeley is a great idea. Located approximately ten minutes from Oakland, the charming college city has lots of attractions to check out.

Notably, you'll find many fun things to do outdoors in Berkeley, such as going to the UC Botanical Garden, exploring the Berkeley Farmers' Markets, or relaxing on the shore at Lake Anza.

🏨 Stay near Berkeley

In Conclusion

There are lots of things to do together in Oakland and the surrounding area. Whether you want to plan a fun date night, chat over a romantic dinner, or do something unique during the day, you'll find many things to do on a date in this Californian city!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell FORMER WRITER Currently based in Canada, Alli has also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and traveled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She loves finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever she goes.

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