10 cheap (but fun!) Bay Area date ideas for summer

Large kites fly high in the sky during the 31st annual Berkeley Kite Festival & West Coast Kite Championships at Cesar E. Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina in Berkeley Calif., on Saturday, July 29, 2017. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

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It’s summer. It’s beautiful. And the living’s easy here in the Bay Area. But it sure ain’t cheap, especially if you have your sights set on romance. Even dinner and a summer blockbuster can cost you major coin, and that’s before the popcorn and Milk Duds.

So, like a superhero swooping in to save the universe from annihilation, we are here to help with 10 pocketbook-preserving summertime date ideas — fun, light-hearted and free (or nearly free) summery things to do with a sweetheart, from romantic spots with glorious views to midsummer dreams with Shakespeare. (Psst, you’ll find nine cheap eats suggestions that pair with these here.)

1 Let there be light (house)

Head north of the Golden Gate Bridge and motor through the Marin Headlands to the historic Point Bonita Lighthouse, where you’ll swoon for your sweetie, as well as the stunning coastal views. You’ll swoon even more when you see the final approach: A walk across a wind-whipped (but totally safe) suspension footbridge that spans a craggy chasm, as waves crash below. Think of it as a good excuse to hold each other tight! Then picnic at the nearby Battery Wallace, where there are benches, grills and restrooms.

Details: The lighthouse is open for free self-guided or docent tours from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. The historic building is closed the rest of the week, but those glorious views are always available.

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Large kites fly high in the sky during the annual Berkeley Kite Festival. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

The steady breeze off the bay is just right for a day of kite flying and frolicking at the Berkeley Marina’s Cesar Chavez Park, at the end of University Avenue. The park hosts the free Berkeley Kite Festival each year — July 28-29 this time around — filling the sky with giant undulating octopi, teddy bears and alligators. But you can fly your own kite any old time and soak up spectacular bay scenery, too.

And if kites aren’t your thing, go sail a boat! Once a month, the nearby Cal Sailing Club holds an open house with free sailboat rides. The next one will be July 15.

Details: Find kite festival information at, and the Cal Sailing Club at

3 Cut a rug

Something seriously swanky happens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday behind the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It’s Lindy in the Park, with free swing-dance classes where couples and singles can kick up their heels, old-school. Then, well, you’re in Golden Gate Park, so wander the patchwork of pastures and trees, have a romantic picnic in the Shakespeare Garden, or visit the Hamon Observation Tower …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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