If you're a die-hard "film noir" fan, then the Dashiell Hammett tour is a must, even if it means skipping out on that Sunday morning meeting at your convention. Don Herron makes Sam Spade, Hammett's iconic detective, come to life by touring through all his infamous haunts and recreating his most famous scenes. You'll think Bogey himself has come back to life with the enthusiasm and knowledge that Mr. Herron brings to this tour. A can't miss for any film noir fans, and an enjoyable and informational walk for those who just want to learn about Dashiell Hammett and his beloved San Francisco.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: If you think Bogey and Bacall are romantic, then this tour is for you.
Tom's expert tip: Check the tour's website for exact times.
Incredible views and plenty of fishing make this one of the best beaches in the area. Situated at the foot of the rugged cliffs on the western shoreline of the Presidio, Baker Beach boasts stunning vistas of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. When it's warm, the mile-long beach is great for sunbathing and picnicking. Baker Beach is infamous for its nude sunbathers, but most congregate towards the eastern edge of the beach, closer to the cliffs near the Golden Gate Bridge. The beach is also famous as the site of the original "Burning Man" enactment that became a national phenomenon.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The relative seclusion of Baker Beach compared to other beaches makes it a bit more romantic.
Tom's expert tip: Visitors should note that the northernmost end of the beach is frequented by clothing-optional sunbathers.
Famous, central views of San Francisco. Worth the drive or hike up. If you're the kind of traveler who likes an overview of the city you're visiting, hiking or driving up to Twin Peaks is a great way to start off your trip. And if you're the kind of romantic who loves to snuggle with a loved one while watching the lights of a big city twinkle below, then that's just as good a reason to visit Twin Peaks. Besides the great views, their are many trails on top of the Peak, and the charming neighborhood of Cole and Carl is a short drive down the hill, a great spot for an after-hike drink.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Twin Peaks offers the best view of downtown San Francisco, a romantic view at night.
Tom's expert tip: If you can make time for a hike, walk to Twin Peaks to avoid the car traffic.
We're starting off this list with the Ferry Building because, whether by boat, car, bus, trolley or foot, all points lead from the San Francisco Ferry Building. Whether you want to hike the hills of North Beach, push through the bustle of Chinatown, peruse gift shops on Nob Hill, or walk the Embarcadero all the way to Fisherman's Wharf, it's hard to find a better place to start than the Ferry Building. And it's not just a starting point - the Ferry Building has been redesigned to include some wonderful artisan shops, perfect spots for grabbing that something special to bring back home.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Walking through the Ferry Building and sampling their eclectic mix of fine food is a sensual and romantic date.
Tom's expert tip: If you happen to be downtown on a Saturday morning, don't miss the Ferry Building Farmer's Market. It offers a taste of the incredible variety of fruits and vegetables that only California can offer.
Often considered a tribute to San Francisco's volunteer firefighters, this 210-foot-tall tower has been a prominent feature in the city's skyline since its dedication in 1933. Endowed by the will of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, the tower was chosen as the manifestation of Coit's wish for a project to beautify the city. The Art Deco tower affords breathtaking views of the city and the Bay, and while the vista from the top is ideal, the one from the parking lot is almost as grand. The tower's interior features fantastic murals commissioned by a public-arts predecessor to the WPA. Since parking in the area is scarce, it's best to walk up Telegraph Hill on your own.
One of the most beautiful locations at the end of one of the most beautiful drives in the world, Big Sur is never a disappointment. Although San Francisco has many city charms and natural beauties, no one ever forgets their first time driving down to Big Sur. If you have the time to make the drive, it's definitely worth it. Highlights include the Bixby Creek Bridge and the Point Sur Lighthouse. If you start the drive just south of San Francisco, and if you're trying to watch your budget, a stay in a private room in the Pigeon Point Hostel includes a dip in their private hot tub that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Big Sur is the gem of the California coast and a sure-fire way to get romance in the air.
Tom's expert tip: Leave time for the stunning 17-miles drive, well-worth the cost of entrance.
Although Oxygen Massage Therapy can provide specialized services for sports injuries, their knowledgeable and attentive staff can rub out the knots in any kind of tension. And the number one block to romance is stress, as any couple can attest to...! When your romantic vacation has lost both its romance and its vacation, head to Oxygen Massage Therapy. Services include Trigger Point, Myofascial Release, Deep Tissue, Shiatsu Thai "Yoga" Massage, Reiki, Swedish and CranioSacral massage. Conveniently located on 22nd Street off of Guerrero, right in the sizzling Mission neighborhood, a wonderful spot to enjoy the San Francisco nightlife once you're officially stress-free.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Oxygen Massage Therapy provides healing relaxation for the body and mind, a great way to set up a romantic night later.
Tom's expert tip: The "CranioSacral" massage is a great way to relax.
Nob Hill Spa is one of the most acclaimed day spas in the city and with good reason. Located in The Scarlet Huntington Hotel, this distinguished spa offers massage services, facials, nail services, body treatments and wellness activities. Massage options include everything from traditional Swedish-style to table Thai, and the facility features a eucalyptus steam room, Jacuzzi and indoor infinity pool. The spa even caters to gentlemen with a special menu of men's services. This large facility features an Indoor relaxation pool, Whirlpool, Fireplace, Gymnasium, Locker rooms, Saunas and steam rooms, 10 treatment rooms, and a Private Premiere Spa Suite for groups.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: If you like the romance of throwing out a blanket and having an afternoon snuggle, Golden Gate Park is the place for you.
Tom's expert tip: To add lavishness on top of lavishness, dine at the Big 4 Restaurant after your spa treatment.
One of the world's most famous bridges, the Golden Gate spans 6450 feet and links San Francisco to Marin County. Completed in 1937 at a cost of $35 million, the "Bridge That Could Not Be Built" is now a landmark visible from many points around the Bay. Automobile access is available from US-101 or Lincoln Boulevard; pedestrian access, from the east sidewalk (5am to 9pm daily). A visitor center and gift shop are located on the San Francisco side, while scenic overlooks and parking can be found at either end. For those romantics out there, walking hand in hand across the Golden Gate Bridge is simply one of the most romantic walks in the whole world.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Walking hand-in-hand across the golden Gate Bridge is one of the most romantic walks in the world.
Tom's expert tip: Don't let the summer fog on the San Francisco side fool you: the north tower in Marin is almost always fog-free.
Locals love this spa's communal bath and all-encompassing menu of relaxing services. The only Japanese-inspired communal bath in the city, Kabuki Springs' unique environment is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. The spa's facilities include a hot pool, cold plunge, dry sauna and steam room, and there are plenty of complimentary bath products, such as sea salts, chilled cucumber face cloths and teas. Other services include massages, facials, body treatments and even acupuncture. If you're at the end of your vacation, and you need a vital reboot or even an extra spark of romance, schedule a visit to Kabuki Springs and Spa.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Although San Francisco has many world-class spas, Kabuki is one of the most respected and well-run in the city.
Tom's expert tip: Check out their website for their specials for couples.