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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

San Francisco's Top 10 Dates Under $20

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM

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Here's the thing about living in the city: You get what you pay for. Gorgeous views, international cuisine, indulgent liberalism, and adorable alleyways do not come cheap. Unfortunately for our wallets and genitals, dating tends to work the same way. Whether you're looking for love or simply trying to get your girlfriend out of her sweats, here are our recommendations for the best cheap dates in S.F. to seduce your luvah without breaking the bank (or coming off as a cheapskate).

See also:

San Francisco's Top 10 Places to Take or Act Like a Kid

47 Things We Learned in 2012 That We Really Need to Remember for 2013

10. Bernal Hill Sunset with Nepalese Take Out

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One of the best views of the city spreads out in all directions from little ol' Bernal Hill. While the hike might be a deterrence, and parking is not to be counted on, watching the sun set over the entire city with a sweetheart on your arm will make it all worthwhile. For munchies, stop in at Little Nepal for some exotic cuisine and finger foods. We'll bet five chicken momos that your date's never tried Nepalese food. Eat in and then head for the hike, or grab takeout to share once you get to the top. Oh, and bring coats. The wind up there can get a little crazy, but hey, it's just one more excuse to huddle closer to your honey bunny.

9. Glen Park Swing Search and Fish Tacos

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In the magical, faraway land of Glen Park, you can fill your belly for under $5, pet other peoples' dogs willy nilly, and venture into the lush oasis that is Glen Canyon Park, a forest smack dab in the middle of the city. Not only are seemingly all of the citizens of this adorable neighborhood incredibly talented gardeners, but the trek from BART to the canyon is virtually flat. Beat that, Bernal. Grab a picnic lunch from La Corneta Taqueria -- seriously one $4 super taco is more than enough for one -- and head west to the canyon. If Mexican food causes unattractive digestive reactions in you, cross the street to Canyon Market for delish sandwiches and snacks. Once to the canyon, you can follow the marked paths for a beautiful scenic hike or you can venture into the wilderness, open your heart, think happy thoughts, and maybe, just maybe, you'll happen upon the secret rope swing... or a coyote.

8. Free Rock Climbing Classes

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Let's face it, just about every single person on online dating sites is a rock climber. There's no way around it: If you want to get laid, you have to climb. So hop off your sofa and get your butt over to Lombardi Sports where on the first Thursday of the month, you can take advantage of the 25-ft indoor climbing wall, with lessons and equipment provided by the Outdoor Adventure Club. Get in a good workout and treat your date to a '90s sitcom-style adventure all for the of low, low price of zilch. Make sure you RSVP though, as space is limited.

7. Bi-Rite and Dolores Park

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Is your idea of romance standing in a line with 50 other cranky-ass folk as you shout compliments over the din to your date? Of course it isn't. That's why you're going to go to Bi-Rite Market, you silly goose. The market has the same exact stuff as the Creamery across the street, just faster and more convenient. Some flavors include Pumpkin (drool!), Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl, and Ricanelas, which is cinnamon with snicker doodles! If those don't get you laid, we don't know what will. Grab a small pint of whatever mind-blowing magic your date chooses and waddle across the street to Dolores Park. Laugh at some hippies, coo at some puppies, and then curl up in the blankets you brought and soak in the magic of the city.

6. Multi-Tasker Dream Date at the BrainWash Cafe

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Despite the fact that our biological clock is ticking and our illogical fear of dying alone is growing ever more insistent, we still have laundry to do. Whatever shall you choose? We say both! Grab your whites, colors, and quarters and tell your soon-to-be-impressed date to meet you at BrainWash Cafe for dinner, drinks, and detergent. If you arrive between 4 and 7 p.m., use your laundry discount to score a free beer (or cookie if that's more your style). Chow down on cheap eats that don't taste cheap and maybe even catch some live music. BrainWash provides a place to mingle, conversate, and launderate, all in one place.

5. Chinatown Haggling and the Buddha Lounge

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No other neighborhood in the city feels quite like Chinatown: The lanterns hanging down over the crowded streets, the smells and sounds of cultures clashing, and a cacophony of vendors trying to snare unsuspecting tourists into perusing their large stock of multicolored kimonos. You and your date can purchase matching Buddha figurines for less than $5 from the nearest, or most persuasive, vendor and then head over to rub your bellies up against the Buddha Lounge for an intimate chat over cheap beers. Bring your last $20 and try to beat the bartender at dice. You just might get your money's worth.

4. Sutro Baths and Malted Shakes at Louis' Restaurant

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This is hands-down the best and perhaps most unassuming viewpoint in the city. Louis' Restaurant has been around for decades, and has stood strong against bids from the city for a buy-out. When you arrive, ask for a table and the history books to check out tons of hilarious and incredible photos of San Franciscans circa 1924. Envy their bathing suits and learn about the history of the very spot in which you sit over a milkshake for two for $6 or a piece of pie for $5. Cash only. Afterwards, meander down into the Sutro Bath ruins and inspect the haunting remains for a sweet make-out spot (We recommend the cave).

3. Farmers Market and Flowers

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On the off-chance you're not hungover and your date isn't an alcoholic, you may want to plan a Sunday morning get-together for some good, old-fashioned fun. Grab your canvas bags and bicycles and pedal down to the Ferry Building for the bountiful farmers market. A secret agenda may include inspecting the palate-pickiness level of your future paramour. If this date seems a little too commitment-minded for you, here's a pro-tip. Swing by the flower stand and score your date a blossom for their hair or lapel and be proud of yourself for your romancing abilities. When you get tired of staring at food or purchasing organic purple kale, watch the boats drift in and out of the bay until you can't resist macking on each other.

2. Cat's Corner Swing Dance Lesson and Dance Party

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Since the dawn of man, dancers have been getting laid more than anyone else. Hot bodies sweating and writhing in tempo to loud, invasive music all combine to set the perfect stage for love and/or animal attraction. We need not list the movies that illustrate our point, correct? If you're not currently a dance aficionado, well, what better way to learn than with the very individual you'd love to be sweating on? $10 drop-in swing dancing lessons are hosted at the Savanna Jazz Club every Wednesday, followed by a dance party! It's a known fact that everybody falls for their dance partner. Just ask Jennifer Grey.

1. Cute Overload at the S.F. Zoo

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Monkeys throwing poop, hippos splashing in the mud, and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Plan your trip to catch the special events the zoo has going every day: The big cats' feedings will blow your mind and the penguin feeding is downright adorable. The San Francisco Zoo offers free admission on the first Wednesday of the month, and normal admission is still only $15 per person. If you really are struggling with getting all the way out to the Sunset, make your date watch this baby polar bear video first.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook. Follow Jamie McKenzie at @pocket_full.

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Jamie McKenzie

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