San Diego's most romantic locations, as told by 9 local creatives
Valentine’s Day means a lot to different people: for children, it’s an excuse to receive candy and funny cards; for teenagers, it’s yet another excuse to shoot your shot; for married adults, it’s a day that may have come too fast, so now you gotta call a flower delivery service to right your wrongs.
For all, though, Valentine’s Day is a day to observe the beauty of romance and acknowledge the small intricacies that make the feeling so worthwhile. Whether that love is shared with a partner, a friend, or with yourself, there’s always an exciting and mysterious aura that presents itself when that love is expressed, and what better place to feel that than in San Diego?
This is why we asked nine local creatives to give us an insight into their favorite romantic scenarios, whether it be places, date ideas, flashbacks, or just tips on the subject itself. Hopeless romantic or not, it’s always good to learn from others.
Sasha Marie (DJ, Soulection):
“The first place that came in mind is a spot I often visit by myself. It’s right behind the Aerospace museum in Balboa Park at the very end of the road. The view overlooks Downtown San Diego and has the most lovely sunsets. The planes fly right over it and there’s hardly anyone there. You can park your car right at the edge of the hill and listen to music. I go there to think, but I suppose you can take your lover too.”
Ferchil Ramos (Media Strategist, ACLU of San Diego / Sound Future):
“Romance is relative, so what I might find romantic could be much different than others. In my opinion, my car is the most romantic spot in the city. In a day, I can go from the Pacific Crest Trail to the Coronado Ferry Landing while cruising to whatever is blaring through the speakers. While listening to Xavier the XMan’s Sunday Oldies show, we can drive from the border to Oceanside and park at the top of the airport parking spots to watch the planes fly over.”
Jupiter (Visual Artist):
“For a long time [my romantic spot] was the third parking lot in Sunset Cliffs. For years I'd take myself, best friends, and lovers to watch the sunset or enjoy the cool of the night with snacks or tall cans. That time has since come and gone.
The place I now find myself instinctively going to now is Oceanside. The 30 minute drive itself always feels like I'm running away, but I'm still in San Diego. My home away from home. My idea of romance has changed a lot, so I don't come up here with anyone I don't absolutely love.
Anyway, I pretty much always see dolphins jumping out of the fucking water, literally everyone minds their own business and behaves in a cowboy code of conduct, theres people skating and walking alongside the beach, and finding secret staircases is... you just don't find that shit anywhere!!! This place has ancient magical vibes and I always come home with more insight about myself, which I think romance is....recognizing the divinity inside of certain things and acknowledging that it's special and deserves to be celebrated.”
Real J. Wallace (Musician / Founder, The Holyfield):
“My favorite romantic place in San Diego is Brick Row in National City. Every week countless married couples take pictures on the street and it’s a little bit of paradise in the middle of National City. The homes are designed like Philly-style brick row homes and the trees are lit up with Christmas lights every night. Something about it is magical and unexpected, much like love and romance is.”
Kela Reece (Model):
“For a romantic setting on a rainy Valentine's Day, The Rose Wine Bar in the cozy and historic neighborhood of South Park is perfect, before making your way to Whistle Stop to heat up your night. But if you’re claustrophobic, go ghost hunting in the Grant Hotel or El Cortez. It's pouring rain tomorrow night, so I’m a bit limited.”
Benjamin Huerta (Filmmaker, Chicana Stardust):
“The golf course in the Golden Hill / South Park area has a parking lot that I frequently visit when I’m in the mood for love. I’m not sure if it has a name or if you can find it on any map, It’s located behind the course next to a little diner called ‘Tobey’s 19th Whole’ (look it up) overlooking the navy hospital, parts of Balboa Park, the 5 freeway and a breathtaking view of Downtown San Diego like something straight out of a Spike Jonze movie (have you ever seen the movie Her? Remember the ending? Something like that).
During the day it serves as a meeting place for the elitist, over-saturated with sunscreen, polo shirts, khaki shorts and people who have never heard Dirty Sprite 2 (and it shows). It’s true charms can only be experienced at night when you’re technically trespassing, it’s the kind of place where you’d find your future ex-wife at.
Some of my more memorable visits consisted of hand holding, blunt rolling, games of truth or dare, would you rather, have you ever and make-out sessions usually scored by D’Angelo (“how does it feeeeel?”) and in one very special occasion, The-Dream’s ‘Falssetto’ (“ooohh, ohhhh, babbbbyyy”). You can still find me out there every once in a while, either reminiscing on life or with a shawty talking about zodiac signs and what not, before the inevitable “what are we” question is asked and it all crumbles. At least we had fun right?
By the way, if the girl who fucked my life up to ‘Falsetto’ is reading this, I hope you drank enough water today, stay hydrated baby, I miss you.”
Kaidan Pascua (Designer, Gnashing / Kaidan):
“As an 18 year-old with very limited experience actually dating, and even less experience with dates on Valentines Day, I’ve found that any place can really be pretty romantic. i think my two favorite places, or at least the places i find myself most often, are sitting in my car with someone or having a picnic with someone on a nice day. Especially when you don’t have too much money and / or don’t want to come on too strong. Buy some snacks, listen to music, talk. It’s tight.”
Areclu (DJ / Visual Artist):
“The most romantic spot in San Diego? My old high school parking lot; the front one, near a one-way alley behind these sketchy “businesses” (lots of Russian elders—begs lots of questions). Near the softball field, there’s a tree that obscures your car from the street. It’s dark, it’s quiet. Except for the occasional police cars (bless them they never saw me). It’s where I had my first orgasm... ha!”
Andrew Galvan (Artist Manager / Founder, As We Arrive):
“Truth is, any place in San Diego can be the perfect date night / romantic spot, that’s the great thing about this city. How is that even possible? Something that's romantic is an expression of love. We show love through care and effort.
Effort goes a long way and your special other will see that, if you really make the attempt.
Some of my favorite dates have been in places that I had yet to explore in our own back yard or just plain and simple things. They were also built on a real connection. I love Tacos El Gordo as much as Tone, but have you ever been to any of the Ethiopian restaurants San Diego has to offer and tried something outside of your comfortable taste pallet and cultural rituals? (Don’t eat with your left hand).
Lastly, a personal tip — I'd suggest getting into the routine of giving, like giving flowers. Today is perfect to start that habit, let it become something that's done outside of the holiday. Even if it’s to yourself. Sunflowers are my mother’s favorite flower so if they’re good enough for her, they should be good enough for my date tonight. Put in the effort.”