We probably all agree that ABC’s “The Bachelor” is a terrible show, and for pretty obvious reasons, like: it’s a show where a woman is expected to fall in love and get engaged after only knowing her suitor for six weeks, even though he was dating and hooking up with a gaggle of other girls the entire time he was courting her; and because it’s really hard to call oneself a feminist and still buy into the show’s slut-shaming and objectification of women.
But besides the fact that most of us can truly relate to the very vulnerable idea of really wanting to meet someone and fall in love, it’s super fun to watch because holy cow those dates. They’re completely over-the-top, totally indulgent, and always look super fun (unless you’re the person who gets stranded on an island after getting rejected on a 2-on-1, of course).
And because the dates are so amazing, we took it upon ourselves to come up with six Bachelor-style dates in San Francisco that anyone could do—assuming that “anyone” has a lot of extra cash to blow on a date.
The best part? You’ll have the time of your life AND you don’t have to worry about getting a rose.
Go “flightseeing” above the Bay because it’s literally not “The Bachelor” if there aren’t at least seven dates that start in a helicopter. San Francisco Helicopter Tours has a few flights that will make anyone’s heart race, but the one you want is the “Lunch in Sausalito” package.
You’ll start with a 20-minute flight above the hills of San Francisco and famous landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, before being dropped off in Sausalito for a leisurely lunch (where you’ll awkwardly discuss your romantic past and why you’re currently single) before spending time exploring Sausalito’s shops and art galleries (while holding hands and stealing kisses). The Ferry will return you to San Francisco and probably two weeks later you’ll get engaged.
Price: $375/person (alcohol not included).
While it’s true they never actually eat food on “The Bachelor,” they do manage to do an awful lot of drinking, which is why the cocktail omakase experience at the very sexy Roka Bar is the perfect date for people who like the idea of “dinner-and-a-show,” but with drinking and talking.
And while the people on “The Bachelor” would probably just hop on a plane for their date, the 90-minute experience (which has a different theme every few months) is a fun way to learn about and honor the Japanese culture without the expensive flight.
It’s also intimate (there are only five reservations each night), but it might not be the best place to divulge that “deep, dark secret” from your past, as the bartender will be educating you on the ingredients and culture behind each of the five to seven courses as he makes them. (What we’re suggesting is that you wait until later to tell your date you’re divorced, a single parent, or had sex with his friend the night before, but also: you do you.)
Oh, and since you’re not actually on “The Bachelor” and probably do want to eat, you’ll be happy to hear robatayaki food pairings are also available with the experience.
Reservations can be made through Resy.com.
Price: $55/person for cocktails and $55/person for food (not including taxes and gratuity).
Sure, when they go sailing on “The Bachelor” they’re usually wearing swimsuits and jump off of the side of the boat holding hands, but just because you and your date will need to gear up in puffy jackets and wool hats doesn’t mean a private sail around the San Francisco Bay isn’t still a very romantic way to spend an afternoon.
Captain Kirk’s San Francisco Sailing offers private sailboat charters, and sure, the 50-foot boat fits 16 passengers comfortably, but even on “The Bachelor,” there would only be four or five girls on a sailboat date max, so don’t worry about whether setting sail with just you and your paramour is taking full advantage of the boat.
There’s a four-hour cruise, which shows you pretty much everything you could want to see (Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Ferry Building, Angel Island, etc.), or if you want something more romantic, pick the Sunset Cruise, which leaves two hours before sunset and sails to and from Sausalito.
The trip includes a standard food menu with sandwiches, cheese and crackers, chocolate, wine, and beer, but you can upgrade to smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, and a bottle of champs if you want. (Can one even fall in love if there’s no champagne? Certainly not on “The Bachelor.”)
Price: $540–$715 for a three-hour charter with food for two (depending on the boat size).
If you were actually on “The Bachelor,” this date would be saved for the girl with a fear of heights so that afterwards, the Bachelor could stick his tongue down her throat as a reward for her “bravery” and then get her tipsy while she talks about how sad she was when her parents divorced.
Hopefully you’re over your parents’ divorce though and also not scared of heights because going up in a hot air balloon if you don’t like your feet to leave the ground sounds miserable. However, if adrenaline is your thing, you’ll be stoked to start the morning with a hot air balloon flight over Napa Valley, followed by a champagne brunch, a limousine that takes you wine tasting at four to six premium wineries, and a buffet-style picnic lunch at a vineyard.
You can do this as a couple, but you’ll have to pay a lot more, so instead choose the option where you spend the day with four to six other people. Which maybe isn’t so terrible, since that makes it a lot more like “The Bachelor!” Just probably don’t actually start to flirt with someone else’s date…
Price: $630 for two if you go as a group. Does not include gratuity or tasting fees.
Nothing makes you figure out how much you actually like (or don’t like) someone more than spending a few hours cruising around in a double kayak. Yeah, sorry, if you want the date to be like “The Bachelor,” you definitely don’t get your own kayak. The good news is that if you sit in back, you can actually just stop paddling altogether at points and the object of your desire may never even know.
City Kayak is really the only place to go in San Francisco for kayak rentals and trips. They offer private excursions for beginners and intermediates, tours usually last around three to four hours, and you can customize yours to see the landmarks you want.
Only bummer? You have to literally paddle most of the time, so there’s no opportunity to pop a bottle and any kissing is going to be done by twisting around in a very awkward position. But hey, you’ll get a good workout and if you can kayak together, you can probably pay a mortgage together also. And that’s what really matters, right?
Price: $400 minimum for private tours (does not include gratuity).
This is more of a “fantasy suite” type date, so first of all: Congrats! You’re so close… If you don’t blow it, a proposal may be only days away. And what better way to compete for someone’s love than over skiing and spa treatments at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe?
First, you’ll hop a quick flight to Reno or Truckee; then once you arrive at the Ritz, you’ll gear up for a day of skiing or snowboarding at Northstar California. The Ritz is literally mid-mountain, so you just grab your gear from the mountain valet and go.
After a few turns and some heart-to-heart moments (and selfies) on the chairlift, you and your date will discuss if you’re really ready to be engaged and who would move in with whom while getting a relaxing couples massage at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, followed by a hot tub outside in the snow because… you literally cannot go on a romantic date on “The Bachelor” without some hot tub canoodling.
Dinner is by the fireplace at the fabulous Manzanita and after that… well, that’s when the cameras shut off and you guys get to do whatever you want to do in your luxurious room with mountain views, a gas fireplace, and a deep soaking tub that is definitely big enough for two.
Prices: Room at The Ritz-Carlton: Rates start at $349 in the summer and winter ($249 in the spring and fall)
Northstar California lift tickets: $126 (if you buy in advance online)
Massage at The Ritz-Carlton Spa: Starts at $175