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Thursday, January 31, 2013

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do.

Hi, everyone! Nugget here. I have plenty of compelling (read: terrifying) date stories for you, but that's not what I'm here for. What I'm here for, my friends, is to help YOU. You see, boring dates are just that: boring. EVERYONE goes out for a drink or coffee on the first date, and second date is always dinner or a movie. Why don't we have some fun on our dates? Who said fun wasn't invited? So, here are some ideas for your dates. These are specific to the Bay Area, but some of these things can be found in other areas thanks to your little friend, Google (see? Google can do more than just get you the dirt on your date). For the record, this blog is not sponsored by any of these folks, but it's easier to get out there and do things when you already know when, where, why, and how (all you need is the who!).

  • See ladies shake their stuff and play everyone's favorite no-skill-required game, Bingo! Bacon, Babes, and Bingo, every first Thursday at El Rio in San Francisco. Admission is $10, which includes 3 Bingo cards, and lasts from 7pm to 10pm. For those of you in the East Bay, vegetarians, and/or those that would rather ride bicycles than see half-naked ladies, there's Bicycle Bingo every Thursday from 7pm to 9pm at Actual Cafe in Berkeley. Admission is free, and games are $3 per card or 5 cards for $10.
  • Climb things. In a harness. Spandex optional. There are TONS of climbing gyms in the Bay Area, and all of them have an intro to climbing class. It's a great way to do something active, do something that requires you to work together, and get a good look at your date's booty without being creepy about it. If you're near the Mission, Oakland, Berkeley or Concord (or Sacramento, San Jose or Fresno), Touchstone Climbing has a place for you! If you're near the Presidio (or Portland, Belmont, or Sunnyvale), Planet Granite has you covered! At most gyms, $30 will get you the intro class, a day pass, and all the gear you need. If you're scared of heights or just don't want to be tied down, all gyms have bouldering as well, which is a rope-free form of climbing  that takes you only about 10-15 feet above ground, and utilizes a crash pad. Added bonus: you don't have to take a class for bouldering.
  • Explore a new neighborhood and get great photos while doing it! Stray Boots has scavenger hunts that use your smart phone (or texting on your flip phone, but it might be time to upgrade already!) to give you clues that take you around the city (they also have several other cities, like Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, LA, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, Washington DC, and even the UK). Each hunt is $12/person, and takes about 3 hours to complete. San Francisco neighborhoods include Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square and North Beach. Plan to bring some cash for a snack, you'll be hungry afterward!
  • What's better than having a whole trampoline to yourself? Having a whole room of trampolines! House of Air is a trampoline house with a lounge and, for those of you that are feeling extra brave, a trampoline dodge ball room. Tickets are $16 an hour, and they're open until 9pm most weeknights, and 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
  • Glass blowing and beer? Yes, please! For $25, you can go to Hot Glass, Cold Beer, a monthly event at Public Glass. Each month, a featured artist does a glass blowing demonstration. Afterward, you get to choose your own hand crafted glass to keep, and sip your wine or beer out of it! Just...no party fouls.
  • Museums can be boring. There, I said it. But the Academy of Science has interactive science exhibits, an aquarium (complete with giant octopus and an albino alligator), a natural history wing, an amazon rainforest, a planetarium, and a living roof! Who wants to elbow their way through sticky children to see some African penguins, though? Well, you don't have to, because every Thursday is Nightlife, their weekly 21+ night, complete with pop up restaurants, a theme, and, of course, alcohol, all for $12!
  • Everyone likes to ride bikes. Why not ferry on over to Sausalito and ride one built for two?  For $25 (or $10 an hour for a regular road bike), you can rent a tandem bike at Sausalito Bike Rentals, or bring your own on the Sausalito Ferry for just $9.75. See the houseboats, ride Golden Gate Bridge, or just cruise around and enjoy the sunshine (the bike rental place can give you a map, or you can find one here).
  • Ride some ponies! This one's a little pricey, so save it for someone special. For $80, Chaparral will get you a two-hour horseback trail ride in Ed Levine Park. If you want to really step up the game, you can do a beach ride in Monterey for $100 per person.
  • Always wanted to learn to paint, but need a little encouragement? Wine and Canvas is here to help! Each week they have events throughout the Bay Area, and for $35-$45, you'll get full instruction and all materials to make a masterpiece (as well as an apron to keep you looking fresh). It's unclear whether beverages are included, so be sure to bring a little extra if you're planning to drink and paint. If you don't drink, they also have Cookies and Canvas events!
  •  Don't do well with instruction? Strike out on your own at the farmer's market! California has year-round farmer's markets, and there are tons any day of the week in the Bay Area. You can wander and eye the fresh produce, sip on some local coffee, grab a bite to eat at the food vendors that attend many markets, or even pick up a few things to bring home and cook up with your date, or bring along to a picnic spot!
  •  Wanting to stretch your legs? There are plenty of hiking trails to get lost on in the Bay Area. My favorite is Redwood in Oakland thanks to the banana slugs, but you're less than an hour away from both beach and mountain trails, with anything in between. Most parks charge a parking fee or a small admission fee, but I've never paid more than $10. Don't want to get too dirty? Hiking Yoga will take you on a guided urban hike for $20 per person, stopping at local parks and parklets for frequent yoga breaks. If you're lucky enough to get owner Eric, he used to be a San Francisco tour guide, and provided you can keep up with his 6'+ tall stride, he'll give you plenty of information on the city!
  • Want the view without all the work? Berkeley's Campanile, or bell tower, is only $2 per person, and boasts amazing views of the Bay Area. Afterward, catch a performance at Zellerbach Hall, or if the date's going really well, cruise up to Grizzly Peak for a good ol' make out session.
  • Two words that every Bay Area resident is quite familiar with: food trucks. There are several food truck parks in San Francisco, including the StrEat Food park in SoMa, and the roving  Off the Grid (which you can sometimes catch on Thursday nights just outside of the Academy of Science for a two-for-one date!). In Oakland, the craziness of Art Murmur is toned down a little at the Oakland Museum of Art's First Friday celebration with a food truck park, music, beer, wine, and half off admission.
  • I have never, ever been a fan of movies on the first (or really, any early date). However, Castro Theatre is about to change my mind on all of that, because...they have sing-a-longs! You can dress up like your favorite character, drag your date along and sing your little heart out. They even give you prop bags to interact with the movie! If you're not the singing type, The Darkroom does a monthly bad movie heckling ala Mystery Science Theater 3000 that you can shout, boo, and laugh along to for only $6.99.

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