Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
This beautiful location is a perfect spot for taking photos, for a walk or for a memorable date. It is also a dreamy spot to propose amid the gorgeous grounds and quiet pond surrounding the striking Palace of Fine Arts rotunda. Originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition to exhibit works of art, the Palace of Fine Arts was designed by Bernard Maybeck who took inspiration from Roman and Greek architecture. It is one of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition, and the only one situated on its original site. The Palace was rebuilt in 1965, and in 2009 renovation of the lagoon, walkways and a seismic retrofit were completed. Today the Palace is a popular spot for wedding photos, with its stunning background scenery.
Berkeley Rose Garden
1200 Euclid Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94708
The lovely, historic Berkeley Rose Garden is a favorite destination spot with more than 3,000 rose bushes and 250 varieties of roses, all set before breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. This fragrant park was commissioned under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression and built between 1933 and 1937. Visitors can easily see the care and attention to restoring the garden’s historical features over the past decade by the Friends of the Berkeley Rose Garden. Strolling anywhere within these exquisite gardens covering three-and-a-half acres makes for an ideal backdrop to a proposal.
Vista Point and Battery Spencer
Golden Gate Bridge
McCullough Road & Conzelman Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
The view from here on the Marin side is seriously romantic and the best spot to see the glory that is the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the world’s most dramatic bridges, and for good reason. With photo opportunities from every angle, it can only get more special with the two of you in it, so with a camera along ask a passerby to capture the moment – and the “yes” kiss. Note to the ladies: don’t wear skirts. It can be chilly even on the sunniest day and it is definitely windy – enough said.
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Ryes Station, CA 94956
(415) 464-5100 x2
Naturalists, explorers and romantics alike will enjoy walking along the expansive shoreline, grasslands, hillsides and forested areas of this seashore reserve that includes more than 1,500 species of plants and animals. The Point Reyes Seashore is rich with native California history and plentiful stories. This is a large and wonderful area to explore, with romantic spots just right for a proposal evident at many turns. Several lovely small towns such as Olema, Bodega Bay, Inverness, Marshall, and Tomales are here with dining and lodging options to heighten the romance. This spectacular area makes for a perfect getaway weekend from San Francisco, yet feels as if you have traveled far.
The Gardens at Lake Merritt
666 Bellevue Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610
The Gardens at Lake Merritt is a true Oakland gem. Comprised of seven acres of themed gardens conveniently located in the heart of Oakland at Lakeside Park, this city jewel is the nation’s first wildlife refuge. The themed gardens are places to enjoy tranquility in the city and are the attraction here. Indulge your senses in the Sensory Garden with its many herbs that give aroma at their freshest, the Japanese Garden that was built by the East Bay Japanese-American community, or the Edible, Bonsai, Palm or Mediterranean Gardens. Any and all would be fitting locales for a tender proposal.
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.