Nightlife at California Academy of Sciences (credit: Tim Williamson/

Date nights are the perfect way to get to know someone new or keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship. While many folks like to stick with the tried-and-true dinner and a movie date, some like to spice things up with different activities. The Bay Area offers some truly unique date night options, ranging from indoor mini golf to after-hours cocktails in a museum. Here are five of the best date night options around the Bay.

California Academy Of Sciences Nightlife
55 Music Concourse Dr.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 379-8000

The recently redesigned California Academy of Sciences is one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions and is a scientific and natural history education museum. Regular daytime tickets run $35, but on Thursday nights, from 6 to 10 p.m, the museum’s Nightlife event is just $15. Couples can enjoy perusing the interactive exhibits while sipping cocktails or having a bite from the café. Each night has a theme which varies wildly from live pop music performances to the science behind storms systems.

Urban Putt
1096 S. Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 341-1080

San Francisco’s Urban Putt is the unusual combination of a restaurant and indoor mini-golf course. It provides the perfect setting for couples who like to connect with their inner kid and have a little fun, while still enjoying adult food and beverages. Those looking for romantic nostalgia will enjoy playing the 14-hole course, which is 21 and over only after 8 p.m. The American style restaurant dishes up everything from small plates of kid-friendly corn dogs and grilled cheese to more sophisticated palate pleasers like braised artichokes and a shiitake mushroom, arugula pesto and goat cheese pizza.

Campo di Bocce
565 University Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 395-7650

Ever popular with groups looking to spend a few hours of fun together, Campo di Bocce also welcomes parties of two on its courts. Couples may rent a court or make it a group date for even more fun. The game is simple to play and easy to learn. Casual dress is highly suggested, as high heels are not allowed on the bocce courts. Plenty of delicious food and drinks are available for purchase and the all-Italian menu is replete with everything from chicken marsala and cioppino to lasagna and grilled salmon.

Pacific Pinball Museum
1510 Webster St.
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 769-1349

For any pinball lover, the Pacific Pinball Museum is a guaranteed good time. Admission is a flat rate of $15 Tuesday through Sunday, and includes unlimited play on over 90 different machines. Machines range from vintage to modern and include everything in between. The museum is organized by era of manufacture, and players will enjoy classic favorites like Cyclone and rare models such as the 1976 New York.

The Exploratorium After Dark
Pier 15
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 528-4444

Open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, San Francisco’s interactive Exploratorium always draws a crowd. While daytime visits can make for a fun date, the Exploratorium offers a special adults-only experience every Thursday night. The After Dark program runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and has a different theme each week. Themes many include anything from scientific sensory exploration to the cinematic arts. Museum bars and regular galleries are open during After Dark.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on