First Date Spots

Zara Irshad and Bradley Beggs

If you are an avid reader of The UCSD Guardian — doing your printed media due diligence, if you will — then you’ll have successfully (or unsuccessfully) selected a first date spot through the A&E Valentine’s Day Rizz Meter™. So, if you please, find your chosen first date spot below to read a little bit more about what there is to do there and what kind of date you can anticipate. Or, just read all of them for some great insider information on local spots in and around UC San Diego. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. La Jolla Cove 

Photo by Jeffrey Eisen on Unsplash

Just a short bus ride away from UCSD, La Jolla Cove is one of the best first date spots in all of San Diego. Speaking from personal experience, La Jolla Cove offers spectacular views, delicious foods, and happy memories, ensuring that you will have a good time even if your date sucks. My advice? Order brunch takeout from Brockton Villa, walk it five minutes to the Ellen Browning Scripps Park, and enjoy your food as you sit on the wonderfully grassy area overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see the bubble guy blow his giant bubbles across the field,  a magically unforgettable experience. But beware of the seagulls; they will steal your food if you aren’t looking. After you enjoy your meal, take a walk along the cliffs. Maybe even reach for the hand of a special someone, and laugh at the sea lions fighting for a primo spot on the rocks below. Explore, watch, and listen to the ocean, a surefire way to calm those first date nerves. La Jolla cove is THE first date spot, so sweep your honey off their feet and take them someplace special.

  1. Birch Aquarium

Photo via

Want a more educational experience? With Birch Aquarium as your first date spot, you’ll be able to learn some incredible things: how mangroves protect vulnerable ecosystems, how blue penguins communicate, and how well you can hold a conversation with a romantic interest. Do not fret, the aquarium gives you ample material to comment on, relate to, and joke about. Who doesn’t love a joke about a mollusk? You can stun your date with your advanced marine life knowledge, your incredible bravery by touching the sea urchin at the tide pools, and your massive wallet by buying them their favorite stuffed animal at the gift shop! Need a bite to eat? The food trucks outside are for your convenient eating pleasure. Need a photo op? Want to prove to your friends the date is real? Take a picture with the beautiful kelp forest behind you, or opt for the view of Scripps Pier outside. Regardless of your deeper intentions of taking a date to an educational and scientific facility, Birch Aquarium will prove to be an amazing time for you and your date.

  1. Balboa Park

Photo via

How about something more adventurous? Go for a stroll through Balboa, and check out one of the park’s 18 museums. From the Comic-Con Museum to the Air and Space Museum, there is something for every interest. Every Tuesday, many of the park’s museums offer free admission on a rotating basis to San Diego residents, so be sure to mark your calendar and save a buck in case there’s no second date. In need of a pit stop between museums? Be sure to grab a coffee or bite to eat from one of the dozens of restaurants and cafes dotted around the park. For a serene end to the day, check out the Japanese Friendship garden on your way out, which spans 12 acres and includes a koi pond, moon-viewing deck, and cherry blossom trees. Let’s just hope your date isn’t allergic to cherry blossoms. But hey, if they are, bring a handkerchief; show them how chivalrous you are.

  1. Gliderport

Photo via Bradley Beggs of the UCSD Guardian

With spring on the horizon, pack a picnic and head to Torrey Pines Gliderport, where you’ll be able to soak in incredible ocean views while watching paragliders and surfers. Just a few steps away from the beach, you can easily follow the footpaths down to the water for a post-picnic swim or stroll along the sand. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even book up a flying lesson. Bonus points for going at sunset! Plus, it’s completely free. Use those dining dollars, and order takeout from Cafe V. Use those legs to walk that short walk to the cliffs. Use that brain to impress them with your facts about paragliders and wind currents. And if you go at night, the stars paired with the sounds of waves crashing on the shore are awfully romantic. 

  1. Sun God Lawn

Photo via Raymond Tran of the UCSD Guardian

Need the quiet approval of the Japanese Sun God, Amaterasu? Look no further than UCSD’s own Sun God Lawn. With the giant image of an omniscient being in control of the sun at your fingertips, your first date is surely going to be fantastic. Enjoy the vibrant student life it has to offer. Bring a blanket, bring a frisbee, bring a book! Enjoy the San Diego sun and get to know your special someone, all within the comfort of the UCSD campus. Sure, it’s nothing new, and your date has probably sat here countless of times before, but new experiences are for suckers! Find comfort in the familiarity of your academic home, and if the date is going in the wrong direction, a little prayer never hurts. 

  1. Geisel During Week 6

Photo via Raymond Tran of the UCSD Guardian

Perhaps the least romantic place in all of UCSD’s sprawling campus, Geisel is the center for stressed out seniors, clueless freshman, and the agonizing pain of studying material that is so convoluted even your professor has no clue what they’re talking about. Add midterms into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for the worst date ever. First off, good luck finding a seat. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a nice private corner on the 5th or 6th floor where you can enjoy the peace and quiet of silent dread coming from your fellow students. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll be stuck on floor one in between a table of business majors who came to Geisel just to flex their internships to one another and STEM majors with visible tear tracks on their face. Talk about romance! But let’s say you prefer a nice stroll through the shelves. You can pick out books for each other! One on the ethical values of astrophysics and the other on fecal patterns of dung beetles. Talk about romance! Finally, you can end your day at Audrey’s Cafe. Hopefully the line isn’t too long and you can get a nice hot cup of coffee. It will surely wake you up after the snooze-fest that was this first date. Why Geisel of all places? Do better.