Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to The Gondola Grapevine

A Gondolier’s Guide to the Perfect Date Night for Couples

A nighttime date night gondola ride at The Gondola Company in Coronado, San Diego, California

A Gondolier’s Guide to the Perfect Date Night for Couples

Read the Gondola Company’s tips and date ideas for couple’s activities in San Diego, CA. We’ll help you plan the perfect date night for you and your loved one. 

When an important anniversary rolls around (and you were finally able to line up a babysitter for the kids), or even if you’re just looking for something fun to do with your best friend and partner, the perfect date night is something we all strive for. At the Gondola Company, we’ve been a part of thousands of special outings, and over the years, we’ve gathered intel on how to build a perfect date night: book a gondola cruise! However, there are many things couples can do in America’s Finest City before their romantic sunset cruise around the Coronado Cays. So, in the spirit of helping couples make the most of this special time together, here are some tips and date ideas.

Choosing a Couples Activity

It should go without saying, but for a couple’s activity to truly be effective, both parties should be involved in the planning process. This is not to say that some secrecy can’t be fun, but if you decide to go this route and surprise your partner, consider your significant other’s likes and dislikes. There’s a world of difference between a quiet afternoon of wine tasting, a stroll through the farmers market, and ending with a late-night gondola cruise versus spending a day at a theme park.

Also, if you’re the type of planner who tends to have the day mapped out to the minute, there is value in leaving space for spontaneity. When you’re out and about in a place as packed with things to do as San Diego is, having that bit of flexibility can lead to unexpected, or even unforgettable, unplanned moments.

Conversely, if you have an activity in mind, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and see if a reservation is required. We can’t tell you how often couples have shown up on our busiest weekends of the summer only to find out we’re already fully booked!

Dating Tips to Remember

Here are a couple of quick tips to help the day run as smoothly as possible:

  • Take breaks as needed. If you don’t get to something you had planned, it’s okay.
  • If the outing is a surprise for your partner, make sure you at least give them enough information so they can prepare themselves for whatever lies ahead. The proper footwear, for example, can make quite a difference when walking down a ramp to board a gondola.
  • Dress comfortably and appropriately. Make sure, for example, to bring a jacket on the gondola as it may be breezy out on the bay. You are welcome to bring a blanket with you.
  • If you’re doing an activity where there is even a hint of competition, prioritize having fun over winning. No one likes a sore loser or, even worse, a cocky winner.
  • Avoid bringing up sensitive topics or conflicts. This can be tough, especially if you’re parents and this is the first quiet time you’ve had in a while

Keep in mind the purpose of being out in the first place is to spend quality time together and strengthen your relationship.

If You Have a Couple of Couples

Of course, not every date night needs to be just the two of you. Many people end up double, triple, and quadruple dating (or more). The Gondola Company has, of course, already considered this possibility, offering fleet cruises where we’ll take out multiple gondolas, side-by-side, with 2-6 guests in each boat. Or if your group would prefer to be on the same boat, our Caorlina (yes, that is how you spell it), can hold up to 14 passengers. It’s so big it requires two gondoliers! If you are going this route, make sure there is time in the night for each couple to step away and have a private moment away from the group.

Romantic Things To Do Before your Gondola Cruise

a blue vase on a table
We would now like to present the best San Diego County has to offer when it comes to couples’ activities. So join us as we explore the natural beauty, sightseeing possibilities, and romantic getaways in Southern California’s most southern city!

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego has plenty to offer couples. If you enjoy craft beer, San Diego has 150 breweries, several of which are in the downtown area. You can stroll through the Gaslamp Quarter, a historic commercial district, where you can choose various entertainment options, like bars, clubs, or cigar lounges. There are also live music performances, comedy shows, and rooftop escapes if you need a quiet place to talk. If you are sports fans, catch a Padres game at Petco Park, often touted as “The World’s Best Ballpark.” Lastly, if you want to stay on an Italian theme for the day, visit Little Italy, packed with restaurants for a romantic dinner, art galleries, shops, and the beautiful Amici Park.

The Embarcadero

While still part of Downtown San Diego, the Embarcadero deserves mention in its own right. The waterfront area stretching along the coastline of San Diego Bay features eye-catching public art and restaurants with incredible views and is the perfect place to book a harbor cruise or begin a day of whale watching. On the other hand, suppose you want to save your maritime activities for the gondola cruise. In that case, you can enjoy the outdoor shopping of Seaport Village or visit the Star of India, the world’s oldest working sailing ship, and the USS Midway Museum.


We would be remiss if we didn’t mention all there is to do in Coronado itself! After crossing the impressive Coronado Bridge, take your time strolling down Orange Avenue, the island’s main thoroughfare, lined with boutique shops and fine dining. Of particular note is Moo Time Creamery, a from-scratch ice cream shop where there’s often a line out the door. Just before you reach the Silver Strand, visit the historic Hotel del Coronado, where you can take a walk around the iconic facility, shop, and relax by the beach.

History & Culture

If your idea of a fun day together is exploring culture, art, history, and heritage, San Diego has you covered. Balboa Park is where most of San Diego’s museums can be found, many with free admission. It’s a feast for the eyes and the mind. Enjoy brunch at the Prado restaurant, stroll through the craft vendors at the Spanish Village, or even spend the day at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa or, for a more spacious animal experience, the San Diego Safari Park in Escondido. Another option is to visit Old Town San Diego, an area full of historic sites, some of the best Mexican restaurants San Diego offers, and loads of specialty shops. You may even want to hop on the Old Town Trolley for a guided trolley tour of San Diego, past and present, or visit the Spanish Mission in Presidio Park.

Beaches & Nature

San Diego also has more than its fair share of natural beauty. Relax on Pacific Beach while looking out on the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, or take one of the many hiking trails through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. At Point Loma, you can visit the Cabrillo National Monument and historic lighthouse, stop by Scripps Aquarium, then visit the tide pools of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Further north, you can visit Mission Bay for calmer waters, hiking, and biking, or head to La Jolla Shores to see the sea lions that visit La Jolla Cove or even get in the water to enjoy snorkeling and kayaking near the sea caves, which are also accessible through the Cave Store, one of the places for kayak rentals, where you can walk down a long a winding stone stairway to the gaze out the mouth of the sea caves.

Cruise with Us

a close up of some flowers


The Gondola Company is your passport to Italy. Indulge in all the magic and tradition of Venice right here in San Diego as you gently cruise in a private gondola through the enchanting canals of the Coronado Cays. Whether a relaxing journey or a romantic adventure, each cruise is a truly memorable experience.

    • Gondola cruises are 50 minutes.
    • Each gondola is ideally suited for two, but they can accommodate up to six passengers.
    • Each gondola cruise is private for only you and your guests.
    • Select wines, non-alcoholic beverages, and chocolate truffles are available for purchase.

Cruises are available Wednesday – Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from noon to 11 p.m. Reservations are required.


  • Posted in: