by Stephanie Levin.
“It’s in his kiss, that’s where it is.” Yes, indeed, that zingy sensation causing our hearts to turn somersaults is in a kiss. And if you’re lucky enough to be in San Francisco for Valentine’s Day, the romantic city where Tony Bennett left his heart, here’s eight of the best places to kiss.
For a 360-sweeping view of San Francisco, spanning the East Bay, The Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County, there is only one place to kiss your sweetheart: Hamon Observation Tower at the top of the de Young Museum. From a distance, the glass-walled, 144- foot tower looms above the park. Once inside the museum, the elevator jets you to the top of the world for jaw-dropping views, all for free. The caveat is you will not be able to kiss your sweetheart at sunset as the sun sinks over the Pacific Ocean; the last elevator departs for the top of the world at 4:30pm. de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., Golden Gate Park.
“Does he love me I want to know.
How can I tell if he loves me so?
Is it in his eyes? Oh, no!
It’s in his kiss, that’s where it is.”
(The Shoop Shoop Song, by Betty Everett )
If it’s nature and the botany of desire that makes your heart swoon, grab your sweetheart’s hand and walk across the grand concourse in Golden Gate Park to the living rooftop of the Academy of Science. Share a Valentine kiss on the roof’s lush canopy of plants amidst the densest concentration of native wildflowers in San Francisco. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr. Golden Gate Park.
However, if you are acrophobic or if heights make your knees wobble, but you still want to experience a romantic kiss in the park, two perfect plots of paradise await you. The first is the Moon Viewing Garden, a peaceful, semi-hidden garden cradled by beautiful plants and stone pagodas from Japan; very Zen. Stroll up the stone walk hand-in-hand to the wooden platform overlooking a small pond and a world of winter blossoms. Located in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, lovers will need to time their Valentine kiss. The last entry to the Botanical Garden is at 5:00pm.
For theater and literature lovers, another prime place for a kiss is Shakespeare’s Garden. Think Romeo and Juliet without the tragic ending. Neither Shakespeare nor Saint Valentine could have possibly kept count of the kisses that have been sealed in this romantic garden. Shakespeare Garden is one of most sought after venues for weddings. Masked by foliage and towering trees, the garden gateway is an arched iron gate leading to a stone walkway. An intimate meadow hosts 200 flowers and plants, many symbolic from Shakespeare’s masterpieces. The entrance is on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Middle Drive East.
Inclined for a more urban feel of the City, and heart-thumping views? Lace up your sneakers and climb the acclaimed Filbert Stairs on Telegraph Hill.
Rising in three sections from Sansome Street to Coit Tower, this famous stairway ascends past views of fragrant flower gardens tended by residents of some of San Francisco’s oldest residences. If the wild green parrots of Telegraph Hill are feeling amore, an auspicious chorus of birdsong might just serenade your kiss. Caveat: you may need to catch your breath before a kiss. Located on Filbert Street between Sansome Street and Telegraph Hill.
For the sci fi buff desiring a kiss under a mysterious member of the Jedi Order, Yoda, from Star Wars, it’s best to head to The Presidio. Tucked into a tidy, latticed square, Yoda is cradled by the original George Lucas studios. The revered Jedi Master presides over the square flanked by a square bubbling fountain. You’ll appreciate the bonus inside the verdant Presidio where miles of hiking trails, views of the Golden Gate Bridge and gardens with flowing water provide perfect places to seal a few more kisses.
Of course, you maybe not be the outdoors type and are dreaming of a cozy restaurant replete with views of the Pacific Ocean with something a little more romantic. Share a kiss at the Cliff House. It’s perched above Ocean Beach with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean as far as the eye can see.And one of the best places to kiss. Come early and catch the sunset by a window table, share a cocktail and a kiss. 1090 Point Lobos Ave (Upper Great Highway).
For a majestic feeling redolent of days gone by, The Palace of Fine Arts, originally created for the 1915 World’s Fair by visionary Bernard Maybeck, has numerous niches to kiss, and is another favorite wedding venue. While you may not be tinkering with wedding bells, The Palace of Fine Arts is a favorite site to stroll under the grand columns, or park yourself on a bench overlooking the lagoon, home to geese, ducks and swans, and kiss until your heart’s content. Now that’s amore!
Happy Valentine’s Kiss!
“Heart in San Francisco” sculpture: Photo by Lee Daley