Think back to the very start of your relationship. Those early months—sometimes years—are an intense time of excitement and expansion. This person you’re developing strong feelings for is helping you to see the world with fresh eyes and enter new experiences in each moment simply because you get to experience these moments with them. This period of newness motivates self-expansion, which in itself is a happy and fulfilling experience. In time, the newness wears off and makes way for knowing your partner even more deeply and intimately.
Dr. Arthur Aron has spent decades researching self-expansion, the ways it ties into romance, and how we can tap back into that fresh excitement and novelty of a new relationship even many, many years later. Dr. Aron’s research team has evaluated the effects on relationship satisfaction when couples shake up their usual routines. The results are promising and lead to the conclusion that introducing unusual, creative elements into your weekly routines and your date night plans can reignite that original spark of passion.
If you’ve ever lamented over never feeling that thrilling wellspring of first love again, it’s time to reverse your expectations and plan out some adventures. We’ll never be too old for self-expansion, and by trying out some of these things for older couples to do together, you’ll be reconnecting with each other and revitalizing your personal growth all at the same time.
A Unique Look at Things for Older Couples to Do Together in San Francisco
San Francisco itself may be rooted to its little corner of the earth, but it continues to expand all of the time, welcoming new ideas, inspiration, events, and activities. We all know it’s at least a little wacky and a tad bit weird. It’s the perfect home for older couples interested in trying out fun and out-of-the-ordinary activities. So, we’ve collected some exciting ideas of things you can do together as an older couple without even leaving San Francisco’s little corner.
Special Walks for Older Adults in San Francisco
Not only are walks a great way for older adults to stay active, but they are also a great way to bring you up close and personal with so many of the city’s wonders. They may be big and impressive or common, everyday wonders—if you approach your adventures with curiosity and zeal, you can be sure they’ll turn up all around you. Here are a few possibilities for both organized and self-guided walking activities.
- Rooftop Gardens Walking Tour: On the Level is a San Francisco walking tour company that offers certain excursions without hills or steps that are also suitable for wheelchairs. One such adventure is the Rooftop Gardens Walking Tour that explores gardens and water features throughout the city, many of which are hidden and largely unknown. Your experience comes with a takeaway map of all the rooftop gardens in San Francisco, so you can hunt for them on your own even after the tour is done.
– Phone: (415) 921-1382
– Email: OnTheLevelSF@hotmail.com
– Price: $25 per person, but you can reach out directly for senior discounts
- Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers: If you’ve never visited the Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers in Golden Gate Park, then it may be the perfect opportunity to just be together in a brand-new place. It’s full of color and life, inspired by the romantic settings of Shakespeare’s plays. Whether you’re walking together or sitting beside each other on a bench to read books, all of your senses will be awakened and enlivened by the garden’s gifts.
– Location: In Golden Gate Park, at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Middle Drive East
– Open: 7 days a week
– Price: Free
- Crissy Field: Right on the bay, Crissy Field is a great place to walk, picnic, watch for birds and sea lions, and enjoy the views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city of San Francisco. Spring brings beautiful wildflowers to this wide, flat area. And there are wheelchair-accessible trails that allow everyone to enjoy the beach and the surf right in the city.
– Location: The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 1199 East Beach, Presidio
– Phone: (415) 561-4323 (Presidio visitor center)
– Open: The trails are public and always open
Classes for Older Adults to Grow and Learn in San Francisco
Signing up to take a class as a couple falls right in line with the idea of self-expansion and exploration of new things together. Check out some of our other posts about fitness and dance activities throughout the Bay Area, as well as cooking classes to help shake up the usual date night out at a restaurant. We’ve also scoped out some opportunities for meditation classes and community gatherings in San Francisco. These kinds of lifelong learning activities also open the door to meeting new friends and other couples who are rediscovering their zest for life and togetherness.
See the World Without Going Far Away
“San Francisco is a city where people are never more abroad than when they are at home,” said writer Benjamin F. Taylor when he visited in the 19th Century. It’s amazing that the city’s cultural abundance can escape our notice when we’re in the flow of ordinary life. But you can be sure it’s all there waiting as soon as you open up to it. Here are some ideas to get you started on your global tour of San Francisco.
- Palace of Fine Arts: Escape to classical Europe by taking a short trip to San Francisco’s Marina District and the Palace of Fine Arts. It’s home to the Exploratorium museum, where you can surely discover new intellectual and sensory experiences. Or, you could just walk around and enjoy the site’s captivating architecture and lagoon wildlife.
– Location: 3601 Lyon St. and Marina Blvd.
– Phone: (415) 563-6504
– Open: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm
– Price: $11 for seniors
- Planetarium Show: The always unique California Academy of Sciences houses the Morrison Planetarium. Here, you can tour through some of the earth’s most beautiful places or even through distant parts of the universe. Of course, you’ll also want to explore the rest of what CalAcademy has to offer, including the rainforest, living roof, and other evolving exhibits.
– Location: 55 Music Concourse Dr. in Golden Gate Park
– Phone: (415) 379-8000
– Open: Monday–Saturday 9:30am–5pm and Sunday 11am–5pm
– Price: The planetarium show is included with museum admission, which is $29.95 for seniors
- Just go! If you can stand not to make plans, and you have the energy to walk around for a bit, to drive, or to catch public transportation, just head out of the house. See what happens. This may be a unique experience simply because you have no plans and no agenda. Perhaps you’ve passed by those same store windows many times before, but you never stopped to really look at what was inside. Perhaps you’ve walked along certain sidewalks before as a means of getting to somewhere else, but you’ve never walked them just to hold hands and be where you are.
While this deliberate attempt to follow a researcher’s prompts toward romantic reawakening may feel a bit odd at first, you’ll quickly get lost in the adventure together. Whether you’re reaffirming your commitment to one another with a refreshing vow renewal ceremony or planning a creative staycation right here at home, the possibilities are endless to rekindle your relationship with new and imaginative experiences. So, take a chance with some activities you steered away from before and others that you may be uncovering for the first time. Our own self-expansion will halt only when we cease to cultivate it, and your partner is the perfect companion because they open up your capacity to expand even more.
If you need a little extra push toward local adventuring, or if you’re seeking additional resources and programs, reach out to us at Institute on Aging, and we’ll be happy to help guide your journey of expansion.