18 Fun L.A.-Specific Date Ideas That Don't Cost a Penny

by Michelle Guerrere
PHOTO:

Christian Vierig/Getty

Is anything free these days? Rarely, especially in the City of Angels. It can be hard to stay on a budget and plan fun date nights for you and your person (when maybe you’re also saving for a trip or planning to move into a new place together). But just because you don’t want to drop a pretty penny every time you two hang out doesn’t mean you have to hole up at home watching Netflix and drinking Two-Buck Chuck on the couch (unless that’s actually your thing). We’ve uncovered some L.A.-specific date-night gems to keep the spark alive in your relationship—and all will cost you exactly zero dollars. Get scrolling.

1. Hike to the Hollywood sign. Then huddle for a selfie (be sure to check out a map of the best places to take a photo).

2. See the stars at Griffith Observatory. Use one of the telescopes open to the public every night. For a bit of added fun, take part in a star party (they happen one Saturday a month).

3. Explore the Getty Villa. You'll see everything from an outdoor classical theater to a building modeled after a first-century Roman country home.

4. Have a picnic at Amir’s Garden. Getting to this hidden spot is part of the fun. Plus the shade, gorgeous blooms, and benches are prime for picnickers.

5. Watch Shakespeare in the park at Griffith Park during the summer (you can even pack your own dinner to eat during the performance!).

6. Do a scavenger hunt. Find a free scavenger hunt to participate in with other locals, or create your own map for just the two of you.

7. Take a trip to the Hollywood Bowl Museum. Opt for the free tour to learn all about this historic entertainment landmarks where many performers got their start.

8. People-watch together at Venice Beach. Plus, take in some street performances.

9. Go for a cinematic p.m. cruise on Mulholland Drive. Note: The views are best after midnight, so rest up.

10. Listen to live jazz at LACMA on Friday nights. Take a peek at the schedule to see who’s up next.

11. Kayak along the Venice Canals. Remember, BYOK (bring your own kayak).

12. Stroll along the Strand. You’ll take in eye-catching beachfront views, and the separate walking and biking lanes mean you won’t have to worry about getting hit by a cyclist.

13. Sit in the audience at a TV show taping. Scour 1iota to find complimentary tickets to everything from Jimmy Kimmel Live! to the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

14. Take a driving tour of celebrity homes. We’re not suggesting you get super close or invade anyone’s privacy, but taking in the sights of some celeb mansions is always a fun excursion.

15. Explore a weekend flea market. We’re partial to Artists & Fleas, which has no cover charge and whose vendors sell everything from vintage band tees to handcrafted jewelry.

16. Visit the Chandelier Tree in Silver Lake. This sycamore hung with 30 vintage chandeliers is so popular that it even has a documentary based on it—plus it's a prime spot for L.A. proposals. 

17. Join in a game night. Play against some strangers in Cards Against Humanity and other games at Grand Central Market’s Game Night every Thursday night. Or simply host your own and invite other couples.

18. Visit the Museum of Ice Cream. Okay, so this one isn’t actually free. But if you do some of the above date nights, you should be able to swing this cool new exhibit that just arrived from New York. Anyone else want to swim around in some sprinkles?

Be sure to read about 10 alternative date-night ideas, and tell us what your favorite type of date consists of in the comments.

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