It can be all too easy to default to the typical dinner and a movie date, especially if you and your S.O. have made it past the first few introductory meetups. However, just because you feel comfortable as a couple doesn't mean you can't try new things, go new places, and have new experiences together.
In the sprawling city of Los Angeles, you'd be hard-pressed to run out of things to do. With so many unique neighborhoods from the west side all the way to Silver Lake, surely there are restaurants, bars, and creative theaters in the city you've yet to discover. Even if you're tight on cash, there are plenty of affordable date ideas in L.A. to let you see the city with a special someone without breaking the bank: You can hit the beach, take a hike, or visit one of L.A.'s many art galleries for free.
Or you can simply embrace the car culture and go for a drive until something catches your eye.
Whether you're looking to be in nature, try a new restaurant, see a movie in an unexpected setting, spend the night out on the town, or explore the sites, here are 18 date ideas in Los Angeles perfect for a first date or a 10-year anniversary celebration.
1. Head to the beach for a day of sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking. Even in the winter, the beach is the perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy each other's company. For a bit more privacy, head to Will Rogers State Beach north of Santa Monica or find a quiet spot at Playa del Rey.
2. Take a hike. If it's the first date and too soon to really trek out to the wilderness together, follow an easy trail at Runyon Canyon. Once you trust each other, head up to Malibu for a day hike at Escondido Falls or Parker Mesa.
3. Rent bikes. Head to Venice or Manhattan Beach, pick up a pair of bikes (or a tandem ride if you're feeling confident) and cruise up and down the coast. If you start in Venice, you can easily ride up to Santa Monica, and if you start in Manhattan, you can pedal down south toward Redondo for a change of scenery.
Grab a Drink or Stay for Dinner
4. Grab a drink. Yes, it's a bit overdone, but there's nothing wrong with getting to know someone over a round of drinks. If things go well, you can order dinner or head to a second location, and if you can tell that a second date isn't in your future, you can go home after one cocktail. Try The Hudson if you're not sure where the rest of the night will take you. It's surrounded by other fun spots in case you want to keep the night going.
5. Have a proper dinner together. A classic date idea that will never get old. The key is to try new places and venture to new areas. A few places to start are The Wellesbourne, Melrose Umbrella Co., The Little Door, Firefly, Redbird, and Perch.
6. Go to First Fridays in Venice. While it may be a packed scene, going to First Fridays in L.A. is a bit of a rite of passage. Plan ahead and make the drive to Abbot Kinney Boulevard on the first Friday of the month to enjoy street food fare and a stroll through unique shops. If all goes well, head to one of the many bars that also line the bustling street for an after dinner cocktail.
7. Go to a brewery. Downtown L.A. is a hub for hip breweries that not only offer refreshing beer, but also host local vendors, and supply games like corn hole to play while you sip. Pay a visit to Angel City Brewery, Boomtown Brewery, or Iron Triangle Brewery for a unique afternoon date.
See a Movie
8. See a movie at the cemetery. Cinespia shows classic films at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and it's the perfect date night in L.A. for a couple that's not intimidated by a grassy picnic on cemetery grounds. Pack your own snacks and drinks for a cozy night under the stars.
9. Enjoy a rooftop screening. There are a few different ways to catch a flick on a rooftop with sprawling city views in L.A. Head to Melrose Rooftop Theater located on the roof of the popular West Hollywood bar E.P. & L.P., or find a screening in Downtown L.A. or Hollywood through Rooftop Cinema Club.
10. Find a Street Food Cinema showing of your favorite flick and pack a bottle of wine to share. No need to bring a picnic—the showings always include a variety of food truck vendors to grab a bite from before the feature begins.
11. Watch a film while listening to the live score. The Hollywood Bowl plays classic films on the big screen while a live orchestra plays the entire soundtrack. It's a one-of-a-kind experience perfect for enjoying with someone special.
Go Out on the Town
12. Go dancing. Aside from the usual bar scene in Santa Monica and Hollywood, venture to The Warehouse in Marina del Rey for salsa dancing. If you get there early enough on a Friday night, you can take advantage of a free lesson before the real dancing begins. You can also head downtown to Clifton's Republic for three different levels of musical entertainment, from hip-hop to ragtime. Other under-the-radar spots include the Cicada Club and Tenants of the Trees.
13. See a concert. Between low-key bars with live music and major venues that attract popular artists, there's pretty much always a concert happening somewhere in L.A. Enjoy outdoor seating at the Greek or the Rose Bowl, or take in a show at the Shrine or the Forum.
14. Go bowling. Don't judge until you try it. Head to Lucky Strike to experience bowling that's nothing like what you remember from middle school. There's music, mood lighting, hand-crafted cocktails, and delicious food.
Explore the City
15. Explore a museum. Between LACMA, the Getty, MOCA, and the Broad, there's always new art to be discovered in L.A. If you don't want to pay the price of admission, find a smaller gallery like the L.A. Louver or Blum & Poe for a more affordable date. Spend the day walking through a peaceful art space and learning about the greats together.
16. Go the Griffith Observatory. This free date idea offers truly stunning views of the entire city day or night. Wander inside to observe scientific exhibitions then take in the sights from the observation deck. If you go at the right time, you may even be able to look at planets and stars through telescopes placed around the building with the help of astrologists.
17. Walk through the Venice canals. If you find yourself on the west side with nothing to do, go take a stroll through the scenic Venice canals and dream up what it would be like to live in one of the quaint homes that line the still water.
18. Go boating at Echo Park Lake. Spend the date enjoying one of the best parks in L.A.'s Echo Park neighborhood. You can rent paddle boats or have a picnic in the grass.
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