Los Angeles is a city that understands the art of a date. Its wide range of activities offers the perfect setting for many romantic experiences, especially ones beyond a typical dinner-and-a-movie. Couples have numerous options, regardless of their interests or relationship stage.
For those seeking the outdoors, hiking at Runyon Canyon offers a great experience, while the Venice Canals are perfect for a more relaxed vibe. For entertainment lovers, the Hollywood Bowl is a world-class venue that puts on fantastic shows.
In this city, every date can be unique. It’s entirely dependent on your preferred atmosphere, price range, and if you want to experience Los Angeles like a local or a tourist.
With the sheer number of choices, pinpointing which suits your relationship can be difficult, so this list gives insight into activities for many types of couples.
Let’s get into the list of best date ideas in Los Angeles.
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- Walk the Venice Canals
- Hollywood Bowl Performance
- Walk Around the Farmers Market and The Grove
- Picnic at Beverly Gardens Park
- Movie Night at Melrose Rooftop Theater
- Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
- Runyon Canyon Hike
- Paddleboarding in Marina Del Rey
- Show at the Pantages
- Cooking Class at Eataly
- Improv Show at UCB
- Walk the Santa Monica Pier
- Music at the Troubadour
- Romantic Ride on the Echo Park Swan Boats
- Ocean View Walk at Palisades Park
- Rooftop Drinks at Perch
- Mini Golf and Games at Castle Park
- Griffith Observatory Views
- Drink Wine at Malibu Wines
- Movie at El Capitan Theater
- Bike Ride at Venice Beach Boardwalk
- Romantic Meal at Yamashiro Hollywood
- The Getty Center
Walk the Venice Canals
The Venice Canals are man-made waterways that run through a residential section of Venice. This hidden gem is reminiscent of the canals in Venice, Italy, and is lined with beautifully landscaped walkways, bridges, and charming homes. It’s a peaceful setting and very romantic for couples.
Several bridges cross the canals. The walk is easy, but benches are scattered throughout to provide spots to sit and enjoy the setting. The canals are especially beautiful during sunrise and sunset, with the light reflecting off the water.
I recommend visiting the canals during the holiday season, as the houses along the water are decorated with excessive Christmas decorations and lights.
Hollywood Bowl Performance
The Hollywood Bowl is the most legendary music venue in the city and has a wide variety of musical acts. They offer everything from classical symphonies to pop concerts.
The Bowl is fabulous for a date idea because there’s an opportunity to picnic before and during the performances. You and your date can arrive with your own food and drinks and relax in the picnic areas.
The seating at the Bowl is in an amphitheater style, so there are excellent views of the stage from almost every spot. And the sound quality is top-notch.
In addition to its regular concert schedule, the Hollywood Bowl has film screenings and a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks show.
Parking at the Bowl can be dreadful, so many opt for shuttle services or Uber. It’s just up the hill from downtown Hollywood, which gives the option of an easy walk for an after-show drink.
Walk Around the Farmers Market and The Grove
The Farmers Market and The Grove are two separate attractions, but they merge seamlessly to feel like one. This is a great place for a first date and one of the more affordable date ideas on this list.
The Farmers Market is known for its food vendors and stalls. There’s a wide range of restaurants, desserts, and a market that sells produce.
Just steps away is The Grove, an elevated outdoor shopping mall. It’s home to a variety of shops that are high-end or everyday retail. However, it has become more of a “luxury shopping” experience in recent years. It has a movie theater and a beautiful fountain, the mall’s centerpiece.
The Cheesecake Factory is popular for dining, but for the best experience, choose La Piazza, with a front-row seat to the fountain.
The Grove is magical during the holidays with its festive decorations and lights, but it’s a fun and romantic date night any time of year.
Picnic at Beverly Gardens Park
Beverly Gardens Park, in glamorous Beverly Hills, is a fantastic place to bring a date for a picnic. It’s the location of the famous Beverly Hills sign and lily pond.
The park has expansive lawns perfect for laying a picnic blanket and enjoying a meal. Its landscape and gardens provide a beautiful backdrop for a relaxing date.
You can bring your picnic baskets or grab a bite from the nearby places in Beverly Hills. The best options for easy food pickup near the park are Alfred Coffee and Le Pain Quotidien.
Parking can easily be found on streets adjacent to Santa Monica Blvd. The park is in a prime spot in Beverly Hills, so you can quickly get to the city center after the picnic.
Movie Night at Melrose Rooftop Theater
Melrose Rooftop Theater is an open-air cinema on the rooftop of the E.P. & L.P. building, one of the best bars in Los Angeles.
They show a variety of films, from classics to recent blockbusters. The experience is enhanced by the comfortable seating (they even have bean bags) and the headphones they hand out, which have great audio. They also offer a selection of food and cocktails.
The best part of Melrose Rooftop Theater is the view. On a rooftop, you see the city lights and the stars, which adds to the ambiance, especially during evening screenings. It’s a perfect spot for a romantic night.
Booking tickets in advance is recommended, as the screenings can fill up quickly (especially during the warmer months).
Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, what locals call LACMA, is the largest art museum in the Western United States and offers a massive collection of art pieces from ancient to modern times. LACMA’s collections include works from all over the world, covering different cultures.
One of the most famous and photo-worthy installations is the “Urban Light” display, a collection of neatly arranged street lamps. I recommend seeing it at night when the lamps are illuminated.
If going to LACMA on a date, the top galleries can be seen in about 1-2 hours. There are also restaurant and coffee options if you and your date want to sit and relax.
Runyon Canyon Hike
Runyon Canyon is a popular hike in Los Angeles and one of the most common first-date locations.
The main attraction of Runyon is the fantastic views of Los Angeles from the top. On a clear day, you can see the Hollywood Sign, the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles, and even out to the ocean.
There are a few different routes, ranging from easy to more challenging. The hike can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on which trail you take and how fast you walk.
Runyon is also dog-friendly, so you see plenty of people hiking with their pets. The best times to go are early morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat and crowds.
Paddleboarding in Marina Del Rey
Paddleboarding in Marina del Rey is popular because of the calm waters in the area. It’s a fantastic two-person activity to enjoy the water and get a bit of exercise.
Rentals are available along the marina, so you don’t need to bring your equipment. You can rent a board for an hour or more, depending on how long you and your date want to stay.
While paddleboarding, you see views of the boats, waterfront homes, and, occasionally, marine life like ducks and fish. I’ve even seen sea lions sunbathing on the docks.
Paddleboarding here is one of the best date ideas in Los Angeles. It’s a peaceful experience, especially during the weekdays when the marina is less crowded.
Show at the Pantages
The Pantages Theater is LA’s version of Broadway. It puts on top-tier shows and musicals, so it’s a must-visit for theater lovers.
It’s historic, with stunning Art Deco architecture. It has an “Old Hollywood” feel, which is fitting given its location on Hollywood Blvd. Its location makes planning an evening out easy, combining a show with dinner at a nearby restaurant (I recommend Te’kila).
Seating in the theater is comfortable, and it’s a relatively small theater, so you’ll have a good view with any seat you choose.
Cooking Class at Eataly
A cooking class at Eataly is a fun date idea where you get hands-on lessons on making Italian dishes.
You get to work with professional chefs who guide you through the process of recipes like pasta, sauces, or Italian desserts. The classes are great for all skill levels, so you don’t need to be a master chef.
You’ll be cooking in a group, which makes it a great date idea. The best part is at the end of the class, you get to eat the food you’ve prepared, paired with a glass of wine.
Booking a class at Eataly is straightforward – you can find the schedule and book online on their website. These classes are popular, so booking in advance is a good idea.
Improv Show at UCB
Attending an improv show at UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) Theater in Los Angeles is a hilariously entertaining experience. The venue has shows with performers creating scenes, characters, and jokes on the spot. It’s a great place for a casual and unique date idea.
Typically, the performers ask the audience for a topic idea at the start of the show and then run with that idea. Since it’s improv, every show is different, so you never know what to expect.
The venue is relatively small, which makes for an intimate setting where you feel close to the on-stage action (don’t worry, introverts, they never force people on stage).
Tickets for UCB shows are usually affordable, from $10-$20. You can check their schedule and book tickets on their website.
Walk the Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is famous for two things: the beachfront location and the amusement park. It contains a selection of rides, including a Ferris wheel, that provides outstanding views of the ocean and the Santa Monica mountains in the distance.
Aside from the amusement park, you can visit the aquarium, play arcade games, or fish off the pier. Great food options are also available; The Albright is a sit-down restaurant with delicious seafood, and Beach Burger is a fun, quick meal.
The area around the pier is lively; it’s nearly a guarantee to spot a street performer or musician.
Because it’s within steps of the beach, swimming in the ocean or walking along the shoreline is also an option for the date.
Music at the Troubadour
The Troubadour is on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, where numerous famous musicians and bands have performed. It’s a venue for every musical taste; they host rock, folk, indie, and others.
The walls of the Troubadour are full of old photos and memorabilia, which give a good glimpse into the history of the building.
Its cozy setting gets you up close and personal with artists. With a capacity of just a few hundred, the atmosphere at the Troubadour is electric. The layout includes a standing area near the stage and a small balcony with seating. If you want to escape the noise, you can sneak away and sit in a couple of side rooms.
Because of the noise, the Troubadour is a date idea that’s not well-suited for getting to know someone, so I recommend going here when conversation isn’t a priority.
Romantic Ride on the Echo Park Swan Boats
Pedal boating at Echo Park Lake is perfect for couples; you rent a boat shaped like a swan and pedal together around the lake.
The boats are affordable and easy to operate (they move very slowly). As you pedal, you have views of the downtown skyline, the park, and the towering fountain in the lake’s center.
I recommend doing the swan boats at night; the boats and fountain become illuminated, and you can view the bright downtown skyline.
The surrounding Echo Park also has walking paths and picnic areas, so you can spend an entire afternoon or evening here.
Ocean View Walk at Palisades Park
Palisades Park in Santa Monica is one of the best scenic walks in Los Angeles. It’s fittingly located on Ocean Avenue, and its elevated position gives a sweeping view of the ocean. This date idea is best seen when the sun is going down over the ocean.
The park has walking paths that are surrounded by greenery, plants, and palm trees. There are numerous benches along the path where you and your date can take a break and watch the ocean.
It’s also a popular spot for picnics, with grassy areas perfect for laying out a blanket and enjoying food with a view. The park’s location has a cooler, breezier climate than other areas in LA.
The walk takes about 30-45 minutes; if you want to continue, the Santa Monica pier is a short 5-10-minute walk away.
Rooftop Drinks at Perch
Perch Rooftop Bar is a French-inspired rooftop bar in downtown LA that gives you a stylish outdoor drinking experience. The ambiance at Perch makes it perfect for a romantic date.
The decor is tasteful greenery, fire pits, and comfortable seating. The rooftop often has live music and a skyline view that can be enjoyed during the day or the night.
The bar’s menu has a wonderful selection of cocktails, wines, and beers. They also have small French plates and appetizers.
Perch is quite popular and can get crowded, especially on weekends, so I recommend arriving early or making a reservation.
Mini Golf and Games at Castle Park
Castle Park in Sherman Oaks is a fun date idea where you can spend hours and play a few games; it’s a miniature golf and arcade center that offers a variety of activities.
The highlight of Castle Park is the miniature golf courses. There are four of them, and each one is unique. Some holes have elaborate castles, and others have windmills.
Besides miniature golf, Castle Park has a large arcade with pinball machines and video games; think of it like a mini Dave & Buster’s. For more of a physical activity, there are also outdoor batting cages for baseball and softball.
All activities are priced well; the mini golf is the best value, where you can play all four courses for only $12.99.
Griffith Observatory Views
Griffith Observatory is the quintessential Los Angeles date night. The observatory is perched on Mount Hollywood and has the best views in the city. It’s a great place to spend a peaceful evening walking around the grassy lawn and looking through binoculars to the city lights and the stars.
In addition to the views, the observatory also offers exhibits, astronomy displays, and a planetarium show. You can also see an incredible sky view through the famous Zeiss telescope.
The views are just as spectacular in the day. To add an additional activity, a one-mile hike starting in Fern Dell takes you uphill to the observatory; plan for about 1-1.5 hours for the roundtrip.
Drink Wine at Malibu Wines
A short drive from the city, Malibu Wines combines drinking a glass of wine with the striking beauty of the Malibu countryside. Many wineries are in Malibu, and they serve those local wines here, in addition to other Californian options.
The atmosphere at Malibu Wines is casual but elegant, with an outdoor space full of rustic furniture and string lights. There’s a laid-back, communal vibe; you can even BYO picnic.
Malibu Wines hosts events like live music and tastings. I recommend attending one of their Paint N’ Sips, where you drink wine while painting a portrait. It’s perfect for a date night.
Movie at El Capitan Theater
El Capitan Theater in Hollywood is a classic movie theater that has been beautifully restored. The elaborate decor, ceiling, and curtain create a nostalgic atmosphere that takes you back to “Old Hollywood”. There’s even a balcony!
The theater has special screenings (often Disney movies), and occasionally, there are Q&As from famous actors and directors. They’re known to display props and mini-sets from the films they’re showing.
El Capitan Theater is in the middle of Hollywood Blvd., so you and your date can easily visit other attractions, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theater.
Bike Ride at Venice Beach Boardwalk
The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a good place to watch people and enjoy a quirky and eclectic vibe.
The boardwalk is famous for its street performers, including musicians and dancers, and the walls are full of colorful art and graffiti. It also has Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym where people work out right by the beach.
Many stores let you rent bikes to ride around the area. As you go down the boardwalk, you’ll see shops selling all sorts of items, from souvenirs to handmade jewelry. There are also plenty of places to eat a quick bite; I recommend grabbing an empanada from Rico’s.
You can easily spend a few hours on a date here, riding down the boardwalk or hanging out on the beach.
Romantic Meal at Yamashiro Hollywood
Eating at Yamashiro combines dining with stunning Hollywood Hills views and a themed ambiance. The restaurant is famous for its beautiful Japanese-style architecture and gardens.
Yamashiro is one of the most romantic restaurants in LA, so it’s a great choice for a special occasion date, either day or night. The indoor seating has lovely Japanese decor, while the outdoor patio overlooks the city and is more of a scenic dining experience.
The sushi is some of the best in the area, and the brunch is American-style but still incredible.
While the prices are higher, the combination of food, views, and setting make Yamashiro a worthwhile splurge.
The Getty Center
The Getty Center is a museum on a hilltop with stunning and romantic views of the city. Locals love the massive property for its beautiful outdoor spaces and open terraces.
It’s mainly known for its European paintings but has impressive photography, sculptures, and decorative arts sections. The museum layout is easy to navigate, and you can spend several hours exploring the exhibits.
One of the best parts of the Getty Center is the garden, with its variety of plants and flowers. The lawn is an expansive, peaceful place to lay down and relax.
Check the schedule before going; the Getty often puts on outdoor performances that would be great for a date. Admission is free, but parking is paid, and you must take a tram to get from the parking area to the museum.
With its long list of options, Los Angeles is one of the best cities to go on a date, whether you’re in a new relationship or a long-term couple.
However, it’s crucial to plan properly to maximize the date.
I recommend always booking reservations in advance. As a local, one travel tip I can offer is that Los Angeles is always busy; things sell out when you least expect it.
The city isn’t the most walkable, so don’t expect to quickly jump between these places on foot. Organize transport and parking ahead of time, and if doing two activities, map out how to get from point A to B before the date.
Lastly, cell phone service can be spotty in some areas, especially the hills and beaches. Plan ahead if you need to coordinate while in these spots.
Happy planning, and enjoy your date!
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