From the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the beautiful beaches of Malibu, Los Angeles is definitely a city to consider for a romantic getaway. The problem isn’t what should couples do, but how to choose among so many options. Fortunately, the City of Angels has something to offer couples no matter what their interests.
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Go To A Star Party
Griffith Observatory is a well known and beloved attraction in Los Angeles. This iconic sight opened in 1935 thanks to a generous donation from Colonel Griffith J. Griffith and has been a top destination ever since. But a lesser-known feature of the observatory is their monthly star parties. Once a month, from 2 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., high-powered telescopes are made available to the public. Couples can search the sky for stars, moons, and planets, all with expert help from volunteers from LA Astronomical Association, LA Sidewalk Astronomers and The Planetary Society.
Before the star party, be sure to allow time to explore the observatory. This free museum offers several exhibits about the solar system. For a small fee, tickets can be purchased for performances in the planetarium.
Get Up High For Nighttime Views
In the last few years, LA has been offering more opportunities for getting a great view of the city. The most recent addition is the opening of OUE Skyspace LA. Located 1,000 feet above the ground, OUE Skyspace offers indoor and outdoor observation decks, a bar, and a Skyslide. The slide has quickly become a popular attraction in LA challenging visitors to drop from the 70th to 69th floor while looking down on the city below. An especially romantic option is to visit at night and enjoy the city lights with a cocktail in hand.
Rooftop bars have become all the rage around the world, and Los Angeles is no exception. In downtown LA consider visiting Upstairs at the Ace Hotel, Broken Shaker, Perch, or Spire 73. In Hollywood check-out Mama Shelter or The Fonda Theatre. But if you want to combine great food with a rooftop bar, then head to Terra at Eataly located in West Los Angeles. Angelenos were ecstatic when the new Eataly opened a few years ago, but to make this location unique, they added a rooftop restaurant and bar.
Watch A Sunset On The Beach
Los Angeles offers an impressive 75 miles of beaches, so there are many terrific options for watching a sunset along the coast. Bring along a blanket and a picnic dinner for the ideal romantic evening. (Most beaches prohibit alcohol, so leave the wine at home.)
The beach that often comes to mind for visitors is Malibu. Two of the most scenic beaches here are Leo Carrillo Park and Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Since these are managed by the state parks system, there is a fee to enter unless you own a park pass. If you get hungry–and have not brought a picnic–consider grabbing dinner at the nearby Malibu Farm Cafe located on the pier. This farm-to-table restaurant offers delicious food and great views.
Another scenic option is Topanga Beach located in Pacific Palisades. While the sunset over the water is always lovely to watch, the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains adds to the experience. This beach is now run by the City of Los Angeles which charges a small fee for parking.
Even if you’ve never been to Santa Monica Beach, you’ve likely seen it in a movie or television show. While the beach itself isn’t the most scenic in the city, the sunset over the water combined with the view of the pier makes for a quintessential Los Angeles experience. Several paid parking lots are available close to the beach. And if you want to continue your romantic evening with dinner there are many options nearby including Father’s Office, Rustic Canyon or Cassia.
Listen To Music At The Hollywood Bowl
Another classic Los Angeles scene is the bandshell at the Hollywood Bowl. This LA institution has been offering outdoor summer concerts since 1922. In 2018 Rolling Stones Magazine named it one of the ten best live music venues in the U.S.
But the experience of the Hollywood Bowl is as much about the food as the music. This venue allows guests to bring in their own picnic, to buy one on-site, or dine at one of their highly-rated restaurants. Many visitors arrive long before the concert starts to claim a picnic spot and enjoy a leisurely meal.
The Bowl (as locals refer to it) offers a wide range of music during its season. Whether you like classical, pop, jazz or show tunes, there is a concert for everyone. This is a very popular date night spot for locals, and can easily be enjoyed by visitors. Just allow plenty of time since traffic before and after the Bowl will be very busy.
Picnic In A Park
Few things are more romantic than a picnic, and Los Angeles has several urban parks in which to dine. The largest and best known is Griffith Park. This 4,300-acre park offers museums, a zoo, miles of scenic trails and of course the Griffith Observatory mentioned earlier. But there are also plenty of picnic tables, or stretches of green lawn, to set out a delicious spread.
A picnic in Echo Park Lake combines the scenery of a small man-made lake with the skyline of downtown Los Angeles. This historic lake was created in 1860 as a water reservoir but now it is purely recreational. Fountains and lotus flowers dot the lake and paddleboats can be rented for a fun post-picnic activity.
Right in the middle of downtown Los Angeles is Grand Park. A picnic here provides views of City Hall and the Music Center. And if you don’t want to pack a picnic, food can be purchased. After eating, stroll through some of downtown LA’s most famous sights including Disney Concert Hall, Our Lady Queen of the Angels Cathedral and the Museum of Contemporary Arts.
See An Outdoor Movie
A movie always makes for a great date, but thanks to the nice weather in Los Angeles, outdoor movies offer a unique twist on the cinema experience. During the summer, many public parks offer screenings, but if you want something more upscale, head to Rooftop Cinema Club in downtown LA or Hollywood. Here you’ll enjoy a classic movie and city views. Food and beverages are available on site.
Street Food Cinema shows movies at several popular spots including LA Arboretum and Exposition Park. This company prides itself on the combination of pop culture movies with the city’s favorite food trucks.
A final option is Eat See Hear, which adds live music to the line-up of movies and food trucks. Events are scheduled most Saturday during the summer at several venues in Los Angeles including the Autry Museum in Griffith Park and La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills.
Visit A Museum At Night
Los Angeles is packed with world-class museums featuring art, cars, science, natural history and more. But for a unique date, head to a museum at night.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosts Jazz at LACMA most Friday nights. Listen to local bands while sitting outdoors amongst the museum’s impressive sculpture collection.
During summer months, The Getty offers outdoor concerts on its campus that feature up and coming artists from LA. Like LACMA, guests can enjoy both music and outdoor art. The Getty Center also features beautiful gardens on its campus which are perfect for a romantic stroll.
On the third Friday of the month from March to October, the Autry Museum of the American West invites the public to spend an evening outdoors enjoying live music, entertainment, and food. Vendors are also available for purchasing unique handmade arts and crafts.
For 23 years the Skirball Cultural Center has hosted an outdoor Sunset Concert series on its campus during the summer. In addition to the food and music, guests are also welcomed to explore the museum’s galleries. This museum sits on a hillside, making the setting for these concerts ideal.
If your schedule doesn’t work with one of the museum’s special events, don’t despair. Many of LA’s museums offer nighttime hours. Several museums are open to 8 p.m. every night including the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Broad, The Getty Center, and the Grammy Museum. Many museums have even later hours once a month–check websites for details.
See A Show
It’s no surprise that the home of Hollywood is a great place to see a live show. LA is loaded with theaters offering a number of musicals, plays, and concerts, so there is something to interest all couples looking for a special date night. Don’t be surprised to see a television or movie celebrity performing in a theater because many actors living here periodically return to the stage.
The Music Center, located in downtown, is home to three great venues; the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater, and the Mark Taper Forum. The Chandler typically hosts concerts as well as the Los Angeles Opera. The Ahmanson features popular musicals, and the Mark Taper is where you can find plays.
Across the street from the Music Center is the Disney Concert Hall, home to the Los Angeles Symphony, led by the charismatic Gustavo Dudamel.
If you’re looking to see the newest and hottest musicals then the Pantages Theaters in Hollywood is your best bet. These tickets don’t come cheap, but the combination of great theater in a beautiful art deco setting is worth it.
For more experimental plays head to Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theater. Housed in a former cinema, this small venue gives the audience a chance to get up close to the action.
Check-out An Art Walk
Art walks offer visitors the opportunity to stroll through an area’s galleries and artists’ studios one evening a month. These free events have become popular around the country as a way for small, local artists to gain exposure. Sometimes food and beverages are served or live music is available–each art walk varies depending on its location and organizers. Add in drinks or dinner before the walk and you have a lovely evening out.
In a city the size of LA, there are many opportunities for art walks, but one of the largest and best known is the Downtown LA Art Walk on the second Thursday of each month from 6-10 p.m. Not only are there more than 20 galleries to visit, but this walk also takes place among the murals of the Arts District. Over the past five years, the arts district has become a hot destination in the city with a nice variety of cafes, restaurants, breweries, and bars. The combination of dining and art makes this a fun destination.
Located in Venice Beach, First Fridays at Abbot Kinney, is another popular art walk. This is the main thoroughfare of Venice Beach with a great selection of galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, and bars. But on the first Friday of each month, starting at 5 p.m., this stretch of road becomes even more interesting with live music and an impressive number of food trucks.
Go For A Hike
Instead of dinner and a movie, why not try a hike and lunch? Getting out in nature is a nice way for couples to disconnect from their phones and reconnect with each other. While LA is definitely a large and bustling metropolis, it has a surprising number of scenic trails to hike.
A popular hike with locals is Runyon Canyon, located in the middle of Hollywood. There are a few trail options here ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 miles. On a clear day, the view may include the Hollywood sign, the Santa Monica Mountains and possibly Catalina Island.
If you’re eager to see a waterfall then head east to Eaton Canyon, located in the San Gabriel Mountains. The out and back trail is just under four miles. If time permits check-out the Eaton Canyon Nature Center.
Malibu Creek State Park offers 15 miles of trails, many of them along the Malibu Creek. This is also the place to visit if you’re a fan of the television show, M*A*S*H, since many of the movies outdoor scenes were filmed in this park