5 Fun Date Ideas for Creative Los Angelenos
Los Angeles loves to date. We’ve almost made an institution out of coming up with clever new date ideas, because when there’s so much to do and see, dinner and a movie is about the least interesting date idea one can imagine.
An LA date can be simple or elaborate, quick or involved. It can be a daytime outing or a nighttime romp, an intimate one-on-one encounter or a group affair. If you’re a Los Angeleno looking for your next date idea, here are a few simple places to start.
1. The bar date. A simple night of LA bar hopping can translate to a fun, low-risk date, especially considering the huge variety in LA’s bar scene. Casually jump from bar to bar along any of the city’s walkable circuits, such as the Los Feliz-Silverlake bar scene, or spend the whole night frolicking in a more engaging establishment, maybe one with food and something to do. Poseur-free dancing? Try the posh Libertine on Sunset. Playfully competitive pool and air hockey? Go to the frat-like Barney’s Beanery. Edgy live music? Try the hipster-festooned Spaceland. The possibilities are endless. Just don’t do anything your mom wouldn’t approve of.
2. The museum date. For the artistically and educationally inspired, Los Angeles is a world-class museum playground. Bringing your dame or beau on an art date at any of the city’s well-stocked galleries is a sure-fire way to impress them with your suave, urbane sophistication. The Getty Center can easily fill an entire day with unique exhibits and beautiful scenery (especially if you take advantage of the uber-romantic central garden), and the big-league art collections at LACMA and MOCA provide a nice infusion of class into an afternoon date. The Natural History Museum offers a huge array of prehistoric creatures, human artifacts, rare gemstones and extremely ugly fish skeletons, and astronomy buffs can spend a few hours stargazing at Griffith Observatory (which is mostly free, by the way). Or if you’re into the more ironic museum experience, the oddball, nonsensical Museum of Jurassic Technology will definitely give you that.
3. The unique dinner date. Ok, we had to include some kind of meal-date, since dinner is still the perfect experience to share with the object of your wooing. But if you must resort to the dinner date, at least the city has plenty of creative restaurants to make your date more than just a waiter, a menu and all your usual jokes. For example, Benihana is a teppanyaki-style Japanese restaurant, where the chef prepares your meal on a grill right at your table, performing little parlor tricks with the food. Then there is Opaque, the dining-in-the-dark experience that forces you to actually taste the food — and actually listen to your date, whom you may discover a thing or two about. From exquisite views to unusual menus or a multi-talented wait staff, many LA restaurants have that something extra you need to make a dinner date a memorable event. In fact, there are ways to tell what will make someplace a good date restaurant. So don’t just head for your usual sushi joint. (But if you do, we have suggestions for that, too.)
4. The unique movie date. Just as dinner is an irresistible option for a date, so is the typical, cut-and-dried movie. At least Los Angeles offers a few alternatives to make things more interesting. For example, there’s the much-heralded cemetery movie screenings held in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which Angelenos flock to on summer nights. The creepy vibe of this date is perfect for that gothic crush you’ve been eyeing, or almost anyone else, for that matter. There’s also the Cinefamily silent movie theater near Fairfax and Melrose, where you and your date can enjoy films the way Grandpa did. Several theaters host midnight movie showings, including the Nuart in West LA, the New Beverly Cinema, and the Arclight, where you can catch cult favorites, or crappy ‘80s flicks no one would appreciate in any other setting. The Landmark Theater in West LA hosts 21+ showings, where viewers can bring alcohol and, uh, really enjoy the movie. And if you’re willing to drive to Riverside there’s an actual drive-in theater, where you can try to get frisky with your date and recreate that scene from The Outsiders.
5. The nature date. For those with healthier attention spans, LA offers many green, leafy spots where romantic couples can stroll along shady, fern-lined paths while birds chirp and butterflies flutter. Griffith Park contains a myriad of hiking trails of varying difficulty, for adventurous types who don’t mind knee scrapes, as well as walking paths and even driving paths for those who like staying on the pavement. (A more detailed guide to some of them can be found at LATrails.com.) For the more exercise-oriented, Runyon Canyon offers breathtaking city views, with a strong dose of incline to get your blood pumping, as well as morning yoga in the park every day. Or for more domestic outdoor tastes, small, fairly well-manicured parks pepper the city, many of which can be found at the LA City Parks website. Feed the ducks at your own risk.