Romantic Date Night Ideas To Try In Los Angeles (And Beyond)
La La Land, aka Los Angeles is the largest city in California, with sprawling sun laden beaches, a vibrant cultural scene and 300 days of pure sunny blue skies for a true slice of escapism. From the Hollywood Hills, to Los Padres Forest, no matter where you go in LA, each location is reminiscient of a ‘Hollywood Movie Set’, making it the ideal romantic date night hot spot in Southern California. Whether you are going on your first Tinder date and want to treat your blind date to a show stopping dinner and drinks experience, are past the second date club, well versed in dating dos and dont’s or are newly engaged, LA really is the city of dreams.
Home to 4 million people, LA is the second most populated city in the United States after New York City and is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and sprawling metropolis. From its temperate balmy climate, to its culturally rich art, food and drink scene, LA has plenty to offer couples who want a romantic quirky date night in the city. For example you could walk across Santa Monica Pier, entranced by the Ferris Wheel, whose pulsating lights flicker nostalgically in the dark. Or you could explore endless bars, hand in hand, smiling as you drink.
These Romantic Date Night Ideas Are Socially Distanced For Your Peace Of Mind
Although COVID-19 has seen bars, resturants and activities closed, or running on reduced operations, there is still plenty to do and see in LA that is low cost, takes your safety into consideration and are romantic date night ideas in Los Angeles that you can try today. Many bars, resturants and hotels are now offering al fresco dining, allowing you to gaze into your lover’s eyes under the watchful eye of the moonlight goddess herself, while natural vistas such as forests, beaches and gardens are in abundance in California, creating the perfect backdrop.
LA Is A Creative Hot Spot That Is Ideal For Finding Love
For celebrity enthusiasts, LA has it all. Often billed as the ‘creative capital of the world’ LA is home to more writers, producers,musicians, actors and dancers than any other city in the world. Not only is it associated with being the center of the television industry, but it is also home to major record labels such as Warner Music, has hosted major award ceremonies such as the Primetime Emmy Awards and is home to 841 museums and art galleries. Whether you want to go celebrity spotting on your date or are an art buff, LA is the creme de le creme.
LA Is Ethnically And Culturally Diverse Meaning Love Transcends All Barriers
It’s clear to see that performing arts plays a huge part in LA’s cultural identity, but Los Angeles is also culturally and ethnically diverse too. Here, LA is home to people from more than 140 countries, with a melting pot of 224 identified languages, while ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown, Little Ethopia and Thai Town are all examples of LA’s polygot or multi-cultural character. You could have Korean for breakfast, Ethopian for Lunch, and Thai for Dinner, taking your love on a cultural merry-go round of LA’s finest diverse cusines.
But don’t just take my word for it. Finding love in LA is a beautiful, tranquil and transcedental journey, that will make you fall in love not only with others, but also yourself and the city that you are in.A friend of mine, let’s call her N, actually studied in California for a ‘year abroad’ and told me how she fell in love, not just with California, but also with how open minded, romantic and culturally and ethnically diverse the city was. It was Cali that helped her eventually come out to her friends and family, it was Cali that made her find her focus in life and it was Cali that opened her eyes and made ‘N’ the most authentic version of herself.
In short, Cali, or LA is not just where dreams are made but also where dreams come to play.
Are You Up For A Romantic Staycation in Los Angeles?
So, are you looking for romantic date night ideas to try in Los Angeles? Then look no further than my ultimate dating guide to all the hottest and most beautiful spots in LA that are guaranteed to take your breath away. From strolling along Santa Monica Pier, to going on a magical roadtrip to Jacksonville, here are 9 date ideas that prove that romance isn’t dead. Question is what will you choose to do?
Huntington Library and Huntington Gardens In San Marino
Nothing says romance more than a Hollywood Fairytale so what could be more fairytale esque than Huntington Library and gardens in San Marino? With sweeping botanical gardens that covers over 120 acres and a Mediterrenean Revival style library building, Huntington is the very definition of a romantic date spot. Gasp in wonderment like Belle, as you cast your inquisitive eye over rare books and manuscripts, with over 400,000 rare books begging to be explored. Swoon at the glorious art collections at the Huntington Art Gallery and Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of American Art and twirl through 16 themed gardens, where exotic plants implore you to come ever closer.
To start your romantic date, head over to the library building designed in 1920 by Myron Hunt, and live out your inner Princess fantasy. Marvel at the ancient manuscripts including the Gutenberg Bible (around 1455), pore over letters from George Washington and squeal at first editions from authors such as William Blake and William Wordsworth, swept up in literary wonderment and joy. For book lovers, couples can feel right at home here at Huntington Library, bonding over their mutual enjoyment of literature, as they begin their journey into love.
For fellow art buffs, look no further than the Hungtington Art Gallery, with an extensive European and American Art Collection that includes sculptures, paintings and photographs. In the European Art Collection, the art is largely made up of 18th and 19th century British and French paintings, sculptures and decorative arts. Revered works include ‘The Blue Boy’ by Thomas Gainsborough, considered as one of the best British artists in the 18th century and Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence, who was a leading English portrait painter.
In the American collection (17th-20th century) notable works include Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle) by Andy Warhol, the ultimate pioneer of the pop art movement who needs no introduction and The Long Leg by Edward Hopper, an American realist painter and printmaker.
If gardens are more your bundle of romantic joy, then step into Huntington Gardens for a pleasurable walk in nature, with your beau in tow. The botanical gardens are the most beautific creation to behold, with themed gardens including Children’s Garden, Desert Garden and Shakespeare Garden. Designed to educate, enlighten and entertain, Huntington’s Botanical Gardens provide multiple opportunities for research, education and of course enjoyment.
One of the greatest gardens that you must visit has to be the ‘Desert Garden’, which features one of the world’s oldest outdoor collection of cacti and succulents, with the entire collection hosting over 5,000 species. Or if pricklies aren’t really your thing and you are more of a traditionalist, then the Japanese Garden will blow your mind, which was opened to the public in 1928. It consists of three gardens including the original stroll garden with koi-filled ponds and a drum or moon bridge, the raked-gravel dry garden added in 1968, and the traditionally landscaped tea garden.
So if you are after romantic date ideas in Los Angeles that puts the fun into dating, then look no further than San Marino for a cultural and eductational visual treat for the senses that will leave you spellbound.
Go On A Magical Roadtrip To Jacksonville Or Take A Mesmerizing Flight
Technically Jacksonville is not in LA, and is actually in sunny Florida, but I wanted to include a ‘staycation themed break’ where you could travel outside of LA and find your magical one and only. Whether you decide to make an extended weekend of it, and go on a road trip, or take a flight, if you really want to get to know your date, travel on over to Jacksonville in Florida.
The perfect road trip destination from LA to Jacksonville, the journey might be long, but spending a day on the open road is a chance to bond and connect with your date on an emotional and spiritual level. Feel inspired by breathtaking views that coax you into their tranquil world, take time to be away from social media and connect with your partner in natural surroundings and cleanse your mind, body and soul on a road trip of a lifetime.
Lovers can sing tunelessly at the top of their voices, crank the music loud and demand stolen kisses on gas pit stops, as they journey on a trip of a lifetime. After all road trips give you ample opportunity to bond on the open road, while being immersed in nature. Or if you would rather take a flight, you can take a 6-7 hour flight and spend a fantastic weekend immersing yourself in its sunny culture.
There are so many things to see and do in Jacksonville, that you wont even have time to get bored, making dating in Jacksonville as easy as 123. From jumping aboard a riverboat casino and trying to win over lady luck to enjoying live jazz music in San Marco, who says romance is dead?
For culture lovers, you will love The Florida Theatre, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of only four remaining high-style Movie Palaces built in the state in the 1920’s. Hosting over 200 events, this cultural entertainment center features everything from ballet to opera, right through to rock, country and blues music.
For hiking lovers Jacksonville is the ideal spot, especially on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail. This biking and hiking trail stretches over 15 miles, accentuated by tall oaks at every turn. There are also eight miles of spur trails that are perfect for horse riders, making this the ideal place for equine enthusiasts to profess their love. Could you think of anything that is more romantic?
If you are a lover of beer like myself, then why not try a romantic yet quirky date by going on the ‘Jax Ale Trail’ and embark on your own self-guided tour with the Jax Ale Trail Passport? All you do is ask for it at local breweries including Engine 15 in the area and get stamps for each beer that you drink. The best bit about it is that you can even win prizes when you ‘complete your passport’ making dating all that more fun.
Or why not make a weekend of it and go on a staycation break? You could take your gal pals along, book a stay by using air-bnb and try a dating app like Jacksonville Personals, which proves that online dating dosen’t have to be difficult. Defined as a vibrant local dating app, Jacksonville Personals wants you to find the joy of romance and happiness today. Line up all your single friends for a date with their perfect match and try out fun date hot spots such as MOCA Jacksonville, home to a contemporary art collection, Dog Wood Park and Beaches Town Center.
My personal pick? Mosh, the Museum of Science and History, where you can immerse yourself in a gorgeous exploration of deep space, that will leave you feeling like you’ve wandered into a pilot of Final Space. The Bryan Gooding Planetarium is a jaw dropping single lens planetarium in the US, with family friendly exhbits with themes that span nature and science. It’s breathtaking.
Dating in Jacksonville is a chance to broaden your horizons, and proves that planning romantic date ideas in Los Angeles dosen’t neccessarily have to be limited to LA alone. Branch out, have fun and above all meet the partner of your dreams who you will have you pumped to start dating again, without it feeling like an overwhelming chore. After all dating should be fun!
Stroll Along Santa Monica Pier
With sundrenched shores, a relaxed attitude to life and friendly locals, LA is the perfect spot for a romantic date night, with scores of glorious sandy beaches, funfairs and amusement parks to tickle your fancy. Whether you are a thrill seeker, a culture lover or a nature enthusiast, Santa Monica Pier is ideal for romantic date ideas in Los Angeles that are budget friendly and won’t break the bank.
With a rich and diverse history, the pier has seen everything from an enthusiastic fishing community, to live music, an amusement park and its less than glamorous beginnings as a public utility. While the west end of the pier collapsed in 1919, when it was rebuilt in 1921, it was out with the old and in with new. Unfortunately in 1924, the Loofs (the family who ran the pier and amusement park) lost interest in the pier, so they sold their operation to Santa Monica Amusement Company, which created a huge buzz in the community.
In fact between 1924-1933, over 50,000 people attended the grand opening of the ‘La Monica Ballroom’, although its success was short lived, due to The Great Depression. Soon all rides vanished, and the ballroom was barely used, making the pier a complete shell of its former self. Luckily today, the reality is far different, with Santa Monica Pier being a buzzing hot spot for couples, dates, friends and families.
With a historic merry go round, a ferris wheel at Pacific Park and a Playland Arcade, the pier itself has plenty for you to see and explore. While the amusement park rides are closed until further notice you can still enjoy the pier, as you have a rare insight into a closed amusement park, where the rides implore you to come ever closer, a patchwork of neon lights, and cartoonish designs.
Although the park might be closed, fear not, as there are still a lot of activities that you can do at Santa Monica. For a start, why not take your date to the Playland Arcade, where you can get swept up in a world of nostalgia and retro delight? With everything from pac man machines to air hockey, basketball and video games, if you love the quaintness of an arcade on a pier, then this will be the perfect date night treat.
If you are after something a little more unique, then why not take your date to Santa Monica’s ‘Trapeze School’, where you can master the art of flying above the pier and try something new and exciting today. With an enticing catchy tagline telling you to ‘Forget Fear. Worry About The Addiction’, what could be a greater bonding excercise than something that challenges conventions and boundaries?
If trapeze art does not sound like your bag of fun, then don’t be scared. For those who crave a calming experience, why not head down to the infamous Santa Monica Beach, and take a picnic with plenty of drinks, to have a romantic date right here on the beach. After all sometimes the simplest of dates are the best ways to get closer to your partner. Or at least in my experience as there is no pressure.
You could stroll along the pier, go swimming in its deep blue waters or watch the sunset, luxuriating in its amber and purple glow. Just remember to socially distance, and keep safe. It’s best to visit beaches when it is isn’t peak time so that there are less crowds, and that way you can feel like you have had successful date ideas in Los Angeles that haven’t compromised your safety or health.
*Due to COVID-19, the rides are currently not open, but you can still have just as much fun at Santa Monica Pier, with safety in mind. Just make sure you check out the safety guidelines before you go, to risk disappointment.
Have A Romantic Picnic At The Beach
Speaking of Beaches, Santa Monica Beach isn’t the only star beach around, with notable mentions including Redondo Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach and Playa Del Ray Beach. Whether you want to take your date windsurfing, are a fan of kayaking or would rather sunbathe, no matter where you go in LA, there is a beach for you.
For those who want to have a romantic picnic date, look no further than the utterly gorgeous Playa Del Ray Beach, where you can chill in the sun, hand in hand as you watch the mischievous waves flirt with the open waters, a mesmerizing sight. While there are not many amenities around, this actually works to your advantage because you have more of chance to have a successfully socially distanced date, without disturbing others. You can bring a cute picnic hamper, and stock it with classics such as veggie sausages and cheese and tomato sarnies.
Other vegetarian suggestions include the must haves such as ‘egg and cress rolls’, veggie scotch eggs and crisps and salad for a quintessential picnic spread. Of if boujee is more your style, then stock up on the champagne/prosecco and create unique culinary delights like cherry tomato, marinated feta and basil skewers, a veggie cheese board with deliciousness from the mounds of brie and camembert and broccoli and sun roasted tomato quiche. If you are into health and fitness, then healthier options include a vegan caesear salad, fruit salad and frittatas.
If you want to have more of an action packed picnic, and prefer a more dynamic beach space, alongside Santa Monica Beach you also have the fantastic Manhattan Beach, which has been described by Tripadvisor reviewers as ‘a cute little beach town’. You can go downtown to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, go shopping and buy your date some cute souviners, walk along the strand while you regale life stories simultaneously and even check out the aquarium that is at the end of the pier.
But the fun dosen’t stop there, enjoy meditative sunrises together and feel bliss during tranquil sunsets, watching the sky deepen into a glorious view. Or if you want to do something more active there is a bike path that is ideal for keen bikers. If you want something a little extra special you can even go marine watching, with dolphins and sea lions playfully popping up, as you watch amused from the pier.
For windsurfing fantatics, you’ll be screaming with delight at Morro Bay and Zuma Beach, too equally stunning beaches that are ideal for couples who love to surf or windsurf together. At Morro Bay you have the exceptional Morro Rock, a statuesque 581 foot volcanic deposited wonder which offers a unique natural geographic landmark for you to surf at. Zuma Beach on the other hand is one of the largest and most populous beaches in LA. It stretches out for almost two miles across the Pacific Ocean and is ideal for surfers who like a challenge.
Who said date ideas in Los Angeles was boring hey? Not today Satan, not today.
Go Hiking In Los Padres Forest
If you want to find date ideas in Los Angeles that have nature on the brain, then you can’t get any better than Los Padres National Forest in Southern and Central California . With iconic aesthetic delights including Lotus Land, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Santa Ynez Valley, it’s hard to get bored, even with the least scintillating company.
The forest is the dreamiest fairytale location to get lost in the wilderness with your boo, with picturesque wilderness areas such as Figueroa Mountain, home to stunning wildflowers plucked straight out of a Disney movie and and San Rafael Wilderness. With 10 congressionally designed wildernesses encompassing 875,000 acres, it’s easy to whittle away time and space in this most peaceful environment.
Alongside the wilderness areas, there are also recreation areas, where you can hang out with your loved one, such as Vincente Flat Trail, Sage Hill Campground, Salmon Creek Trail and Big Caliente Day Use- Hot Springs. Luxuriate in the hot springs, as you take a morning dip, breathless at the natural beauty of your forest surroundings, camp under the stars and watch them twinkle playfully in the Sage Hill Campground and go exploring on the Salmon Creek Trail, with 10-12 miles of fishable streams, containing trout.
There is so much to see and do in Los Padres Forest, that as far as date ideas in Los Angeles goes, this offers a little something for everyone. If you are a beach lover like myself, then Monterey County has 99 miles of spectacular coastline, encompassing every coastal landscape. From dramatic cliffs with breathtaking waterfalls, rocky shores perfect for the avid tidepooler or rock hunter, to sandy California beaches suitable for surfing, fishing and swimming, you will feel highly blessed and favoured.
You can go beachcombing at Sand Dollar Beach, try out the sand play areas at Pfeiffer Beach (day use) and give Tidepooling a whirl at both beach recreation areas. Question is, what will you choose? If you want even more reasons to visit the glorious Los Padres National Forest, then brace yourself for a wondorous event packed date with your boo, including activities such as Horse Riding, Climbing and Hiking.
If sports are your cup of tea, then you will love its water activities such as surfing and swimming which can be done at the aforementioned beaches, while notable winter sports include Sledding/Tubing and Snowshoeing to give you a taste of the wild side. For horse riding enthusiasts you can go horse riding and horse camping at Thorn Meadows Campground and Adobe Trailhead, while picnickers can enjoy a delightful romantic picnic in the Monterey Ranger District, Ojai Ranger District and at Santa Barbara Ranger District.
*Please note this was written before the unprecedented fire conditions and Los Padres Forest is currently closed temporarily. The situation is being monitored daily so please check before you travel.
Gaze Into Each Other’s Eyes Along The Venice Canals
As far as romantic date ideas in Los Angeles goes, nothing screams romance more than The Venice Canals, where you and your date can stroll along the canal walkway, and watch the world go passing by, as you feel all the stresses and worries leaving your body immediately. All is peaceful here, all is calm.
Built in 1905 by Abbot Kinney, he sought to create the magic of Venice, Italy and bring it to the US, by replicating the appearance, feel and charm of the canals in Italy. And what a visual treat it is, with beautiful bungalows overlooking the Venice Canals, as you float on by, only being a few blocks away from the nearby seafront. Described as a lovely, secluded area, the canal is quiter now due to the pandemic, meaning you can walk along the walkway, spy on the herons and ducks or even have a picnic, complete with a bottle of champers.
My personal pick? Skip the guided walking tours and take the canals at your own pace, delighting at the posh houses that line the waterways and marvelling at the baby ducks waddling by the duck pond bashfully. For animal lovers like myself, you are in luck because its designation as a wildlife reserve means that you can say hello to pelicans, coots and egrets, ideal for a couple who have bonded together over their love of bird watching. A great time of year to visit the Venice Canals is during spring, where the baby duckies come out to play and plants bloom.
If you are a fan of ‘unique attractions’ then you will be delighted by the creativity of the residents who go all out in December with marvelous house and bridge decorating contests that will put a smile on your face. They also have an annual holiday boat parade where costumed captains navigate the waterways in tricked-out canoes and paddleboards while bands will peform from floating decks.
If you are looking for something different, beyond the usual sightseeing, then you might like to take your date or partner to go biking and skating at the board walk, for an active date that leaves very little room for boredom. Of if you don’t fancy yourself as the next Tony Hawkes, then you might prefer to check out its exceptional horticulture, with perfectly manicured yards and a Monarch Butterfly Garden .
If your idea of a good time is walks, and equally long talks, then you’ll love the calmness of the Venice Canal Walkways, ideal for romantic date ideas in Los Angeles that are naturally beautiful and don’t cost a thing! After all, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like you need to spend a ton of money, to have a good time on a date, regardless of whether it is a first date, 6 months down the line or marriage.
See Cute Animals At The Wildlife Learning Center
As someone who is an avid animal lover, vegetarian and is cruelty free, it should come as no surprise that seeing cute animals at the Wildlife Learning Center in San Fernado Valley, features high on my must have list of date ideas in Los Angeles. A zoological park nestled in an old olive grove , the Wildlife Learning Center (WLC) has dedicated to providing life long care to more than 100 displaced, rescued and zoo born animals, who call this shady reserve their forever home.
With everything from Picnic Safari’s, to tours, to even having the option to adopt rescue animals, seeing cute animals is at the height of my vision of a perfect romance. You could start your romantic date with an educational yet enlightening wildlife talk, where the WLC biologist will teach you about the animals, share their stories and take any questions that may have. This is your chance to shine!
Next go on an interactive wildlife tour with two tours to tickle your fancy. You could go on the ‘Zoofari Tour’ where you can feed a giraffe, touch an armadillo or even feed a porcupine to your heart’s content, for 30 minutes of exciting fun. Or you could go on the ‘Adventure Tour’ for a 90 minute guided tour where you get to meet a sloth, feed a giraffe, meet a three banded armadillo, feed a porcupine and meet a reptile.
If you want to get up close and personal with the animals, then why not be a keeper for the day, and have a chance to experience first hand what it takes to work at the WLC. Feel amazed as you work side by side with a wildlife biologist to clean enclosures, complete daily wellness checks , provide enrichment, prepare diets and feed a variety of different animals including mammals, birds and reptiles.
If you want another intimate (and cute) date bonding experience, then why not try one of the individual animal experiences that the WLC has to offer. You could visit during the Porcupine’s dining time and feed them their favourite snacks, enter the ‘Sloth Social’ and learn about the sloth’s rainforest adaptions and even touch its coat, or head over to ‘Owl Time’ and learn more about the wise owl and its stealthy ways.
Last but not least is the incredible picnic safaris that WLC offers, with a Sitdown Safari and a Sunset Safari. For the sitdown safari, enjoy a beautiful reserved patio space, for a safe and memorable night out. Bring a picnic dinner with you and enjoy eating in the presence of beauties such as beautiful macaws and an Eagle Owl.
For the Sunset Safari you can bring a picnic dinner and enjoy a rainforest dining experience . Your evening will start with a guided tour where you can meet a gentle giraffe and a sluggish sloth, before chillaxing at the sunset patio, where colourful macaws nestle in the trees. Like the Sitdown Safari, enjoy the creatures that come to say hi, including a very inquisitive armadillo!
Where Would You Go On A Romantic Date In Los Angeles?