The 10 Best Ideas for Date Nights Around Los Angeles
These 10 date night ideas are sure to motivate you to book a babysitter and get out with your better half.
One-on-one time with your partner is important, especially after having kids. If the last time you and your significant other had a date night was sometime before your first pregnancy, you need to remedy that situation, stat!
We’ve rounded up 10 date night ideas that are sure to put some spring back in your tired parenting step. Whether your bank account balance is “broke” or “billions,” read on for a date night idea to fit your budget and disposition. (And don't forget to hire a date night sitter, of course!)
Address: 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday & Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. (Extended hours until Sept. 1)
Admission is free, but the views are worth millions at this museum perched high above the Sepulveda Pass. The galleries stay open until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer months, which gives you plenty of time to watch the sunset before checking out the art collection. Be sure to allow time for a romantic stroll through the famous garden, which features a meandering path along a stream.
If you’re feeling fancy and want to make it a super special night, reserve a table for dinner at the on-site restaurant. Be sure to ask for one of the window tables! The modern space is open and airy, and the seasonal California cuisine makes for a lovely evening. If you’re not in the mood to drop dough on dinner, bring a picnic and a blanket and find a spot on the lawn instead.
Address: 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 | Click here for other locations.
Hours: Vary by movie showing
If you get excited about seeing a non-animated movie in an actual movie theater, you’re most likely a parent. The ArcLight Hollywood is the promised land for parents on date night: reserved seating, lots of showtimes, and alcohol available for purchase so you can enjoy your drink with your movie! Also, if you haven’t tried their caramel popcorn, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest indulgences. I would suggest purchasing two so that you and your partner don’t end up fighting over the container.
If you prefer your movie dates with a side of dinner, allow enough time to grab a meal at The Hungry Cat just across the street. It’s tucked in the courtyard of a big apartment building, but there’s a nice patio seating area, and their handcrafted cocktails are some of the best in the city. Hungry Cat has an extensive raw bar selection, so order up some oysters and their famous lobster roll before or after the movie.
Address: 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90068
Hours: Vary by performance
Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl are a rite of passage for every Angeleno, and they’re especially fun during one of the warm summer nights. Go big and spring for one of the boxes, where they serve a full menu and have wait service. It’s a kick to see how the little tables fold out to hold your dinner and drinks. The food is so-so, but the views from the box seats are incredible. If you’re more of a “general admission” couple (like us), buy the more affordable tickets and arrive early to picnic on one of the grassy areas. You can order one of the many Hollywood Bowl picnic baskets available from various establishments around town, but we prefer to create our own with charcuterie and cheese we get at Larchmont Village Wine and Cheese. Add a bottle of wine, a baguette, and some European chocolates, and you’ve got yourself a romantic dinner for two.
Pro tip: You can’t bring any alcohol into the venue, but there is a store that sells overpriced bottles of wine once you get inside. Be warned: The line gets really long, so don’t run the risk of missing the opening act while you’re waiting to purchase mediocre rosé.
Address: 3400 N. Beachwood Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Hours: Vary by tour time
If you’re looking for a truly unique date night experience, a sunset horseback ride definitely fits the bill. Sunset Ranch’s TGIFriday Night Tour ($95 per person) is a two-hour sunset ride to the peak of Mount Hollywood. Sunset Ranch is located at the very end of Beachwood Drive in Griffith Park. The stables are well maintained and charming, but do note that there’s very little shade on the ride to the top of the mountain, so be sure to use sunscreen. (All riders wear helmets, so don’t bother bringing your 10-gallon hat.) The trail takes riders through Griffith Park and up to the peak of the mountain, where you’re rewarded with 360-degree views of Los Angeles. The horses walk at a relaxed pace, and at least one guide rides out with you on the trail, so novice riders are welcome.
If you’re starving after your ride, stop for burgers and fries at Tommy’s Original World Famous Hamburgers on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Bronson Avenue. This isn’t the actual original location of the burger chain (despite the name), but the burgers and fries are delicious, nonetheless.
Address: 5621 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90042
Hours: Monday - Friday, 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. | Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Highland Park Bowl is not your average smelly, somewhat gross bowling alley. The original Highland Park Bowl opened in 1927, and the recently renovated incarnation has been beautifully restored to Jazz Age glory. The usual molded plastic chairs have been replaced with oversized Chesterfield sofas that encourage relaxation between turns. There’s a specialty cocktail menu with signature libations and food you’ll actually want to eat, including wood-fired pizzas, meatballs, and seasonal salads. Live DJs spin vinyl on Friday and Saturday nights, and there’s a free comedy show every Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Depending on the day, it can be kind of expensive to bowl. Prices start at $40 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the week, and go up to $60 from 8 p.m. until closing time on Saturdays. The cost is definitely worth it, however, for an out-of-the-ordinary bowling date.
Address: 8401 Mulholland Drive, Studio City, CA 90046
Hours: Open 24/7
Get your heart rate up by spending quality time with your beloved and hiking Fryman Canyon. It’s an easy hike that offers great views of the city, and parking in the lot at the base of the trail is free. If you go in the early evening, you’ll avoid the valley’s often-scorching temperatures, and you’ll have a prime view of the sunset.
360 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 323-424-3444
1755 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026 | 323-407-6321
Hours: Vary by classes | Click here for a monthly schedule.
Mindfulness is all the rage these days, and for good reason: Many of us are overstimulated and stressed out. Everybody can benefit from taking a meditation break, which makes it a date night activity that’s good for both your mind and your relationship. Whether you’re a novice or an advanced meditation practitioner, there’s a class to fit your needs at the DEN Meditation studio.
There are two locations -- one on La Brea and one in Silverlake -- and both studios offer evening classes. The classes are only 45 minutes long, which is ideal if you’re worried about getting home in time to feed your newborn. If meditation isn’t your thing, you can also sign up for one of the DEN’s monthly sound bath workshops, where you’ll be treated to a truly unforgettable experience. If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with your partner (without having to go to couples therapy), I can tell you from personal experience that the sound bath will help. Relax and rejuvenate while the tones from the crystals and their bowls clear negative energy.
Address: 120 E. Eighth St., Los Angeles, CA 90014
Hours: Vary according to scheduled events
If your next date night also includes other couples, make a reservation at Escape Room L.A. and see if you and your friends can work together to solve the puzzle and get out before your time is up. There are four rooms with distinct themes, and the skill level ranges from “moderately challenging” to “challenging.” As a history nerd, I love that three of the rooms have historic themes and the décor to match: a 1940s detective office, an old haunted theater, and a medieval alchemist’s secret laboratory.
After you escape, keep the vintage vibe of your night going with a visit to Cole’s French Dip. Cole’s first opened in 1908, but the new incarnation is decidedly modern with a retro twist. The Red Car Bar features original lighting and floors, gorgeous vintage photos, and a full menu of classic cocktails that are the perfect accompaniment to the French dip sandwich.
Address: 1 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. | Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 1 a.m. | Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 1 a.m. | Sunday, 11 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.
The lobby bar at Shutters on the Beach is one of our favorite places to spend a foggy afternoon or evening. Score one of the comfy couches by a fireplace, order a fancy cocktail (we’re partial to the martinis), and enjoy a quiet interlude with your partner. The free house-made potato chips may be one of the best bar snacks in town, and thankfully they are generous with refills.
If you prefer a view of the ocean and a less dark and cozy atmosphere, Casa del Mar right across the street from Shutters has a larger bar with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the boardwalk. It’s a bit busier and not quite as romantic, but the cocktails are just as delicious and they serve the same house-made potato chips.
If you want to have a romantic night but you don’t feel like spending money for a fancy dinner, why not plan an at-home date night? Book a sitter to help with the bedtime routine so that you and your partner can relax without the stress of putting the kids to bed. Once the kids are asleep, cook dinner together (or order your favorite takeout dishes), set the table with your wedding china, and enjoy a romantic dinner at home. It’s a rare treat to be able to have an uninterrupted conversation in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re feeling really indulgent, have the sitter come back the following morning to get up with your kids so the two of you can sleep in for a few hours. You’ll feel refreshed and reconnected and you’ll get a good night’s sleep in your own bed, which is way better than a hotel!
What are some of your favorite date night locales around L.A.? Tell us in the comments below!
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