There can be a lot of pressure associated with planning a date in Los Angeles. Of course, you don’t want to look like you tried too hard, but you also don’t want it to seem like you didn’t put enough effort in. Basically, you want to strike a balance between showing how much you care without going overboard and freaking out your date.
We get it; planning a date can be tricky, and that’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. In our guide below, we’ve gathered our favorite date ideas in Los Angeles that are sure to be a hit. Whether you’re looking to land a successful first date or surprise your partner with something different, these LA date ideas will help you kick off your love life in the City of Angels this summer.
1. Go Wild at the Santa Monica Pier
When it comes to the best date ideas in Los Angeles, Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier always tops our list. Is it cheesy? Yes. But is it fun? Heck yes! Grab your date and hit up the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, tap into your sense of adventure on the West Coaster steel roller coaster, and then challenge each other to a rousing game of Whac-A-Mole and Pier Planko. Between the funnel cake, scoops of ice cream, and dizzying rides, you and your date will be hyped up on sugar and adrenaline in the best way possible!
2. Star Gaze at Griffith Observatory
There’s something so dreamy and magical about watching the night sky, which makes stargazing at Griffith Observatory one of our favorite nighttime date ideas in Los Angeles. The Observatory features several stationary telescopes set up for the public, including the 12-inch Zeiss, which more people have looked through than any other telescope in the world! Invite your date here one evening, stroll hand-in-hand around the enchanting property, and enjoy viewing all the stars and planets together. Also, keep an eye out for Observatory staff, who often set up their own telescopes for visitors to enjoy.
3. Flock to the Swans at Echo Park Lake
Don’t ask us why floating around in swan-shaped pedal boats is considered romantic, but it sure is! And you can turn up the romance on your next date with a swan-shaped boat of your own. Echo Park Lake features pedal boat rentals for both day and night. Take a cruise around the lake in the afternoon in the summer sunshine or cozy up for an evening ride in a swan boat decked out in LED lights. The scenery is lovely, but the company will be even better! Reservations are required, so be sure to book in advance.
4. Pack a Picnic at El Matador State Beach
If you’re looking for a slam dunk when it comes to date ideas in Los Angeles, you can’t go wrong with a picnic down at El Matador State Beach. Yes, it can get busy during tourist season, but there’s a reason why everyone flocks to this beautiful shoreline! It’s a picturesque stretch of beach bordered by sea cliffs. Pack a picnic (and your swimsuits!) and stake a spot down at this beach, where giant rocks create dramatic backgrounds for Instagram-worthy photo opps.
5. Sip Vino at Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio
What’s better than sipping wine with your date? Sipping wine with your date with a view of the Pacific Ocean! Overlooking the sand and sea, Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio is the only wine bar located on the Pacific Coast Highway. Toast to your relationship with an estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon or raise a glass of their finest Viognier. Pro tip: This sweet date spot is especially fun on Saturdays and Sundays when food trucks roll up beside the tasting room.
6. Catch a Flick at Paramount Theater
Drive-in movies have stood the test of time when it comes to date night, so why not pull a page out of this book and cruise up to Paramount Drive-In Theater? Just like back in the day, this retro date spot invites you and your date to park your car, stock up on popcorn and snacks, and watch a movie on the big screen under the night sky.
7. Watch the Sunset at the Korean Bell of Friendship
Let Mother Nature work her magic when you plan a sunset stroll to the Korean Bell of Friendship. For this easy (yet spectacular!) date night idea in Los Angeles, make your way to the historical pavilion in Angel’s Gate Park, which overlooks the beach and Catalina Island in the distance, giving you a front-row view of the sunset. After watching the sun dip below the horizon, get a table at nearby J. Trani’s Ristorante for some fresh oysters, homemade tortellini, and a bottle of wine at this romantic Italian eatery.
8. Get in Touch with LA’s Artsy Side
When was the last time you took the time to appreciate LA’s artistic side? Well, date night is the perfect opportunity to do so! Join a guided LA Art Tour to see some of the finest graffiti and murals in the city, or map out your own path and see where your adventures take you! Whether you venture around Gabba Alley in Filipino Town or explore the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, you and your date will love reveling in these vibrant artistic expressions.
9. Have a Pint at Arts District Brewery
Looking for a laidback date night idea in Los Angeles? Then make a beeline for the Arts District Brewery. You and your date can sip on pints of craft beer while trying to beat each other’s high scores on the Skee-Ball machines. This casual hangout spot is perfect for first dates and seasoned couples, as it features a varied drink and food menu and games like ping pong and darts. And did we mention it’s dog friendly? Bring your pup along for the perfect double date in La La Land!
10. Lose Track of Time at The Last Bookstore
If you’re dating a fellow bookworm, then this LA date idea is sure to be a hit. Head to The Last Bookstore, which is the ultimate playground for book lovers. It’s basically the Powell’s of California, as it features the largest new and used book collection in CA. What’s more, The Last Bookstore is considered one of the most photographed bookstores in the world, particularly due to its whimsical book tunnel! You’ll both love exploring all the treasures, from the comic books and vinyl collections to the art and endless novels. Afterward, head up to The Spring St. Cafe on the 9th floor and share your book hauls with each other over a cup of Joe.
11. Hit the Trails at Franklin Canyon Park
Believe it or not, there is nature in LA beyond the skyscrapers of downtown! If you’re noticing signs of chemistry with someone special, ask them to join you on a hike of Franklin Canyon Park. It’s an easy one-mile round-trip hike, but you’ll both enjoy getting to know each other better while soaking up the views of shimmering Franklin Canyon Lake. Breathe in that fresh air, admire the wildlife, and then check out the Sooky Goldman Nature Center. If all goes well, you just might have to make plans to tackle the more challenging Hastain Trail together next time!
Ready to plan your next date night in the City of Angels? Try out one of these LA date ideas and be sure to follow these first-date etiquette tips while you’re at it.