You've scoured Los Angeles, from Tinder and Bumble to the city's best singles bars, and have finally found someone worth going out with. But now comes the even harder part: planning the first date. Sure, you could head to one of LA's many romantic restaurants or plan a quick meet-up at a coffee shop, but if you want to really blow your crush out of the water, we recommend moving forward with one of these best first date ideas in LA. Good luck!
The best first date ideas in LA
Travel back to a more simple time, when going to a movie was a major Friday night activity and most certainly enough to land you a second date. We're not talking about the ArcLight or AMC, or even some of the newer dine-in theaters that have popped up—we're talking about drive-in theaters. There are a number of drive-in theaters in Southern California that have stayed true to the original concept, including relatively cheap ticket prices. And in the privacy of your own car, you can chat (or make out) as much or as little as you'd like without bugging the people next to you.
Grab your new love interest and take a romantic stroll through these three canal-lined blocks—hence the name, Venice—and you'll discover an idyllic scene: arching pedestrian bridges, charming beach houses, bunches of ducklings and the occasional paddle boarding bulldog. You can also bring your own non-motorized vessel to tour the neighborhood at water level (enter via the launch ramp at Venice Boulevard). This romantic setting is perfect for getting to know your partner and maybe even nabbing a kiss or two.
Dating is supposed to be fun, and what's more fun than having a couple drinks while playing arcade games? This fun-filled date is a surefire way to break the ice and see if your new love interest can tap into their childlike qualities to have a good time. And if they can't? There's booze to get you through.
Okay, so going on a hike may not be the most original first date idea, but adding a waterfall to the mix might just push it over the edge (no pun intended). Choose from our list of the best hikes to one of the many waterfalls in the LA area, then jump in feet first—into the relationship and the water!
Whether you go for the art, the architecture, the panoramic views of LA, or to eat at the restaurant, the Getty has enough variety to please any date. Stroll through the garden, visit at the water fountain or get intellectual in front of some of the world's most renowned artwork—you can make the date as short or as long as you'd like here. And if you're really trying to impress, bring along a picnic to enjoy on the lawn as you soak in the view.
Watch new releases under the stars and take advantage of the Montalbán rooftop's beautiful city view at Rooftop Film Club. You don't even need to bring your own blanket or camping chair—RFC provides you with a comfy lawn chair, as well as blankets on request for the ultimate cozy evening. Get there early to grab dinner and drinks for a full date-night experience.
Situated on an oceanside bluff in posh Rancho Palos Verdes, the picturesque resort is a Mecca of relaxation and resort life. The 102-acre resort boasts eight restaurants, including Nelsons, which is perfect for a first date as it overlooks the water, has fire pits and boasts a beer garden during summer months. It's the perfect place to take a date to casually stroll through the walking trails, then grab a drink and a meal while soaking in the beautiful views.
With 80-degree days year-round, Angelenos can enjoy SoCal's beautiful beaches from January to December. Whether you go to Manhattan Beach to play volleyball, rent beach cruisers to ride along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, or plan a picnic at sunset in Malibu, there are plenty of ways to use SoCal's beaches as the perfect first-date landscape.
Whether you hike up to it during the day or drive to it at night to see the stars, the Griffith Observatory makes for a romantic location for first dates. Look out at the city below—which often makes for interesting conversations—sit through the observatory show, or test each other's astronomy knowledge. Whatever you do here, it makes for a fun day and as romantic or casual as you want.
There are a couple events at the LA Zoo specifically aimed at couples—think Sex and the City Zoo, for starters—but even on a regular day it can make for a great first date. Roam around the different exhibits and discuss what kind of animal you'd be—but be aware if he says he'd be a snake or she a cougar.
Going on a date with a beer lover? Taking one of LA's local brewery tours is the perfect fit. Fun, easy and entertaining, you guys can bond over your love of craft beers and get to know each other's palattes. What better way to get a little tipsy (hey, it's an easy way to get over those first-date jitters) and have it not look out of place than by having a whole date planned around beer tasting?
Show your date you're a good driver and can stomach a little competition by go-karting at Speed Zone. Better yet, keep the competition going at Speedway Golf’s two 18-hole miniature golf courses, Strike Zone’s mini bowling alley and the Electric Alley’s arcade of more than 100 video games. With so much fun to have, there's no way this date could go awry.
If you're going to take your date to a concert, there's no better place to see a show than the Hollywood Bowl. Watching a band or orchestra play under the stars makes for a romantic and special first date, but this one takes some advance notice as Bowl shows usually sell out.
Take a ride on the Ferris wheel, win your date a big stuffed animal, and grab an ice cream cone as you canoodle on the Santa Monica Pier. Once you're done with the fun to be had here, there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the neighborhood for dinner or a nightcap.
Not only is this theater beautiful and full of history, but it brings in some of LA's biggest theatrical performances. So if you're taking someone out who is a theater buff or just want to try something new, seeing one of Pantage's big-budget shows is sure to be a hit.
Find the best singles bars in LA
Dating in LA can be just as tough as being single in LA, but there are plenty of other Angelenos riding solo who feel your pain. From beachside hangouts to stiff-drink happy-hour spots, LA's bars are full of other singles ready to mingle. We've done some hopping around at the city's buzziest watering holes—namely, some of the best beer bars, hotel bars and cocktail bars—to bring you the scoop on the where singles dating in LA can find Mr. or Ms. Right (or, let's be honest, your next hookup).