The best date ideas in Los Angeles

Looking for date ideas? Los Angeles has it all, from free and divey to romantic and truly unique—check them out.

Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanCarolina Cerisola and El Presidente of Lucha VaVOOM at Stella Rossa Pizza Bar

Whether you're already in the wedding planning stages with your significant other or a trying to woo someone new, there are so many date ideas in Los Angeles that it can be overwhelming. Here's our guide to planning the best night out, from cheap and easy dates to some of the most romantic restaurants in L.A

Date ideas in Los Angeles

Cheap, but fun, date night ideas
Restaurants

Cheap, but fun, date night ideas

On a budget? You can save some cash and still have a great time at these spots.

L.A.'s best gay bars and clubs
LGBT

L.A.'s best gay bars and clubs

From West Hollywood institutions to hip Silver Lake alternatives, we give you the 10 best gay bars and clubs in L.A.

The best fall date ideas in Los Angeles
Things to do

The best fall date ideas in Los Angeles

Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or are just trying to get a first date idea, the fall season offers unique and fun date options.

Free date ideas to impress on the cheap
Sex and dating

Free date ideas to impress on the cheap

Looking to break hearts without breaking the bank? Check out the best free date ideas across Los Angeles.

Date ideas for singles

Best places to pickup singles in L.A.
Bars

Best places to pickup singles in L.A.

Singles bars are aplenty in Los Angeles. Here are the best places to pickup other lonely hearts looking for their next hook up.

Lesbian bars and pickup spots
Sex and dating

Lesbian bars and pickup spots

Ladies looking for ladies? Check out our list of L.A.'s best lesbian bars and pickup spots—then go check out some babes.

Gay cruising spots
LGBT

Gay cruising spots

The hottest gay cruising spots to meet men might surprise you. From hardware stores to back alleys, here's where to find a gay hook-up.

10 great friend dates for platonic pals
Things to do

10 great friend dates for platonic pals

Looking for date ideas sans romance? Here, friend dates for both ladies and gents, with all the fun and none of the fuss.

Angelenos confess their worst dates

Sticky-note confessions: What was your worst date?
Things to do

Sticky-note confessions: What was your worst date?

Westside date ideas

American Cinematheque at the Aero
Movie theaters

American Cinematheque at the Aero

Enjoy screenings of classic films and contemporary independent cinema, plus special programs and series, directors appearances and lectures at this Art Deco–designed landmark. It's been in operation since the ’40, and is owned by American Cinematheque, which also runs the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Cinephiles, check the American Cinematheque website for special programs.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Neptune's Net
Restaurants

Neptune's Net

Consistently good seafood (think fresh lobster, shrimp tacos, and New England clam chowder)—not to mention an unbeatable waterfront location—makes this iconic Malibu lunch and dinner spot, which first opened in 1956, a popular choice for families, beach bums, and regular old fried food lovers.

Users say
3 out of 5 stars
El Matador State Beach
Attractions

El Matador State Beach

Small, beautiful and dominated by rocky outcrops, El Matador looks not unlike a European beach. Six miles north of Malibu and 25 miles from Santa Monica, it's past just past Leo Carrillo Beach, accessible via a steep gravelly path. Wear shoes and don't bring too much gear. There are no lifeguards or other facilities, so you should be able to find some privacy on the beach; spread your towel in the cupped hands of the rocks—watch out for high tide. Arriving early or staying late should reward you with a memorable dawn of sunset. El Matador and nearby El Pescador and La Piedra beaches collectively form the Rober H Meyer Memorial Beaches. All three are worth a visit. Pony up $8 in the self-pay parking lot or snag a spot on PCH.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Museum of Jurassic Technology
Museums

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Don't be fooled by the name: this is not some kind of Spielbergian dinosaurland. It's far more interesting than that. Hidden behind an unassuming, windowless storefront, David Wilson's Museum of Jurassic Technology presents itself as a repository of curiosities (opera singer Madelena Delani, who suffered from terrible memory failings), scientific wonders (a bat that can fly through walls) and artistic miracles (the so-called "microminiatures" of Soviet-Armenian refugee Hagop Sandaldjian, who painted impossibly tiny sculptures that fit within the eye of a needle with plenty of room to spare).Fact is mixed with the fantastical, through the elaborate and beautiful treatment (dramatically lit vitrines, audiovisual displays) accorded to everything from the history of trailer parks to 17th-century Renaissance man Athanasius Kircher. Which exhibits, if any, are bona fide? Which, if any, are satirical? And, most crucially of all, does it matter? A subversive, witty and brilliant enterprise, the Museum of Jurassic Technology challenges the very nature of what a museum is or should be, while also taking its place as one of the most fascinating attractions in the entire city. Wholly unique and unreservedly recommended.

Users say
3 out of 5 stars
Brentwood Country Mart
Things to do

Brentwood Country Mart

This barn-themed retail village features luxe shopping (Jenni Kayne, James Perse, Sugar Paper) sipping (Caffe Luxxe) and dining (Farmshop) amid such quirky touches as old-fashion kids’ mechanical rides, picnic benches in two separate enclosed patios, pony rides on Sundays and al fresco summer movies.

Annenberg Community Beach House
Attractions

Annenberg Community Beach House

What started as an opulent beachfront estate built by William Randolph Hearst for Hollywood star Marion Davies in the 1920s is now a modern, community beach club open to the public, thanks to Wallis Annenberg of the Annenberg Foundation, who provided $27.5 million for the transformation. Completed in 2009, the five-acre beach house accommodates a main house with a rec room for board games, ping pong and classes and events, a swimming pool, a splash pad, beach volleyball and tennis courts, soccer fields, canopies, a cafe and rentals for paddle boards. RECOMMENDED: Best beaches in LA

Users say
4 out of 5 stars

Eastside date ideas

Grand Central Market
Restaurants Book online

Grand Central Market

Buried in the heart of Downtown LA is this European-style food hall, which has been operating on the ground floor of the iconic Homer Laughlin Building since 1917. Some food vendors merit more praise than others, though Mexican- and South American-themed stalls offering treats like pupusas, carnitas tacos and aguas frescas remain some of the most popular.

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Echo Park Time Travel Mart
Things to do

Echo Park Time Travel Mart

At first glance, the inside of this storefront resembles any other market in the area—but look closer and you’ll find a collection of funny “time travel” curiosities that one needs in order to visit the past and future. Oddities include Robot Toupees, Aeon Bottled Time (i.e. sand in a bottle), Barbarian Repellent, Primordial Soup In a Can, and a whole bunch of books. What’s going on? The market is a ruse: everything in it is indeed for sale, but the store is actually a front for 826LA, a nonprofit organization which tutors kids ages 6 to 18. Founded by author Dave Eggers, 826LA gives free creative writing classes to kids. All the books in the store? They’re written by those children. Many are professionally published in tandem with publishing houses around LA and some are actually sold on Amazon. The classroom is located through a door in the back of the shop, and only the kids who take classes even know it’s there. Shoppers can buy cool gifts, or volunteer to teach the kids. If you come up with an idea for a product to sell in the store, the employees will help you design it and the store will sell it. Which might spur others to drop some money and add to the financial support of this amazing nonprofit. How cool is that?

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Vista Theater
Movie theaters

Vista Theater

This historic, hidden gem single screen Vista Theater plays movies on actual film reels (not digital) and boasts giant Art Deco light fixtures, kitschy Egyptian-themed wall details and a lovely manager, Victor Martinez, who dresses up for every opening (think: Willy Wonka for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Joker for The Dark Knight, etc.).

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens
Things to do Buy tickets

Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens

The bequest of entrepreneur Henry E Huntington is now one of the most enjoyable attractions in the Los Angeles region. It's also not a destination that you should attempt to explore in full during a single day: between the art, the library holdings and the spreadeagled outdoor spaces, there's plenty to see, and most of it is best enjoyed at lingering leisure rather than as part of a mad day-long dash.Once you've paid your admission, you'll be close to the main library, which holds more than six million items and is open only to researchers (apply for credentials in advance of your visit). However, some of its most notable holdings, among them a Gutenberg Bible and the earliest known edition of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, are always on display in the adjoining exhibition hall, alongside regular themed temporary shows. The art collection is almost as notable as the library's collection. Built in 1910, the main house is home to a very impressive collection of British art, which includes Gainsborough's The Blue Boy alongside works by Blake, Reynolds and Turner. And over in the newer Scott and Erburu Galleries, you'll find a selection of American paintings.However, despite all these cultural glories, the Huntington's highlights are outdoors in its vast jigsaw of botanical gardens, arguably the most glorious in the entire Los Angeles region. The 207 acres of gardens, 120 acres of which are open to the public, are divided into a variety of themes: the Desert Garden, now a centur

Users say
5 out of 5 stars
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Dodger Stadium
Sports and fitness Buy tickets

Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium (otherwise known as Chavez Ravine) has been home to the Dodgers since 1962, making it the third-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Even so, it's one of the nicest ballparks in the country. While there, make sure to try a local favorite—the Doyer Dog, loaded with chili, nacho cheese, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars
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Hollywood Farmers' Market
Shopping

Hollywood Farmers' Market

Stock up on California-grown avocados, dates, honey, free-range poultry—and literally dozens of other farm-fresh ingredients—at this once-weekly open-air market, which draws over 90 farmers, and regularly features prepared food vendors, live music and mouth-watering chef demonstrations.

Users say
4 out of 5 stars

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