Dating in Los Angeles is tough, but one of the best things about dating in a city like Los Angeles is having so many choices of what to do on a first date. Date-planning choices run the gamut of tastes, styles, and activities. We created this guide to help decide what to do (and where to eat) while getting to know someone for the first time.
Location: Arts District
Ascend one flight to Cha Cha Chá, a Mexico City inspired gem offering a spectacular eastern view of Downtown. Delight in skyline vistas while savoring snacks like carnitas tacos, bluefin tuna tostadas, and shrimp ceviche dressed in beet. If the date is going strong, explore a range of nightcap options to match the vibe. Opt for casual at Angel City or Arts District Brewing, or embrace a lowkey and quiet atmosphere at Pali Wine.
Indulge in shared plates of ultra-fresh crudo and ceviche at this vibrant seafood hotspot just a stone's throw from the beach. Grab a bottle of wine and settle in at the marble bar for a front-row seat to the chefs' skillful fish-slicing performance in the kitchen. Alternatively, opt for an outdoor spot for some prime Venice Beach people-watching—guaranteed to spark conversations. Then cap off your meal with a leisurely beach stroll.
Location: Pacific Palisades
Trail Website: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/will-rogers-state-park-inspiration-point-trail
Cafe Website: https://cafevida.net/locations/pacific-palisades/
Elevate your first date with the serene beauty of Inspiration Point Trail in Will Rogers State Historic Park. Experience ocean views, nature sounds, and sunny skies, setting the perfect backdrop for a tranquil outing. Opt for the shorter two-mile loop, ideal for a first date stroll amidst California wildflowers. After enjoying the peaceful walk, continue the connection with a brunch date at Cafe Vida.
Location: Downtown Financial District
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a dine-in haven boasting the finest in movies, beer, food, and events. If your date adores films, this is the go-to spot. L.A.'s exclusive Alamo Drafthouse showcases both first-run hits and repertory classics in auditoriums adorned with plush, reclining seats and in-theater service offering a tempting array of food and drinks (including booze). Cap off the movie magic by strolling to a nearby bar for a nightcap, where you can discuss the film.
Location: Highland Park + Altadena
Unleash your creativity at the Creative Café, a unique experience perfect for a date night. Located at Amara in Highland Park on Thursdays and Altadena on Saturdays, this pop-up offers a mellow, creative happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m. at $25 per person, featuring various artsy activities and one drink. For a more immersive experience, reserve a table from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at $45 per person, which includes one activity and two drinks. While there's no food served, the menu of artistic options includes drawing, collaging, floral arrangement, and clay work, with all supplies provided.
Location: Highland Park
Highland Park Bowl is a gem among L.A. hangouts, boasting a triple threat of being a bar, bowling alley, and restaurant rolled into one awesome spot. Renting a lane can set you back anywhere from $35 to $70 per hour, depending on when you go, so if you’re looking to drive that cost down perhaps consider turning this evening into a double date with another couple (each lane accommodates up to eight people).
Lingua Franca is the first restaurant that’s been able to romanticize the LA River—making it a trustworthy choice for your next date night. This warm American spot, nestled in Frogtown (accessible via the bike path to the front entrance), exudes the welcoming ambiance of a well-loved neighborhood hangout. With plenty of natural wine, a charming string-lit back patio, and a menu offering elevated picnic delights, it's the perfect spot for a casual date night.
Location: North Hollywood
Embrace an unconventional date night at LA Ax, one of Los Angeles' premier ax-throwing facilities, engaging in an activity that reveals your crush's adventurous side. Ax throwing, despite its initial unconventional nature, provides a unique and lighthearted experience where you can witness your date's skills and competitiveness (without getting sweaty). This date idea is perfect for those who appreciate a mix of excitement and fun.
Dinner Website: https://www.barchelou.com/
Playhouse Website: https://www.pasadenaplayhouse.org/
Start with dinner at the vibrant and innovative Bar Chelou, followed by a show at the renowned Pasadena Playhouse. Breaking away from traditional pre-theater spots, Bar Chelou offers a French-ish bistro experience in a moody, buzzing atmosphere. Indulge in artfully plated dishes like smoky crumbled sausage-topped snap peas and tuna crudo in celery root puree. The staff ensures a seamless transition for those catching a show, ensuring you're paid up and comfortably seated in time for the performance at one of the top regional theaters in the country.