20 Unique Date Ideas in Los Angeles That Are Way More Fun Than Just Dinner and Drinks

From an adult arcade to zeitgeisty burlesque

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date ideas los angeles: couple embracing
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Whether you’re dipping your toes back into online dating or you’ve been married for years, all of us could use some more date night inspiration beyond the usual drinks and dinner. Here are 20 options—experienced first-hand by Angeleno residents Dana Dickey and Dyana Goldman, who cherry pick the best local goings on that they find as local reporters. These are fresh reasons to drive to the other side of town to hike or share a laugh over some non-alcoholic cocktails. Goodbye Netflix and chill, hello axe throwing, comedy shows and sunset silent disco dates. Read on for all the latest non-boring date ideas in Los Angeles.

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Artistic Date Night Ideas

1. Laugh And Let Loose At Jetpack Comedy

  • Location: West Hollywood (7702 Santa Monica Boulevard)
  • Price range: $$

Laughing with your date is usually a good sign, so stack the cards in your favor and head to Jetpack Comedy in West Hollywood. This show impresses with its star-studded line-up of comedians like Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Silverman, Hannibal Buress and Pete Holmes—just to name a few. And it takes place on Friday nights at Bar Lubitsch, a Russian-themed vodka bar, on Friday nights—so you can get the weekend rolling on the right foot.

2. A Rooftop Movie

  • Location: Hollywood (1615 Vine St.)
  • Price range: $

Every spring, the Montalban Theatre starts showing movies on its roof, complete with a bar, concession stand and a kitchen. Recent revival films such as 1989's Batman and La La Land alternate with older classics such as Pulp Fiction and The Breakfast Club. Doors open at 6 p.m. to grab a seat, have dinner and a drink. Then, at 8 p.m., as daylight fades and the glam neon of surrounding Hollywood signage glows, moviegoers don wireless earphones to enjoy crisp sound.

3. Listen To Live Music At The Penmar

  • Location: Venice (1233 Rose Ave.)
  • Price range: $

Wednesday just became your new favorite date night. Head to The Penmar to take in live concerts on the lawn of their golf course. BYO blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy wine and food from their restaurant as well as the occasional pop-up vendor. Discover up and coming artists, take sunset pics for the ‘gram, and if you have a four-legged friend, they’re welcome to join as well. The event is completely free, although an optional $5 donation is accepted for the musicians.

4. Enjoy an Adult Amusement Park

  • Location: Downtown L.A. (634 Mateo St.)
  • Price range: $

All kinds of pinball games, a carnival midway, mini-escape rooms and VR experiences are among the choose-your-own adventures at Two-Bit Circus, the sprawling pop-up entertainment complex downtown. If you were too busy studying to have a misspent youth, now's your chance to beat the pants off your date at Ms. Pac-Man.

5. Vibe on Pop Music by Candlelight

  • Location: Various Locations
  • Price range: $$

Candlelight Concerts is a live music series that hosts professional musicians in grand spaces surrounded by thousands of twinkling candles. From the work of Academy award-winning composer Hans Zimmer at the Biltmore downtown to the ouevre of Taylor Swift performed at the Skirball Center on the West Side, an ever-changing lineup of musical artists' works are presented by piano, stringed instruments and voice.

6. Watch a Burlesque Show

  • Location: Studio City (11502 Ventura Blvd.)
  • Price range: $$

The Dollface Dames are a troupe of burlesque performers who really put on (and in some cases, strip off) the feather fans, frills and fringe for your entertainment. This is the sort of live entertainment we're so lucky to have in SoCal, thanks to the wide range of homegrown and emigre talent, all hoping to make it big in the movies, kid! The Dames perform in a variety of venues, from the Valley to Santa Monica and the fun, unexpected nature of each run-of-show makes it a perfectly entertaining date.

7. Dine in a Restaurant/Art Gallery

  • Location: Arts District (907 E. 3rd St.)
  • Price range: $$$$

Charcoal-grilled and wood-fired-oven prepped meals including cast-iron cornbread and grilled local yellowtail with Castelvetrano olives, red onion and celery aioli would be reason enough to visit this fine dining restaurant, but its presence in the bluechip Hauser & Wirth arts complex, with a rotating collection of work by famous names including Raymond Pettibon and Paul McCarthy hanging right next to the tables, gives extra incentive. Before dining, we duck into the Hauser and Wirth gallery across the courtyard; after our meal, we always like to visit the chickens in the garden area to make sure they're resting up in their coop, ready to lay eggs for the restaurant the following morning.

Active Date Ideas

8. Blow Off Steam And Throw Some Axes

  • Location: North Hollywood (7308 Coldwater Canyon Ave.)
  • Price range: $ to $$$$

Chucking an ax may have been reserved for burly woodsmen in the past, but now, it’s trendy and available for your dating pleasure at LA Ax. In a space that has a bowling alley-like setup, you will be assigned a lane and given axes to toss at a hanging bullseye. Nervous? Don’t worry—LA Ax’s team of coaches gives you a quick safety run-through and lesson on ax throwing. Then, you’re welcome to let your competitive side shine. We tried this sober but as of late, LA Ax now serves beer and wine! You’ll be surprised at how cathartic it is to toss an ax through the air (hopefully it’s just your ex and not your current date that you’re imagining).

9. Go Retro Rollerskating At Moonlight Rollerway

  • Location: Glendale (5110 San Fernando Rd.)
  • Price range: $

If you’re at the holding hands stage of dating, head to Moonlight Rollerway and get out there for a couple’s skate. The place has some serious '80s vibes (the owner kept the ambiance and architecture the same as when he purchased the spot in 1985), and as we all know, the '80s were a great era for rom-coms. Monday nights are adults-only and returning this month is Rainbow Skate Night, a gay skate night for all ages featuring disco music.

date ideas: Los Angeles: yoga session
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10. Chill Out with Ganga Yoga and Sound Bath

  • Location: DTLA (731 Spring St, #600)
  • Price range: $ to $$$$

Once a month, yoga instructor Sharzad collaborates with PsychedeLiA Integration, a non-profit devoted to the psychological and spiritual healing properties of psychedelics, to host a ganga yoga and sound bath evening at Boheme Yoga. It's part of the conscious cannabis movement, and while imbibing is optional, Sharzad's whole deal is to guide yogi practitioners in using the herb to facilitate wellness. It's a three-hour session that combines an all-levels 45-minute yoga flow with a 45-minute sound bath. We love what a L.A. cliche this date is—but with an added kick of actually being pretty fun and relaxing.

11. Mini Golf At Sherman Oaks Castle Park

  • Location: Sherman Oaks (4989 Sepulveda Blvd.)
  • Price range: $

If you’re a sucker for YA films, a mini golf date is the perfect evening to spend with the person who “just may be the one.” The mini golf course at Sherman Oaks Castle feels straight out of an '80s rom-com. The course has pirate ships, a windmill and Mayan statues, amongst many other classic-themed mini-golf holes. No reservations are required, and the park stays open until 11 p.m.

12. Stroll the Great Wall of Los Angeles

  • Location: North Hollywood (corner of Coldwater Canyon and Burbank Blvds.)
  • Price range: $

This half-mile long public art project depicts the history of California from prehistory to present, focusing on marginalized communities. It's painted 13.5 feet high on the west side of the Tujunga Flood Control Channel, and has bold colors, energetic brush strokes and a strong point of view, largely due to the stewardship and artistry of Los Angeles Chicana painter Judith Baca. (In our experience, walking along the wall is a great way to get a read on the political leanings of your date.) Immigration, exploitation of people and land, women’s rights, classism, racism, heterosexism—it's all covered in a thought-provoking style and interestingly, was painted largely by young people diverted to the project by the criminal justice department.

Foodie Dates

13. Find Yourself In Foodie Heaven At Smorgasburg

  • Location: Downtown LA ( 777 S. Alameda St.)
  • Price range: $

This beloved food festival is open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Row DTLA. There are dozens of food vendors with so many mouth-watering options, you may want to wear extra stretch pants on this date. From sweet treats at Ice Cream Alley to donuts, tacos and Bangkok street food, come hungry! In addition to food, there are vendors selling crafts, clothing, wellness products and more. Entry is free and parking is easy with a spacious on-site parking garage available.

14. Enjoy a Thai Market Meal

  • Location: North Hollywood (8225 Coldwater Canyon Ave.)
  • Price range: $

On Sundays, the largest Thai temple in Los Angeles hosts an outdoor food market where the thriving SoCal Thai community meets to dine and dish. Whether it's an authentic Pad Thai or pineapple-fried rice served in a hollowed-out pineapple, you have to pay with tokens you get from a charming stand that exhanges your dollars for them. And trust us—no visit is complete without ultra-smooth artisanal Thai gelato from the Moommaam stand.

15. Share Sober Cocktails

  • Location: Alhambra (3020 W. Main St.)
  • Price range: $

In the Pasadena-adjacent community of Alhambra, inside the historic Caramba building is a new bar that's riding the wave of foodie and wellness culture: the no-alcohol craft cocktail. The bartender has a chemistry degree, the co-owner is an enthusiastic supporter of sobers and just plain fun-lovers in the community, and shows this by filling the place with not only artisanal drinks and a gluten-free menu but also hosting karaoke and games nights.

16. Picnic In Malibu

  • Location: Malibu (3835 Cross Creek Rd.)
  • Price range: $

A picnic is a perfect date activity but DIYing it can become a ton of work. Instead order your provisions online from John's Garden, then stop by the The Malibu Country Mart to pick it up. (We're always up for the Surfer Princess sandwich with roasted turkey and avocado and a cranberry-cherry Red Magic smoothie.) Sandwiches in tow, you and your date can head out to one of Malibu’s many gorgeous beaches for the ultimate sunny date. Our favorite is El Matador, with its beautiful caves and arches.

Outdoor Activities

17. Enjoy a Couples Hot Springs Mud Bath

  • Location: Temescal (25000 Glen Ivy Rd.)
  • Price range: $$$

Getting there takes 90 minutes by car from Santa Monica, but the uniquely SoCal experience of relaxing in a lush indoor-outdoor resort full of 104 degree mineral water pools and tubs is so worth it. Your skin feels so sleek after you've enjoyed being painted with clay and then letting it soak, while in a heated grotto, or painting your skin with the stuff at the outdoor Club Mud pool. There are body treatments, facials and food available, and everyone gets a complimentary mimosa upon arrival. In our experience, it's worth the approximately $100 minimum you'll spend just for the clay-painted selfies (even without the resulting skin softness).

18. Superbloom Sightseeing is On

  • Location: Various
  • Price range: $

It's one of the most memorable pilgrimages in Los Angeles, and due to the ephemeral whims of nature, it's like hitting a moving target. We're talking about the Superbloom, the every-few-years massive wildflower blossoming that takes over numerous areas of the inland empire, including Anza-Borrego State Park, Lake Elsinore and the Antelope Valley. What's nice about this as a date is that, if you start early enough in the day, no overnight lodging is necessary and most of the drives make a pleasant half-day excursion. Call the Theodore Payne Wildflower Hotline for details on which blooms are popping off nearest your area.

date ideas los angeles sunset discol

19. Silent Disco at Hermosa Beach

  • Location: Hermosa Beach (11 Pier Ave.)
  • Price range: $$

Five DJs simultaneously perform on the huge outdoor patio, just steps away from the sand on the patio at the Strand & Pier Plaza. From EDM to house music, nu-disco, hip hop, Latin and pop, there's tons of options to dance to in one evening. Vibe out with the diverse, wide age range crowd that gathers for this event between 6 to 10 p.m. Everyone wears wireless high-fidelity headphones that have five channels to switch between, so you can choose your own music. Each channel emits a unique color—so at a glance, you can determine the music your date is enjoying.

20. Hike Then Cafe in Griffith Park

  • Location: Los Feliz (2333 Fern Dell Dr.)
  • Price range: $

Even if you don't want to conquer any of the steep trails on this stunning riparian wilderness that spans 4,210 acres, you and your date can enjoy a short stroll through any part of it, knowing that you have a delicious avocado sandwich and slice of pie waiting for you afterwards at the Trails Cafe, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. That way, you're guaranteed a sweet ending to whatever your date holds.

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...

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