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The Best Date Night Spots in LA

July 13, 2023

Close up of date night flowers

Whether you're trying to plan a first date or a 50th, coming up with a great date night idea can feel overwhelming. But if you need some help finding the perfect place for your next romantic night out in Los Angeles, you've come to the right spot.


Best Date Night Spots in Los Angeles

  1. Perch
  2. Echo Park Swan Boats
  3. Hollywood Bowl
  4. The Varnish
  5. Griffith Observatory
  6. Outdoor Cinema
  7. The Last Bookstore
  8. Venice Canals
  9. Inn of the Seventh Ray

Perch

From the minute you enter the elevator in the historic Pershing Square Building in downtown Los Angeles, it feels like you're being transported to a special place. And when you step off the elevator and into the Perch Rooftop Bar & Restaurant, those feelings are confirmed. You'll enjoy incredible views of the Los Angeles skyline, funky antique furniture, and multiple outdoor fireplaces. The bar also has a lovely cocktail selection and a menu of French-inspired small plates.

If that wasn't enough, Perch also has live music most evenings to complement the already elevated ambiance. It's a great spot if you're looking for something sophisticated but not stuffy.

Echo Park Swan Boats

Echo Park has experienced its ups and downs in recent years, but it remains a quintessential Los Angeles date spot. Specifically, the swan boat night ride is a unique experience that makes for a date night you won't forget anytime soon. Rent a swan-shaped paddle boat as dusk begins to settle over the city, and then spend the rest of your evening floating or paddling around Echo Park Lake, enjoying the scenery (and, hopefully, the person you're sharing it with).

The lake itself boasts an illuminated fountain and a gorgeous view of downtown Los Angeles. The swan boats are also lit up with LED lights, making them sparkle on the water. And there's plenty of space to bring along a picnic basket, so you can enjoy snacks or drinks while you're taking in the sunset and the city lights.

Hollywood Bowl

This iconic venue is a spectacular place to see a musical production. The outdoor amphitheater hosts everything from rock concerts to musical theater to the orchestra. No matter what type of performance you see, the true joy of going to the Hollywood Bowl is sitting outside in the Hollywood Hills and enjoying the perfect LA weather and surrounding scenery.

Pack a picnic, bring a seat cushion, and make sure you've got a plan for avoiding the post-concert traffic. You can also buy food and drinks at the venue itself, although you should definitely expect to spend some time standing in line. Depending on the show, you can bring your own bottle of wine to complement the tunes.

The Varnish

Los Angeles is well known for its hidden spots — whether it's an acclaimed restaurant with little-to-no signage tucked away in a strip mall or a bar that can only be accessed through a passage in the back of another establishment. A date at a speakeasy feels very much in keeping with this theme, and The Varnish remains the go-to hidden bar in Los Angeles.

Located behind Cole's restaurant in downtown LA, the Varnish's vintage décor will transport you to another era the moment you enter the bar. It's got expertly mixed cocktails, a great wine collection, and live music that matches the laid-back vibe. And you don't even need a password to get in!

Griffith Observatory

Head to the Griffith Observatory, and you'll be treated to a view of the entire sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles. If you've never been to the observatory after sundown, it's absolutely worth the trip. The public telescope is available for viewing from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every evening. It's been there since 1935, and more than 7 million people have looked through it since then.

If you'd prefer to just hang out on the grounds of the observatory, you'll still have panoramic nighttime views of the city lights. It's an awe-inspiring location, and it's also completely free!

And if making conversation under the stars feels like too much, the observatory also has regularly scheduled shows in the Planetarium (although you will have to buy a ticket for those).

Outdoor Cinema

Perhaps it's not surprising that the home to Hollywood would be a great place to take in an outdoor movie. But the prodigious number of outdoor movie screenings available in Los Angeles truly do make this a great option for a date night.

You can take in a classic every weekend during the summer at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where you can spread a picnic blanket and enjoy a movie viewing under the stars. Or you could enjoy a rooftop screening at Rooftop Cinema Club (at various locations in Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles) and let them supply the seats, refreshments, and wireless headphones.

The Last Bookstore

If you're looking for a less traditional date night idea and trying to avoid another bar or restaurant meetup, a trip to The Last Bookstore might be right up your alley. The largest bookstore in the entire state of California, this bookseller has something that will interest everyone.

Oh, and it has a book tunnel. That's right: a tunnel made of books, which serves as both a sight to marvel at and a great backdrop if you want to take some pics to memorialize your evening. The other great upside of a date at a bookstore is that it's virtually impossible to run out of things to talk about when you're surrounded by this many words and ideas!

Venice Canals

Sometimes the best date ideas are the simplest ones. Taking a sunset stroll through the Venice Canal Historic District is a great way to appreciate one of the more unique areas of Los Angeles. Close to Venice Beach, the canals were built in the early 1900s and intended to recreate the world-famous landscape of Venice, Italy.

Today, a winding walkway allows you to stroll along the waterway, taking you over quaint bridges, past architecturally unique houses, and through a quiet neighborhood. A leisurely walk through the canals doesn't take much longer than an hour, but if you do it at sunset, you'll enjoy some magically colorful views that you won't soon forget.

Inn of the Seventh Ray

Los Angeles is home to more than 30 Michelin-starred restaurants, so if you're seeking culinary delights, you have a range of options, from fine dining to sushi bars to Italian osterie. But if you're looking for a unique dining experience in a memorable location, Inn of the Seventh Ray might be the date spot for you.

Located in the woods of Topanga Canyon, this organic restaurant is both rustic and elegant. It has multiple dining rooms and outdoor patio seating on the banks of two creeks that wind their way through the Santa Monica Mountains. Frequently used as a wedding venue, Inn of the Seventh Ray marries fresh local dishes with an eclectic, bohemian atmosphere. It's a magical spot for a date with that special someone!

There you have it. What more do you need for a perfect date night? Oh, right: fresh flowers! Surprise your date with a bouquet of their favorite blooms, and you'll be sure to have another date planned.

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