Date Night

Perfect Dates for the Long Summer Season

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Astronomical Society/Facebook

Whether you’ve just tumbled head over heels into a new romance or you’re planning a special outing with a longtime sweetheart, L.A.’s sunniest of seasons—which lasts longer than most—opens up your romantic date possibilities like nowhere else. Read on for our experts’ top choices to kindle the magic through this city’s great outdoors, day or night.

Photo courtesy of the Roadium Open Air Market/Facebook

Summer Friday Drive-In at the Roadium
Recapture a piece of jukebox-era romance every summer Friday with a movie at the Roadium, an authentic drive-in that dates back to the 1950s. Things are decidedly more modern now—the movies are recent blockbusters and the In-N-Out truck that shows up on certain nights is the closest you’ll get to a ’50s diner—but they say if you listen very closely, you can still hear the rumbles of a lot full of ’55 Ford Thunderbirds just like the romantic days of yore. The Roadium, 2500 West Redondo Beach Boulevard, Torrance

Venice Canals
These fairy-tale canals are just a stone’s throw from the funky hubbub of the Venice Beach boardwalk, but they feel half a world away. We mean this literally: The canals were built to evoke Venice, Italy, part of a larger effort to re-create that timeless lovers’ destination within Los Angeles that wound up giving the Venice neighborhood its name. For a slice of European charm right on the Pacific, look no further. 200 Linnie Canal, Venice 

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers/Facebook

Dodgers & Dinner
You don’t have to know a BABIP from a balk to enjoy a date at one of America’s most storied ballparks. If you are a baseball fan, though, you’ll appreciate it all the more knowing that you’re watching the hottest team in the game this season. The stadium’s famous Dodger Dogs and garlic fries are great, but for a more romantic (and breath-friendly) dining option, try the beautifully intimate vibes at Elf for great Mediterranean cuisine, the breezy chic charm at Winsome, or minimalist Japanese gastropub Tsubaki. 1000 Vin Scully Avenue 

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens/Facebook

Roaring Nights at the L.A. Zoo
Ever wish there was an “adult swim” at a zoo? Your prayers are answered with Roaring Nights, a 21-plus shindig going down once a month this summer at the L.A. Zoo. Expect the usual pillars of fun outdoor events—food, drink, music, merriment—plus a little something special to indulge your animal side in the form of zoo talks and animal feedings. The next one takes place August 16. L.A. Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive

Marina Del Rey Summer Concert Series 2019
Take your pick of music styles at Marina Del Rey. The posh seaside enclave’s free summer concerts are roughly divided into symphonic and pop categories, though both those designations leave a lot of wiggle room. Symphonic shows on Thursdays range from show tunes to opera to the stringed musings of the Kronos Quartet, while pop shows on Saturdays could more accurately be called “everything but classical,” spanning jazz maestro Jon Batiste, Latin music melting pot Jenny and the Mexicats, and more. Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina Del Rey 

Photo by Matthew Lejune/Unsplash

Bike the Strand to Manhattan Beach
There’s nothing more quintessentially L.A. than the beach, but which one to pick for your date? If you like to get active, you don’t have to choose just one at all. Head to the coast anywhere between Will Rodgers State Beach and Torrance, rent a bike, and pedal along beachside trail the Strand toward Manhattan Beach, which is roughly in the middle of the path’s 22-mile span. You’ll tour some of SoCal’s best beaches along the way, and when you arrive at your destination, you’ll have your pick of Manhattan Beach’s burgeoning dining scene—Love & Salt and Manhattan Beach Post are our favorites—to fuel up for the ride back. 

Photo courtesy of Hollywood Bowl/Facebook

Hollywood Bowl
The historic Hollywood Bowl is best known today as the summer headquarters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which plays crowd-pleasing events accompanying international musicians and live-scoring movie screenings in addition to the usual symphonies. There’s plenty of pop music, too, ranging from legacy acts to the biggest groups of today. And you’ll definitely want to pack a romantic picnic to enjoy once you’re inside (just make sure to leave the booze at home for the rather infrequent third-party “lease” events, which don’t allow outside alcohol). 2301 North Highland Avenue

Griffith Observatory Star Parties
Once a month get cosmically starry-eyed when the Griffith Observatory decks out its lawn with free telescopes and, more important, volunteer astronomers to show you how to actually use them and tell you about what you’re seeing. Griffith’s free Star Parties run from the afternoon into the night on upcoming dates, including August 10, September 7, October 5, November 2, and December 7. Griffith Observatory, 2800 East Observatory Road

Photo courtesy of Barnsdall Art Park/Facebook

Wine Tasting at Barnsdall Park
Summer means happy houring on the lovely Barnsdall Art Park hill with an incredible view overlooking the city, Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Hollyhock House behind you, and a flight of wine at your fingertips. Bring a blanket and some food—or enjoy grub from whatever food truck is parked out front—and sit back and listen to groovy DJ tunes while toasting with your beau. Inside the ticketed area is 21 and over only. Plan ahead: This sells out week after week, and parking is limited in the park (think about a ride share). Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Boulevard

Rooftop Cinema Club
Enjoying amazing films with iconic views of Hollywood in the background is a glamorous way to stay entertained all summer long. From the latest box-office burners to lasting cult classics, Rooftop Cinema Club is all about making your moviegoing experience as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. For the lovebirds, that means special love seat deck chairs that are the perfect size for two romantic film buddies to canoodle under the stars. Multiple locations

Photo by George L. via Yelp

Escondido Canyon Trail
Sometimes it’s about both the journey and the destination. That’s certainly the case with the Escondido Canyon Trail, where one of the best hikes in the L.A. area leads to a picturesque conclusion at Escondido Falls. After a fairly leisurely time crisscrossing the creek and hiking to the lush Lower Falls, intrepid adventurers can brave the tougher last stretch up to the Upper Falls, where your reward is a majestic 150-foot cascade. 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

A Beachy Bonfire
Dockweiler Beach is the closest beach to L.A. proper where you can partake in one of the most idyllic romantic dates ever: sitting by a small fire and watching the sun dip down below the Pacific Ocean. The dozens of pits here are first come, first served, so pack up some firewood and a cozy blanket or two and nab an early spot with your other half to watch the sunset with a crackling fire at your feet. Dockweiler Beach, 12000 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey