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5 (Free!) LA Secrets For A Perfect Date Night

With all these beautiful people (like you) in this wacky city, we’ve got to figure out how to create an amazing date… ideally on a budget. But are you really going to take her to Good Times at Davey Wayne’s… again!? Fear not, my romantic friend. Read on for some unique, romantic and FREE date ideas that you might not have considered yet.

5. Secret Stairs of Los Angeles

LOCATION: Everywhere in LA

Before Los Angeles became the city of cars, it was actually a trolley city with some of the best public transportation in the country. But when the automobile took hold of the American imagination, Los Angeles became the victim of heavy Auto-Industry pressure… and freeways replaced the trolley. Have you seen ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ Judge Doom’s evil plot to use “dip” to build a freeway straight through Toontown is a cartoony, metaphorical portrayal of this transition. You take seventeen steps back into reality and the film is basically a frame by frame history of LA at that time. So… pre-freeway, the city paved narrow, winding steps, carving from the big boulevards all the way up into the scenic hills, to facilitate their public transportation system. The trolleys disappeared, but the stairways did not. In fact, their steps range from Chinatown to Santa Monica, and everywhere in between. Did you know there are even several neighborhoods in LA that are ONLY accessible by stairway? You cannot access them with a car. Bring a date or some friends and show them that you’re a true Los Angeles connoisseur by exposing them to its mysterious and beautiful, scarcely trod stairways. To find out more about these awesome staircases, check out the book by Charles Fleming ‘Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles’.

EXPERIENCE TESTIMONIAL: Not ideal for first dates. She might think you’re trying to murder her.

4. The Last Bookstore

LOCATION: Downtown

Ye cravers of knowledge and nerdtastic delights, seek no further than The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles. This place is seriously a book lover’s dream- from new to old AF books of every genre and topic can be found inside of a stunning interior. The bookstore, with soaring ceilings, graceful pillars and a vibrant energy, is inside an old bank building, built in 1914. Sometimes they have unique music, poetry and theatre events, so jump on that if you see one. And be absolutely certain that you go to the second floor because that’s where the real magic is happening. From strange statues made of books, to old bank vaults full of crime and mystery books, to a room where every book is… well I don’t want to ruin it. Just go! And bring a date.

3. Venice Canals


Everyone goes to Venice, it’s part of the shtick when you first start exploring LA. But so often people are missing one of the hidden gems of the city (and the namesake of Venice Beach!) and it’s right around the corner. In Venice, California is a life-size re-creation of the canals of Venice, Italy! Seriously. Built in 1905 by developer and conservationist Abbot Kinney, they are beautiful, lush canals with pleasant sidewalks on both sides and beautiful homes to observe as you pass. I guess the lesson to take away is… never underestimate a wealthy developer with too much time on their hands. Perfect as its own destination or as a combo Venice Beach trip, it’s calm, beautiful and a romantic escape from the flotsam and jetsam of Los Angeles. And it doesn’t cost you a dime. 

4.Downtown Los Angeles Architecture Tour

LOCATION: Downtown

When you think of cities in America that boast beautiful architecture, you think of New York, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco… alright… honestly you think of a whole bunch of cities before you think of Los Angeles. Sometimes I get frustrated with the lack of creative innovation when it comes to the new structures being built in LA. But whenever I get down, I just head downtown because that’s where you will find many of the architectural gems of the city. Downtown Los Angeles is a secret treasure trove, holding some of America’s finest Art Deco architecture, as well as Streamline Moderne, Spanish Baroque Churrigueresque (you don’t have to pronounce it to enjoy it!) and enough architectural splendor to have you forget what city you’re in. Stroll downtown on your own or, even better, take advantage of the FREE architectural tours downtown by the Los Angeles Conservancy. Just make sure to tip your tour guide.

5. The Silver Lake Picture Show

LOCATION: Silver Lake 

Free concert. Free film festival. Free movie. All-in-one awesome date night. With seven free events every summer to hit-up on Thursday nights (it’s the new Friday, after all), there’s no reason not to grab a picnic, a blanket and your boo and head over to the hipster mecca for a sweet dose of nostalgic films. The Silver Lake Picture Show screens cult classics and popular movies, primarily from the 80s and 90s, and pairs them with a sampling of the neighborhood’s local artistic flavor, featuring short films and live performances from local artists. The entire event is free to attend (donations are gladly accepted), but be sure to show up early for the best seats because, before every movie, there is time to chat and picnic with your date during the Picture Show’s DJ set. The only way this could be a better date option is if it was available year round!


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