Coffee dates are the worn-in blue jeans of the dating world: about as unoriginal as a third date at a sushi bar, but still used as the comfortable, familiar fallback of choice for an outing you've been on more times you care to admit. You (and the person you're meeting) can do better. Los Angeles has other, sometimes just-as-affordable locales to get to know a potential new paramour.
10. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Meet under LACMA's Urban Lights display on Wilshire Boulevard and head inside to check out the art (the museum has free general admission on certain days), see a film or play, or listen to free concerts during the Sundays Live events. Afterward, get some drinks at the on-premises Stark Bar. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile. (323) 857-6197. More information: www.lacma.org.
9. First Fridays at Abbot Kinney
Because even if things don't go so well that you're picking out artwork for your future abode, you can still make small talk over people watching and food trucks at this monthly gathering on Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard. From 6 to 10 p.m. the first Friday of every month. Check out this slideshow for more photos of First Fridays.
8. Santa Monica Pier
Yes, it's cheesy and a bit old-fashioned, but an early evening stroll along the Santa Monica Pier with milk shakes or churros can invoke the ideas of young love and open opportunities. Ocean Ave and Colorado Blvd, Santa Monica. More information: santamonicapier.org.
7. Blipsy Barcade
Think you got game? Put it to the test and see if you can find your princess (or prince) is in this Koreatown castle of arcade games and PBR tallboys. 369 N. Western Ave., Koreatown. (323) 461-7067. More information in L.A. Weekly's Squid Ink blog.
6. Wine tasting at Silverlake Wine
See how many senses take flight at one of Silverlake Wine's regular wine tasting events. If things go well, buy a bottle to share someplace more secluded. 2395 Glendale Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 662-9024. More information: silverlakewine.com.
5. The Last Bookstore
Pop in for a reading or performance at downtown's The Last Bookstore. Or wander the stacks to find some prose or music (the store also sells vinyl records) worth enjoying together. 435 S. Spring St., dwntwn. (213) 488-0599. More information: lastbookstorela.com.
4. Griffith Park
Go for a hike or bike ride through this sprawling Los Feliz park. Not quite ready to sweat in front of each other? Stick to the zoo, the train ride or the merry-go-round. Or simply enjoy an afternoon picnic. 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Feliz. (323) 913-4688. More information: laparks.org.
3. ASSSSCAT at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
Granted, a night of improv comedy isn't everyone's idea of a barrel of laughs. But if you and your date are the type of people who enjoy watching professional and up-and-coming comedic actors get themselves in awkward situations for the amusement of others, then this event at UCB Theatre is worth the wait in line. Afterward, head to nearby Birds Café and Bar for a post-show debriefing over pints and chicken wings. 5919 Franklin Ave., Los Feliz. (323) 908-8702. More information: losangeles.ucbtheatre.com.
2. L.A. Derby Dolls
Leave Staples Center to the celebrities and paparazzi. To really cheer on some hometown heroes, consider an outing to the Doll Factory, the L.A. Derby Dolls' banked track headquarters in downtown. Treat it like a Texas A&M football game and share a kiss every time the Dolls score. 1910 W. Temple Ave., Echo Park. (310) 285-3766. More information: derbydolls.com/la.
1. Maxwell DeMille's Cicada Club
For a date that's really the bee's knees, spend the night on the dance floor at the Cicada's old-fashioned supper club in downtown. And if the date doesn't go well, you're at the perfect place to find a new dance partner. 617 S. Olive St., dwntwn. (213) 488-9488. More information: cicadaclub.com.
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