10 Ideas for a Girls' Night (or Day) Out in L.A.

Dapper Day at Disneyland
Dapper Day at Disneyland
Star Foreman

It's time for the girls to get together again and you're at a loss for what to do. You're not in the mood for a spa day or, really, anything that screams bridal-party ritual. You've already tried Zumba classes and hiking, and you're annoyed that girl gatherings too often revolve around beauty and fitness. Don't worry, we have suggestions.

Below are 10 ideas for all kinds of women: horror movie fans, casual gamers, bar hoppers and more. If something seems a little outside your interests, try it anyhow. You're never too old to find a new way to have fun. 

Moonlight Rollerway
Moonlight Rollerway
Brian Feinzimer

1. Go rollerskating. 
You and your friends have gone dancing together so many times now that the moments blur together into a single memory of strobe lights and bass. Still, you like to find your groove. What do you do? Why not head to a roller rink instead? Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale has a packed calendar that includes 18+ nights, the Wednesday-night LGBT party Rainbow Skate and occasional themed events.
Skateland in Northridge has an "Oldies Skate" for the 21+ crowd on Sunday nights. Lace up those rental skates and hit the rink, even if you're feeling rusty. If you're going to fall on your ass, at least your friends will be there to help you get back on your feet.

Dapper Day at Disneyland
Dapper Day at Disneyland
Star Foreman

2. Dress up and go to Disneyland. 
Need an excuse to wear that vintage dress you found for a steal? Dapper Day brings together fans of old-school style at Disneyland twice a year. The spring 2016 event also features a two-day expo (April 30 and May 1) at Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall, where vendors sell vintage and new, plus beauty products and other fun stuff.

If your style is darker, mark your calendar for Bats Day, Disneyland's long-running goth gathering. The meet-up is actually a weekend-long event and there are activities outside of the park as well, such as the Bats Day Happy Haunts Swinging Wake, a costume party.

Collector's Paradise in the San Fernando Valley
Collector's Paradise in the San Fernando Valley
Liz Ohanesian

3. Head to the comic book store. 
Ignore the stereotypes. Comic book shops are not dude dens and there's nothing strange about heading to your local emporium with the girls on Wednesdays to check out the new releases. In fact, the industry as a whole has made some progress on the diversity front. If you've been out of the scene for a while, you might be surprised by the breadth of titles now available at local stores, from both major and indie publishers. We recently compiled a list of must-visit comic book shops in Los Angeles that will help you get your reading adventure started. Keep an eye out for in-store events and meetups at the shop(s) in your area to make a night of your comic book–buying date. 

Party time at JapanLA
Party time at JapanLA
Liz Ohanesian

4. Stock up on cute stationery and gifts at JapanLA. 
Sure, you keep every documentation of your existence on your phone now, but that doesn't mean you don't need stationery. You do. In fact, you need the kind of adorable, character-centric pens and notebooks that you had in middle school. JapanLA has you covered.

This Melrose Avenue boutique carries lots of Sanrio goods (it even makes clothing with licensed characters from the famed Japanese brand), but it doesn't stop there. Got a friend who's obsessed with cats? Make sure she sees the Choo Choo Cat goods here. JapanLA also hosts occasional events, such as a recent party celebrating its latest Pokémon pop-up shop.

New Wave Karaoke at New Wave Restaurant and Bar
New Wave Karaoke at New Wave Restaurant and Bar
Courtesy of Jay Tando/New Wave Karaoke

5. Flashback to the '80s at  New Wave Restaurant and Bar. 
If you and your girlfriends are obsessed with the '80s or just obsessed with places with mildly hokey themes, the New Wave Restaurant and Bar in Bellflower is a good time. It hosts tribute bands and dance nights and serves cocktails named after the decade's hit-makers.

If you're organizing a weeknight gathering, be prepared to sing. Sunday through Wednesday nights are karaoke nights here. Drink until you're ready to grab the girls for your rousing Bangles impersonation. If you can remember who sings which part in "Hazy Shade of Winter," people will be really impressed.

Amber Benson, Jane Espenson and Tricia Helfer at Etheria Film Night 2015
Amber Benson, Jane Espenson and Tricia Helfer at Etheria Film Night 2015
Courtesy of Etheria Film Night

6. Get your horror-flick fix with Etheria Film Night. 
You may have outgrown slumber parties, but you're never too old to enjoy a good scare with your favorite girls. Etheria Film Night is an annual event at the Egyptian Theatre that's dedicated to showcasing women who make genre films. Of course, that's not all horror, but the scary stuff is well represented at the shorts-heavy event. It's a good chance to bond with your friends as you jump out of your seats while checking out works from indie-minded, female filmmakers.

The 2016 Etheria Film Night is June 11, but the group is involved with other horror film–related events throughout the year, so check out its Facebook page for updates.

10 Ideas for a Girls' Night (or Day) Out in L.A. (9)
Liz Ohanesian

7. Learn together. 
From creative writing classes at Barnsdall Art Center to panel discussions at LACMA to Obscura Society L.A.'s frequent field trips, there's no reason for adults in Los Angeles to stop learning. Bring your friends along and share the educational experience.

If space is your thing, Columbia Memorial Space Center has an astronomy club with monthly meetings that are open to the public. For those looking for a quick afternoon get-together on the Westside, the Hammer has a Lunchtime Art Talks series. Meanwhile, history and literature buffs should check out the schedule of events at Los Angeles' Central Library.

Doctor Who fans at Gallifrey One
Doctor Who fans at Gallifrey One
Shannon Cottrell

8. Attend a convention together. 
In recent years, nerd culture has hit a critical mass; you now can find a fan gathering for nearly any interest you may have. Cons can sell out, so plan ahead. Take Gallifrey One, the long-running Doctor Who convention, as an example. Tickets go on sale in April and the con doesn't even take place till February 2017. If you're a Whovian, you'll want to jump on this immediately. Other conventions are more casual, but you'll always want to check first to see if there are tickets available on the day of the event.

Conventions are a good way to get together with your friends and bond over shared interests, whether it's a British television show or a holiday like Halloween. (Why, yes, there is a Halloween convention in Los Angeles. It's called ScareLA and the 2016 event will be at the Pasadena Convention Center in August.) For some, it's a chance to sit in on panels or meet your favorite performers and artists. For others, it's an opportunity to cosplay or hit up the after-parties. Whatever your intent is, though, be prepared to find much more than you anticipated.

82 serves up drinks and games in the Arts District.
82 serves up drinks and games in the Arts District.
Liz Ohanesian

Upcoming Events

9. Battle each other at an arcade. 
Feeling nostalgic for the Chuck E. Cheese birthday parties of your childhood? You can host a grown-up version at various arcades in the L.A. area — and it doesn't even have to be anyone's birthday. Today's arcades range from retro to modern, although the trend leans toward old-school games right now.

Check out our recent roundup of local arcades to find one that suits your interests. Whether you're looking to play Candy Crush and Mario Kart, or you want to grab a meal and drinks before diving into your favorite arcade classic, there's a spot to get together.

Vegan Beer Fest
Vegan Beer Fest
Jared Cowan

10. Eat and drink together at a food festival. 
Sharing a restaurant meal with friends is fine, but a full day of food and drinks is better. Like conventions, there's a food festival for nearly every taste. Even those who abstain from animal products have an option with the Vegan Beer and Food Fest.

Food festivals' other benefit is that they take place all across the county. If you're in the San Fernando Valley, you can head over to Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church for its annual Memorial Day weekend event. For those in the southern end of the county, there's the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival. None of these are entirely local events, though. If you're down for a day trip, pack your pals into the car and get ready to eat. 

Upcoming Events


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