10 Ideas for Dates in L.A. That Aren't Dinner and a Movie

Aquarium of the Pacific isn't just for kids.EXPAND
Aquarium of the Pacific isn't just for kids.
Courtesy of Aquarium of the Pacific

The dinner-and-a-movie date is a classic component of the American courting ritual, but sometimes that shit gets old. You're tired of movie theater popcorn and crowded Friday nights at the restaurants you really wanted to try. You and your partner need to do something different.

Whether the two of you are in the mood for a late-night date or a daytime excursion, there are options that don't involve climbing over people to find your assigned seats in a dark theater. Check out our 10 suggestions below and start planning your next date night. 

Geeks Who Drink at Mud Hen TavernEXPAND
Geeks Who Drink at Mud Hen Tavern
Miles Taber, Geeks Who Drink

1. Geeks Who Drink
Ready to test your teamwork skills? Join a Geeks Who Drink challenge. This nationwide series of pub quizzes tests your knowledge on everything from television to history, making it a good way to get to learn each other's strengths. You'll need to work together and develop a good strategy if you want to aim for the prize, especially when you head into the more difficult rounds. Teams range from one to six players, so you and your date won't need to bring in others if you want to play. However, it's also a good spot for double dates. There are multiple L.A.-area venues that host Geeks Who Drink quizzes, so check the website for dates and locations. Also, be on the lookout for occasional special trivia events that focus on a single subject, such as Game of Thrones or Star Warsgeekswhodrink.com.

Bootleg Bombshells performs at Townhouse and the Del Monte on Wednesday nights.
Bootleg Bombshells performs at Townhouse and the Del Monte on Wednesday nights.

2. Bootleg Bombshells
Townhouse and the Del Monte is a century-old Venice bar with a basement that once served as a speakeasy. Head here on a Wednesday night and make your way downstairs for the Bootleg Bombshells burlesque show. This weekly event is free and casual; you won't need to get as dressed up as you might for a burlesque show in a theater. In addition to the core group of performers, Bootleg Bombshells brings in special guests for their shows. The lineup is mostly female, although rising boylesque star Tito Bonito hosts and dances here as well. Townhouse and the Del Monte, 52 Windward Ave., Venice. (310) 392-4040, townhousevenice.com or bootlegbombshells.com.

The Boneyard
The Boneyard
Liz Ohanesian

3. Take your dogs out together
For the dog lovers who recently found human companions, maybe it's time for your pooches to meet. Plan an afternoon at a local dog park, such as the Boneyard in Culver City or Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Park in the San Fernando Valley. If you want to stroll amongst shops, head over to the Village at Topanga and, if you're ready to grab a drink, try Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks. Check our roundup of dog-friendly hangouts for more ideas.

Topanga Vintage MarketEXPAND
Topanga Vintage Market
Liz Ohanesian

4. Topanga Vintage Market
Ready for Sunday morning shopping? Head to a swap meet or flea market. Topanga Vintage Market,  held at Pierce College, takes place on the fourth Sunday of the month and is a good spot for couples to browse and dig. It's a small flea market that's easy to roam, so you don't have to stress about getting there as soon as the gates open. The vibe's very hippie — on my recent trip, I spotted a booth selling tie-dye T-shirts — and relaxed. Whether you and your partner are looking for furniture or vintage magazines, you'll find lots to see and discuss while you're here. Topanga Vintage Market at Pierce College (use the Victory Boulevard entrance). (310) 422-1844, topangavintagemarket.com.

5. Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavillion
If you're in the mood for a leisurely drive, cruise from Palos Verdes to San Pedro. You'll find some great views as you're traveling through the peninsula. While you're here, find your way to Angels Gate Park and visit the Korean Friendship Bell. Inspired by the Bronze Bell of King Sondok, this large and beautiful piece was made in Korea and brought to San Pedro on the occasion of the United States' Bicentennial. There are bell-ringing ceremonies several times a year, but on an ordinary day, you'll want to get up close and check out the detailed craftsmanship as the hilltop wind blows against your neck. Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion at Angels Gate Park, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro. (310) 548-7705, sanpedro.com/sp_point/korenbel.htm or laparks.org/dos/reccenter/facility/angelsGateRC.htm.

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