Are you tired of meeting your sweetie for dinner and a movie -- much less the same old dinner-and-drinks combo? Do not despair. All sorts of awesome things are happening this week in Los Angeles, and none of them will set you back more than $24 for a party of two. (Many, in fact, are free.) So may we suggest you pilfer one of these ideas, present it as your own, and wait for your special someone to fall right into your arms? Creativity works, people!
Here are five awesome date ideas happening in L.A. this week:
Take a Low-Key Bike Tour
What do a pickle factory, a surfboard startup and a hipster bicycling apparel shop have in common? They're all attractions along the newest C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change Through Live Exchange) group ride, Made in L.A. Ride III: L.A. River Edition. The 8-mile ride, beginning at the Los Angeles River Center & Gardens in Cypress Park and taking place along the L.A. River, is focused on exploring awesome goodies made by Angelenos, for Angelenos. Kruegermann Pickle Factory, nestled between the 5 and 134 freeways on Gilroy Street; the local chapter of Grain Surfboards, a grassroots company that builds surfboards out of hollowed wood; and Swrve, the Glassell Park purveyor of bicycle-friendly skinny jeans, are main stops on Saturday's ride. C.I.C.L.E rides are family-friendly, leisurely paced and accompanied by C.I.C.L.E. leaders familiar with the art of group rides on city streets. Bring water, a snack and a bicycle in good working condition. Children younger than 8 are encouraged to have a tag-along, bicycle trailer or other child-safe device in order to participate in the ride. 570 W. Avenue 26, Cypress Park; Sat., Sept. 21, 10:30 a.m.; free. (323) 509-4905, cicle.org. --Rena Kosnett
Browse Cool Arts & Crafts Downtown
You may have missed June's Parachute Market, that vintage festival dedicated to postmodern art and the heady psychedelia of summer. Never fear: Curator-founder Coryander Friend is gearing up for a second edition, focusing on decorations with an "elemental" design. The new collection will explore the nature of alchemy and creation through the works of 30 California artists. This includes hand-thrown pottery from Victoria Morris, the quirky, found-object flair of Bari Ziperstein and shell creations from Jim Olarte, aka the "Modern Beachcomber." You can browse through vintage furniture, wearable art, costume jewelry and even seasonal food curated by Kinfolk magazine. Tickets are $8 at the door, but a portion of the proceeds goes to Inner-City Arts to help children in need. 405 Mateo St., dwntwn.; Sat., Sept. 21, 12-7 p.m.; Sun.; Sept. 22, 12-6 p.m.; $6 in advance, $8 at the door. parachutemarket.com. --Sarah Diamond
See also: 10 Best Places in L.A. For a First Date
Celebrate a Chinese Tradition in Chinatown
Now 75 years old, L.A.'s Chinatown is celebrating her landmark anniversary by hosting an epic bash. The annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (also known as the Zhongqiu Festival or Mooncake Festival) is a tradition that dates back more than 3,000 years. Farmers marking the end of the harvest season in China would gather to gaze at the moon and eat moon cakes, yummy, round pastries filled with sweet red bean or lotus seed paste. Although the farmers may not be present on Saturday, the moon cakes definitely will, offered up by local bakeries. Other festival treats look just as indulgent: Bamboo Lane's Night Market will provide traditional and contemporary edibles, while the outdoor baccarat lounge, which you may want to visit before exploring the craft-beer garden, will test your autumnal karma, and telescopes provided by the Griffith Observatory will give everyone a chance to view the harvest moon from an unnaturally close vantage point. Art gallery openings, live cooking demonstrations, craft workshops and the band lineup, curated by Kevin Bronson of Buzzbands.la, are even more reason to fill the streets on this beautiful, seasonal equinox. Central and West Plaza, 943-951 N. Broadway, Chinatown; Sat., Sept. 21, 5 p.m.-mid.; free. (323) 206-6491, chinatownla.com. -- Rena Kosnett
Laugh Your Way Through Some After-School Specials
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School was brutal enough in the '70s and '80s without network television acting as perpetual scolds, with their seemingly endless litany of after-school specials. Sporadically and over the past two years, that sense of dread has been resurrected with Cinefamily's Mondo Afterschool Special evenings. Tonight's selection of fearsome footage, presented on ancient 16mm and video, may include screenings of 1981 short The Wave, a primer for showing students fascism's allure; the uplifting 1976 fantasy opus The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon (starring Witch Mountaineer Ike Eisenmann); and Blind Sunday (presented by M&M Mars!), in which future soap star Leigh McCloskey plays a boy determined to understand his girlfriend's blindness by stumbling around one Sunday wearing a blindfold. Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District; Tues., Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 655-2510, cinefamily.org. -- David Cotner
See also: 10 Best Romantic Restaurants in L.A.
Celebrate All Things Italian with Jimmy Kimmel
With roving goombahs, rolling bocce balls, flowing Chianti and a dizzyingly aromatic garlic-onion-sausage atmosphere, the Feast of San Gennaro is definitely one of Hollywood's finest traditions. Now in its 12th year, this sprawling, swinging street celebration of all things Italian is an old-world thrill-fest, a gloriously gluttonous bacchanal fueled by generous measures of live entertainment and a full-blown carnival (complete with Ferris wheel, giant slides and game booths). The cooking stage has dozens of chef demos, a "cheese building" event (yep, they'll carve a wheel of Parmesan into a likeness of the Coliseum), contests (there's a daily gravy-versus-sauces showdown and a kids' pizza face-off) and, of course, innumerable food stands and vendors. Thursday's Prima Notte kickoff features japes from Feast co-founder Jimmy Kimmel and his former Man Show colleague Adam Carolla, and along the way there's nonstop music from the likes of jazz boss Pat Longo; a baker's dozen of Sinatra tributes to fly you to the moon; hordes of Italian singers and musicians doing pop, classics and opera; and, yes, even Frank Stallone. Go from antipasto to zeppole, and back again. 1651 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sun., Sept. 26-29, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; $5 general, kids under 12 free. (818) 508-0082, feastofla.org. -- Jonny Whiteside