Credit: Wheel Fun Rentals

10 Unique Date Ideas in LA That Won’t Break the Bank

Grab Your Partner and Enjoy These Wallet-Friendly Activities

Looking to spice things up without overspending? Los Angeles is home to a plethora of unique and one-of-a-kind activities that you can’t find anywhere else. From historic sights that offer some of the best views in the city to hidden gems that get you up close and personal with nature, a successful date night doesn’t have to include a $200 dinner. There’s nothing wrong with a fancy outing every once in a while, but some of the best dates can be enjoyed for free (or under $40). That said, get ready to ignite a spark without the splurge! We’ve rounded up 10 of the best date ideas in LA that won’t break the bank. 

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Live Jazz at LACMA

Price: Free

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is one of the most iconic places for art lovers in LA. However, every Friday from April to November, LACMA turns into a jazzy scene straight out of New Orleans. Though seating is first come, first served, the concert itself is completely free, allowing you to enjoy live tunes without hurting your wallet. The performers change each week, with appearances by the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet and musicians like Paulette McWilliams. The shows start at 6 p.m. and run for two hours, taking place at the Smidt Welcome Plaza right in front of the legendary light post installation. 

Location: La Brea


Explore The Getty

Price: Free

The Getty is another must-visit museum in LA. Even the most hard-to-impress of art appreciators will be blown away by the iconic collections and paintings that line the walls of this breathtaking museum in Brentwood. Though collections change regularly, the “Porcelain from Versailles” exhibit will run until March 2024. These stunning vases will have you and your date getting lost in the grandiosity and luxury of Versailles, and you’ll definitely want to take a stroll through the gardens afterward. Best of all, admission to The Getty is free, and the only thing you’ll need to pay for is parking. If you have time, you can also use the same parking pass to visit the Getty Villa in Malibu right after.

Location: Brentwood


Spend an Afternoon at Griffith Observatory

Price: Free

Take a page out of “La La Land” and embark on a magical date night at the Griffith Observatory. Looking to see if the stars align for you and your boo? There’s no better place to learn about the sky while taking in the panoramic city views. If you want the full experience, show up just before sunset and watch the city dance with colors as the sun goes down. Then, once the stars come out, check out the Samuel Oschin Planetarium or take a peek through one of the free telescopes for an up-close-and-personal view of the night sky.

Location: Griffith Park


Hike to the Palos Verdes Sea Caves

Price: Free

Escape the hustle and bustle of LA and spend an afternoon exploring the Palos Verdes Sea Caves! The only thing you’ll have to pay for is parking at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, and the rest is on Mother Nature. In order to access the caves, you’ll have to hike down Sacred Cove View Trail, which is a little more than a half-mile from the parking lot. Though it’s not super rigorous, definitely wear comfy clothes and walking shoes. You’ll also want to plan your date around low tide, as the caves are inaccessible at high tide. Be sure to keep a lookout for bright blue sea anemones, sea slugs and other unique creatures.

Location: Rancho Palos Verdes


Get Crafty at The Creative Café

Price: $25 and up

Best Date Ideas in Los Angeles
Credit: Jennifer Emerling

Let your inner artist bloom when you pay a visit to LA’s coolest (and quietest) social club. The Creative Café is a special pop-up that is currently up and running in East LA at Amara Kitchen. Table reservations start at only $25 and include two drinks, along with creative activities such as journaling or painting. This alternative date night encourages more stimulating and personal connection and is perfect for couples looking to branch out from the typical dinner date. Other unique activities on the menu include clay handbuilding, curated collaging and dried floral arrangements.

Location: East LA



Happy Hour at Homebound Brew Haus

Price: $20-$50

Best Date Ideas in Los Angeles
Credit: Daniel Zacharczuk

Nothing makes us (or our wallets) happier than happy hour. Homebound Brew Haus is located in Union Station and provides a retro-glam backdrop for your laid-back date. If you’re a fan of the Dodgers, you’ll feel right at homeespecially on game days. Though a visit to Homebound Brew Haus is never a bad idea regardless of the time of day, the happy hour menu is unbeatable and is available every day from 3-8 p.m., plus all day Sunday and Monday. From $6 shots to $9 high balls, the discounted drinks are always flowing. You can also get discounted dishes like the currywurst fries and cheese quesadilla.

Location: DTLA


Retro Bowling at Highland Park Bowl

Price: Starting at $35 (on select days)

Best Date Ideas in Los Angeles
Credit: Highland Park Bowl

Highland Park Bowl has been an East LA staple since it first opened in 1927. The rustic interior and worn leather couches create a Prohibition-inspired atmosphere that will have you wanting to sip on an Old Fashioned in between strikes. Prices vary depending on what day and time you plan your visit, with the cheapest reservations being $35 for a lane. Shoe rentals are also only $5, ensuring that you can easily get away with spending less than $50 for some bowling fun. Though eating and drinking before might save you some cash, the pizzas are delicious and can easily be shared.

Location: Highland Park


Rent a Swan Boat in Echo Park

Price: Approx. $25

Credit: Wheel Fun Rentals

What could be more romantic than gently pedaling in a giant swan on Echo Park Lake? For only $11 per person, you can cruise in a cute swan pedal boat for a unique date night in East LA. While you can rent the boats during the day, partaking during the evening allows you to watch as the city skyline glows against the night sky, creating a more romantic and intimate ambiance. Reservations can be made beforehand, and since the temperatures tend to drop once the sun goes down, be sure to bring a blanket so you can get cozy with your boo.

Location: Echo Park


Eat Your Way Through Grand Central Market

Price: $15-$30 per person

Grand Central Market is an LA foodie’s dream. From oysters to donuts, there is something for every kind of craving at this massive food hall. Though you will obviously have to spend a little money, hopping around from vendor to vendor will cost you a lot less than a fancy sit-down dinner. Plus, being able to have an endless variety of options is worth every penny! In the mood for tacos, sushi and a lobster roll? No problem! Grand Central Market has it all. Some other can’t-miss vendors include Luckybird, Ramen Hood and Sarita’s Pupuseria. Don’t forget, however, to grab a fresh strawberry doughnut for dessert from The Donut Man. 

Location: DTLA


Go Axe Throwing at Mo’s House of Axe

Price: $35 per person


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Enjoy dinner and a show when you visit Mo’s House of Axe in Koreatown! This unique gastropub serves delicious bar bites, craft cocktails and plenty of beer on draft. However, as the name suggests, axe throwing is the real draw. For only $35 per person, patrons are able to perfect their axe-throwing skills in a safe and monitored environment. Though you’re sure to have some laughs, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as landing your first bullseye before taking a swig of your beer. Start off with the creamy Lumberjack Mac and some Campfire Sprouts. If you prefer a Sunday Funday date, Mo’s House of Axe is also open for weekend brunch.

Location: Koreatown

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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.




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