Los Angeles makes the perfect city for a date night! It wasn’t until I started traveling regularly to Southern California that I really started to understand that Los Angeles is not Orange County. I know, I know, it’s totally silly. But 8 years ago I would have said “I’m going to LA” if I was flying into LA even though I never actually stayed in LA but instead drove to other places.
Today I fly into LA and I get off the plane and I get on the highway and drive FORever and don’t get anywhere and maybe I can see the ocean, but probably not, unless I decide to head due West. And maybe I want to hit the movie scene but LAX isn’t Hollywood, which is its own thing entirely, and anywhere I want to be can take you awhile to get to depending on the day of the week and the time of the day and really I am heading to Irvine so I bypass all of that and just go where I am going.
But I actually LIKE visiting LA. I mean, there are so many aspects to it and locales not far beyond its reaches – the boutique beach vibe of Manhattan Beach, and all the beaches from Malibu to Santa Monica to Long Beach, each with their own culture, the glitz and glamour and walk of fame in Hollywood, the swank and shopping of Beverly Hills, the urban grunge and high rise rooftops of downtown, the culture of China Town, Little Tokyo, the Getty museum, the theater and music scene at the Ahmanson Theater and Walt Disney Concert Hall along with so many smaller but no less notable venues, the landmarks like the LA Zoo, Dodger Stadium, Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign, and the history that goes from Culver City and threads throughout downtown with nods to Art Deco, Mission Revival and Streamline Moderne. And oh the food – so many eats! From food halls (Grand Central Market is rad), to French dip sandwiches, ethnic delights from Mexican to Ramen, and fine dining that hits every spot. There are so many things you can “plan” to do and eat to make a day (or a date) of it. So that’s what we do.
On this particular Los Angeles date night we went for theater culture and a little taste of what LA had to offer with brunch and bar hopping across rooftops with a view.
Here are a few tips:
- Plan Parking Ahead: Parking can be brutally expensive and hard to find (because, city), especially on a rainy day, like it was for us. So we opted to take the Metro (yes, there is one) which saves on parking, is really not well-used, and got us right to where we wanted to be. We parked at Union Station and only rode a few stops to the music/theater area, but it was helpful when it started raining! But definitely research parking ahead and find places that validate or do all day parking for a flat fee.
- Plan your day around one big event, not many, in order to see everything you want to see. We chose to plan around a matinee attendance at the musical “Come from Away” at the Ahmanson Theater. It was amazing. I highly recommend.
- Eat and drink all the things! We planned food within walking distance from our starting point in order to maximize on parking. But mostly we planned it around rooftops with a view. So we brunched at Perch (fantastic French feel) and did post-show drinks and food at 71 above (really inventive food, killer view, requires a reservation even for the bar), with a stop for a bit of vintage charm at the Gallery Bar at the Millennium Biltmore LA (which btw was one of the original locations where the Academy Awards were held) and ended the night by driving to the Everson Royce Bar, a more or less hidden gem with a buzzy scene and a very popular burger on the bar eats menu (honestly, it wasn’t my fav, but the BF swears by it).
- If you do like we do, build in some time to wander. We walked around the Walt Disney Concert Hall and admired its urban gardens and eye catching architecture, waded through the Saturday crowds at the Grand Central Market Food Hall and made note of the kiosks with the longest lines to come back to next time : ), and decided to go back to where we parked on foot so we could admire the city night lights.
- Check the weather. It’s always sunny in Southern California, right? Hahah nope. But we didn’t bother to check, so guess who got caught in the rain without an umbrella!? It’s rare, sure, but better to be prepared then to be rained upon. Luckily it wasn’t terribly cold and the rain let up enough for us to walk most places, but it was pouring by the end of the night!
The Millennium Biltmore LA
Come on ride the train, ride it