Along with, well, just about everything else, the pandemic has made dating particularly challenging over the last year. But finding something fun and flirty to do right now doesn’t have to be super difficult. Restaurants have started reopening patios and parklets; museums can welcome visitors to all outdoor exhibits; and there are plenty of bike paths, hiking trails, and campgrounds to explore for fresh-air activities.
That’s to say: There are tons of ideas for your next date, whether it’s your first or 50th. Here are a few, both for staying in at your new 1133 Hope apartment or getting out for socially distanced couples fun.
Go on a Hike, Visit a Garden
There are so many great things about going for a hike around Los Angeles. You get fresh air. You look amazing in your workout gear. Sweat is sexy. And you don’t have to talk every second if you don’t want to — particularly if you’re going up a steep hill. Here are five great hikes to start with, from Malibu to DTLA. You can make it extra romantic with a tremendous view. And if you’re more into strolling than hiking, check out some of these wonderful gardens.
Have a Picnic
With everyone doing takeout, there are more opportunities to create the perfect spread for a picnic. Whether it’s the beach, a park, or a bench in an art garden, there are some great spots for a blanket extravaganza. Where to go? Nearby, there’s Echo Park Lake, the Silver Lake Reservoir, and Lake Balboa in the Valley. Go a little further for beach time at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park in Palos Verdes or El Matador Beach in Malibu. Some great places to pick up food and/or wine include Tilda in Echo Park; the fabulously old-school Roma Market for “the sandwich” in Pasadena; and Mozza 2 Go in Hollywood.
Embrace the Sunshine
Go canoeing or kayaking, ride bikes from Santa Monica to the South Bay along the beach bike path, take surf lessons in Malibu, or even ski up in the San Gabriel Mountains. Point is — we’re blessed with near-perfect year-round weather in Southern California, go ahead and make great use for it for that date.
With movie theaters closed, that whole dinner-and-a-movie perfect date seems to be lost. Thankfully the drive-in movie experience has returned all over Los Angeles and beyond. You can stay in your car, bring your own snacks and sips, and get cozy all at the same time. Plus, there’s little to no exposure to anyone else, so it’s a perfect pandemic date. There are actual drive-in theaters, like the Paramount south of the city, and the Vineland in City of Industry. Otherwise it’s pop-up experiences like Street Food Cinema and Electric Dusk Drive-In offering their unique spin on movie night. Check out Los Angeles magazine’s list of options here. Be sure to verify movies and times before you head out.
Grand Central Market Tasting at Home
In normal times, the historic DTLA market is one of the best places for a first date. There’s food for every taste, plus beer and wine, ice creams, and even oysters. But if you’re not feeling safe around others yet, that’s totally fine. You are not alone. You can easily bring some delicious fun home — strawberry donuts from The Donut Man, pizza from Olio, carnitas from Tacos Tumbras a Tomas — and pretend you’re hitting every stall. There’s a link to order food from a bunch of vendors in one fell swoop, pick it up (even curbside), and take it all home to make a big spread in your DTLA pad.
Take a Virtual Sake Class
Pretend you’re on a trip in Japan sipping sake in the countryside. The incredible team behind Tsubaki and Ototo in Echo Park offers a fun way to learn about this special brew with its Sunday Sake School. Pick up tasters at the restaurant and log in to Zoom on Sundays to meet the makers, take virtual tours, and hear about the subtle nuances that make rice wine so special. Order food to go along with it all. By the time we can travel again, you’ll be ready to show off your knowledge in Tokyo.
Featured photo by Frank McKenna/Unsplash