A collage illustration of the Hollywood Bowl, a cocktail and a woman hopping from one stone to the next.
(Illustration by Ross May / Los Angeles Times; photos by Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times; Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden; Getty Images)

11 L.A. date ideas to jump-start cuffing season

Trying a new experience with someone you’re dating is a great way to make it memorable. With so much to explore in the city and many of us still healing from the horror show that was 2020-2022, why spend precious time on an outing that feels typical and underwhelming. Let’s mix it up!

We’ve scoured the city for date ideas that accommodate the extroverted social butterfly, the mellow introvert and everyone in between. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush that can double as a bonding experience or something more laid-back that still feels special, here are 11 fresh date experiences around Los Angeles.

For the record:

1:03 p.m. Nov. 7, 2022An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Pot ‘N’ Paint workshop came with a goodie bag and dinner item. It does not.

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The first full-capacity concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2021 featured Kool & the Gang.
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Have a chill, fun night at the Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Hills Live Music Venue
Guests are welcome to bring outside food and drinks to events (but you can’t bring in alcohol to leased events), which can be enjoyed alfresco in the picnic area or at your seat while soaking in the performances of the evening. Think: a bottle of wine, your favorite meal, or takeout from that one bookmarked place you’ve been meaning to try. Another plus? Shuttle service is offered across L.A. county if you rather avoid navigating through L.A. traffic or paying for a car service.

The easygoing, feel-good vibes of the Hollywood Bowl are always a good time. The outdoor concert venue offers a little something for everyone: $1 tickets to select concerts, a mix of artists across genres, and annual themed nights like Reggae Night to classic movie soundtracks brought to life by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Price: Varies by show
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A person looks at a bottle at a perfurmery.
(Institute for Art and Olfaction)

Make perfume at the Institute for Art and Olfaction

Chinatown Shop
Who knew deconstructing the science of scents could be so fun? A trip to the Institute for Art and Olfaction isn’t just delightful, enlightening and interactive — it also feels like a much-needed exercise in being present. Take a breather from your phone and peruse the library of scents, explore the on-site lab, bottle the moment and make a blend, all while learning about the art of perfumery in a creative, hands-on environment.

Price: $15 to $50
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Pot n Paint class for the 11 Los Angeles Dates POI.

Take a Pot ‘N’ Paint workshop at POT Gardens

Jefferson Park Pottery
POT’s monthly Pot ‘N’ Paint event is BYOB and cannabis friendly, the $60 fee includes premade pots you can decorate, a free plant to go with it and the ceramic glaze and firing. The ability to relax your mind and tap into your creativity side by side, sober or with a lift, is ideal for those early just-getting-to-know-you nerves.

Be sure to check out other events on POT’s calendar, which include a zodiac mug making workshop, live figure sculpting, sex-positive workshops, an incense and clay incense burner workshop, and wheel throwing for a Demi-Moore-in-“Ghost” moment.

Price: $60
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The rooftop cinema club in the Arts District for the 11 Los Angeles Dates POI.
(Rooftop Cinema Club)

Watch a rooftop movie at Row DTLA

Downtown L.A. Outdoor Movies
Bring some cozy blankets, pack a picnic or enjoy discounts at ROW restaurants like Rappahannock Oyster Bar and Pikunico, and enjoy the sun setting over the city skyline at the Arts District location of Rooftop Cinema Club. Similar to its El Segundo and second DTLA site, visitors can expect theater snacks, a rooftop bar and headphones to block out the sounds of the city. Choose from a mix of modern and nostalgic films — “Love Jones,” “Selena,” “Bridesmaids,” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” — and kid-friendly, daytime showings like “Monsters Inc” and “Hotel Transylvania.”

If you’re a film and cannabis enthusiast, there’s also the Cannabis & Movies Club. The Sunday event takes place in Hollywood on the rooftop of The Montalbán (a hop and a skip from the Hollywood Walk of Fame). On-site cannabis consumption is welcomed in its numerous forms — dabbing, smoking, edibles, plus snacks and drinks for those munchies.

Price: $20.75 - $27.75
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A woman tells a joke onstage at a comedy club.
(Dynasty Typewriter)

See a comedy show at Dynasty Typewriter

Westside Comedy Club
Known for bringing the warmth of a mom and pop shop, sharing a laugh at this cozy comedy theater — which also hosts music, live podcasts, and screenings — can be a fun way to unwind together. On the flip side, having a date keel over laughing at a joke you find offensive, gross or just plain unfunny can be, ehh, illuminating.

Dynasty Typewriter is housed in the historic Hayworth theater but brings just the right amount of modernity: wheelchair accessibility, an extensive drink menu and the option to mix candy (or hot Cheetos) into your popcorn, all-gender bathrooms and seats that offer a gentle recline. Expect to see a mixed bag of up-and-comers, seasoned comedians from that hit show or big-budget film and everyone in between.

Price: Varies by show
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Bar Franca cocktail bar for the 11 Los Angeles Dates POI.
(Bar Franca)

Learn how to make cocktails like a pro at Bar Franca

Downtown L.A. Bar
I’m not saying you’ll be motivated to buy a chic bar cart and overpriced glassware after upping your drink-making skills, but it’s a strong possibility. These weekly mixology classes run an hour to an hour and a half. Expect to sip and craft two to three drinks, and learn cocktail terminology, technique and a primer on how drinks became a social norm. Email for more information.

Price: $90 per person
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Orbic air helicopter couple package for the 11 Los Angeles Dates POI.
(Orbic Air)

Take in the city views by helicopter

Burbank Tour
It’s easy to forget to take in our surroundings, instead slipping into autopilot mode during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Shake up your routine and explore the city from a birds eye view with a private 45-minute or 1-hour helicopter tour. The guided exploration of the city includes roses for an added touch of romance and a 30-minute landing on a Malibu mountain top for a Champagne toast with dessert.

Getting a taste of the city’s rich history and hidden gems from high above will stick with you long after the experience — even if the boo you see it with doesn’t.

Price: $134-$588+
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Tea tasting with mixing pots for the 11 Los Angeles Dates POI.
(MYM Organics)

Experience the art of making tea at La Teteria Cafe

Downtown L.A. Shop
Deepen your knowledge of tea culture with a private tasting at La Teteria Cafe. Visitors will get an introduction to loose leaf tea and sample herbal infusions, you’ll discuss the overlap between art and tea culture and how it’s used as a clothing dye at the cafe’s parent company, MYM Organics and you’ll explore brewing tea in the Gongfu Cha method (a traditional Chinese method of tea making) using special Yixing teapots (traditional handmade teapots made from clay) and gaiwans (Chinese tea bowls).

Afternoon and evening classes are led by artist Jesus Chaidez, who studied under tea connoisseur and author, Roy Fong, and Grace Fong, who helm the Bay Area tea house Imperial Tea Court together. Tea tastings with Chaidez are available during the afternoon and evening in both English and Spanish and run about an hour and a half.

Price: $55
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A steak dish from Sur La Table cooking class for the 11 Los Angeles Dates POI.
(NOAH FORBES/Sur La Table)

Take a cooking class at Sur La Table

Woodland Hills Shop
Sur La Table’s in-store classes are great for cooking enthusiasts looking to add new techniques to their toolbox and those still finding a comfortable groove in the kitchen. The hands-on sessions are available during the week and weekends, run about 2 1/2 hours, have a casual and social vibe and offer a nice selection of activities to choose from. Think: crafting ragù pasta from scratch, searing steak with bourbon-shallot butter and accompanying sides, baking rosemary and roasted garlic focaccia, and more.

Price: $89 per person
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Botanical Garden Canary Island dragon trees for the 11 Los Angeles Dates POI.
(Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Gar)

Take a stroll through UCLA’s botanical garden

Westwood Botanic Garden
Here’s an idea for a wholesome morning hangout: Grab breakfast together, then take a stroll through UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. Admission is free and open to the public year-round. The lush 7.5-acre public garden, outdoor classroom, and research facility has a collection of plants from around the world. Visitors can explore on their own, join a guided tour, or use the audio guides offered online.

This may be a great option for neurodivergent people who get overstimulated easily or folks in the mood for very lowkey socializing. Be sure to have your date take some flicks of you in the beautiful scenery and glorious natural light. Even if the date is a doozy at least you’ll have some cute new pics for social.

Remember to double check the garden hours and confirm there isn’t an event going on before your trip. Gates begin closing at 4 p.m. starting November 1 through January 31.

Price: Free
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Have a 'Fast and Furious' moment together

Glendale Transportation
If you’re intrigued by the idea of trying something thrilling together, but not quite interested in, say, jumping out of a plane, Top Off Rides’ three-wheeled autocycles may be a satisfying solution.

Choose a color from the selection of Polaris Slingshots in either a two or four-seater. Rentals are available by the hour or day, with unlimited mileage use. After reviewing the rules with staff, you can cruise around and even make your way to the beach. Taking a ride ocean-side is 10/10, but the beach is about 20 miles away so plan your date timing accordingly.

Finding the Top Off Rides rental site can be tricky. It is located inside the Glendale Galleria parking structure on Level B2 by the valet parking area. It’s easiest to enter the parking structure off of Central Avenue and Galleria Way.

Price: $50-$600 per hour
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