We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve ended up here not because you’re struggling for things to do in LA but because there is genuinely too much going on. The City of Angels is blessed with so many incredible and unique things to do, whether you’re looking for first date ideas in cute coffee shops and walking paths or you want to hit the clubs and bars in West Hollywood, Venice or Downtown LA, our best things to do in LA guide has got you covered.
The Best Active and Outdoor Things to Do in Los Angeles
Let’s start with the best outdoor things to do in Los Angeles:
1. Indulge in a Picnic Soirée with Santa Monica Picnic Co.
If there’s one company that knows picnics, it’s Santa Monica Picnic Co. We’re sure you’re capable of creating a wonderfully romantic picnic, but SMPC takes the stress out of packing the furniture, buying the food and creating a truly unique aesthetic with their luxury private picnic service.
Dine in fine luxury on the white sands of Santa Monica as you enjoy chef-curated cheese and charcuterie boards as you witness the sun set softly on the horizon. SMPC provides a range of plush blankets and cushions as well as candle lanterns to help you cozy up and marvel at the beautiful summer scenery. SMPC also provides wireless speakers, a chalkboard, a polaroid camera and incense sticks – ideal for people looking to create a truly picturesque scene and capture the moment.
2. Horseback Rides & Wine at 29 Oaks Ranch
Venture out to the wild and beautiful oaks ranch for a unique and memorable guided trail through the stunning Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons. Upon your arrival, you will be provided all the equipment you need to enjoy a fun and relaxing journey through the oak forests, grasslands and dry arroyos, guided by the talented and friendly staff at Buster Trail Ride.
At the end of your journey, you will be led back to the ranch to a stunning bottle of wine and an array of summery snacks.
3. Float Like a Cloud on California Dreamin’s Hot Air Balloons
One of the more unique outdoor things to do in Los Angeles is jumping into a hot air balloon with your partner for an afternoon of sky exploration and a stunning breakfast at a local vineyard.
With California Dreamin’, you can take to the skies in old-world charm as you sail across the California Temecula wine country at 2,000ft. Before you journey up, you can enjoy pre-flight coffee, tea and snacks and, once your one-hour tour of the sprawling South Coast has concluded, there will be champagne or sparkling cider on your return! Not only that, but you will also receive a stunning breakfast at Vindemia’s Rose Garden, featuring chili scrambled eggs, freshly-baked bread, local fruits, cheese, mimosas as well as tea and coffee in the beautiful private Rose Garden.
4. Swan Around in Echo Lake
Arguably LA’s worst-kept secret, the swan boats of Echo Park offer a unique and intimate way to explore the city. You can either swan around the lotus beds and fountains by day or make things more intimate with a romantic paddle in the evening, with the luminous cityscape as your background and your partner will paddle around the LA lotus beds and fountain.
Echo Park is high on the list of the best things to do in Los Angeles, but make sure you book in advance to secure your swan.
5. Mosey Down the Naples Canals in Your Private Gondola
If you’re looking for a taste of Venice on your doorstep, then you may be in luck.
What’s more romantic than gliding down the Naples Canals on a rustic Italian gondola? Sit back and relax as you cruise underneath high-arched bridges, past the Accademia to the Ravenna, the Toledo and through to Neapolitan East and the “Treasure Island” bridge.
Each gondola cruise lasts 1 hour and can be reserved for up to six people (we’d recommend this as a couples date, too!). There are several special booking options to take advantage of, from champagne celebrations for weddings and engagements to romantic meanders paired with wine tasting and charcuterie excursions with your significant other.
They even offer a romantic Valentine’s Day package, which comes with a classic long-stemmed rose and your photo to commemorate the occasion.
6. See the City from the Sky in a Luxury French Aircraft
For those who have always wanted to experience LA’s stunning skyline in luxury, this one might be for you. Hosted by Hollywood Nights Tour, you and your partner will gain two tickets to soar over LA’s most iconic landmarks in the comfort of a sleek French aircraft 1,500 above the bustling city center.
Once you’re aboard and in the air, you will pass iconic sights such as the Griffith Observatory, Paramount Studios, The Dolby Theater and of course, the Hollywood sign. The tour itself lasts around 30 minutes and is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Los Angeles.
7. Take a Stroll Through the Quaint Town of Solvang
Perfect for first dates, the town of Solvang bears resemblance to the Scandinavian architecture of Denmark, with its red brick shops and the beautiful white windmill politely nestled in-between.
Known as the “Danish Capital of America”, Solvang is adorned with cute shops selling pastries, and sweets and there are also a few outdoor cafes and dining spots to enjoy. Solvang is also dog-friendly, so if you’re looking to bring your pet, Solvang is very welcoming and even has cafes that cater to dogs.
8. Meander Around Descanso Gardens
Descanso Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden boasting Rose and Japanese gardens as well as oak forests and woodlands. An oasis of beauty, Descanso Gardens remains one of the easiest and most enjoyable things to do in Los Angeles and can be enjoyed on a first date or as a couple. Descanso’s rotating exhibits mean there’s always something wonderfully unique happening. We’ve covered the Descanso Gardens in our guide to date nights in Los Angeles.
9. Head to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Even if your interests don’t lie in contemporary art, the LA County Museum of Art is a great place to take a first date or mosy around with your significant other. Art provides great talking points if there’s ever a dip in conversation and you can glimpse an idea of what things they do and don’t like. There are plenty of unique installations and exhibitions on rotation, so even if you’ve been before there’s always something new to experience.
10. e-Bike the Marvin Braude Bike Trail
Known by the locals as the Santa Monica Bike Path or The Strand, Marvin Braude offers a fresh excursion across the stretches neighboring the Pacific Ocean. From Will Rogers State Beach to the outer reaches of Palos Verdes. The trail is refreshing and relaxing, offering views of the Pacific Ocean and you can also hire electric bikes to make your journey easier.
For couples who are looking for an active thing to do in Los Angeles, this checks all the boxes.
Looking for Something More Romantic and Relaxed for Couples?
Sometimes one of the best things to do in LA is sit down for a meal with your significant other. Los Angeles is blessed with many fine dining spots, to the extent that it becomes a chore to pick a new place to eat.
So, we’ve selected four restaurants that offer something a little different, and another unique thing to do for a more intimate experience:
1. Indulge in the Two-time Michelin-starred Hayato
Hayato, arguably the best Japanese restaurant in Downtown Arts District, maybe even central LA. Divinely simplistic and a genuine ode to Japanese cuisine, Head Chef Brandon Hayato Go has worked in some of the greatest kitchens in Tokyo, pulling influences from both his previous mentors in California and Tokyo to create a menu using pristine ingredients.
Go stands at the counter’s center, delicately wielding knives to compose dishes of unrivaled beauty and taste, all within his tiny intimate 7-seat restaurant. In Go’s own words:
“I am not trying to put my own personal stamp on anything we cook here.
I want the taste of our food to be the taste of
a pristine ingredient that has not been interfered with.”
2. Revel in Republique – The Pièce de Résistance of Los Angeles
Built in 1929, Republique, a French restaurant located in La Brea, is an all-day cafe that excels in the delicate art of creating fresh pastries. Originally Charlie Chaplin’s office, Republique is now run by Walter and Margarita Manzke, and the love, care and dedication to their culinary craft is plain to see.
As you enter, you are greeted by a beautifully simplistic decor, white-tiled walls and oak beams are the backdrops for their signature Margarita Manzke’s pastries, which have gained a somewhat notorious reputation in Eastern West Hollywood.
As you may have guessed, Republique is largely known for its freshly-baked bread and pastries, as well as its charcuterie and cheese column – ideal for couples looking to indulge in some of the finest French cuisines LA has to offer. However, Republique isn’t just a master of pastries and cheeses – their risotto, pasta and fish menu is second to none and the perfect alternative for those looking for a delectable lunch or dinner.
For a romantic date, we’d recommend sitting upstairs as it’s quieter and allows for more intimate conversation.
3. Delight in Japanese-Italian Fusion at Orsa & Winston’s Open Kitchen
Orsa & Winston is by far one of the most unique things to do in LA when it comes to fine dining. Head Chef Josef Centeno’s Michelin-starred restaurant is renowned across central LA for its unique Japanese-Italian fusion menu, its speciality being their tasting menu as well as the more casual a la carte katsu sandwiches and grain bowls.
While Orsa & Winston boasts a Michelin star, the setting is casual, the ambience is relaxed, lights are dim and music plays at a welcoming level. For dinner, Orsa & Winston’s pièce de résistance or ‘shokuji no omona ryōri’ is their tasting menu. Choose between four and twenty-plus courses – and while that might seem excessive, we guarantee you will want to try every dish possible.
Orsa & Winston is, not surprisingly, a popular restaurant, so booking in advance is recommended. For couples, we’d recommend booking a table near the open kitchen, so you can see the chefs’ culinary expertise in action.
4. Visit the Award-winning Seafood Restaurant, Providence
Providence has been elevating the standard of American seafood restaurants for over a decade, and with Head Chef Michael Cimarusti at the helm, it’s no wonder Providence keeps winning awards. A seafood restaurant with a firm focus on sourcing its ingredients from regional coasts and international regions, Cimarusti has devoted his life to procuring the finest sustainable seafood and creating his sophisticated, wild-caught dishes.
From farm-raised caviar to Dungeness crab, Maine lobsters and Spanish octopus, the level of grace exhibited by Providence on a nightly basis is second to none. Both the à la carte menu and the chef’s menu are incredible, and their speciality champagne Friday lunches are not to be missed.
Rated “Best Seafood Restaurant” by Los Angeles magazine, achieving the #1 ranking in “Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants” in the Los Angeles Times, obtaining a James Beard Award, and receiving two highly coveted Michelin stars makes Providence one of the highest-achieving seafood restaurants across Los Angeles.
5. Dine in Secluded Serenity With a Private Chef Experience
For something a little different, you may want to consider the private chef experience. Sometimes we just want to dine in peace in the comfort of our own home, which is where the private chef experience comes in. You and your partner will dine on chef-prepared dishes in an intimate setting, which could be your home or a property you have rented out (if you’re on holiday in LA, for example).
Your private chef will travel to your location with all the ingredients (and of course, culinary expertise) to create your exquisite meal from scratch. They will also clean up after serving so you don’t have to worry about the aftermath. There are several fantastic private chefs in LA to choose from, so have a look around.
We’re the Dating Experts of Los Angeles
As award-winning matchmakers, we know a thing or two about the best things to do in Los Angeles. If you’re looking to share these wonderful experiences with someone or you’re in a relationship but aren’t making the most of it, we may be able to help.
We provide a genuine, one-of-a-kind private matchmaking service for single men and women in Los Angeles who are looking to meet their perfect partner. Through psychology-led compatibility profiling and private consulting from our experienced matchmakers, we can help you understand more about yourself and in turn, the type of partner you are looking for.
Our approach to matchmaking is backed up by years of tried and tested methodology and underpinned by the psychological expertise of our matchmakers. Dr Madeleine Mason Roantree also offers date coaching services to help LA singles understand how their mind works and how it impacts their attitude and behavior in a relationship.
If you would like to get more out of your relationship or begin your journey to finding your forever partner in Los Angeles or further afield, why not have a chat with one of our matchmakers today?
Even if it’s just to assess your options, we’re always here to help.