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Spice up your love life with new outdoor date ideas for you and your other half. Knix the traditional dinner and a movie out, and leave the at-home date night plans behind. It's time for you to show off your romantic creativity to your muse. From picnics and gondola rides to hikes and architectural tours, South California sure knows how to change things up when it comes to the dating scene. Check out these cute outdoor date ideas and surprise your beloved with a welcome change to your routine.
Southern California’s thriving cities—where the sunshine is endless, waves keep on crashing, and nature is ever-so vibrant—offer countless places to take your partner on a cute outdoor date. Momentarily leave the best coffee shops behind in lieu of an exhilarating outing or outdoor date night.
Romantic things to do in Southern California are aplenty, but nothing beats a lovely hike in nature, especially if it's amongst the flowers or fall foliage (depending on the season). Boost your dopamine, share a few stolen kisses on the pathway, and get in a workout on the Eaton Canyon Trail. Not too far out from Los Angeles, the trail is a great option for a date in nature. The 3.5-mile path takes you through streams and waterfalls—the ultimate vibes for a romantic journey. Pack a picnic so you can dine with your love by the waterfall. Wildflowers bloom during springtime, converting the canyon into a flower-dotted landscape perfect for romantic strolls.
Stop by Kayaks On The Water for a kayak rental before heading to the open waters. Nothing says romantic like paddling through the Naples Island Canals surrounded by beautiful waterfront homes. You can even paddle your way to restaurants and stop for a delicious meal before heading back. For a lovely outdoor dinner date, reserve a table at Wood & Salt Tavern for fantastic seafood, fine meats, and divine pasta dishes.
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Embark on an adventure with your date and climb the Beachwood Canyon secret stairs. The historic stairs were originally built in the early 20th century to help locals easily walk down from the hillside neighborhoods to reach transit lines and shops. The stairs now lead you through Hollywood's gated communities where famous people once resided. Take your date through the Hollywood Hills featuring fancy chateaus and awesome views of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign (of course). The stairs are a decent workout—the steep, 2.6-mile climb suggests tennis shoes and cute leisurewear. Admire the vistas and cozy up a bit before heading to the Beachwood Cafe for fresh farm-to-table fare, including a delectable avocado toast, cheeseburgers, and chicken burritos.
Why travel to Italy when you can have your private view of the Venice Canals here in Southern California? Built to resemble the romantic waterways in Venice, Italy, these man-made canals in L.A. were constructed in 1905. What better way to say "I love you" than with a dreamy gondola ride through the Venice Canals? Snap a priceless photo together as you glide across the waters. Enjoy the view of the homes around the canals—you can even see cottages from the 1900s lining the waterways, creating something you might see in an idyllic painting. Wow your S.O. by planning your ride during sunset, and watch as the sun slowly sinks beneath the horizon, transforming the sky into vibrant hues of ruby red, electric orange, and magenta pink. As you’re walking back, make your way to Abbot Kinney Boulevard to grab a slice of pizza at Abbot's Pizza Company.
Once an industrial center located a few blocks away from Culver City, the Hayden Tract is a great spot to explore the area's architectural wonders. The buildings, which were developed by Frederick and Laurie Samitaur Smith and designed by architect Eric Own Moss, span several blocks from Higuera Street to Jefferson Boulevard. The area features a few deconstructed edifices that have been redeveloped since the 1980s. Make sure to stop at National Boulevard to find the abstract and unusual Beehive building; this architectural piece literally looks like a beehive. After wandering around the Hayden Tract, get to know each other better over a cup of joe. Espresso yourselves at one of L.A.'s best coffeeshops—the open, industrial floor plan of Bar Nine and the impressive selection of seasonal beans will leave you two coffee lovers in seventh heaven. If you're a bit hungry, we suggest the cheddar biscuits or the avocado toast.
A popular date option, Griffith Park is a go-to spot for couples for a reason. Offering spectacular views of the city, this mountaintop park is perfect for stargazing and admiring the twinkling sky above—it's quite the stellar outdoor date night idea if you ask us. Take a romantic stroll through the Fern Dell Nature Museum as you make your way through Griffith Park; the shaded route of greens, bridges, streams, and ponds filled with fish and frogs is certainly romance-inducing. You can also walk the Griffith Park Trail for a steep, 40-minute hike to the top. The workout is worth the panoramic city views awaiting you two at the observatory deck. Reward yourself with sandwiches, desserts, and coffee at The Trails Cafe; stay safe by enjoying your meal outside at the picnic tables.
A lesser-known park, the Barnsdall Art Park is a magnificent expanse situated in East Hollywood and is an ideal spot for a cheap outdoor date. Make your way to the top of the grassy hill, where you and your partner can catch the famous Southern California sunset. Bring a blanket and a picnic for an afternoon spent sunbathing, laughing, and reading.
Whether you're a fan of modern and ancient architecture or just like to admire pretty buildings, downtown Los Angeles has everything you need. Set your afternoon aside with your date to check out the coolest and most historic buildings in the city. If you're planning a self-guided walking tour, check out the L.A. Conservancy for tips on awesome landmarks. Many of the buildings were built in the 1800s and early 1900s, so you'll definitely feel the historical vibes despite the constant modernization of the city. After your walking tour, head to Perch—a rooftop restaurant offering lovely meals and sweeping city views.
It's only fitting that America’s Finest City should have an epic green space as majestic as Balboa Park. Concerts, picnic spots, museums, hiking trails, ponds, and museums—this stunning park has it all. Picnics are a cute way to say I love you, especially when they're in a park as romantic as Balboa. If you're lookin' to get your move on, the Balboa Park Gardens Loop Trail will surely satisfy your needs; bring your furry friend along to score extra points with bae.
Cuddle up to your lover on a special gondola ride through the Coronado Cays, where you'll float through aisles showcasing charming homes. Pack a snack and get ready to be whisked away by traditionally dressed gondoliers at sunset. Admire the majestic hues of radiant red, bright orange, and soft pink as the colors transform the sky.
Take your date back in time through the historic 16 blocks of restaurants, boutiques, and museums in downtown San Diego. For a good fright, head to the William Heath Davis House, which showcases the oldest wooden structure standing in San Diego. After the haunted tour, reserve a table at Pushkin Russian Restaurant where a warm dish of pelmeni, vegetarian dolma, or Moscow duck awaits you. Hop on the cheerful trolley cars touring the downtown area for a ride past the famous attractions. Come sunset, take your date to the waterfront Seaport Village. Get your dose of retail therapy from local boutiques as you watch the sun set over the ocean.
Take your relationship to new heights—8,516 feet to be exact—by hopping on the world’s largest rotating car with your beloved. You’ll experience a majestic and exhilarating ride that’ll show you gorgeous vistas of Palm Springs. But the fun doesn’t stop at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Once you get to the top, a lovely dining experience is ready and waiting. Grab a table at Peaks Restaurant for dinner with a view like no other.
Palm Springs is all about the heights. Get to cloud nine with your lover by taking an extraordinary journey with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides. Share the big basket with another couple or indulge in a secluded ride with the woman or man of your dreams. For the ultimate outdoor date idea, signing up for a themed adventure; Harry Potter, Marvel, or Disney—what will you choose?
Lay back and watch the stars shimmer in the lovely night sky with your boo—you may be one kiss away from catching a shooting star. The only observatory found in the Greater Palm Springs area, the Rancho Mirage Observatory invites you for a glimpse into a whole other world. Keep up the extraterrestrial vibes, and enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner at Shame on the Moon.
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