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15 First Date Ideas to Plan in Southern California

15 First Date Ideas to Plan in Southern California

Well, what are you waiting for? Ask them out already, we got you covered with creative first date ideas.

Roubina Al Abashian


6 min read

August 12, 2021

You’re crushin’ hard and you really want to impress your new beaux with an awesome first date idea. Luckily you’re in SoCal, where you’ll never run out of ways to make your crush swoon. From cute and fun to exciting and romantic, there are so many opportunities to plan the ideal first date. Well, what are you waiting for? Ask them out already, we got you covered with creative first date ideas

Good First Date Ideas In Los Angeles

Echo Park Lake's famous swan boats are the perfect way to experience an iconic Los Angeles attraction while soaking up the gorgeous SoCal weather.

1. Ride a Swan Boat in Echo Park Lake

Looking for a very romantic and cheesy thing to do in the City of Angels? A swan boat ride at Echo Park Lake is what you’re looking for. Rent a boat from Wheel Fun Rentals and paddle through the waters of Echo Park Lake—props to you if you plan this during golden hour. Don’t forget to bring a picnic basket with you; enjoy a snack during the ride or stop at any spot you like for a good old-fashioned picnic for a casual date idea.

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2. Walk Through the Venice Canals

What better way to get to know your date better than during a stroll under the stars? That’s what we thought. The ideal spot? The Venice Canals, for sure. This is one of the best first date ideas, especially during the summer. Stroll along with the one that captured your heart in this postcard-perfect spot lined with waterways, bridges, and extravagant houses. 

Simply put, animal cafes are places where customers can enjoy drinks and food and spend time with adorable furry friends.

3. Have Coffee at an Animal Cafe

You’re looking cute for your date, but you know what’ll make you look even cuter? Kittens and puppies. Spend your first date surrounded by cuteness at L.A.’s animal cafes; we guarantee you this is the perfect first date idea. Crumbs and Whiskers is a top pick when it comes to animal cafes. Enjoy a cup of coffee, munch on snacks, flirt with your date while you bond with your new furry friends. Chances are you’ll end up falling in love—with a cat—and adopt. What a creative yet casual first date idea!

4. Attend a Magic Show in Hollywood

Light a spark of magic into your first date by attending one of the many magic shows in Los Angeles. The kind of magic you’ll encounter at Black Rabbit Rose won’t fade away easily. Attend one of the weekend shows, which feature magicians, illusionists, as well as burlesque dancers, and enjoy your evening. This fun first date idea is one you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. 

Cute First date Ideas in San Diego

5. Laugh Out Loud at a Comedy Club

Couples that laugh together, stay together—at least that’s what they say. You can easily put that theory to the test in San Diego’s American Comedy Co. or The Comedy Store La Jolla. Can you think of a more fun first date than having someone else humor your date for you?

6. Go Paragliding in La Jolla

You’re an adrenaline junkie and you want to go out with another adrenaline junkie. Not sure if the person you like loves extreme adventures? Ask them out and take them paragliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport—whether or not you land a second date, this might just be the greatest first date idea you’ve ever had. 

7. Ride a Speedboat in San Diego

What’s a good first date idea that’s also unique? If you ask us, take your date sightseeing and captain your own speedboat at the same time—it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Enjoy the spectacular skyline of America’s Finest City on an exceptional ride from Speedboat Adventures. This will surely get your hearts pumping—for each other, of course. 

What could be better than date night? You get an excuse to get dolled up and spend a romantic evening out with your main squeeze.

8. Dine and Play in La Mesa

Planning for a romantic first date not many have thought of? We’ve got your back. The first thing that comes to your mind while exploring the best first date ideas is dining. So how about you add retro arcade fun to your dining experience? Connect with your inner child at Coin Haus in La Mesa for the most exciting and cutest first date ever and impress your date with your mad skills.

Casual Date Ideas in Orange County

What are the ingredients of the perfect first date? Ask most couples, and it’s a combination of fun, challenge, and mini golf fits the bill perfectly.

9. Play Miniature Golf in Anaheim

Not a single person in the world has complained about mini golf. And if they did, that could very well be the reason they’re single. If your date is up for a challenge, then miniature golf is your go-to activity. And lucky for you, Orange County has the biggest miniature golf park course in the whole country. Yes, we’re talking about Camelot Golfland. There are four 18-hole courses in the park, each with unique challenges. Along with bumper boats, water slides, laser tag, bumper cars, go-karts, and a pizza shop, this mini golf paradise also has an arcade. Enjoy yourself to the fullest!

10. Enjoy Virtual Reality Fun at Fire Loop VR

Let’s be real—we all love playing games, whether we’re 15 or 50. And your date probably feels the same way, so you need to plan a good first date, where both of you can enjoy being young, wild, and free. Head to Fire Loop VR in Irvine and experience first-class virtual reality entertainment. Team up to kill zombies, dance together, but try not to virtually kill each other; at least not on your first date.

There’s no therapy like a gondola ride in Newport Beach. Let your inner hopeless romantic shine with this uber-charming date idea.

11. Go on a Gondola Ride in Newport Beach

If you’re looking to impress, then you know you’re going on a gondola ride for your first date. Gondola Adventures in Newport Beach offers a unique experience and is undoubtedly one of the most romantic things you can do in all of Southern California. Cruise through the spectacular Newport Beach in the most beautiful gondola ever and enjoy mouthwatering dishes along the way. The gondolier might even sing Italian songs to set the mood—that’s one ideal first date!

12. Splash Around at Victoria Beach

This hidden gem in Orange County is one of the best spots for a chill first date. Victoria Beach is perfect for all outdoor lovers—it’s one of California’s most romantic beaches. Add that to the fact that this is a free date option, and you have a catch. Whether you decide to take a stroll, swim in the ocean, or sunbathe on the sand, make sure to catch the sunset to make your first date even more romantic.

Great First Date Ideas in Santa Barbara

Seeing whales in their natural environment is an experience you’ll never forget. It can be the highlight of any outing.

13. Go on a Whale Watching Cruise

Here’s an outdoor first date idea that must’ve skipped your mind—whale watching. You live on the American Riviera, arguably the best whale watching destination in all of SoCal, so this first date idea is basically a given. Condor Express promises a unique dining experience while cruising the Channel Islands as colossal whales wave hello.

14. Enjoy a night full of mysteries at an Escape Room

It’s important to figure out early on if your date is the Dr. Watson to your Sherlock Holmes, so we’ve got the perfect first date idea for you. Head to The House of Clues in Santa Barbara, which features eight perfectly planned escape rooms. Try the Pirate Ghost Ship or the Psycho Dentist and solve mysteries together on your first date.

15. Catch a Show at the Granada Theatre

Attending a show at the Granada Theatre is not just a romantic thing to do in California; it’s a rite of passage, and here’s why. First of all, the theater is an exhibition on its own. Built during the turn of the last century, the Granada still has many of its old fixtures, including the gorgeous chandeliers. No matter what show you two catch, you’ll be taking a walk through history. 

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