10 Southern California Date Ideas

There are affordable dates in Southern California giving a couple plenty of time to talk, dream, and hold hands. Go to out-of-the-way places or very public spots to enjoy one another without busting a budget.

#1 Mulholland Drive and Mulholland Highway

This is one of my favorite drives in the LA area and I’m fascinated by the road. I’ve usually only driven short stretches off the 405 freeway to access the Skirball Cultural Center and Bel Air Presbyterian Church.

Muholland allows both daytime and nighttime views of Los Angeles to the south and San Fernando Valley to the north.

There are many curvy roads so don’t drive it too long if you and your date are susceptible to motion sickness!

The easiest way to reach Muholland Drive is to go on the 405 freeway just south of the 101 interchange and take the Mulholland Drive exit. Go east to reach Hollywood or west to continue out the San Fernando Valley in to the Santa Monica Mountains and reach Mulholland Highway.

Have a camera for plenty of pictures.

Cost: price of gas

#2 Drive up the Angeles Crest Highway at sunset

Stop at Trader Joe’s in La Canada on Foothill Boulevard to pick up two salads or sushi, for $ 2.99 to $ 3.99 each, a bottle of Charles Shaw wine $ 1.99, and English toffee for dessert at $ 3.99. The English toffee can last for at least three dates.

Drive up the Angeles Crest for one to two miles and find a lookout to enjoy lights from the Los Angeles basin as the sunset fades and day turns to night.

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Have a romantic talk: mention what attracted you to each other and renew your commitments.

Cost is about $ 14.00 plus the cost of gasoline.

#3 Norton Simon museum free Friday evening

Admission is free the first Friday evening of each month to this cultural treasure in Pasadena, located on Colorado Boulevard near Orange Grove and the start of the Rose Bowl parade.

Have a cup of coffee and this can be a Friday evening for about $ 5 at a world-renowned institution.

The Norton Simon houses medieval art, 18th to 20th century art and ancient sculptures from East Asia. There is a fabulous garden walkway as well.

The museum is easily accessible off the 134 freeway at the Orange Grove exit or the 210 freeway at Fair Oaks.

Cost: no charge admission but a normal coffee house charge for coffee or tea

#4 Stroll the LA Arboretum

The Los Angeles Arboretum is an enjoyable place to quietly walk and talk. There is a small lake with fish, ducks, turtles and various types of birds. Geese and peacocks are in abundance. There is also an old Victorian House and in pop culture terms, the Arboretum is well known for being used in the old TV series Fantasy Island.

I recommend an annual family pass for $ 70 to admit two adults and children under 18.

Individual regular admission is $ 8.00 and children ages five through 12 is $ 3.00.

#5 Balboa Park

I personally haven’t spent much time at Balboa Park in Encino (in the San Fernando Valley) outside a few soccer matches. I drove near the lake one time. I’ve heard others recommend the area. Lake Balboa has a 1.3 mile jogging/walking path, pedal boats and one of the few places around Los Angeles to see Cherry trees blossom usually beginning in mid-March. It’s a popular spot which may be nice if you’re in a mood to be around other people.

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Cost: depending on equipment rentals

#6 Ride the redline or gold line to Chinatown

Buy a metro day pass for $5 each and take one of the light rail options to Chinatown for a lunch special or early bird dinner special. There are easy to find lunch specials for $ 5.99 to $ 6.99. Add in drinks for $2 each and then enjoy a walk through Chinatown.

Total cost is about $ 28.00 to $ 30.00.

#7 Stroll the Santa Monica pier and play an arcade game

The Santa Monica pier is a great place to watch people, grab a snack, and play a few arcade games. There are a few amusement rides. Take roller blades or bikes for exercise on the bike path along the beach.

Cost: $20 for a couple will get a light dinner, ice cream and some arcade games. Parking at the pier will run around $ 7. Cut out parking costs by parking more to the center of Santa Monica, either near Pico to the south or Arizona to the north, and walking several city blocks to the pier.

#8 Picnic in Griffith Park

Griffith Park is spread over hills, valleys with playgrounds, a Travel Town and an old fashioned Merry-go-Round. There’s plenty of hiking trails and enough lawns to find a spot to spread a blanket and have a picnic. There’s ample parking. Nearby attractions include the LA Zoo, Travel Town, Gene Autry Museum. The Autry museum is free the second Tuesday of each month.

Cost: from nothing to $ 8 per person for admission to the Autry Museum and a similar price for the zoo.

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#9 Window shop at the Farmer’s Market or the Grove in Los Angeles, the Americana in Glendale, the Promenade at the Westfield Shopping Mall in Arcadia.

The Americana (built by owners of The Grove) has nice fountain shows on a regular basis.

Cost: the price of coffee or a bite at the food court. $ 15 to $ 20 is plenty to spend to eat.

#10 Stroll Melrose Boulevard

This is a way to experience trendy and off-beat fashion shops and people in Los Angeles who desperately want to be hip. Grab a cup of coffee along the way. The trendiest parts of Melrose are in the West Hollywood area, between La Cienega and Highland Avenue.

Cost: $ 7 for coffee, a biscotti and it’s priceless looking at the people and the fashions you’ll never dare to wear.

One way to handle this approach to dating, put one affordable date on the calendar for each month.