Anyone that has lived in Los Angeles knows that traffic and parking challenges can ruin the mood on date night. One solution to avoid this frustration is to choose a neighborhood or area that offers restaurants and other attractions like shopping, galleries and theaters so that you can park the car and walk from one venue to the next.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291
Abbot Kinney is a mile stretch of eclectic shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. The compact area is ideal for walking and challenging for parking, especially on First Fridays when, from 6 to 10 p.m., the street comes alive with music, large crowds and every type of food truck imaginable. If a 15-minute walk is acceptable for date night, park at the end of Venice Boulevard by the pier and stroll along the Venice canals on the way to or from Abbot Kinney.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Old Pasadena is the revitalized, original commercial area of Pasadena. With 22 blocks of restaurants, galleries, shopping and clubs there is too much to see and do in just one night. It’s an interesting destination with history and character where boutiques mix with chains stores and vintage shops. With more than 100 restaurants to choose from and nightlife afterwards, Old Pasadena attracts all ages. Find street parking or use the “Park and Walk” garages.
Downtown Culver City
Intersection of Washington and Culver Boulevards
Culver City, CA 90232
The renaissance of downtown Culver City revitalized this Westside historical gem. Convenient parking in city garages and a compact downtown with award-winning restaurants, movie and stage theaters, wine bars and shops attract crowds on the weekends. With restaurants and wine bars in close proximity to each other, it’s easy to visit several different venues in an evening. Check out the website for specials on the third Wednesday of every month.
Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica
Santa Monica, CA 90401
At first glance, the wave of tourists on the pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade doesn’t feel like a romantic date-night venue. It‘s a popular destination, especially on weekends when street performers fill the promenade. However, its wide variety of restaurants and shops and its location just 5 minutes from the pier, plus public parking garages make this area a good option for date night. Check out a recent Santa Monica food tour for restaurant ideas and if you’re interested in music head to Harvelle’s on Fourth Street – they’ve been entertaining Angelenos since 1931.
Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk
411 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
If you’re curious to explore downtown but don’t know what to do there, Art Walk provides an organized way to explore the city’s art scene and downtown area. Art Walk is held every second Thursday of the month. The self-guided walking tour features more than 50 art galleries and the Art Walk Lounge showcases one or two local artists each month. The walk is mainly in the historic district between 4th and 7th and Spring and Main. Check the website for a listing of restaurants, bars and parking in the area. This event is held rain or shine.
Kristi Marcelle is a travel and lifestyle writer and regular contributor at Ciao Bambino and CBS Los Angeles. She loves planning travel adventures with her family, a good glass of wine at the whining hour and the Green Bay Packers. Follow her on Twitter @kristimarcelle.