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Best Places In Orange County For A First Date

May 30, 2014 10:18 AM

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(credit: Hornblower Cruises)

(credit: Hornblower Cruises)

(credit: Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)

(credit: Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)


Are you looking for a new idea for a first date beyond the usual dinner at your favorite restaurant? Take the stress out of finding the perfect spot with one of these Orange County suggestions. Whether you want romantic ocean views, a stroll in a quaint OC beach town or a night out at the art galleries you’ll find it on our list. Visit our original list of the Best Places in OC for a date for additional ideas.

(credit: Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)

(credit: Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)


180Blu at Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
One Ritz-Carlton Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 240-2000
www.ritzcarlton.com

Perched 150 feet above Salt Creek Beach, 180Blu outdoor patio bar and lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has panoramic views of the coastline with Catalina Island in the background. With surfers bobbing in the waves below and pelicans gliding across the horizon, you’ll want to come back here for the second and third dates too. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays there’s live music from 6 – 9 p.m. and when it gets chilly they’ll bring you a blanket to keep warm or cuddle up. Specialty cocktails and appetizers are served along with sushi from the outdoor sushi bar.

(credit:  Joanne Artman Gallery)

(credit: Joanne Artman Gallery)


First Thursdays ArtWalk in Laguna Beach
North, South and Central Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
www.firstthursdaysartwalk.com

For a more casual weeknight date, the First Thursdays Art Walk in downtown Laguna Beach is held the first Thursday of every month from 6 – 9 p.m. Park in downtown and stroll or take the free shuttles to visit the galleries in north and south Laguna. It’s a free event with artist demonstrations, music, wine and hors d’oeuvres receptions and artist meet and greets. Don’t miss Laguna Beach’s only gallery with a sculpture garden at Dawson Cole Fine Art in downtown.

(credit: Hornblower Cruises)

(credit: Hornblower Cruises)


Hornblower Dinner or Brunch Cruise
2431 West Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 650-2412
www.hornblower.com

Orange County has 42 miles of shoreline so why not explore the harbor and waters near Newport Beach with a date? Three-hour sunset cruises include a four-course dinner, a welcome glass of champagne, nonalcoholic beverages and a DJ and dancing for $89.95 per person. The two-hour brunch cruise includes a bottomless glass of champagne, a brunch buffet and music for $64.95 per person.

(credit: San Clemente Wine Company)

(credit: San Clemente Wine Company)


Wine Tasting, Dinner and Live Music in Downtown San Clemente
Del Mar and Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
www.downtownsanclemente.com

Downtown San Clemente is full of restaurants, bars and shops in a compact, pedestrian-friendly area. Start your evening with wine tasting at San Clemente Wine Company then walk to dinner at 9 Style Sushi, Nick’s or Chef’s Pub at Vine. End your evening with music from the The Big Easy at Iva Lee’s which features live Blues and Jazz and a hopping bar – they make a mean bourbon Old Fashioned here.

(credit: il Garage)

(credit: il Garage)


Il Garage
1200 Beach Blvd
Stanton, CA 90680
(714) 901-4400
www.ilgarageristorante.com

Il Garage is a conversation starter for any first date. Its location immediately prompts the question “Where is Stanton?” and the eclectic restaurant set in an old garage with a tractor on premise has kitchen garden views. Il Garage is the sister restaurant of Park Ave. and located on the same property, about five miles from Disneyland. Its Italian inspired menu changes daily according to what’s in season and don’t be fooled by the white-and-red-checked tablecloths – it may look simple but this is date-night-worthy for any foodie.

What are your favorite spots in Orange County for a first date? Share in the comments below!

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.

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