Five Ways for Romance: Date Night in Downtown Los Angeles

Five Ways for Romance: Date Night in Downtown Los Angeles

Want a little romance with your old flame or a new beau in downtown Los Angeles? Check out new twists on five classic date nights. We’ve got you covered with dancing, dining, movies, art and music that are sure to woo a new lover or romance an old partner.

Retro romance

Now entering the Cicada Club
Source: Emily Manthei

For the active (and retro!) couple, spend an enchanted evening swing dancing with a live big band in Olive Street’s most impressive address, the Oviatt Building’s Cicada Club. The first Art Deco edifice in Los Angeles started as a two-story haberdashery, with high-end men’s fashions and women’s jewelry displayed among velvet ropes and gold-plated ceiling tiles imported from Italy. Today, the mezzanine bar overlooks a dance floor where big bands play 1940s classics for dancehall enthusiasts.

Make dinner reservations for you and your date and arrive early in appropriate attire for a full evening. Sticking with the vintage theme, the Cicada Club strictly enforces their dress code and “no cell phones” rule, so plan to spend the evening exchanging conversation with your date, not your screen. Once you’re seated for dinner, you are in for a treat: salad, entree and dessert are all included in the three-course fixed-price menu. Classic cocktails, like the bourbon and bitters Old Fashioned, a Pimm’s Cup with the classic English spirit and a smoky Scotch Sazerac are par for the course.

Star-struck lovers

Perched on top of Downtown.
Source: Emily Manthei

It’s not about what you do, but who you’re with. If you and your lover want a quiet, romantic evening staring into each other’s eyes under the stars while soft music plays in the background, downtown also has you covered!

The proliferation of rooftop bars makes it easy to find a little starlight in the skyline, but where is the best place for romance? None other than Perch, a glowing rooftop inspired by steampunk and a French menu, but with a flourish of its own. The top of a 15-story building that overlooks Pershing Square offers indoor and outdoor seating, quiet corners, and often a live ensemble to crystallize the magic in the atmosphere. Expect craft cocktails, lovely dining and soft, hazy lighting that will put a sparkle in any lover’s eye.

Classic dinner and a movie

Inside a Broadway theatre.
Source: Emily Manthei

Got a guy or gal who is more into staring into the silver screen than your eyes? Downtown Los Angeles offers a couple of vastly different options for dinner and a movie. In the Broadway Theatre District, you and your date can grab a quick bite at one of a dozen great food stalls inside Grand Central Market, a covered market that’s recently been reinvigorated by some of the city’s newest culinary heroes. After wandering the stalls and settling on something splendid and speedy, pop into a nearby single-screen picture palace. These cinemas, popular during the era of silent films, are gorgeous temples to the artistry of cinema and open to the public each May and June for screenings of classic films during a series called “Last Remaining Seats”. For the rest of the year, walk a few streets over to the Downtown Independent, a newer single-screen that features foreign and independent pictures.

If it’s a new release you’re in the mood for, head to LA Live, where you can grab a bite at one of several mainstream sit-down chains before dipping into Regal Cinema’s 14-screen LA Live multiplex. Don’t worry, there’s no silent films to be seen here.

Maestro of Grand Avenue

Inside Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Source: Emily Manthei

Music lovers are spoiled for choice along Grand Avenue, where the Los Angeles Opera performs at the Music Center, the Los Angeles Philharmonic plays their seasons at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the California Plaza hosts outdoor summer concerts with music from around the globe.

Start your date with a wood-fired pizza at Franco-Italian bistro Bottega Louie and then walk up the hill to any of these great music venues for whichever lovers’ symphony suits you best. Check out the summer dance parties on the Music Center’s patio to mix it up after a serious theatrical or operatic production inside.

Downtown is for lovers

With all of these great date night opportunities within the limits of downtown Los Angeles, you’ll find somewhere fabulous to woo your sweetheart on a first date, reconnect with your partner, or maybe even pop the big question in cinematic style.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Emily Manthei is a Los Angeles-based travel writer and filmmaker who has lived and worked in Edinburgh and Oxford in the UK; Paris, France; and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Work as a documentarian and social...Read more

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