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10 Awesome Daycations Ideas Just a Stone’s Throw Away from Los Angeles

May 3, 2017 by Jarone Ashkenazi

The City of Angels offers a diverse array of activities, but sometimes you just need to escape the hustle and bustle and get out of town. If you’re looking for a just-far-enough getaway but can’t dedicate a large amount of time for a trip, daycations are the way to go. They offer a great respite for taking a deep breath and exploring something new, and fortunately L.A. is surrounded by small towns, beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes for short day trips.

The destinations below are a short list of some of the top locations outside of L.A., all within a three-hour drive or ferry ride (mostly under two hours), that will allow you to explore and feel like you are an ocean away. From getting lost in the desert, to wine tasting to exploring the outdoors, you are sure to find some inspiration from the below to plan a short day trip!

Avalon Catalina Island

Overlooking Avalon on Catalina Island. Credit: Mark Roland via flickr cc

1. Catalina Island

Located 26 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is accessible by Catalina Express boats from three ports (San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point) and the Catalina Flyer from Newport Beach, as well as Island Express Helicopter. When arriving in Avalon, walk through the town and grab a bite before heading down the boardwalk and making your way to Catalina Casino, filled with art deco murals, the world’s largest circular ballroom and more. After a bit of culture, enjoy the Zip Line Eco Tour and Catalina Falconry, located right next to Descanso Beach Club.

In late May, two thrilling new activities will be introduced — Catalina Aerial Adventure and Descanso Drop Tower — as well as the unveiling of Harbor Sands Beach in Two Harbors. Other outdoor activities include snorkeling, kayaking and golf at Catalina Island Golf Course, the oldest operating golf course west of the Rocky Mountains. After one (or more) of the many outdoor adventures, head over to Island Spa Catalina, the island’s only full-service experiential spa, then finish your island vacation at Avalon Grille and enjoy views of Avalon Bay before catching the Express back to L.A.

For more ideas for what to do on the island be sure to check out this previous We Like L.A. guide on things to do in Catalina.

2. Riverside

Just an hour drive from DTLA on the CA-60 East lies Riverside, the birthplace of the California citrus industry and home of the Mission Inn, the largest Mission Revival-style building in the United States. This historic luxury property offers four exquisite culinary experiences on site, a full-service spa at Kelly’s Spa – including their “A Perfect Day” package which allows guests to create their own perfect day with luxurious accommodations and credits that can be used throughout the hotel – and beautiful grounds that house many historic artifacts from the early 1900s, such as the Fliers’ Wall, along with President William Howard Taft’s custom-made chair and more.

Just a short drive from The Mission Inn, the March Field Air Museum offers engaging exhibits, thousands of artifacts and 80 historic aircrafts on display. Also worth noting is the California Citrus State Park, where guests learn the story of this industry’s role in the history and development of California.

If you’re more into the arts, head over to the Fox Performing Arts Center, which underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, turning it into a world-class performing arts venue, or walk through downtown Riverside. Start at the Main Street pedestrian mall and walk west to the historic Riverside County Courthouse, which is a walking museum filled with statues of great leaders.

3. Palm Springs

The Greater Palm Springs Area is just a short two-hour drive from L.A., but the desert backdrop and warm weather will make you feel like you’re a world away. The ultimate desert playground, this city offers a plethora of activities including numerous golf and tennis courses, hiking trails in the Indian Canyons, the scenic Aerial Tramway and much more. If relaxing is more your beat, shop at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets, get a massage and sit by the pool at the one of the area ultra-fancy resorts like the JW Marriott Desert Springs or the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa. The Miramonte Indian Wells is another hotel that’s worth looking into, specifically their adventure packages (if you kind of want someone to set everything up for you!)

For some more ideas check out this previous We Like L.A. guide for things to do in Palm Springs.

4. Summerland

Just 10 minutes south of Santa Barbara and approximately 30 seconds off off PCH lies the quaint seaside town of Summerland, a true Southern California hidden gem. With ample free parking throughout the entire town, guests can start their day at the pristine beach, grab a burger at Summerland Beach Café or a sandwich at Cantwell’s Market & Deli, then shop the galleries on Lillie Avenue. Head into McLeod Parrot Menagerie to hear a symphony of birds and then to The Sacred Space and be transported into another world with tropical gardens, fountains and more. While in town, visit Summerland Winery and sit back, relax, and enjoy the ocean breeze while exploring Summerland’s award-winning collections of Central Coast wines. With a tasting room outfitted with tasteful beach-inspired décor, a charming front porch, and a welcoming team of wine experts, this dog-friendly boutique winery was voted “Best Winery in Santa Barbara County.”

Those that want to make a bit more of their coastal vacation and have a little extra time on their hands should continue up the 101 along the Pacific up to Santa Barbara. Located between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the pristine Pacific Ocean, Downtown Santa Barbara is the beautiful cultural heart and soul of Santa Barbara, with its nine museums, five separate theaters, wine tasting, restaurants, shopping and more. Be sure to take a stroll down historic State Street Plaza and enjoy one of America’s most pedestrian-friendly downtowns.

5. Ojai 

A 90-minute drive north of Downtown Los Angeles, Ojai gives travelers a relaxed and quaint feel totally different from normal busy L.A. life. Drive up in the early morning and grab some breakfast at Knead Baking Company before taking a morning walk down Ojai Ave where you can find both antique and boutique shops. Explore the nearby trails of Los Padres National Forest on foot, horseback or by bike, or tour a citrus grove and meander along Sespe Creek, where there are several swimming holes. After a fun-filled morning, find your zen at Spa Ojai located in the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, then play a round at their award-winning golf course and tennis courts. Check out the resort’s Picnic & Pedal program that pairs a fleet of vintage-inspired bikes with customized baskets overflowing with treats from Libbey’s, the resort’s artisanal marketplace and café, along with picnic blankets, and set up the ultimate al fresco dining experience on the properties 220 acres or around town.

After a long day, head to Meditation Mount for incredible sunset views and end the day at one of the city’s many wine-tasting rooms, like The Ojai Vineyard or Topa Mountain Winery, or grab a bite at popular Nocciola or Farmer & the Cook.

For more ideas for what to do in the area be sure to check out the We Like L.A. guide for fun things to do in Ojai.

barts books

Bart’s Book in Ojai. Photo Credit: Brian Champlin/We Like L.A.

6. Temecula

Planning a day trip from L.A. to Temecula provides a fun outing with tons to do. Leave early in the day on the weekends to avoid traffic and you’ll get to the city with lush, rolling green hillsides and 40 wineries in about 90 minutes flat. Before going straight for the vino, stop by Old Town Temecula and visit the Temecula Valley Museum, or check out Pechanga Resort & Casino for a late breakfast or brunch overlooking majestic oak trees and try your luck at California’s No. 1 casino, as rated by USA Today.

Pechanga features thousands of slots, table games, poker and the most modern bingo you’ve ever seen. For activities, play a round at the award-winning Journey at Pechanga Golf Course, or take a ride in a hot-air balloon with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides, or treat yourself to a relaxing massage. Now to the wine! Taste your way through numerous options like the 70-acre Wilson Creek Winery or the sprawling South Coast Winery before heading to the top winery restaurant in the country at Leoness.

7. Tejon Ranch

Tejon Ranch is the largest continuous expanse of private land in California, offering about 270,000 acres of pristine land with a wide range of activities. At 422 square miles, it’s just about as large as the City of Los Angeles. Now open to the public, they have launched the Explorer Program. Exclusive in nature, it gives members access to more than 25,000 acres on the southern portion of the ranch, which offers spectacular landscapes, breathtaking views, vibrant wildflower fields, oak-studded hillsides, steep canyons and broad valleys. Members will be able to enjoy mountain biking, hiking, picnicking, wildlife and landscape photography, bird-hunting, SUV trail driving, overnight camping, star-gazing, horseback riding and more.

8. Laguna Beach

This beautiful beach town, just a short drive south along the coast from Los Angeles, offers the perfect mini getaway from the busy city, boasting dog-friendly beaches and restaurants, hiking trails, art exhibits and a variety of breathtaking rooftop bars. Start off your daycation with a hike at Crystal Cove State Park and explore the tide pools, or head over to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to visit rescued marine mammals. If you love to be active on your days off, take a guided kayak tour to check out hidden beaches, contoured cliffs, the crystal-clear ocean and abundant sea life.

For the art lover, head over to the Laguna Playhouse to catch a play and hop on the free Laguna Beach Trolley to travel along the coast from Laguna Beach to Dana Point. After a long day of fun-filled activities and sunshine, what better way to end your Laguna Beach day than with hand-muddled mojitos while enjoying the best view in all of OC at The Rooftop Lounge at La Casa Del Camino. This dog-friendly rooftop bar offers a young, hip and lively atmosphere with the best panoramic views of the coastline.

9. Topanga Canyon

Although located in L.A., the bohemian vibe of hippie enclave Topanga Canyon makes visitors feel like they are miles away. Perched between Malibu, Calabasas, and the West San Fernando Valley, with close proximity to the ocean and a general lack of corporate chains, Topanga’s small-town feel makes it a relaxed place where no one bats an eye at barefoot shop patrons or unique, artful intricacies hanging in front yards. Enjoy outdoor activities like Red Rock Canyon Trail and explore caves and search for fossils and arrowheads left by the Chumash Indians, or take your pup to dog-friendly Tuna Canyon park.

Check out the vintage clothing shop Hidden Treasures, making sure to check out the pirate trunk near the front door with clearance items going for just a few bucks each, or stop by nearby Boubolina for hippie dresses, Native American jewelry and lots of eclectic clothing.

Craving a bite after a long day? Check out Inn of the Seventh Ray, one of the most romantic restaurants in all of Los Angeles featuring a large terraced garden area next to a creek surrounded by tree, or try local favorite Cafe Mimosa.

For more ideas on what to do in the area be sure to check out this previous We Like L.A. guide on fun things to do in Topanga Canyon.

Topanga State Park

Topanga State Park. Credit: Neeson Hsu via flickr cc

10. Malibu coast

This affluent beach city just up the Pacific Coast Highway in L.A. is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and exclusive homes. Located just north of Santa Monica, Malibu is known for its splendor and its 21 miles of beautiful beaches. From nature excursions to horseback riding and surfing to going on a wine safari, there’s plenty to see and do in Malibu.

If you are a hiker, check out popular hikes like the Grotto Trail or Escondido Falls, while those seeking a different type of outdoor adventure can go horseback riding with the Malibu Riders or embark on various excursions with Malibu Coastal Adventures. The beauty of this coastal city is that you can visit different beaches — Malibu has 10 different beaches, all of which are public — and enjoy nearly perfect conditions year round. After a long day outdoors, head over to Malibu Country Mart to stop and shop, and if you are there on a Sunday, check out the Malibu Farmers Market which is held every Sunday, year-round, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the Adamson House, known as “the Taj Mahal of tile,” or beautiful Getty Villa before going to Malibu Family Wines for a wine safari, or for special events like their comedy or movie nights. Stop by local favorite Malibu Seafood for some of the best fish and chips in the city, or enjoy one of the more upscale dining options available, such as Nobu or Geoffrey’s.

For more ideas on what to do in the area check out this previous We Like L.A. guide on fun things to do in Malibu.

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sightseeing, Things To Do

13 Fun Things to Do in Culver City If You’re In the Neighborhood

February 20, 2017 by Jarone Ashkenazi

Culver City has really blossomed over the last few years, thanks to the redevelopment of Downtown Culver City and the arrival of the Metro Expo Line. Highly pedestrian-friendly, it’s a destination that offers a multitude of options every single day.

Whether you want to tour a classic movie studio, explore great shopping or dining, or want to enjoy some culture in your spare time, here, in no particular order, are super some fun things to do in Culver City.

Enjoy!

Culver Hotel Lobby

Lobby at the Culver Hotel. Image via Culver Hotel

1. The Culver Hotel

A focal point of Culver City, the Culver Hotel is a historic landmark that offers a grand estate feel in their recently renovated 46-room-hotel. The grand lobby’s carefully detailed ambiance, complete with high ceilings, vintage armchairs, and classic movie projections, offers nightly live music from up-and-coming artists. Through the lobby and up the stairs, you’ll find the hotel’s magical Velvet Lounge, perfectly reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy with a twist of Parisian boudoir. Open Thursdays through Saturdays after 8 p.m., it holds plenty of secluded corners to enjoy an aperitif or bottle service.

More information here

2. Museum of Jurassic Technology

Technically located in the Palms area, on the corner of Venice and Bagley Avenue, the Museum of Jurassic Technology was founded by husband and wife David Hildebrand Wilson and Diana Drake Wilson in 1988. Hidden behind a windowless storefront, the museum contains an unusual collection of exhibits and objects with varying, uncertain degrees of authenticity. The museum challenges the very nature of what a museum is, while its Tula Tea Room, a Russian-style tea spot, offers Georgian tea, cookies, and crackers to patrons.

More information here

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Outside the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Photo by Sascha Pohflepp via flickr cc

3. PLATFORM

PLATFORM, part of the Hayden Tract in Culver City, offers a collection of 120,000 square feet of curated merchants, chefs, and creative companies from around the world. Offering L.A. the perfect wellness experience, you can look no further than this local neighborhood for a blissful day. Begin your morning with a fresh juice at Juice Served Here before you endure a coveted SoulCycle class for a killer sweat sesh. Then head over to Aesop for a refreshing facial and a manicure at Tenoverten. Cap off your perfect day with a healthy lunch at Sweetgreen or an acai bowl at São Acai.

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4. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

From 8 a.m. to sunset, adventurers are welcome to take on the 282 steep, concrete stairs to the top of Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Before embarking on the hike up to the peak (you can also drive it, if you’re not feeling as adventurous), check out the exhibits telling the story of this once drilled and exploited land. At the 500-foot peak, sit on a park bench and take in the 360-degree city views of the entire Los Angeles Basin, the Pacific Ocean, and surrounding mountains.

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Climb Culver City Stairs

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Trail. Photo Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

5. Sony Pictures Studio Tour

Want to feel like a star for a couple of hours? Sony Pictures in Culver City offers a two-hour guided walking studio tour which gives guests the real experience of a working movie studio. Tours run Mondays through Fridays and tickets, which must be reserved, are $45 per person. Guests can visit the famed sets of game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, along with sound stages where iconic movies like The Wizard of Oz were filmed.

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6. Helms Bakery District

Helms Bakery, built in 1931, operated as a bakery until going out of business in 1969. It sat empty for a few years but was eventually restored. This adaptive reuse of a historic structure is filled with award-winning restaurants, design and home furnishings stores, and more. Located just one block east of the Metro Expo Line, this is a great spot to meet friends for a day of food, furniture shopping, and fun.

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Helms Bakery District

Street view of Helms Bakery District. Photo by Joe Wolf via flickr cc

7. Hobbit House

Located in downtown Culver City, the Hobbit House was created by former Walt Disney Studios artist Joseph Lawrence. Once a single-family residence, it was redesigned into several units, with one recently renting for $1,695 a month. Built in the whimsical storybook architecture style, the house has no right angles. It features sweeping shingled roofs, along with diamond-paned windows.

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8. Culver City Arts District

Located on Washington Boulevard between Helms and Fairfax Avenues, as well as La Cienega Blvd. between Venice and Fairfax Avenue, the Culver City Arts District invites guests to explore, experience, and enjoy their unique collection of contemporary art galleries, artist studios, boutique restaurants and specialty services. Among many others retailers and galleries, some standouts include Arcana: Books on the Arts, FP Contemporary art gallery, gastropub Father’s Office, and acclaimed Asian fusion eatery Lukshon.

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9. Kirk Douglas Theatre

A distinctive Streamline Moderne structure that was originally a movie palace, the Culver Theatre opened in 1946. In 2004, after an $8 million restoration project that preserved its historic exterior and added two new stages, it reopened as the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Located in Downtown Culver City, the Kirk Douglas Theatre hosts many of Center Theatre Group’s world premieres and most adventurous works.

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10. Culver City Farmer’s Market

Every Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m., rain or shine, Culver City Farmer’s Market offers a great selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other fine foods. Located on downtown Culver City’s Main Street, it’s one of the smaller farmers markets in Los Angeles, but boasts a reputation for the superior quality of its vendors. Free two-hour parking is available in structures nearby.

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11. The Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation

Founded in 1981 by a group of young artists and guided by Artistic Director Tim Robbins, the Actors’ Gang offers vibrantly entertaining plays in a century-old electricity substation. Accomplished actors and guest performers from Jack Black, John Cusack, John C. Reilly to Jackson Browne and Sarah Silverman have been involved in their entertaining productions.

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12. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is one of the largest inner-city parks and regional open spaces in greater Los Angeles. The Culver City-adjacent park (it’s technically next door in Ladera Heights) is home to a lotus pond, fishing lake, baseball and soccer fields, sand volleyball court, more than seven miles of walking and hiking trails, plus a ten-station workout course. Along the way, enjoy views from the South Bay and the Pacific Ocean to Downtown and the San Gabriel Mountains.

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Kenneth Hahn View of DTLA

A view of downtown from Kenneth Hahn Recreational Area. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

13. Wende Museum

Established in 2002, the Wende Museum is a Cold War art museum, historical archive, and educational institution located in the former United States National Guard Armory building. The museum’s collection includes over 100,000 objects, propaganda posters, and more from the Soviet Union and the former Eastern Bloc.

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Lifestyle, Things To Do

10 Essential Experiences Every Angeleno Should Try in 2017

January 24, 2017 by Jarone Ashkenazi

What with the sheer size and density of Los Angeles, native angelenos and newcomers alike sometimes feel perplexed about where to go and what to do. The city, built on Hollywood romance, the beach, beautiful people and traffic, gives off both fantasy and reality.

Going into the new year, everyone has their New Year’s resolutions, but what about creating some L.A.-specific resolutions?

If you’re still trying to pencil in bucket list items for 2017 then here’s one (humble) suggestion: Start below.

Grand Central Market Los Angeles

Grand Central Market. Photo by Christina Minh / We Like L.A.

1. Dine and Explore at Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market may be turning 100 this year, but the historic food hall continues to reinvent and refresh itself with an extraordinary line-up of culinary offerings and happenings. Among the many choices are Bar Moruno, Horse Thief BBQ, falafel purveyors Madcapra, and the ever-popular Eggslut. Since extending its hours to 10 p.m., Grand Central Market has established itself as a vibrant nighttime destination with its inventive mix of food, drink, and entertainment.

The Market’s schedule of nighttime entertainment includes Sunday Jazz Nights, Trivia Tuesdays, Thursday Game Night and Drag Queen Bingo. Online radio station dublab recently launched Grand Central Fridays, bringing its soundsystem and DJ collective to the Market on a weekly basis to provide tunes to get the evening — and weekend — started. In addition, the Market hosts special evenings, such as readings with the Los Angeles Review of Books. -> More information

2. Play at a Virtual Reality Arcade: VR Territory

VR Territory is one of the world’s first virtual reality arcades, with fully immersive VR experiences within 10′ x 10′ individual spaces. It’s the only fully dedicated, officially licensed place for virtual reality in Los Angeles. Gamers can enjoy multiplayer and single-player entertainment experiences via the most innovative technology in decades. For 2017, VR Territory is adding Active VR experiences to help you get healthy and trim while enjoying Virtual Reality. -> More information

VR Territory

Photo by Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

3. Go to an Outdoor Movie Screening

There’s nothing quite like watching a movie under the stars. From vintage old-Hollywood movies to cult classics and more, Los Angeles offers plenty of opportunities to watch great films outdoors. Cinespia, at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, offers screenings where guests can watch classic stars of the silver screen near some of their gravesites. Tickets are $16 (not including optional parking) and can be purchased online here.  Street Food Cinema hosts numerous outdoor screenings all over town, with the added bonus of food trucks and live musical performances. More info and tickets can be found on Street Food Cinema’s website here. Other screening options include Rooftop Cinema Club atop the roof of Hollywood’s 90-year-old Montalbán Theater and Eat|See|Hear on Saturdays all over town.

Rooftop Film Club Los Angeles

Image via Rooftop Cinema Club

4. Do a Free Public Tour at JPL

Located in Pasadena, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and earth science missions. For those wanting a peek into outer space, this federally funded research and development center offers tours free of charge on an advance-reservation basis. JPL offers three types of tours: educational group tours (20 or more people), public group tours (20 or more people), and visitor day tours (up to 10 people max per reservation). During tours, guests receive an overview of the Laboratory’s activities and accomplishments, and visit the von Karman Visitor Center, the Space Flight Operations Facility, and the Spacecraft Assembly Facility. -> More information

We had a blast hosting #ExploreJPL this weekend. We hope all our guests enjoyed it too!

A post shared by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (@nasajpl) on

5. Spend Time at a Botanical Garden

L.A. isn’t just home to traffic, freeways, and buildings; the city also boasts an impressive array of gardens and green spaces for locals and visitors to explore. Some of the more popular gardens include the vast, 120-acre Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, the 160-acre Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge and the 127-acre botanical garden and historical Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden. Among the other beautiful gardens across the city: the Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Beverly Hills’ Robinson Gardens.

[RELATED: 16 Gorgeous Los Angeles Botanical Gardens You Definitely Need to Visit Once]

6. Have a Group Dining Experience

Dining in L.A. has taken a bit of a turn, as people are now opting to sit at a table with strangers at a secret location trying different cuisines. Supper clubs, including the DTLA Dinner Club, have taken L.A. by storm, wherein home chefs and trained restaurant chefs alike dabble in this new form of food art. The Roulette Society in West Hollywood is a series of pop-up events and dinner parties for the interesting and interested, while Chef Craig Thornton, via Wolvesmouth, hosts a pop-up dinner featuring world-class cuisine at his home. Thornton also has a new seafood centric series called Sharksteeth.

Others options include the Disco Dining Club, Hyejin Cho and Itay Zach’s Foodshop, The Coconut Club, and many more. We Like L.A. also had a fun experience checking out a Feastly event in the Arts District this past month (see pic below).

7. Enjoy at Least One Free Museum Day

Those looking to get their culture fix in L.A. can do so for free all across town, as many of our museums are either free or have free museum days. The Broad Museum in DTLA is free with reservations, while The Getty and Getty Villa are both free (though you do have to pay $15 for parking if you choose to drive). At LACMA, all guests receive free general admission on the second Tuesday of every month, while L.A. County residents receive free general admission on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Huntington Library is free the first Thursday of the month when you book an advance ticket, while the Natural History Museum is free the first Tuesday of every month (except July and August). A number of other free museums include the Hammer Museum, California Science Center, Griffith Observatory, Fowler Museum, and many more. See the list below is many more options.

[RELATED: A Handy List of Free Museum Days in Los Angeles]

Getty Center Garden

The Getty Center. Credit: Nick Webb via flickr cc

8. Do L.A. on Foot at CicLAvia

CicLAvia, a leader in the global open streets movement, temporarily closes streets to car traffic, opening them to Los Angelenos to use as a public park. This non-profit group catalyzes vibrant public spaces, active transportation, and good health through car-free street happenings across the city, giving Angelenos a great excuse to explore L.A. by foot, each time in a different neighborhood. CicLAvia currently has two events coming up: “Culver City Meets Venice presented by Metro” on March 26, and another in June, “Glendale to Atwater,” with more to be announced soon. -> More information

CicLAvia 2011

CicLAvia in 2011 near MacArhtur Park. Credit: Steve and Julie via flickr cc

9. Meet the Grunion at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Down in San Pedro, spend a night at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and meet some grunion. The small sardine-size fish arrive at night after high tide around the new moon and full moon, and Cabrillo Beach is one of the best locations to view them. The Aquarium opens at 8 p.m. During the auditorium program beginning at 9 p.m., guests learn about the interesting mating rituals and growth of this curious fish, followed by guided observation on the beach. Tickets are just $5 for adults and $1 for seniors, students, and children. -> More information

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Photo by Gary Florin / Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

10. Go to a Free Live Music Show

Free concerts in L.A. aren’t hard to find, as music is one the city’s main forms of entertainment. Particularly during the summer months (such as Twilight Concerts at The Pier and lunchtime concerts amid food trucks at DTLA’s Grand Park), a number of venues and locations host free events, though some also have free concerts year-round. For a local vibe, check out local LA bands showing off their tunes every Monday night at The Satellite in Silver Lake. Other free music events include: Music Spotlight Series at Universal CityWalk, Echo Park Rising and Make Music Pasadena.

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Things To Do

30 Fun Things to do For New Year’s Eve in L.A. (2016 -> 2017)

December 16, 2016 by Jarone Ashkenazi

Ring in 2017 with the best New Year’s Eve events in Los Angeles, from glamorous parties and fireworks shows to totally unique fixe-course meals across the city. Whether you are looking to go party or want to enjoy a fun and festive meal, there are plenty of celebrations to choose from.

Below is our list of some of the best things to do for NYE in L.A. this year, all organized into two sections: New Year’s Eve events (1-18) and New Year’s Eve Dining (19-30).

Enjoy the new year!

New Year's Eve 2017 Aboard the Queen Mary

New Year’s Eve 2017 Aboard the Queen Mary. Photo credit: The Queen Mary


Keep in mind for some of the ticketing options provided we utilize affiliate links and receive a commission if you purchase through our links (affiliates noted in parenthesis), however we retain complete editorial control of our content.


New Year’s Eve Events

1. Egyptian Theatre – 8th Annual Cleopatra’s 2017 LA New Year’s Eve Ball

6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 461-2020

One of Hollywood’s biggest and most popular New Year’s Eve parties returns to the Egyptian Theatre for an evening of Cleopatra-themed fun. The 8th annual Cleopatra New Year’s Eve Ball will include a heated courtyard, a hieroglyphics light show, go-go dancers, multiple DJs, an open bar, and a massive LED countdown to bring in the new year. Tickets start at $125 (early bird is already sold out!). Check for discounted tickets while supplies last via Goldstar.

More information

2. Rocky Horror Parody New Year’s Eve Celebration

1714 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 669-1550

Seating 1: 7:30 p.m.

Seating 2: 10:30 p.m.

Spend New Year’s Eve with Brad, Janet and mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter as the cast of characters bring a Rocky Horror NYE to the Rockwell. Guests will be offered a special New Year’s dinner paired with parody songs from the cult musical. Once the show is done you can head upstairs for a Rocky Horror themed party where are costumes are strongly encouraged. A dessert buffet and a midnight champagne toast is included in the price of your ticket. Be sure to check for discounted tickets while supplies last via Goldstar.

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3. Escape Reality NYE Party At Magicopolis

1418 Fourth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: 310-451-2241

Looking for the most magical way to celebrate the beginning of 2017? Your ticket gets you a seat at Magicopolis critically acclaimed and longest running show, “Escape Reality,” along with a magical New Year’s Eve celebration. You’ll also be treated to a magic class, souvenir bags chalk full of magic tricks, hats and noisemakers, soft drinks, popcorn, and plenty more. A glass of champagne or sparkling cider will be handed out at the stroke of midnight. Check for discounted tickets while supplies last via Goldstar.

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4. 1OAK – New Year’s Eve 2017

9039 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 274-2326

Many call 1OAK the “it” club of the moment in Tinseltown, and they are throwing a New Year’s Eve bash that promises to live up the hype. The exclusive 1OAK LA Nightclub is having a glam-filled NYE celebration that includes a 5 Hour Premium Open Bar, Top DJs and Complimentary Champagne Toast at Midnight. This swanky spot on the Sunset Strip brings together New York and LA culture and provides a spacious lively nightclub featuring DJs & bottle service. Tickets start at $129.

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5. Grand Park + The Music Center – 4th annual N.Y.E. L.A

200 N Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-8080

The New Year’s celebration will feature three stages with live music, DJs and dancing throughout the night; large scale inflatable art; and 3D digital video mapping on City Hall along with an integrated light show to count down to the new year in true L.A. style. The free family-friendly event, takes place from 8:00 p.m. NYE to 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and will cover 90 acres from The Music Center Plaza to City Hall (Hope Street to Spring Street) and from Temple Street to 2nd Street. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend and enjoy Samba dancers, a Hip-Hop dance crew, bands and some of the city’s top DJs, the evening’s entertainment promises to get everyone up and dancing. Guests will also enjoy free photo booths and a wide range of food vendors.

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6. Mrs. Fish – NYE 2017

448 S. Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 873-4444

The DTLA nightclub featuring glowing fish tanks, will be hosting a NYE party for $150/person. The night’s festivities will include an open bar, tray-passed food creations, live music by the amazing electro-funk / party rock band PLANET BOOTY, all-night jams from DJ C-Minus and much more. Purchase your tickets in advance online or you can also buy them the door on a first-come, first served basis. There will be designated open seating, so get there early to claim a spot.

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7. Viceroy Santa Monica – NYE’s Twenty Sixteen Black + Gold Soire

1819 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 260-7500

89.9 KCRW & Viceroy Santa Monica Present NYE’s Twenty Sixteen Black + Gold Soiree, A New Year’s Eve Celebration at Viceroy Santa Monica from 9pm-1:30am. Featuring KCRW DJs Raul Campos + Travis Holcombe, the night will include a hosted open bar, hosted hors d’oeuvres, private cabana rentals and bottle service. Ticket options include: $155 pre-sale tickets for the first 100 tickets, $185 general admission, $200 on the same day of the event and at the doo​r​ and cabanas/tables are available for reservations starting at ​$1,400. ​

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8. Mondrian – 2017: A Skybar Oddessy

8440 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 650-8999

Mondrian Los Angeles is taking New Year’s even further into the future with this year’s party: 2017: A Skybar Oddessy and invites guests to ring in 2017 with them as they transform the iconic Skybar into a futuristic world with galactic disco balls and robot cocktail waitresses. All tickets allow access to an open bar at all three premium bars from 9:00p until the ball drops + a midnight champagne toast. Dance to tunes spun by Diallo and DJ Elvis Suarez on top Skybar pool, which will transform into a metallic dance floor. Skip the Uber surges this New Year’s Eve and enjoy a night at Mondrian LA with room rates starting at $499, which includes 2 complimentary tickets to the party.

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9. Marina Del Rey Hotel – Midnight on the Marina

13534 Bali Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 301-1000

Marina Del Rey Hotel is hosting an exclusive New Year’s Celebration at their waterfront room and patio overlooking the yachts and sailboats of the Marina. Before dancing the night away, heat things up with dinner at SALT Restaurant & Bar. Executive Chef Mark Gold is preparing a 5-course prix fixe menu ($95/person) designed to ring in the new year with true delight. Enjoy two dazzling fireworks displays over the sparkling marina at 9:00 p.m. and midnight with delectable hors d’oeuvres from SALT Restaurant. Ring in the new magic of 2017 with a complimentary Champagne Toast at Midnight with sounds provided by DJ Ella. Waterfront Room doors open at 8:30 p.m. event ends at 1:00 p.m, tickets are $50/person in advance and $60/person at the door.

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10. Union Station – Prohibition NYE

800 N Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Prohibition NYE will return to the Ticket Concourse at Union Station with the excitement and glamour of the Roaring 1920s. Experience theatrical burlesque, live jazz ensembles, nationally touring DJ’s, and a premium open bar featuring champagne and specialty cocktails. Starting at 9 pm., tickets are on sale for $165, make sure not to miss Prohibition NYE’s signature 60 foot, midnight ball-drop. The Chicago based trio, Autograf, will headline Prohibition NYE while talented saxophonist, Justin Ward, and rising talent DJ Cherry Beach will also provide musical entertainment.

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11. LA Center Studios – Minimal Effort NYE

450 S Bixel St.

Los Angeles, CA 90017

From 4pm- 2am, set within the sprawling three stage, indoor-outdoor LA Center Studios, Minimal Effort will return with a finely curated billing of live and DJ talent from across the international dance music community. In the heart of DTLA, guests will enjoy 3 indoor stages, 24 DJs and 10 hours of music with live sets from Techno greats Recondite, Stephan Bodzin, Audion, and Nicola Cruz, plus standout DJ performances from the likes of Simian Mobile Disco, &Me and more. Only certain select tickets are available starting at $79.

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12. Franklin & Co. Tavern

5923 Franklin Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90068
(323) 463-1552

At Franklin Village’s favorite watering hole, Franklin & Co. Tavern, there’s a no cover, no reservations good time to be had! The regular Happy Hour, with food from $3-$6, and drinks from $4-$6, will be extended to 10pm. There will be a DJ playing music, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and drinks specials all night from Jameson, Altos Tequila, and Beluga Vodka.

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13. Villains Tavern

1356 Palmetto St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 613-0766

The Arts District’s original has a great New Years Eve lined up. There’s NO COVER, and revelers will enjoy live music, with drinks specials from Jameson’s Casemates, PBR, and Altos Tequila all night, as well as a complimentary Champagne toast at Midnight. 5.30pm – 2am.

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14. Kidspace Children’s Museum – Noon Year’s Eve

480 N Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 449-9144

Kidspace allows those whose bedtime is way before midnight to celebrate the New Year at noon. The party which begins at 10am and closes at 3pm allows guests of all ages to experience the ginormous balloon drop at noon, sip and toast cups of sparkling cider, and create your own noisemakers to ring in 2017. Come early to make it to the balloon drop as available space in the balloon drop areas are first-come-first-serve.

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15. Hollywood NYE Block Party 2017

1643 Cosmo St.
Los Angeles CA 90028

Going to just one venue isn’t enough so live it up at the Hollywood NYE Block Party with 3 super-hot nightlife venues (Project Club LA, Beso Hollywood, & The Study / Hemingway’s) in one awesome package. Whichever space you may find yourself in, this deluxe NYE bash will treat you to the finest party amenities Hollywood has to offer: a 5 hour open bar to keep the party heated, complimentary NYE party favors to make sure this stylish crowd is wrapped in the holiday spirit and a delicious complimentary early evening lite fare. Tickets start at $59.

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16. The Queen Mary – Toast to 2017

1126 Queens Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90802
(877) 342- 0742

The Queen Mary’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza offers a celebration for everyone. Las Vegas Showgirls kick-off the evening’s celebrations and a variety of live music will play throughout the night including top 40 hits from DJ Carisma on the Verandah Deck Gazebo and EDM favorites from DJ Cutt on the Sports Deck. Country music star, Stephen Wesley, will perform in the Royal Salon and Dueling Pianos will take over the Britannia Salon. Award-winning magician, Jon Armstrong, will show-off his amazing close-up magic on the Promenade Deck. Those who prefer to dance the night away can celebrate the New Year with a salsa dancing class or try the infamous dance-lift with the “Dirty Dancing” demo. General admission tickets are $99 and include admission, fireworks, and access to select partie while VIP tickets with premium firework viewing are $199 and include admission, premiums firework viewing, 2 drink tickets and access to all parties.

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17. Big Bar NYE

1927 Hillhurst Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-0100

The folks at Big Bar are back with their annual New Year’s Eve x10: Countdown. 10 timezones, 10 themed cocktails, 10 playlists. The celebration starts at 3 p.m. (midnight in Paris).

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18. Downtown Long Beach New Year’s Eve Block Party

200 Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA

The festival will take place in the heart of Downtown. Performing this year will be St. Paul and the Broken Bone, Citizen Cope, Cut Copy DJs Big Data and Hirie. You can purchase tickets online for $40. Tickets will also be available at the gate on the day of the event.

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New Year’s Eve Dining

norah restaurant

Photo Credit: Josh Telles/Norah

19. Norah – Ring in the New Year With Extravagant Cheer

8279 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, California, 90046
(323) 450-4211

First seating: 6-9 p.m.

Second seating: 9 p.m.-close

Norah celebrates New Year’s Eve with a refined five-course tasting menu and carefully selected beverage pairings capturing the true essence of the holiday. With a glass of Champagne in hand, patrons will indulge in Executive Chef Mike Williams crafted dishes, which are highlighted by some caviar, truffles and foie gras. Menu items include the Foie Gras Boudin with savory oats and huckleberries; the Agnolotti with winter squash and shaved black truffles; and the Wagyu Striploin with smoked mushroom jus, beef cheek croquettes, romanesco, and whipped mornay. Reservations are available through online ticketing platform Tock for $200 per person (tax and service charge added at checkout).

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20. 71Above

633 W 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 712-2683

At 71Above, New Year’s Eve comes with glamour and sophistication and a dazzling view. For $250, guests will enjoy free flowing Billecart-Salmon Champagne, a complimentary selection of red and white wines, and generous tray passed hors d’oeuvres and food stations. Among the elegant offerings are poached oysters with uni and caviar, Prime New York steak, with truffle onion marmalade, poached lobster with creamed celery root, foie gras macaroon, and potato and truffle tart with creme fraiche. The breathtaking view across the city is included in the price.

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21. Baltaire – “Midnight in Paris”

11647 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(424) 273-1660

Seating 1: 5:30-7:00 p.m. and a two hour seating window, à la carte menu (includes live entertainment)

Seating 2: 9-11:00 p.m., $250 per person for a four-course menu (includes glass of Champagne, the table for the remainder of the evening, and live entertainment)

Baltaire, the classic-meets-contemporary Brentwood steakhouse, is ringing in 2017 with a glamorous, over-the-top “Midnight in Paris” themed New Year’s Eve celebration. Guests will be transported back to 1940s Paris with indulgences such as roaming caviar, Champagne, and cheese carts, and Chateaubriand carved tableside and a prix-fixe French-inspired menu by Executive Chef Travis Strickland. For those who want to get up and dance, there will be live entertainment including gypsy jazz band Django’s Caravan and a DJ spinning contemporary beats. To make a reservation, please call 424.273.1660 or email [email protected]

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22. Le Petit Paris – Adds A Little Je Ne Sais Quoi to NYE

418 S Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 217-4445

Seating 1: 5:00pm – 7:00pm, $95 per person

Seating 2: 8:30pm – close, $175 per person

To ring in 2017, Le Petit Paris will offer two New Year’s Eve seatings where guests can enjoy a three-course prix-fixe dinner along with a complimentary glass of Peach Kir Royale at the first seating and a complimentary glass of Champagne at the second seating. Guests can indulge in decadent dishes such as Roasted New Zealand John Dory with Carrot Confit and Artichokes a la Barigoule; Chicken Breast Supreme Stuffed with Morel Mushrooms and Foie Gras Cream Sauce; and Ferrero Rocher Vacherin with Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream and Meringue for dessert.

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le petit paris

23. Golden Road Brewing – New Beer’s Resolution

5410 W San Fernando Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(213) 373-4677

Time: 7:00pm – 2:00 am (accepting reservations between 7pm and 10pm)

Golden Road Brewery will be hosting a special New Year’s Eve celebration with great beer to bring in the New Year! Enjoy a 4-course menu designed by Golden Road’s Executive Chef Adam Levoe along with a special barrel-aged beer pouring.  There will be live entertainment throughout the evening leading up to a (complimentary) midnight toast!

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24. B.S. TAQUERIA – New Year’s Eve Party

514 W 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 622-3744

Time:  7:00pm – 1:30am

For $75 per person, guests can enjoy unlimited Mexican food & drinks. Food menu items include: unlimited Chicken, Chorizo and Papas, Carnitas and Mushroom and Garlic Tacos as well as Rice and Beans, which are perfectly paired with their beverage menu of unlimited Tecates, Margaritas, and Sparkling Wine. Starting at 9pm a DJ will be on the ones and twos to ring in the New Year.

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25. Hinoki & the Bird – Vietnam Themed NYE Dinner & Party

10 W Century Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 552-1200

Seating 1: 5:30-7:30 p.m. ($65), three courses and choice of dessert

Seating 2: 8:30-10:30 p.m. ($95), Amuse bouche, three courses, choice of dessert and sparkling wine toast

Ring in the New Year as Hinoki & the Bird invites guests to travel to Vietnam for the evening with special menus, music and live entertainment. The three-course prix fixe menu created by Executive Chef Brandon Kida will also include supplemental options for each course. Diners will have the option to dine either their indoor or outdoor space and ring in the New Years in style.

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26. Doheny Room – Ring in New Year’s Gatsby Style

9077 California State Rte 2
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 777-0266

Seating 1: 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 pm., $75 per person

Seating 2: 9:30 pm. – end of the night, $100 per person + table minimum

Go back in time to ring in the New Year at Doheny Room with their 1920s/Gatsby themed party! Offering two dinner seatings, a balloon drop at midnight, Champagne tower and toast. For tables, a minimum of 2-4 people: $1,000; 5-7 people: $1,500; 8-10 people: 1,500; 15+ people: $2,000. Reservations: [email protected]

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27. Momed Atwater Village

3245 Casitas Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 522-3488

Seating 1: 5-6.30pm, there’s a $65 prix fixe menu of 3 courses, plus an amuse bouche, and an optional dessert course (additional wine pairing is available for $30).

Seating 2: 6.30-10.30pm, $85, there are 4 courses, plus an amuse bouche and optional dessert, with an optional wine pairing for $40 and a DJ playing an eclectic and sophisticated mix of music genres.

Atwater Village’s sleek modern Mediterranean restaurant will be celebrating the New Year with a lamb and bird roast over an open fire on the patio, from chef David Wilcox. Dishes include Braised Brisket Tortellini with wild mushrooms, sesame thyme butter and gremolata, Leg of Lamb, cooked over the fire, with charred Brussels sprouts, pistachio, and chermoula.

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28. Craft Los Angeles

10100 Constellation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310.279.4180

Seating 1: 5:30 – 8:30 pm ($130 per guest excluding tax & gratuity)

Seating 2: Reservations can be made at 9, 9:30 + 10 pm ($165 per guest with champagne & party favors, excluding gratuity and tax)

Chef de cuisine Andrew Gavalla will prepare a lavish family-style prix fixe for guests with first course offerings such as Lobster Ceviche & Yuzu and Speck Wrapped Quail, main course options such as Short Rib Tortellini, Diver Scallops and Mugifuji Pork Loin, and seasonal sides for the table. Guests can also opt for supplemental truffle-topped gnocchi and parmesan risotto. Shared desserts from pastry chef Shannon Swindle include a German Chocolate Tart with pecan + coconut caramel; Bienenstich with apple + fennel, and seasonal ice cream + sorbet.

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29. Paley – NYE Prix Fixe + Jazz  @ Columbia Square

6115 Sunset Blvd #100
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 544-9430

Hours: 5:30 pm – 2:00 am

Price: $65 per guest; wine pairing $35; complimentary champagne toast at midnight

Paley., located in the heart of Hollywood, will offer a four-course dinner menu, which includes appetizer options like mirin-braised Pork Belly with ginger-apple puree; entrees like grilled Prime Filet Mignon and Pan-Roasted Halibut with caviar; and dessert offerings like Pear Tarts with huckleberry compote. A five-piece jazz band will play until 11 p.m. when guests can turn their attention to a stream of the impending ball drop screened on the restaurant’s dining room wall. Bar guests can enjoy a special “Welcome to 2017” cocktail menu with a live DJ set cranking out tunes until 2 a.m.

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30. Bourbon Steak House in Glendale

237 S. Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91204
(818) 839-4130

Price: $98+ menu plus a $45 wine pairing available.

Bourbon Steak House is doing New Year’s with a festive four-course menu. Options for starters include Chilled Soba Noodles with black truffle dashi and a 7-minute golden egg; or Seared Scallops And ‘Coins’ with golden lentils, roasted carrots and tamarind. Guests can choose from entrees including the 14oz New York ‘Ball Drop’ with black garlic soubise, beurre d’echire yukon gold, Brussels sprouts and truffle; or a Wood Roasted Branzino with bamboo rice, romanesco and coconut curry. Desserts include Gold Chocolate Cake with peanut butter ganache and macrona almonds; or a New York City Cheesecake with blackberry, graham cracker crumble and basil make up the sweet offerings. The table will also share Broccoli & Fine Herbs; Black Truffle Ditalini & Cheese; and Creamed Parmesan Spinach

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Cool Spots, Lifestyle, Things To Do

The Best First Date Ideas in Los Angeles

December 1, 2016 by Jarone Ashkenazi

You met either the old-fashioned way — in person — or by swiping on any one of the myriad of dating apps. You’ve found someone worth going out with, but now the question becomes, what should you do?

The first date sets the tone for your budding relationship, so it’s fortunate that Los Angeles has options for any type of dater. If you’re looking to impress with your choice of a unique and fun first outing, here are some of the best first-date ideas in L.A.

Hope they help!

Highland Park Bowl

Highland Park Bowl bar and bowling lanes. Photo credits: Christina Minh / We Like L.A.

For those who want to feel like a kid again, go bowling at Highland Park Bowl

Bowling encourages laughter and high fives, allowing both you and your date to feel like a kid again while engaging in some playful competition. There is no place in LA that’s better for a bowling first date than Highland Park Bowl. First opened in 1927 and recently renovated and restored, it offers elevated bowling fare and drink and is the oldest operating bowling alley in Los Angeles. With its three bars and unique refurbished pieces, including a mural painted in the 1930s and chandeliers made of vintage pinsetters, this space is both fun and eye-catching.

 For those who enjoy a view, head to a rooftop bar

We Angelenos are lucky to have nearly perfect weather year-round that allows daters to take advantage of rooftop bars around town. These rooftop perches offer sweeping skyline views and inventive cocktails that allow for great conversation and provide a wonderful backdrop to any date. West Hollywood hotspots such as Catch and E.P. & L.P., along with Downtown L.A.’s Perch and The Standard, are a few of the many great options to impress your date. For more information check out We Like L.A.’s rundown of the best rooftop bars in Los Angeles.

Rooftop Bar The Standard Hotel

Rooftop bar at The Standard in DTLA. Credit: Prayitno via flickr cc

For foodies, head out on a food truck adventure

The first Friday of each month, Abbot Kinney Boulevard welcomes visitors to check out a slew of food trucks in the heart of Venice. The exciting food truck-focused event with a community-oriented atmosphere makes it a perfect spot for a date, as you can walk around, try several different cuisines, and peek into local shops and unique pop-ups from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. Another option, on Tuesdays in Santa Monica, goes from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Located outside the California Heritage Museum, a diverse, ever-changing array of gourmet food trucks gives daters a perfect reason to bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic under the stars.

[RELATED16 Delicious L.A. Food Trucks That Will Transport Your Tastebuds to Another Country]

 For the dinner and a movie crowd

The Tuck Room Tavern provides an ideal dinner date atmosphere, with whimsical decor and delectable dishes from James Beard Award-winning Chef Sherry Yard. Some of the restaurant’s popular dishes perfect for sharing are the Brioche Crusted Crab Cakes and Spiced + Sweet Pork Belly Wraps, all paired with master barman Adam Seger’s signature cocktails. After enjoying a delicious meal, guests can pop over to the adjacent iPic Theaters to complete the ‘dinner and a movie’ date night experience. iPic offers plush reclining chairs and on-demand service at the touch of a button while guests enjoy the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

Tuck Room Tavern

Interior of the Tuck Room Tavern. Photo by Alen Lin Photography

For the culinary masters, take a cooking class

A cooking class can be a great way for you and your date to connect on an intimate level while working together to create a meal from start to finish. A great setting for getting to know a guy or gal, it’s a unique activity tied to a shared desire to be creative and enjoy food together. Date night classes allow couples to be creative, work together, connect, and ultimately have fun. Two companies in LA that offer such classes are Cozymeal and Spork Foods. At Cozymeal, daters can choose from a variety of chefs and cuisines. Chefs will guide their students through the cooking process while sharing their knowledge and passion for cooking and teaching new skills. Sisters Heather Bell and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods offer vegan organic cooking classes, chef training, recipe development, and private chef work in their cozy and fun kitchen in West Hollywood.

For mixologists and drink lovers

The chic and modern Mixing Room at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE offers complimentary interactive mixology classes the first Wednesday of each month. Aptly named Liquid Intelligence, these classes allow daters to enjoy the hands-on experience of crafting cocktails, along with a signature tasting based on the class offered. In addition, you can indulge in wine tastings the second Wednesday of every month and beer tastings the third Wednesday of each month, all led by local experts.

Liquid Intellgience

Liquid Intelligence. Photo by Connor Hansen

For the creatives, drink and paint

Every Sunday Night, Angel City Brewery in Downtown Los Angeles hosts Paint Nite. During this two-hour event, an artist leads participants step-by-step through the creation of a masterpiece, all while sipping on their original craft beer. Bring your date and enjoy brews like Angel City’s IPA and Berliner Weisse to keep the spirits high and inhibitions to a minimum as you unleash your inner Picasso via your skills on the canvas. Tickets are available here.

For those with a sense of exploration, visit the Griffith Observatory

If you have a sense of adventure, or know that your date may, going to the Griffith Observatory, whether by hiking to it during the day or driving up at night, is a fun, romantic location for a first date. Enjoy a fun and romantic outing as you take in the stars and the picturesque views of the city below, or check out All Space Considered, a free public program the first Friday of each month where you can learn about the most-talked-about subjects in astronomy and space science.

Griffith Observatory at Night

Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

For those with a sense of culture, check out a museum

Museums offer daters a perfect backdrop for a first date, and with walls adorned with all types of art, conversation should never be at a standstill. Whether you go to The Getty, the Hammer Museum, The Broad, LACMA or many of the others around town, taking your date to one shows that you have some class and enjoy a bit of culture. Instead of your typical resume-like first date where you learn about initial likes and dislikes, taking a date to a museum gives daters a refreshing list of topics to discuss.

[RELATED: Here’s a Handy List of all the Free Museum Days in L.A.]

For book lovers, get lost in The Last Bookstore

Located in DTLA, The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used and new book and record store and is the ideal place to browse, chat and get to know your date. With options for everyone, this shop houses more than 250,000 new and used books, graphic novels, vinyl records and a new Arts & Rare Book Annex. Although this might seem a bit nerdy to some, spending time walking around, looking through bookstacks and talking about books can be a lot of fun. Bookstore exploration can allow for great conversation, as daters can share memories of classics or favorites they enjoy and get stimulated by new ideas.

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

For the vino lovers, go wine tasting and safari

Wine-tasting is a romantic and extremely fun first date, and when you mix in a Safari Tour, what could be better? Located in the Malibu mountains, Malibu Wines offer the grand adventure of making your way around the 1,000 acre vineyard in a custom safari vehicle, feeding exotic animals like alpacas, llamas, zebras and more. In addition, guests get to enjoy wine pairings along the way. And if a safari isn’t really your thing and you want to head straight to the vino, visitors can also go to the beautiful outdoor tasting ‘room’, bring picnic materials, and purchase wine by the bottle, all while taking in the breathtaking views.


Now of other great date ideas in L.A. you think we should write about? Shoot us an email at [email protected]

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