9 Less-Than-Stellar First Date Ideas Angelenos Should Almost Always Avoid

You know the old saying “location, location, location..” right? Well have you ever thought about how that applies to romance, more specifically romance in L.A.?

Sure, there are a ton of fabulous spots to take that special someone for your first date, but let’s be real here, there are also a good amount of spots where you end up asking, “What were they thinking?”


There are a lot of variables that can occur on a first date that can either make or break the night—location should be one of the variables you can control. But not to worry! I’ve come up with a list (some based on personal experiences) that highlights some spots/ideas to avoid whilst embarking on the dating train.

** And a quick caveat:  If you read through this list and think to yourself, “that’s dumb, I would love to go there!” that is a totally normal response. Picking the perfect date spot is ultimately still your call, and will vary depending on whom you’re taking out. Consider these as more of a guideline (guided by cute animals) for where not to go on a first date. **

Cinerama Dome Los Angeles
The Cinerama Dome. Credit: Christopher Paulin via flicker

1. Going to see a movie/movie premiere

You’d think that by now we’d know that sitting in a dark theatre, where you can not speak and end up spending at least $50 bucks at places like The ArcLight for two hours is anything but romantic. This could be said for movie premieres. Don’t get me wrong, someone asking you to attend a movie premiere could be a very enjoyable experience, but not for the beginning stages of dating. It could be a good way to avoid your date if there is no chemistry—and who knows—you might end up going home with someone else. An alternative suggestion would be to go to one of Los Angeles many outdoor screenings where you can arrive early and have some great conversation while scouring local food trucks before the film starts.

Eat|See|Hear, Street Food Cinema and Cinespia all come to mind.

2. Love in this club

While I fully support going out to dance the night away, when a date offers to take you to say Super Club the night is bound to be a failure. Sure you’ll be able to have decent conversation while waiting in line for an hour, but once you’re inside make sure you use your screaming voice. Not to mention the crowd and the fact that you will be clawing your way to a spot on the dance floor. If this is your scene, great! But if not, try checking out a different dance venue like Funky Sole at the Echo.

Myon And Shane 54 Party GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


3. Netflix & chill

This kind of goes hand in hand with the above, but any one who suggests this is as a date is just a real winner. Traffic alone in Los Angeles is such a nightmare, and for someone to suggest that you drive over to his or her place to “watch a movie” is thoughtless and lazy. The worst part being when they actually put on a movie that you A) actually wanted to watch or B) really enjoy and then make suggestive moves to distract you from the actual date – no thank you. I can watch Netflix from the comfort of my own home.

4. Hiking

Hiking as a first date can either be good or bad. If you are a) athletic and into nature, this could would be a great way to bond with your date. On the other hand, if you are b) one of the many people who lie on your online dating profile and list exploring Los Angeles’s many trails on your profile– you are in for a rude and out of breathe surprise. No need for vigorous activity. There are a bunch of easy hikes that you can do and not break a sweat.




5. Paintball

I like fun and creative ideas as much as the next gal, but when a date suggested that we go paintballing for our first date, my first thought was “great, this guy doesn’t even know me yet and wants to shoot me.” Paintballing (or any survival situation) as a first date doesn’t put a lot of ladies as ease because they feel a lot of pressure to show off and portray an image that their suitor might be into. While looking for someone who will be able to survive a zombie apocalypse with you is a darn good trait to look for in a date—maybe we save it for the third or fourth date. If shooting is something you’re both into doing, then I would suggest hitting up a local gun range, like Los Angles Gun Club.

6. The Beach

Maybe it’s just me, but going to the beach on a first date seems like a pass. There’s nothing romantic about slathering up in sunscreen (especially once you break out the SPF 75) and getting sand lodged up in places you didn’t think sand could go. Not to mention you are pretty much leaving nothing to the imagination, as you will be baring your most scandalous bikini. The beach is also a no-go  at night. It’s a lot more secluded when it’s dark out and trouble has a way of finding itself once the sun goes down. Remember: safety first!


7. Hollywood Star Tours

Amongst many of the things I’ve managed to avoid since moving to L.A. is to go on a Hollywood Star Tour. When I was asked on a date and that was what the plan was, I was very hesitant, but agreed to go because “why not?”. Turns out, my date had read that Aaron Paul (from Breaking Bad) sometimes comes out to greet the tour buses that pass his house, and knew where he lived, and asked the tour guide if we could stay in front a little longer so he could come out. Moral of the story: there are better ways to bond over pop culture that do not involve stalking.

8. A Messy Dinner

This is a kind of obvious no-no for a first date. Are there times where I’ve had no clean silverware and used my hands to eat dinner at home? Yes. Does that mean I want to show you my Neanderthal ways on our first date? No. Anything with mess is not going to be good time, at least from the lady’s perspective. We spend time getting ready to look lovely, and all that effort shouldn’t go to waste. Because if you are taking us somewhere like the Boiling Crab, you better believe there will be butter and crab legs flying all over the place.

Sexy Pizza GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY



9. Any generic chain restaurant

Los Angeles has an off the charts food scene. There are so many unique and really great restaurants to explore. So when a date suggests that you hit up Olive Garden or TGI Fridays, that’s when the red flags start waving. The thought be to take a date here because it’s a less costly option, and while dating on a dime makes sense, chain restaurants end up costing the same or more as a nicer restaurant. Switch the half off appetizers at Applebee’s for some of Los Angeles essential food experiences.

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Have any other bad first date ideas? If so, share in the comments below!


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