First Date jitters? No sweat.
Planning a first date but not sure what to do or where to go? When going on an outing, making a good first impression is crucial. Make sure to tailor it to your personality.
According David Cruz from Bravo's The Millionaire Matchmaker, "If you don't stand out and compete with other possible suitors, you're just wasting your time. Share a bit of your world with someone on a first date by incorporating things that you like into it. This allows you to be the most authentic and it will give your date a window into your heart!"
Amber Kelleher-Andrews, CEO of Kelleher International, also attests that her experience has taught her to inform daters to ‘design a date around your significant others’ interests and you'll surely hit a home run.’
Below is a list of top-notch first date options in LA to match your personality, no matter what type of person you are.
If you’re athletic, and looking for someone who’s at your physical speed or ahead of it, go hiking! Some classing trails in Los Angeles include Runyon Canyon (Hollywood) or Escondido Trails (Malibu).
Sandbox Fitness is a unique, one-of-a-kind fitness studio that offers indoor sand training and surf board workouts. This will show your date that you're both athletic and up for trying something new, spontaneous and fun! Sandbox will show a side of your date you may not see because they are out of their comfort zone.
According to a recent client who emailed Sandbox Fitness owners Minna and David Herskowitz about his experience at Sandbox Fitness, his date was a "huge fitness fan, as am I, so the concept was perfect."
"We had an amazing time together, bonding over our balance, or lack thereof, on the surfboard, running around the sand, and doing partner exercises, all while sweating our butts off and getting a great workout."
Cliff’s Edge has been consistently named the prettiest patio, best outdoor dining, and best date restaurant by LA Weekly, LA Magazine, Zagat, Thrillist and Eater LA.
At Cliff’s Edge, daters can sit outside under a huge ficus tree, blissfully unaware of the presence of Sunset Blvd beyond the garden walls.
According to Pierre Casanova, Owner and General Manager of the Cliff’s Edge, ‘Cliff’s Edge is great as a first date spot. It’s intrinsically romantic looking, so if it feels like the date is leading that way, it’s a help. But it’s relaxed enough to not be intimidating or overly romantic, so if you’re someone who likes to take things slowly and see how things develop, it makes that very comfortable."
Not only is the food great, shareable, and beautifully plated by chef Vartan Abgaryan, there's also a terrific wine list to pore over, with a lot of unusual bottles – fairly priced too – and a gorgeous cocktail program from Darwin Manahan.
Nestled in scenic Marina del Rey, Cafe del Rey attracts diners with seasonal California cuisine inspired by the coast and executed by Executive Chef Chuck Abair. Fresh raw bar selections, crisp salads, wild-caught seafood and prime cuts are highlighted by local ingredients as well as an array of house-made items.
With romantic views of the marina, a sunset dinner at Cafe del Rey provides couples with a picturesque dining experience representative of Southern California’s best in both cuisine and ambiance. Executive Chef Chuck Abair says that Café del Rey offers a coastal-inspired menu and sweeping panoramic views of Marina del Rey sailboats, making the restaurant ‘the perfect spot for a romantic first date.’
‘If you love the outdoors but aren’t particularly athletic, think sunbather or gym membership procrastinator, whale watching is great,’ says April Masini relationship expert and author behind AskApril. ‘It’s a way to have romantic, outdoorsy date without breaking a sweat and after an hour or two at sea, you should have a good idea if this is someone you want to go out with again.’
Los Angeles' most convenient and centrally located, Whale Watching port is Marina Del Rey Sportfishing. So why not take your date out on the high seas and hop on its 90 passenger ‘steady as a rock’ boat, Big Whale. You’ll have time to talk in a romantic setting and share a sense of adventure.
If you're an animal lover, try to either take your date horseback riding or head out to The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita. The Gentle Barn is a nonprofit organization located just north of Los Angeles in Santa Clarita, California that was founded by Ellie Laks in 1999 as a safe haven and place of recovery for abused farm animals. The mission statement at The Gentle Barn is simple: ‘teaching people kindness and compassion to animals, each other and our planet’ which can easily be applied to daters.There's also plenty of companies in LA that offer rides in Griffith Park, around the Hollywood sign an up the Malibu Wine Trail.
Founder Ellie Laks-Weiner explains, "The Gentle Barn’s unique and open surrounding is loving and intimate and will allow you and your date to bond. Also, the warmth of the animals is sure to calm the first date nerves. And if you want to see if your date is kind and gentle-hearted and if they love children and animals, there can be no better place to find out. After only a few minutes at The Gentle Barn you'll ditch the same old, boring questions, forget all about being awkward with your date, and will soon be smiling, laughing, and having a blast in the barnyard with more than 170 of the most incredible animals."
Formal but fun
Love a formal evening out, but are still young at heart? The Magic Castle has you covered. (Note: you must be a member or have a guest card from a member-in-good-standing to gain admittance). Dress code is strictly enforced at the magic emporium: coats and ties for men, evening wear for ladies. Guests will have evening of magic, mind reading and an amazing restaurant in an atmosphere of Victorian elegance, and the adult fun house elements of the Magic Castle appeals to the prankster in everyone. The Magic Castle hosts five different magic shows in three showrooms: The Close-up Gallery presents masters of the art of close-up magic; The Parlour of Prestidigitation recreates the Victorian experience of the ‘parlour’ magician; The Palace of Mystery hosts grand illusion and other stage performers; and the Peller show and W.C. Fields show.
Are you an urban adventurer that wants to explore more of up-and-coming downtown LA? Head over to the Daily Dose Café located in DTLA’s Artist District. Situated in a quaint, curved brick-paved alley, with vine covered walls, the Daily Dose is the kind of place you either stumble upon while exploring the hottest, most exciting neighborhood in downtown, or you know a local. "It is a great date spot, as it’s close to so many downtown cultural attractions," says Sarkis Vartanian, owner of Daily Dose Cafe. "What could be better than exploring the Arts District after a visit to MOMA, or any one of downtown LA’s great cultural institutions? Sit outside and enjoy afternoon tea, great coffee, pastries and delicious, incredible sandwiches (all organic ingredients!), talk about art, and see what they both have in common!"The Café is a great spot for urban adventurers who like to explore cities and find under the radar gems (and share them).
Casual dinner and a movie
Those who want an upscale cinema experience, but still want to maintain the casual dinner-and-a-movie format, head over to the iPic Theaters and the connecting Tanzy Restaurant in Westwood. ‘Movie-goers will impress their dates by offering an affordable luxury experience on date night at Tanzy and iPic Theaters,’ says Hamid Hashemi, President and CEO, iPic Entertainment.
Guests can enjoy cocktails by Master Mixologist Adam Seger and then have seasonal California cuisine by Executive Chef Bryan Podgorski at Tanzy, or choose to dine in-theater with elevated casual cuisine by James Beard recognized Chef Sherry Yard. At Tanzy Westwood, Podgorski applies French culinary techniques to classic Italian dishes for a lighter, healthier approach as he sources Tanzy’s seafood, meats, cheeses and produce locally, pairing their fresh, bold flavors with fine Italian imports to create a menu that is uniquely California Italian.
Do you enjoy traveling and want to feel like you are traveling on your first date? Check out NowBoarding, a vintage cocktail bar with its roots in the golden age of air travel. Part classy, part kitsch, the bar delivers a first class lounge experience without having to navigate the 405 traffic to LAX! ‘Now Boarding provides a sophisticated atmosphere, where dates can cozy up in a corner booth and enjoy live music on certain nights and a cool vibe,’ says owner Steve Kelly. The bar program offers something for everyone, from classic cocktails to craft beers."
Their beverage service includes a classic cocktail list, featuring fresh ingredients, from Roger Room and Pearl’s alumni Wil Figueroa. In-flight entertainment comes in the form of both live music, featuring local acts performing acoustic sets, jazz standards and covers, as well as DJs playing everything from 50s rock ‘n’ roll, Motown, old school hip hop and funk. The interior, by local designer Sayre Ziskin, features elements inspired by classic mid-century design. Brutalist gold chandeliers sit comfortably alongside vintage tile, wallpaper and custom furniture and art inspired and influenced by aviation.
After enjoying a nice walk down beautiful Rodeo Blvd., cap off the evening at Amorino, a gourmet gelato brand that started in France and now has shops around the world. Amorino's products go beyond traditional gelato, offering gelato macaroons, cakes, shakes, granitas, waffles, crepes, and more! The presentation is beautiful, crafting each cone into their signature flower.
The company prides itself on using all organic and natural ingredients, without dyes or preservatives. According to founder Paolo Benassi, ‘our objective is to make the highest quality gelato as naturally as possible with no artificial colors or flavorings.’ Amorino’s Beverly Hills location is the only one in California.