First Date Ideas in LA

It's time to start mapping out a plan of attack for that missed connection, online match, random stranger or longtime friend you've finally gotten the courage to ask out. Los Angeles has places lovely or fun enough to minimize the awkwardness of the first encounter, from the Santa Monica Pier to Gold Class Cinemas in Pasadena. Good news: Most of them serve alcohol.

Updated: June 21, 2010

First Date Ideas in LA

Lucky Strike

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Ste 143, Hollywood, CA 90028

Who says striking out is a bad thing? Get physical with your new love interest at this high-tech bowling lounge (there's also another location at L.A. Live). There's a bar to whip up just about any concoction you please and a menu featuring plenty of fun finger foods. If you want to show your mate the VIP treatment, find out about reserving a private room.

Santa Monica Pier Carousel

200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Unless you're an ADD-prone duo, this tourist-laden, perma-carnival makes for an action-packed evening. This Los Angeles landmark's been pulling 'em (first dates) in with games, fun rides and ocean access since 1909.

Griffith Park Observatory

2800 E Observatory Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

This beacon announcing Griffith Park to the heavens makes for a dynamite date spot in LA. The grandeur of the stars, the spectacular city view ... It worked for James Dean and Natalie Wood. (Okay, that's kinda tragic... how about Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel?)

The Dresden Restaurant & Lounge

1760 N Vermont Ave, Hollywood, CA 90027

The couple that plays together stays together. Well, it may be a little early for that, but this Los Feliz institution makes for a great, small-talk backdrop for any first date. Always has, always will. Grab a booth, an old-fashioned cocktail and watch husband-and-wife crooners Marty and Elayne belt out standards.

Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar

104 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Oenophiles in LA looking for a good time need only call on the Westside's exceedingly pleasant enomatic wine bar. The various tastings give you something to do (and talk about) on your first date, the small plates are delish (and non-committal) and there are even purse hooks on the tables for the ladies.

Gold Class Cinemas Pasadena

42 Miller Aly, Pasadena, CA 91103

Take the pressure off of all that first-date small talk and head to this swanky theater that's part club-like lounge, part private-screening room, part first-class airline experience. Get to know each other better in the dimly-lit lounge where you can order your food and drinks (yes, there's a full bar) while waiting to be seated in your plush theater seats. After the movie, you've got instant conversation!