Cheap Dates in Los Angeles

Hey, small spender: There's no question that dating can get expensive--especially traditional dinner-and-a-movie dates, which can easily top $100 for two people. So what's a guy or girl to do if they want to treat their date to something different and fun without completely breaking the bank? Whether it's a first date or the 50th, check out these creative, cheap date ideas in Los Angeles

Updated: January 11, 2010

Cheap Dates in LA

Griffith Park

4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Griffith Park, with its charming picnic areas, meandering trails and sweeping views, is a great date spot any time of day, but amp up the romance factor with an evening hike under the stars. The free hikes, which are suitable for all fitness levels, meet at 6:45pm at the park's Merry-Go-Round parking lot on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights; Sierra Club guides lead groups up into the hills for two-hour hikes with views of the shimmering city lights below. There are also special full-moon hikes each month--check the Los Angeles Sierra Club website for details.

Old Town Music Hall

140 Richmond Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

The Old Town Music Hall transports movie-goers back to the golden era of silent films with live organ music before and during the movies. The $8-per-person ticket price gets you hours of entertainment, including a pre-movie organ concert followed by classic silent films from the likes of Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Plus, popcorn and candy and other concession snacks are only $1. You won't exactly be seeing the latest releases, but the straight-out-of-the-1920s nostalgic vibe is its own special attraction.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

You don't have to pay big bucks for L.A. Philharmonic tickets to enjoy Walt Disney Concert Hall's soaring space. Visitors can take a free self-guided audio tour of the Frank Gehry-designed landmark daily (a few holidays excluded) from 10am to 2pm; the tour, narrated by actor John Lithgow and featuring commentary from Gehry, music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota and others, covers the history and architectural inspiration of the hall and the gardens outside. Afterward, head to Downtown's bustling Grand Central Market and eat your way around the world at the inexpensive international food booths.

Venice Beach

Pacific Coast Hwy, Venice, CA 90291

Walk on the artsy side: On the third Thursday of each month, the new Venice Art Crawl (it launched in August 2010) hits the streets of Venice Beach with a free exploration of the Venice art scene and culture. Visit shops and galleries for showcases of everything from paintings to photographs to interactive exhibits, check out live music and entertainment and dine on affordable food from food booths and trucks.

The Comedy Store

8433 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

There are plenty of ways to get your laughs for cheap at the Comedy Store--most months the club offers a coupon on its website good for free entry to the Original Room; you can also show up and check in on Facebook Places, Foursquare or Gowalla for free admission to Original Room shows, which feature up-and-coming and headlining comedians. There's the usual two-drink minimum, but the drink prices aren't outrageous; the club now offers food from its new kitchen, starting with pizza (an expanded menu will follow).

Eagle Rock Brewery

3056 Roswell St, Los Angeles, CA 90065

Los Angeles microbrewery Eagle Rock Brewery is the perfect place for beer lovers to bond as they discuss the differences between IPAs, lagers, malts and more. On Sunday afternoons, the beer mecca offers a free insider tour of the brewery and tastings of its brews; after the tour, stop into the Tap Room and buy a couple of pints (around $5 each) of ERB productions (try the Revolution IPA, malty Solidarity and Belgian-style Manifesto), or one of the special guest beers on tap.

Paint Lab

2912 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Hey, Picasso: PaintLab's ?Paint, Wine and Cheese? events, on Friday and Saturday from 6pm to 9pm, let you tap into your inner artist while you sip and snack. At $30 per person (plus the cost of a canvas) it's not the cheapest date on this list, but for three hours of painting-and-bonding time, unlimited wine, cheese, fruit and crackers and a piece of artwork to take home, it's a deal. Depending on how the date goes, you might be more inspired by Edvard Munch's ?The Scream? than Gustav Klimt's ?The Kiss,? but you'll have a masterpiece to remind you of the experience.