City life is often veiled with promises of extraordinary nights out. Walking into bars on the Sunset Strip, perusing the dreamy shops of the Grove, and the oceanside bars of Santa Monica‘s Main Street all induce an idyllic scene for a perfect date. They also all come with a perfectly large price tag for Angelenos looking for love. Despite these obstacles to dating on a budget in the big city, sacrifices don’t need to inpact the date. Here are some of the cheapest dates to try in Los Angeles.
Hit the beach
Basic? Maybe. Classic? Definitely. What’s the point of living in Los Angeles and not taking advantage of the gorgeous beaches? For east siders, a trip to the beach is practically like a weekend getaway (it will feel like it, anyway, after struggling through that 405 traffic). Extra romantic.
For a big city, Los Angeles has a lot to offer nature lovers. For people who don’t love the beach (or just can’t stand the crowds and traffic that come with it), L.A. has a number of amazing hikes. Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon are classics and have great trails for beginners. Take a romantic selfie at the summit of the hike to document the date.
Stargaze at Griffith
Walk the Santa Monica Pier
Yes, it’s easy to spend money at the Santa Monica Pier—but it’s also really easy not to. For the price of a cold drink or ice cream cone, couples can enjoy hours of people watching and quality time at the Pier. The Pier also plays host to a constant stream of events, many of which are free, including low or no-cost movies and concerts.
Visit The Broad
The Broad Museum in DTLA is full of incredible, conversation-starting pieces for the artsy couple to enjoy. It’s also free if you book tickets in advance.
Stroll through the Huntington Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino are gorgeous and romantic. While admission does usually cost money, the gardens offer free days for people willing to book in advance.
Get free laughs at UCB
Every Sunday night, the Upright Citizens Brigade theater offers a free performance of its famous ASSSSCAT show. Be prepared to line up early for tickets, but it’s worth it for couples who love to laugh as much as they love to love.
Marvel at the La Brea Tar Pits
Sure “tar pit” doesn’t seem like a very romantic place. That’s fair, but this place deserves a chance, even on date night. But the La Brea Tar Pits are actually fascinating and full of history. Plus, the accompanying museum offers free admission to L.A. residents from 3–5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Visit the Paley Center for Media
TV-loving couples can trade their next Netflix and Chill date night for a trip to the Paley Center for Media. Admission is technically free, but a $10 donation is recommended.
Explore The Getty
The Getty is a beautiful L.A. landmark, a perfect intellectual date night destination, and totally free. In other words, perfect.