Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles affords opportunities to wow your SO in ways no other city can: be it golfing ranges in the heart of downtown, interactive puzzle rooms, or over-the-top luchador & burlesque shows, this is a city that’s got everything you need for an unforgettable V-Day. Here are six ideas, categorized as Simple, Classy, and Adventurous.
Clean and Simple
For would-be lovers looking to go a bit old school, you can do little better than Glendale’s Moonlight Rollerway, which brings to life all the spirit and Americana romance of the roller rink. Everything about the Rollerway, from the vibrant neon signs, to the sepia woodworks, to the ‘NO FOUL LANGUAGE!’ warning signs remind us of simpler times and cleaner fun. The rest of the year, the Rollerway’s responsible for hijinx like the dress-up Harry Potter skating party, but on Valentine’s Day, it could be your slice of vintage romance. To top off your classic V-Day date night, be sure to hit up our piece on killer LA dessert-spots.
For another piece of ol’ fashioned Americana entertainment, drive-in theaters are very much alive and well in Los Angeles, and the kitschiest and best of them has to be the Mission Tiki Drive-In theater. These outdoor silver screens have been open since the 60s, but they’re anything but rundown–the theater was refurbished in 2006, with repaved lots, remodeled buildings (with additional tiki delights, of course), and an expanded concession stand, now featuring Mexican treats. So grab an FM radio from the garage, stow some bubbly under the seat, and cozy up to your date, in a lot full of other moviegoers. It’s an experience that’s at once private and communal, modern and timeless.
If you’ve got an athletic date looking to show off their stuff, you might check out Aroma Golf Range, located in the Koreatown neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles. Now, how did they fit a full driving range into DTLA, you ask? Come on, in a parking garage, of course! How LA is that? Yes, for a nominal fee, you can whack dimpled balls to your heart’s content, surrounded by the tinkling lights and heights of skyscrapers. It’s a slice of suburban nirvana right in the midst of the urban sprawl, complete with its own juice bar, four floors, and a breathtaking upper deck.
Classy and Romantic
If you don’t like Moulin Rouge, you simply have no business celebrating Valentine’s Day. The Baz Luhrmann musical extravaganza embodies everything bright, embarrassing, and unabashedly beautiful about love, with its plot about a poor poet (Ewan McGregor) wooing the age’s most celebrated burlesque dancer (Nicole Kidman) in the City of Lights, all set to 20th century romantic tunes ranging from Elton John to Nirvana. And come Valentine’s 2016, you’ll be able to see the Moulin Rouge in the most ideal setting: at the sumptuous Los Angeles Theatre, in dress-attire-required settings, and with pre-show entertainment. The folks over at Cinespia are bringing the gild, glam, and lights of the movie to life for one night only. Expect complementary champagne, plenty of strolling space beneath the vaulted and sculpted ceiling, photo booths lighting up crystal chandeliers, and fans belting out songs at the top of their lungs.
Of course, not every date requires you to dress up sharper than Bond and blow loads of cash–sometimes, the simple things can wow, and what could be simpler than a walk? The Venice Canals were an attempt to literally recreate the aquatic avenues of Venice, Italy in Venice, California, and in the early 20s, it could’ve given its European cousin a run for its money. Today, despite the Canals being a fraction of their original size, they’re still painfully enchanting, spanning the entire area of a large block and a half, all of it crisscrossed with lovely bridges and lights. The real estate around in the area is beautiful to match, and include some rather sumptuous properties to oggle on your walk. Though it doesn’t seem as though people actually go on the water anymore, it’s still a moment-making site, perfect for a post-dinner stroll before you head over to the Venice boardwalk, or over to Abbott Kinney for an artisanal something or other.
Adventurous and Bizarre
While not the most obvious date choice in the world, Escape the Room is made for Valentine’s day when you think about it: being trapped in a room with one other person, putting your brains together to get through a tough situation, getting to show off your sleuthing skills and trivia acumen, it’s instant memories, instant intimacy–like I said, the perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day sparks.
If you’re not familiar with Escape the Room-type games, it’s a mashup of circus funhouses (sometimes Halloween haunted houses), scavenger hunt, and group activity. The basic formula involves being trapped in a room along with your team, and figuring out clues and puzzles within that room that will enable you to ‘Escape the Room.’ From there, there’s dozens of varieties on the same theme: Maze Rooms LA offers scenarios ranging from space station escapes, castle treasure-hunts, even a Hangover-style, ‘how’d we get here’ game.
Now that the good clean fun’s out of our system, let me introduce you to Lucha VaVOOM: put Mexican masked wrestlers, burlesque, and comedians into a blender, with copious amounts of michelada mix, and you’ve got a bold date night that’ll leave an impression. Lucha VaVOOM’s main show boasts a wrestling roster of personalities like Li’l Cholo, Crazy Chickens, and El Presidente, supported by commentary from comedians ranging from local to superstar; the ringside’s seen visits from the likes of Jack Black, Fred Armisen, and Patton Oswalt. They’ve currently got two shownights on their calendars for the 11th and 12th, so grab tickets while they’re hot–LA is a city of lunatics, and this is most definitely their jam.