Couples + Family

Funky Dating: L.A.’s Most Off the Wall Spots for Couples

Sleek, sexy atmosphere, drinks and bowling? The Spare Room has the makings of a great date spot. (Photos: Melissa Valladares)

Chemistry might be the most important dating ingredient, but a unique location and new experiences can help fan a spark into a flame. Fortunately, Los Angeles, California, is loaded with off-the-wall spots that make for a great evening out with your special someone.

Choosing the perfect location depends, of course, on the person you’re attempting to woo. But we’ve got a few suggestions that are unusual enough to make it a night to remember.

The Spare Room

Normally, a first date at a bowling alley might dim the chances for a second date. But The Spare Room is a different beast. With high-end cocktails, charcuterie board nibbles and sleek, well-lit lanes, it’s a classy way to have some old-fashioned fun.

Want to take a break from the pins for a bit? There are also a slew of board games, ranging from Backgammon to Battleship, to enjoy in the lounge’s plush, comfy loveseats.

Located in Hollywood, across from the world famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, it’s a touch of the old fashioned life in a very modern city and draws a mix of hipsters and people simply looking for something different.

For couples, it’s an intimate place that lets you enjoy each other’s company — and a good conversation — without having to shout to be heard. If you need a change of scenery, the Hollywood Walk of Fame can be found less than 50 steps away.

Aerial Warehouse

date ideas Los Angeles
Get physical at Aerial Warehouse.

Dating someone who likes to stay active? This activity center offers instructional lessons in aerial arts (like aerial silks or trapeze lessons) or more action-oriented activities, like parkour, tumbling or performing on a trampoline. While larger classes are standard, you can arrange for private lessons if you’d prefer, making it a more intimate affair.

It’s a chance to not only make memories (most people don’t spend a lot of time in aerial silks), but bond together over a shared activity. At the very least, you’ll have something to talk about at drinks or dinner afterward.

You won’t find a lot of good options for either of those in the immediate vicinity but just four miles (six kilometers) down the road is Venice Beach, which has plenty of entertainment options — and makes for a nice place to end with an evening stroll.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

date ideas Los Angeles
If your date likes an adventure, the Museum of Jurassic Technology has you covered.

Dating someone with an affinity for the unusual? This off-the-wall museum isn’t for everyone, but with exhibits that include decaying dice and collections from mobile home and trailer parks around the L.A. area, it’s a magnet for fans of the bizarre.

If it gets to be a bit much or you want to discuss what you’ve seen after a tour, head to the Tula Tea Room, which serves Georgian Black tea and cookies while screening obscure films.

Set in the Palms District in Culver City, it’s a place that’s best suited for couples that share a fascination with the obscure. As with Aerial Warehouse, though, it’s good to have somewhere in mind if you’re hoping to extend the date beyond the museum as there aren’t a lot of optimal places nearby. (Fortunately, you can always find more of the unusual at Venice’s Muscle Beach or the Santa Monica Pier, which is just seven miles/11 kilometers away.)

Pins and Needles

date ideas Los Angeles
Show of your pinball wizard skills at Pins and Needles.

There’s a certain intangible joy that comes from playing a game of pinball. Instead of lounging on a couch, you’re physically interacting with the machine, hip checking it to move the ball or hitting the flipper at just the right time.

Pins and Needles, located in Echo Park — known as one of “the city’s hippest neighborhoods” and located about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) west of Dodger Stadium — has 24 pinball machines and each costs just a quarter or 50 cents. (So it’s not only a funky date, it’s a cheap one.)

It’s a BYOB joint (note that it closes when it rains) but you may find some other entertainment there as well. It’s located in a creative space called Bedrock Studios, home to artists and musicians, so expect to be surrounded by hipsters and patrons of the arts, which can be an eclectic mix with the gamers who also seek it out.

For couples, it’s a place that offers all sorts of things to see, play and do — and is perfect for those who prefer to participate, rather than just spectate.

This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.