After miraculously sorting through all the bullshit that is online dating, dating apps, blind dates, the bar scene, and surprise set-ups via well meaning friends, you've somehow done the impossible; you've met someone new and secured a first date. Everything feels so exciting. The possibilities are endless! You start planning your first date...but all you can come up with is the same dinner-and-a-movie format that you've done again and again. Though the combination is classic, it's probably not doing you any favors in terms of long-term dating potential.
According to Aziz Ansari (yes, the comedian and actor from Parks & Rec) in his book Modern Romance (in which he worked with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to explore dating patterns in this day and age), sticking to those typical coffeehouse or dinner dates lowers the chances of developing connections with people who really excite us. Instead, Ansari proposes his "Monster Truck Rally theory," which suggests that the most successful dates "were situations in which people could experience interesting things together and learn what it was like to be with someone new." Dates that included activities like hiking, skiing, or even visiting an alpaca farm showed significant spikes in relationship satisfaction over couples that participated in more mundane activities. Don't get me wrong; 3 years down the line, Kyle and I still love enjoying a nice meal together and then going to a fun movie (happy anniversary, bae!). But LA is so full of unique, interesting events that finding a new activity for a first date isn't impossible, and we're making it even easier with a few ideas below.
1. Ice Skating in Downtown Santa Monica: One of our favorite events of the season, the romantic atmosphere at the ice rink in Santa Monica makes for a really special first date. You're both trying not to fall on your faces while taking in the splendor that is skating on an ice rink under cover of palm trees with the ocean in the distance (a great topic of conversation).
2. A spontaneous day trip to Ojai, Santa Barbara, or San Diego: Another marvel of California is the (relative) proximity of other beautiful destinations and cities. Clear your day, pick up your date, and surprise them by taking a quick drive up (or down) the coast. Spend the day exploring the cute antique and olive oil shops in Ojai, visiting the beach in Santa Barbara, or going for some tasty Mexican food in San Diego. The spontaneity is sure to impress, and it gives you both an excuse to visit destinations that you haven't been to in years.
3. Beach Day @ El Matador: There are some truly beautiful beaches in this city, but few are more photogenic and romantic than El Matador beach in Malibu. Bring a picnic, stop for a seafood lunch at the classic Malibu Seafood shack on PCH, and enjoy the view.
4. Go On a Studio Tour: For the entertainment nerds, few things are as fun (and uniquely Los Angeles) as taking a tour at one of the city's major studios. Studio tours, like the one at Warner Brothers, offer a more in-depth glimpse at the making of a movie or tv show, and with the right tour guide, you'll even get to visit the sets of some of your favorites. It's a fun way to pass the day, and will give you and your date plenty to discuss.
5. Trampolining @ Sky Zone: In case you think jumping on trampolines is just for children, well, you're definitely right. But you won't be completely out of place at Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park complete with bouncy basketball and dodgeball courts, arcade games, and foam pits. You will definitely be exhausted within just a few minutes of jumping (unlike the 10 year olds surrounding you, who can go for hours), but it's a great way to bond over being too old for this shit.
6. Design Your Own Taco Crawl: For all my fellow foodie nerds, you may remember the massive taco bracket we put together in March. We spent an entire day visiting 8 different taco shops, trying them all, and rating them. And you know what? It was a total blast. Design your own taco tour of the city, ending your night at a hot bar with excellent tequila to wash it all down.
- For Sporty Types: Hiking in Griffith Park to the Observatory
- For Nerds: Visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter @ Universal
- For Newbie Angelenos: Gondola Rides at the Canals in Venice (the beach, not Italy)