Getting dressed up for your sweetie is fabulous, though when dinner and cocktails leave you wanting more, Los Angeles is here for you. Romance is, after all, about exploration. So leave the candlelit dinner at home and answer the call of adventure with one of these active, out-of-the-box ideas that make the most of what this city has to offer.
Locals love the giant secret staircases—enormous flights of steps that were intended to transport pedestrians across the hills in the early days of L.A.’s founding—which have become largely defunct. Now they’re used for romantic explorations and offer a way to see the city from a more secluded and curious point of view. (The hike through Beachwood Canyon covers some great Hollywood history!)
X Marks the Spot
If you have a day or weekend to get out of town, now’s the time to plan a trip to Coachella (no, not the festival). Desert X is a temporary biennial choose-your-own-adventure public art excursion, where you learn the coordinates of site-specific sculptures and projects examining social and philosophical phenomena, and go track them down throughout the Valley. Through Sunday, April 21
Literally ride off into the sunset on dusty trails through Topanga via Los Angeles Horseback Riding. Enjoy views of the mountains and ocean on clear days, or listen for the howling of coyotes while out on a moonlight ride (don’t worry, it’s safe!). 2623 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga
Beauty in the Beasts
Hike with a pack of rescued wolves with nonprofit organization and animal sanctuary Wolf Connection, whose mission is to rehabilitate these animals and empower at-risk youth through the process. Meet the wolves in their habitat and then take a two-hour hike through the Angeles Crest Forest, during which you’ll get to learn the stories of pack members and a brief history of the species. Visits are accepted through reservations only, and an address is provided upon ticket purchase.
The Source of Modernism
Incorporating both architecture and radical social theory, the Schindler House was designed in 1921 as an experimental residence exploring communal living. It’s considered the birthplace of modernism, and it still stands today in the middle of the city, open to visitors Wednesday through Sunday—no reservations required. The small space contains an interactive multimedia arts exhibition centered around the ethos and principles through which the building was conceived. It’s a great place to explore, expand your mind, and learn more about L.A.’s history through emerging artists. 835 North Kings Road, West Hollywood
Get in the Rink
There’s a bit of a roller-skating revival happening in town, and Moonlight Rollerway is where it’s happening. Rent your wheels or bring your own—just be prepared to boogie. 5110 San Fernando Road, Glendale
Om Is Where the Heart Is
Pack a picnic and head to the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades. Founded in 1950 by yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, this 10-acre property of vividly decorated spiritual architecture is just a short jog up from the Malibu shoreline. The spiritual environment features a manmade lake, open-air cathedral, hilltop temple, windmill meditation center, and rose-studded gardens. The space has also hosted a few very famous faces: Some of Gandhi’s ashes were spread here; it’s where Elvis first countered the wisdom of the East; and it was the site of George Harrison’s funeral. For your date, though, just find a bucolic spot and take in the peaceful L.A. vibes. 17190 Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades
Towers of Love
A monument to eternal love, Watts Towers is composed of 17 interconnected sculptures crafted by Simon Rodia, made out of many broken ceramics and a broken, but tenacious, heart. Reservations are necessary for a full tour, which we consider a must-do to get the full effect. 1727 East 107th Street
A New View of Los Angeles
Esotouric Tours offers great hidden histories of Los Angeles that aren’t afraid to explore the city’s dark side. These adventures aren’t necessarily about beauty and preservation but geographically and culturally significant landmarks that have shaped the city. This provocative series explores the cultlike aspects of L.A., in all aspects of the word. Everything from legendary authors’ favorite haunts (go where Raymond Chandler or Charles Bukowski found their inspiration) to an exploration of South L.A. (with its history of hot rods, 1950s drag racing, and Spanish influences) to the compelling unsolved crime of the Black Dahlia. Check out the many offerings on its website and be prepared to have your eyes opened wide.
Dinner in the Garden
Dine alfresco in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu as part of Saddlerock Ranch’s coveted Dinner in the Garden series. A five-course meal by famed L.A. chefs is prepared with organic produce from an on-site garden and served alongside Saddlerock Ranch Wines. Every 1st and 3rd Saturday in April–July; Saddlerock Ranch, 32111 Mulholland Highway, Malibu