Date night with a time restriction. Some ideas for a night out?
September 21, 2013 9:09 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I have two little kids. Recently, we've found that we really needed to get away for a date night at least once a week. Budget is not that lavish, so we often have 2-3 hours to get away and do...something. We live in Burbank, CA.

We've been eating out a lot, and that's fun because it's connective and we can communicate and eat great food. But we need some other ideas. Tonight for instance, we went up to Forest Lawn, a beautiful (gigantic) cemetery overlooking the city, and we had a BLAST. We just sat and watched the city and felt the sun and the wind, and just talked about everything. We love nature, love discovering new coffee shops and thrift stores. Things like Farmer's Markets and little known fun things to do in the area are totally welcome. We've tried doing theater and movies, and it's difficult with the time that we have to get there and back and really enjoy the experience. Plus, we don't talk much, which is something that we'd really like to keep a vital part of our date night. So, what is out there to do in, say Glendale, Silverlake, Pasadena, North Hollywood, etc. Anyone have any ideas for us? Restaurants to try are welcome, but we'd love something that would be off the beaten path, a bit of an adventure, that will foster some discussion for us. Whaddya got, Metafilter?
posted by Spyder's Game to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
It might sound crazy, but doing really ordinary things like grocery shopping can be pretty fun as a date night. Maybe you go out for a drink and plan your week's menu and then go to the grocery store?
posted by padraigin at 9:11 PM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Do the two of you have bicycles? My other half and I love riding our bikes through the neighborhood, laughing and talking the whole time. (Or having him break out into a weird rendition of his favorite song.)
posted by nubianinthedesert at 9:42 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ice skating or roller skating. Go out for coffee or frozen yogurt afterward.
posted by studioaudience at 9:54 PM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Funny, I was also going to say grocery shopping. Also maybe just taking a drive without a destination - I have lots of my best conversations in the car. Or walking around exploring new neighborhoods/parks. Art gallery openings maybe?
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:10 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Griffith Observatory.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:10 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of the best dates I went on was to the La Brea Tar Pits -- museums and cultural sites can be great places in general to see/do something interesting while having plenty of time to talk, but that was my personal favorite because it's OK to be a little loud and weird there since it's not meant to be sophisticated, yet the place itself was also fascinating. There are odd places all over the city (like that Mystery Spot in Culver City, or the Heritage Square Museum close to downtown) that might have the same interesting-but-relaxed vibe? Arcades are really fun, too -- the one on the Redondo Pier is great (as is grabbing a drink at one of the zillion bars afterward, and/or checking out the fish at the fish market). The fishing and whale watching are wonderful down there as well, but the time commitment might be rough. I've had a great time with [my ex] doing relaxing things on the water in general, like kayaking or canoeing for an hour -- it's a great place for a conversation. Bike riding in a scenic spot is nice, and I've always wanted to try horseback riding at the Burbank stables, though I've never been. I also like really low-impact stuff outside, like mini golf (there's a fantastic one in Sherman Oaks -- Castle Park), though once you're competing, even nominally, it can undermine conversation (or maybe just for a trash talker like me!). If more active things like that appeal though, Pickwick Gardens in Burbank has ice skating and bowling -- personally, I think it's not conducive to talking, but I've had great group dates there and it has a nice vibe. The one exception to my no-competition rule, though, is pool. There are a bunch of nice pool halls in the area, and a couple games would be just the right length of time -- but the only name that's popping into my head is Fantasia, which is alright, but not my favorite (if I think of the name of the "good" pool hall, I'll post it later).

If you're feeling like you want a break from straight restaurant-going, too, I would recommend a hookah bar, since that's a very conversation-centric activity. There's also an awesome outdoor taco stand right next to an even better "Cheers"-like bar in Studio City on the corner of Moorpark and Colfax, if you do feel like sitting around. In the same vein, Bricks and Scones in Larchmont is *the* best coffeehouse, and wondering the little boutiques along Larchmont can be a great time in and of itself. There are also slightly weirder things that end up being a lot of fun, like [my ex] and I picked out a bunch of area trailer parks with homes for sale and went and looked at the parks and trailers -- sounds nuts, but it was a fantastic day, and we were just driving all over the place seeing all these random little neighborhoods and making a weird little memory together. Do either of you want to build a mini scavenger hunt/trail like that, and just roam around looking at whatever specific thing that you, for whatever reason, think are interesting? There's also other sounds-boring-actually-really-fun stuff like getting nails done or haircuts together (and if you're feeling macho -- it's actually a really great bonding experience if you let it be!). And personally, I actually do like grocery shopping as a couple. Oddly satisfying.

Also, if you haven't entirely dismissed the idea of going to see movies, the Valley Plaza theater in North Hollywood is one of my favorite places in the world. It's $1.50/ticket on Tues and Sun, $3.00/ticket otherwise, and they do second-run movies -- but the fun part is, it's cheap enough that the crowd is really relaxed, and people end up getting really into the movie. People start yelling at the screen, rooting for the good guys and all that, and it's more like an event then just going to some ArcLight nonsense. Be careful though! They check your bags while you're going in, so you can't sneak in a snort or snacks all that easily.

Oh, and before I forget -- Carnivals!
posted by rue72 at 10:18 PM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

Take a drive on the Angeles Crest Highway! There are pullouts where you can look out over the city.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:33 PM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

On the thrift store front, I just had a thread not too far back with some good info.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:42 PM on September 21, 2013

This would be an early date night but how about horse back riding at Griffith Park?
Moonlight rollerrink
Ice cream or dessert at Quenelle
Beer and board games at Tony's Darts Away
Open mic night or a show at Kulak's Woodshed or Cahuenga's General Store
Tiki dive bar?
Jazz at Jax
Walk around Honolulu Ave in Montrose
Happy hour (or trivia night) at the Tam O'Shanter (or dinner...used to love their prime rib dinner!)
posted by biscuits at 11:12 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've done a few night time hikes in Griffith Park on moon lit nights. you might want to try hiking up to the top of the hills starting from the observatory.
Walk along Magnolia blvd, check out stores like Its a wrap and other smaller antique stores.

Also jazz at the baked potato which is right close to universal studios. There's always city walk if you feel like watching tourists.
posted by viramamunivar at 12:35 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

you do know that Richard Simmons teaches aerobics classes in beverly hills? (only $12!) ...full schedule here.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:17 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Try another cemetery!

Westwood Village Memorial Park in Westwood is known as "cemetery to the stars," like Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Natalie Wood and many more notable dead people!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:44 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

My wife and I use our 2-3 hour dates to shop for sex toys sometimes.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:13 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

We used to go to Starbucks to enjoy 90 kid free minutes.
posted by COD at 5:40 AM on September 22, 2013

You could go check out the places mentioned in the book "LA Bizzaro" its a strange guidebook. I heard the newest edition isn't as weird as the original- just fyi.
posted by misspony at 6:45 AM on September 22, 2013

Ride bikes from Burbank to Silver Lake on the LA River bike path and lay in the meadow by the Silver Lake Resevoir or have a drink/snack at Home. If you get caught after dark and don't want to brave the River (I wouldn't) it's a relatively easy ride back via San Fernando Road/Burbank Blvd or just hop on the red line at Sunset/Vermont.
posted by justjess at 7:25 AM on September 22, 2013

Maybe steal some ideas from some nearby Meetup groups?
posted by megancita at 8:24 AM on September 22, 2013

Ernie's on Moorpark and Lankershim for good Mexican food.
posted by luckynerd at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2013

I don't know whether you can take those 2-3 hours later at night, but an offbeat and fun experience is to spend an hour with Marty and Elayne at the Dresden. I haven't been in a few years, but used to be a mixed crowd of hipsters with older regulars. The cocktails are pricey, but the coffee isn't, and it's amazing together with their cheesecake, all of which (used to be) available in the lounge.
posted by synapse at 11:25 AM on September 22, 2013

Someone who would know recently told me that Carousel in Glendale and North Hollywood has amazingly good Lebanese/Armenian food. Apparently not cheap but well worth it.
posted by Dansaman at 9:55 PM on September 22, 2013

Check out LAist for upcoming events and make one of those your date night.

In the summer, there are always Cinespia screenings, which are a fun place to bring a picnic. But there are tons of outdoor screenings in the summer.
posted by egeanin at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2013

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