The Top Date Ideas in Culver City and the Surrounding Area

Updated on Jan 12, 2022

Culver City and the surrounding areas have some really romantic and fun places that are ideal for a date. Here are my top recommendations.

1. etta

Etta is a hot new restaurant across the street from The Platform that specializes in wood-fired pizza, pasta, and their “lobster picnic”. It’s got a great ambiance with a spectacular bar and a large outdoor patio. But the food is also a star of the show. We enjoyed all of our dishes, which by the way, are intended to share, so come hungry if you’re a party of two.

2. The Culver Hotel

I consider the Culver Hotel to be the jewel of downtown Culver City. Completed in 1924, it offers unique history and charm. Famous for housing the “Munchkins” during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz”, the hotel fell into disrepair during the ’50s and ’60s but was restored to its former glory in the 1990s. Today you can enjoy great appetizers, drinks, and live jazz bands in its Grand Lobby almost every night at 7:30 PM.

The Culver Hotel
The Culver Hotel

After hanging out in the lobby, be sure to go upstairs to check out the Paris-inspired Velvet Lounge Thursday through Saturday after 8 PM.

The Culver Hotel is an ideal romantic setting for appetizers or drinks with someone special. It’s a great place to start or end a great date.

3. Citizen Public Market

Within downtown Culver City, but warranting a separate entry on this list is Citizen Public Market. This is a new food hall with unique restaurants and rooftop dining!

As of this writing, it’s not fully populated with restaurants, but that makes it that much easier to find a table on the roof!

4. The Culver Steps

Also within downtown Culver City is The Culver Steps, a brand-new development just east of the Culver Hotel (not to be confused with the Culver City Stairs – see below).

The nice thing about this mixed-use area is that it has plenty of outdoor space where you can hang out without being obligated to buy anything. So, grab some ice cream at Salt and Straw or coffee and hang on the steps! It’s a great place to chat and people-watch.

5. Downtown Culver City

The rest of Downtown Culver City is super charming as well. Check out some of the great restaurants and bars there, or just stroll around.

One of my favorite upscale restaurants there is Akasha, featuring farm-to-table California cuisine.

Last time I had their mushroom salad and roasted chicken. Both were excellent! This place can get crowded so make a reservation on weekends.

There are many others that I haven’t tried yet! The ones on “restaurant row” on Culver Blvd. can be especially romantic if you sit outside on a beautiful day.

Restaurants on Culver Blvd
Meet in Paris and other outdoor eateries on “restaurant row”

After dinner, you can get frozen yogurt at Cold Stone Creamery, have drinks at the Culver Hotel, or just stroll along the pleasant tree-lined streets and people-watch.

Ample parking is available in surrounding parking garages, or sometimes on Venice Blvd.

All of this makes downtown Culver City an ideal and romantic date spot!

6. Platform / Margot

Platform is a small but very cool outdoor shopping and dining area tucked away on Washington Blvd, near the Helms Bakery.  Yes, it’s a shopping mall, but it’s hip and serene, with desert plants and cargo-container-inspired architecture, making it an informal, mellow date idea. I’ve never felt more relaxed at an L.A. shopping mall.

Platform Culver City
Platform Culver City

My recommended plan is to start out with brunch or dinner at Margot, on the third floor. It features California / Mediterranean cuisine in a light, airy setting with a great view.

The rooftop ambiance of Margot is amazing!

When we went, the arancini and eggplant toast appetizers were outstanding. The salads were tasty and the fish and scallops were also great. The pastas are made in-house and are highly recommended. Note, the food is served family-style so it’s best to go with at least a group of four to sample a lot of dishes.

For awesome tacos with homemade flour tortillas check out Loqui. This is definitely a more informal place, but has some of the best Mexican food around.

Then, get ice cream at Van Leeuwen. For tea or horchata, go to Boba Guys. For coffee, there’s Blue Bottle. After that, browse the (very expensive) shops and laugh at the idea of buying $500 sneakers.

Outside of Van Leeuwen ice cream at Platform
Outside of Van Leeuwen ice cream at Platform

7. The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

I think it’s so amazing that, within walking distance of downtown Culver City, there is a huge hill where you can hike up and get a great view all the way to downtown L.A. The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is exactly that.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook sign
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

For a good workout, do the stairs, which dwarf the more famous Santa Monica stairs. For a more leisurely stroll, do the switchback trail. Both lead to the top, where you’ll have a panoramic view of the city. It’s ideal to time it so you reach the top around sunset!

Culver City Stairs
The Culver City Stairs

One tip – try to go after it has rained when it will be green and lush. Avoid the middle of the day in the summer because there is very little shade.

View from Baldwin Hills
View from Baldwin Hills

8. The Helms Bakery District

The original Helms Bakery opened in 1931.  The Helms Bakery District is now a pedestrian area offering some of the coolest furniture stores around. Maybe looking at furniture is the first thing you think of when you want a date idea, but it can be really fun if you’re into this type of thing.

The Helms Bakery District

Check out HD Buttercup, a huge furniture showroom featuring some of the most eclectic (and expensive) items around, including this scale chrome version of the Apollo Command Module. 

Scale “conversation room” version of the Apollo Command Module at HD Buttercup

You never know what you’ll find there. Much of it is impractical, but it’s always fun.

Perhaps a bit more practical are Scandinavian Designs, La Bella Cosa, Room & Board, and Rejuvenation.

HD Buttercup at the Helms Bakery
HD Buttercup at the Helms Bakery featuring whimsical furniture

Afterward, have a beer at Father’s Office, which also has some of the best fries and burgers in town. Don’t ask for ketchup though – they don’t have any!

Another casual option is Pasta Sisters. Their complimentary bread is amazing!

For something more exotic, check out Lukshon, featuring Asian-inspired noodles in a modern setting. Note they are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

9. Hatchet Hall

Hatchet Hall is a new restaurant and wine bar with a huge outdoor dining area and nice retro indoor space. They feature game meats as well as traditional beef and chicken. Servings are family-style making this place more ideal for bigger groups, but if you’re hungry or don’t mind leftovers, then Hatchet Hall is a pretty cool Culver City option.

10. The Ballona Creek Bike Path

This is a bike path along Ballona Creek (really a concrete flood control channel) that takes you directly to Marina del Rey. The Ballona Creek Bike Path has wide, well-maintained paths that go under major streets so you never have to stop. Round trip, it’s under fourteen miles.

Ballona Creek Bike Path
The Ballona Creek Bike Path

While biking next to a concrete flood control channel might not seem like the most romantic date idea, the view improves as you approach the ocean, and it does have its own kind of charm.  It’s definitely one of the most hassle-free bike paths in the city, as you bypass all cars and intersections.

Enter the bike path near the intersection of Jefferson and Duquesne (which is where I took the photo above). Park at the meters on Jefferson, which go up to ten hours. You can also enter near Overland and Jefferson, but parking is harder to find in that area. Check out more hints for the Ballona Creek Bike Path in my article.

11. ArtBar LA

Located in Mar Vista, west of Culver City, ArtBar is part bar, part art gallery, and part performance space. It’s a whimsical and eclectic destination, the perfect place to bring an artsy date who would loathe a typical sports bar. Entertainment can range from DJ to burlesque dancers. You never really know what to expect!

12. Cafe Brasil, Bamboo, and Tara’s

These are three really cozy neighborhood restaurants right next to each other on Venice Blvd. They are not technically in Culver City, but very close by.

Cafe Brasil offers steak, chicken, empanadas, black beans, and other Brazilian favorites. Bamboo offers Caribbean dishes. For something a bit more exotic, Tara’s offers Himalayan cuisine, which is similar to Indian.

All offer outdoor seating and lots of charm. Well worth checking out if you want an ethnic dining experience in a cozy setting!

13. Versailles Restaurant

Versailles restaurant offers some of the best Cuban food in Los Angeles. They’re known for their famous garlic chicken served with fried plantains, rice, and black beans. It’s simple fare, but insanely good.

Versailles Restaurant
Versailles Restaurant

The ambiance may not be the most romantic, but you go here for the food, not the atmosphere. They don’t take reservations and it can get crowded. Parking can be tight as well.

Oh, you might as well forget about meeting anyone else afterward, because the smell of the garlic and onion will repel anyone who didn’t have dinner with you there. But, that could be just what you want!

14. The Culver City Farmers Market

The Culver City Farmers Market happens every Tuesday from 2 to 7 PM. This is not a huge farmer’s market, but it has a good selection nevertheless, and it’s conveniently located right in downtown Culver City.

Culver City Farmers Market
Culver City Farmers Market

15. Hidden Garden Thai

Located in a very unimpressive mini-mall on Sepulveda, Hidden Garden Thai has some of the best Thai food on the West Side, with four-and-a-half stars on Yelp. No, this is not an upscale joint that you would take a date on your anniversary, but you should come here if you simply want really good pad Thai or curry. Prices are reasonable and the food is amazing. Warning – “medium” is pretty spicy, so order carefully!

16. Special Events in Downtown Culver City

Along with the attractions I’ve already mentioned, check out the special seasonal events in Culver City:

The Culver City Car Show – Happens in May and features classic cars from the ’50s along with food and music!

Culver City Car Show
Culver City Car Show

Free Concerts – Every summer Culver City puts on free concerts at city hall. Google “Culver City free concerts” for more info.

Check out more Culver City special events here.

So, that’s my list! What are your favorite date spots in Culver City? Please comment below! – Brian


Related Articles

The Best First Date Spots in Los Angeles

The Best First Date Spots in Los Angeles

Good planning is key on first dates First impressions are critical, so first dates are very important. The location you pick should be fun, but not too distracting. It should be edgy, but not too crazy. The logistics need to be right, and of course, it should be...

The Best Museum Date Ideas in LA

The Best Museum Date Ideas in LA

I believe that visiting a museum is a great date idea. It's quiet so you can talk, and there are usually interesting things to see and comment on. Maybe you can even show off some of the stuff you learned in that art history class you took in college. And Los Angeles...

The Best Orange County Date Ideas

The Best Orange County Date Ideas

Orange County actually has some really charming destinations that are ideal for a romantic date! Here are my favorites. 1. Laguna Beach My pick for the best Orange County date area is Laguna Beach. Once a secluded beach town, the secret is out, and traffic and parking...

The Coolest Date Spots in Venice, CA

The Coolest Date Spots in Venice, CA

Venice has become one of the hippest areas of the West Side. Here are my top ideas for fun and interesting dates in Venice. 1. Abbott Kinney My favorite date hangout area in Venice is Abbott Kinney Blvd, named "The Coolest Block in America" by GQ magazine. This short,...

The Best Free and Cheap Date Ideas in Los Angeles

The Best Free and Cheap Date Ideas in Los Angeles

Going on dates can be really expensive, but it doesn't have to be. There are some really great date ideas in Los Angeles that are cheap or free. Here's my list! 1. Hiking Trail to Sandstone Peak Hiking tops many lists of cheap date ideas for good reason. I have yet to...

Twenty Fun & Romantic Pasadena Date Ideas

Twenty Fun & Romantic Pasadena Date Ideas

Pasadena has some amazing places to take a date! It’s got fine restaurants, bars, shopping areas, cultural events, museums, and a lot more, making it worth visiting even if you live far away. Here are my top date ideas in Pasadena and the surrounding area! 1....

Get More Date Ideas on Facebook and Instagram

For more cool ideas on cool places to go in Los Angeles and Orange County, join the LA Date Ideas Facebook Page or find me on Instagram!

Keep in Touch!

Subscribe to get an email when I write about a new date idea. No ads or spam, I promise! - Brian

Join 64 other subscribers


  1. Annie

    Pasta Sisters has become my absolute favorite date night and pasta place! Super tasty and their complimentary bread is amazing.

    • Brian

      Thanks for the comment Annie! We love Pasta Sisters as well! I’ve added them to the article with your comment about the bread!



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest