As I write this in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so many of the things that we love to do in Los Angeles are closed. Yet, things will return to normal someday, and I write this article with that fact in mind. Some of the great date spots below are closed now but keep an eye out for when they open again.
With that disclaimer, this is my list of the best date ideas in the West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area.
1. The Getty Center
The Getty Center, located off of the 405 freeway, is hands-down, one of the best date spots in Los Angeles. Aside from the museum, it also has great gardens, amazing views of the Los Angeles basin from the ocean to downtown L.A., and a high-end restaurant that will even impress a foodie (it’s called simply “The Restaurant at the Getty Center”).
If you want to keep your budget under control, you can bring a picnic lunch and have it on the grounds. The Getty Center is just an awesome place to spend with someone special!
2. Westfield Century City / Eataly
With its movie theater with IMAX, numerous restaurants and shops, and of course, Eataly, Westfield Century City is a cool place to bring a date, especially since the renovation.
I think the restaurant there with the best ambiance is the rooftop Terra restaurant, located on the third floor of Eataly. It features a wood-burning Italian grill with a view of the city.
If you prefer Chinese, look no further than the dumplings at Din Tai Fung. Get in the virtual line early though, as there is always a wait.
Eataly is a massive space with multiple walk-up and sit-down dining areas, a cheese shop, a meat shop, wine section, pastry shop, and all-around Italian grocery store all in one. It’s definitely worth a visit!
3. Dinner and Dessert at Sawtelle Japantown
Yes, that’s the official name of the fun and vibrant Japenese-themed area of Sawtelle starting a few blocks south of Santa Monica Boulevard down to Olympic Boulevard. On any given night, you’ll find lots of young people there enjoying the amazing Japanese restaurants in the area. No matter which one you pick, you pretty much can’t go wrong.
If you prefer Chinese food, I recommend Dan Modern Chinese. The dumplings are not quite as good as Din Tai Fung’s, but they’re close.
Sawtelle also has the best concentration of dessert spots in L.A. that are open late, perfect for extending a good date! Check out my personal favorite, B Sweet Dessert Bar (as seen on “The Profit”) for sumptuous bread pudding, Somisomi Soft Serve & Taiyaki, Honey Mee, Brian’s Shave Ice, Millet Crepe, or Artelice Patisserie for French Pastries on Olympic. All are within walking distance of each other! It’s worth making a trip to Sawtelle just for the dessert selection!
If you’re still looking for something to do after dinner, check out private-room karaoke at Karaoke Bleu, great if you love to sing, but hate doing it in front of a crowd.
Note, almost all of the restaurants in this area are pretty casual. They’re fun and have great food, but may not be not so good for a formal date or special anniversary dinner.
4. Dinner in Beverly Hills
If you want to really impress someone and you’re willing to spend some dough, take them to one of the famously high-end restaurants in Beverly Hills. Check out Crustacean, Mr. Chow, Madeo, Ocean Prime, Il Fornaio, Urasawa, or The Palm. My personal favorite, though, is the world-famous Spago by Woflgang Puck (read my full review).
There’s not a whole lot to do in Beverly Hills at night, but I’ve enjoyed going to the Secret Rosé Garden at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire, within walking distance of any of the restaurants above. Or, take a stroll up Via Rodeo and take a few Instagram shots.
Another after-dinner option is to stroll through the small but lovely Beverly Cañon Gardens at 241 N. Cañon.
5. Picnic at Will Rogers Memorial Park
To be clear, I’m not talking about the Will Rogers State Historic Park hiking trail for this one. But rather, I’m talking about the charming and secluded historic Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills just south of Sunset Boulevard.
Constructed in 1912, this was the first public park in Beverly Hills. The small, triangle-shaped park features wonderful trees surrounding a central pond with fountain. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet picnic with someone special. You really feel like you’ve been transported to some other time and place when you’re in this lovely oasis. Conveniently, it has an on-site restroom too.
If you want to do something afterward, it’s just a short drive south to the fancy restaurants in Beverly Hills.
6. Dinner, Coffee, or Dessert on San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood
San Vicente in Brentwood is an upscale, walkable area with lots of restaurants to choose from. Our favorite Italian restaurant is Pizzana, on Jonathan Gold’s list of top 101 restaurants in Los Angeles.
A great place for dessert is Winston Pies – our favorite pie-smiths!
On Sundays, check out the Brentwood Farmers Market between 9AM and 2PM. There will be a line to get in, but it goes fast.
All of these are within walking distance of each other.
7. Drinks at The Wellesbourne or The Tuck Room Tavern
Hollywood and Downtown L.A. might have the coolest bars in Los Angeles, but if you don’t want to drive that far, there are some good options on the West Side.
Themed after a 19th-century English mansion, the Wellesbourne is an unusually cool bar for the West Side. Located on Pico just west of Westwood Boulevard, this is a good place to stop for a drink before or after dinner.
The Tuck Room Tavern on Wilshire Boulevard east of Westwood has the aura of a prohibition-era speakeasy, but with a whimsical modern touch.
8. Stroll at Beverly Gardens Park
You’ve probably passed Beverly Gardens Park on Santa Monica Boulevard a million times on your way to West Hollywood from West L.A. It’s the long strip of grass and trees along SM Blvd. in Beverly Hills.
I passed it a bunch of times too before stopping to check it out. Turns out, it’s quite a charming park! It’s got shaded pathways, outdoor sculptures, a rose garden, and of course, an Instagram-ready Beverly Hills sign. There’s free two-hour parking in the adjacent residential streets. The only downside of this park is that it’s adjacent to busy Santa Monica Boulevard, but on the other hand, you won’t be bothered by folks playing music or throwing frisbees at this park, as those activities are forbidden.
While I wouldn’t make a special trip to Beverly Hills just to go to this park, and I admit it’s somewhat touristy, nonetheless it’s a lovely place to walk off a meal after having lunch in one of the fine restaurants in Beverly Hills.
Those are my best date ideas on the West Side and Beverly Hills. Let me know if I’ve missed any of your favorites! – Brian