Valentine's Dates in L.A. That Won't Break the Bank

From comic book nerds to music fans, there are romantic places in L.A. for every lover

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in "Roman Holiday" (1953) | Photo courtesy of Cinespia
enlarge photo [+]

Celebrating Valentine's Day doesn't have to break the bank. L.A.'s wealth of cultural institutions, outdoor spaces and events makes it possible to find some reasonably-priced ways to spend the day or evening with your date. Below, we've tailored options according to interests. You'll find ideas to nerd nights out on the town, day trips for nature lovers and even a few options for whiskey drinkers here.

Geeks

BATMAN '66 at the Hollywood Museum
Holy Hollywood History, it's BATMAN '66! | Photo courtesy of the Hollywood Museum

1. "BATMAN '66 RETROSPECTIVE" - HOLLYWOOD MUSEUM
Housed inside Max Factor's former headquarters, the Hollywood Museum is a memorabilia-packed maze that pays tribute to the big and small screens. Whether your passion is horror movies or sitcoms, you'll find something to make the superfan in you squeal with delight. Right now, though, is an ideal time to head to the Hollywood Museum for a nerd-friendly date, as the Batman '66 Retrospective is on view. The exhibition salutes the campy comic book television series with displays of costumes and props, including items that have never been publicly shown, as well as related merchandise and even sculptures of all three Catwomen. Admission is $15 ($12 for students and seniors) and the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1660 N. Highland Ave.

2. TIM BURTON DOUBLE FEATURE - EGYPTIAN THEATRE
Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre celebrates romance and the king of the geeky goths with a Tim Burton double-feature this Valentine's Day. The night begins with the now-classic Edward Scissorhands, the 1990 flick that cemented Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder as pop culture icons of the decade. The night continues with Burton's stop-motion Corpse Bride, which merges the aesthetic of Nightmare Before Christmas with Jewish folklore. Tickets are $12 ($8 with an American Cinematheque membership) and the screenings begin at 7:30 p.m.

6712 Hollywood Blvd.

Scum & Villainy Cantina
Scum & Villainy Cantina | Instagram by @theminniemuffin

3. SCUM & VILLAINY CANTINA
What began as a Star Wars-centric pop-up is now an all-inclusive geek hangout. Located in Hollywood, Scum &Villainy Cantina is a cosplay-friendly bar with themed drinks like Wretched Blue Milk and Scoundrel's Delight, with nerdy events that range from podcast recordings to karaoke nights. Wednesdays are dedicated to Geeks Who Drink Pub Trivia. There's no cover to play or just hang.

6377 Hollywood Blvd.

Architecture Lovers

Lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre in Downtown L.A.
Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Theatre, Facebook

1. ROMAN HOLIDAY - LOS ANGELES THEATRE
Cinespia's screening of the classic Audrey Hepburn vehicle Roman Holiday is a formal affair inside one of the city's grand old movie palaces. The Los Angeles Theatre was the final such venue built on Broadway. Today, the building, which was designed by S. Charles Lee and opened in 1931, is considered a landmark. At this 21+ Valentine's Day screening, guests can sip complimentary champagne, dance in the ballroom and absorb the grandeur of 1930s Los Angeles. Tickets are $33. Doors open at 7 p.m., the film is scheduled for 9 p.m.

615 S. Broadway

Exhibit at A+D Museum
Exhibit at A+D Museum | Instagram by @certified.daddy

2. A+D MUSEUM
Located in the Downtown L.A. Arts District, the A+D Museum is a small institution dedicated to exploring the world of architecture and design. Their hours are limited - on Wednesdays its open from 2-6 p.m. - and it's worth a stop if you're planning on a Valentine's lunch date and stroll to explore the Arts District murals. Entry is $7, $5 for students and seniors.

900 E. 4th St.

The Rotunda of the Central Library in Downtown L.A.
The Rotunda of the Central Library | Photo by Candice Montgomery, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

3. CENTRAL LIBRARY TOURS
Downtown's landmark Central Library is a massive art-filled building marked by architecture that points to both the city's past and present. The library offers free daily docent led tours. On Wednesdays, the tour starts at 12:30 p.m. and lasts about an hour. The library itself is open until 8 p.m. and there are guides for you to tour the library on your own.

630 W. 5th St.

Music Lovers

Upstairs at the Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A.
Upstairs at the Ace Hotel | Photo courtesy of blakespot, Flickr

1. NTS WEDNESDAY NIGHTS - ACE HOTEL DTLA
NTS is an international online radio community with programming dedicated to underground sounds that cross genres. On Wednesday nights, their DJs turn up at the Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A. to share tunes from 8:30 p.m. till 2 a.m. The city views from the Ace rooftop is reason enough to visit on Valentine's Day, and the good tunes are a bonus. There's no cover and the venue is 21+.

929 S. Broadway

The Piano Recital
Photo courtesy of The Piano Recital, Facebook

2. THE PIANO RECITAL - THE REGENT
The Piano Recital brings together a host of performers to play solo on Valentine's Day at The Regent Theatre in Downtown L.A. Kevin Morby, Greta Morgan, Elvis Perkins and Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats) are just some of the names on the holiday line-up. Advance tickets start at $15.50 for this 18+ event.

448 S. Main St.

Mesmé at Paper Tiger Bar
Mesmé at Paper Tiger Bar | Photo courtesy of Mesmé, Facebook

3. LAWAX: MISFIT - PAPER TIGER BAR (Feb. 14, 2018)
For those who love techno (almost) as much as their Valentine, LAWAX has the holiday party for you. On February 14, the promoter's Wednesday night bash, Misfit hosts Santiago Salazar, the acclaimed local DJ and co-founder of the labels I can and Historia y Violencia, alongside resident Mesmé. The party goes down at Paper Tiger Bar and is 21+. $5 cover.

4574 Beverly Blvd.

Outdoors

Bikers on the L.A. River Bike Path
L.A. River Bike Path | Photo courtesy of Joséphine Runneboom, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

1. L.A. RIVER
The Glendale Narrows section of the L.A. River is ideal for day-trippers, with its access to both equestrian and bike trails and multiple parks along the route. Head to the Los Angeles River Center for an exhibit on the river's history and to the River Garden Park for picnicking. If you're biking, look out for Spokes Bicycle Cafe along the L.A. River Bike Path for coffee and a bite to eat. Spokes also offers bike rentals and has a repair shop on site.

Sunset at White Point Beach
White Point Beach | Photo courtesy of L.A. County Dept. of Beaches & Harbors

2. WHITE POINT BEACH & NATURE PRESERVE
White Point Beach is a hidden gem in San Pedro with access to tide pools and lots of hiking options. You'll actually have to hike down the bluff to access the beach itself. Across the street is White Point Nature Preserve and Education Center, home of an old Nike Missile site and hiking trails.

1799 W. Paseo Del Mar

SuihoEn (“Garden of Water and Fragrance”)
SuihoEn (“Garden of Water and Fragrance”) | Photo courtesy of *PhotoByJohn*, Flickr

3. SUIHOEN: THE JAPANESE GARDEN
Located next to a water reclamation plant in the Sepulveda Basin, SuihoEn: The Japanese Garden is actually three gardens tucked into a 6 1/2 acre space. Willow, ginkgo, weeping peach and cherry blossom trees are among the natural beauties you'll find inside this romantic outdoor space. On Wednesdays, the garden is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and docent tours are available with a reservation. Admission is $5 ($3 for seniors). There's a no food or beverages policy at the garden, but you can picnic at nearby Woodley Park.

6100 Woodley Ave.

Whiskey Drinkers

Seven Grand in Downtown L.A.
Seven Grand | Photo courtesy of 213 Hospitality

1. SEVEN GRAND
Seven Grand made its mark in Downtown L.A. with whiskey. It's the bar's specialty - they even have a Whiskey Society for drinkers who want to partake in tasting events. It's also home to Bar Jackalope, the tiny 18-seat bar-within-a-bar with a whiskey menu that includes unusual finds. While Seven Grand's extensive whiskey list and cocktail menu can be high-end, their budget-friendly Happy Hour runs until 8 p.m. on weekdays and offers cocktails for only $6. On Valentine's Day, Seven Grand is hosting a free Speed Dating hour from 8-9pm. Doors at 3pm for Happy Hour, RSVP for Speed Dating: 213calendar.com/events/speeddating.

515 W. 7th Street, Suite 300

2. GREENBAR DISTILLERY

Tasting room at Greenbar Distillery
Tasting room | Photo courtesy of Greenbar Distillery, Facebook

If you're planning on moving your Valentine's date to a weekend before or after the holiday, head to Greenbar Distillery. These makers of organic spirits such as Slow Hand Whiskey, offer tours and tastings on Fridays and Saturdays. You'll have to reserve a spot in advance and tickets are $12 per person.

2459 E. 8th St.

Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights
Ramirez Liquor | Instagram by @ol_dirty_blanco

3. RAMIREZ LIQUOR
For those who don't want to deal with Valentine's Day crowds, but would like to enjoy a nightcap, there's Ramirez Liquor. This massive Boyle Heights shop is filled with beverage choices, including an ample selection of whiskey ranging from big brands to small batch operations and covering any budget.

736 S. Soto St.