The 72-Hour Guide to Romantic Los Angeles

El Matador State Beach | Photo courtesy of Shawn Park, Flickr

Whether you’re local or visiting from afar, Los Angeles is the perfect destination to be whisked away with a loved one. But every rendezvous requires a little planning. Fortunately, we’ve got a few itineraries to help create that romantic getaway for a three-day weekend of bliss with the one who matters the most.

Nickel Diner

Day One: 9 a.m. - Nickel Diner

Start the day at Nickel Diner, where you’ll come for the atmosphere but stay for the maple-glazed bacon doughnut, egg dishes, catfish and hospitality. The diner’s kitschy-nostalgic ambiance is only enhanced by the deliciously rich but fresh offerings on every plate.

Grand Central Market

Day One: 10 a.m. - Grand Central Market

After a small breakfast at the diner, take a lively stroll through the dozens of hot food stands representing a variety of foods and product from independent Los Angeles chefs and artisans. Pick up a little snack for you and your boo from a few of Grand Central Market’s purveyors and save a real taste of L.A. for your afternoon picnic.

Day One: 11 a.m. - MOCA Grand Avenue

The Grand Avenue location of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) exhibits American and European art from the 1940s and onward. More than 90% of its collection was donated from private collectors, and the 5,000 works are from artists in a wide range of their careers.

Grand Park

Day One: Picnic Lunch - Grand Park

Grab your goodies from your earlier trip to Grand Central Market and head to Grand Park to enjoy them in the great, urban outdoors. Take a stroll around the fountain, peek in the “little libraries” and waltz across the performance lawn together. It’s a great way to capture some scenic downtime when you most need it.

The Broad

Day One: 2 p.m. - The Broad

Walk off your lunch by visiting The Broad, the spectacular new contemporary art museum. The museum offers free admission to view its permanent collection - an exhibition of 250 pieces. Make an online reservation in advance or prepare for a little wait for a walk-in viewing.

Primary image for Alchemy Works

Day One: 4 p.m. - Alchemy Works

Part retail, part gallery, part event space, Alchemy Works houses some of L.A.’s most gorgeous and unusual curated collection of eclectic finds that shoppers and purveyors of all things beautiful can equally appreciate. Whether it’s Warby Parker glasses, a surfboard, a ceramic pot, or beautiful designer duds for you or your special someone, Alchemy Works has you covered.

Arts District Brewing Co.

Day One: 5 p.m. - Arts District Brewing

When you're done shopping, head to Arts District Brewing for a pint (or two) of locally brewed craft beer. The brand new 15-barrel brewery features releases such as Mateo, a golden ale; and Velveteen Rabbit, an Oatmeal Stout. You’ll have a ball in the 17,000 square-foot space, where you’ll find darts, skeeball and ping pong, as well as a long wraparound bar.

Day One: Dinner - Redbird

For a memorable high-end dinner be sure to make a reservation at Redbird. Its modern American food and cocktail menus are consistently executed to perfection and its setting in an atrium that sits adjacent to a cathedral couldn’t provide for a more dramatic - or romantic - ambiance.

Walt Disney Concert Hall at the Music Center

Day One: 8 p.m. - Walt Disney Concert Hall

After dinner, head to the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall for a night of music inside an architectural gem. Check the event calendar ahead of time so you can plan your programming accordingly. While the Concert Hall is home to Los Angeles’ premier orchestra, LA Phil, there is a diverse set of concerts to choose from.

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Day One Option: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

If a play, ballet suite or opera performance suits your fancy more than a music concert, head to the nearby Dorothy Chandler Pavilion instead. As with Walt Disney, check the calendar so you can plan your experience accordingly. One of the three largest performing arts centers in the United States, the Pavilion is home to the LA Opera and Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance.

Day One: Nightlife - The Varnish

After your concert, head to the speakeasy cocktail bar that’s reached by passing through Cole’s French Dip. At The Varnish, you’ll be transported to another time and place, with its sophisticated, understated ambiance and more importantly the bar’s consistently fantastic way of crafting cocktails. Pick your spirit and request a bespoke cocktail that the bartender will make especially for you. Stop by on Sunday-Tuesday night and enjoy live jazz for even more atmosphere.

Day Two: Hollywood Roosevelt

For your second night’s stay in Los Angeles, pick the Roosevelt Hotel, a Spanish Colonial Revival beacon of Hollywood history and lore. Go all in by reserving the Gable Lombard suite, Clark and Carole’s very own penthouse. The 300-room Thompson Hotels property plays host to Teddy’s, the poolside daytime hot spot and Spare Room, a top-notch, speakeasy cocktail bar with bowling and vintage board games. Twenty-five Degrees touts “burgers and wine,” though they’ve a full bar. Hollywood is home, now.

Starline Tours of Hollywood

Day Two: noon - Starline Tours

Get a survey of your favorite parts of L.A. by hopping on (and off) a Starline tour line. Visit movie stars’ homes, movie locations, or even a grand tour of L.A. - there are plenty of options so you can both explore the area together. Choose from a 5.5-hour tour or a “Hop-on, Hop-off” tour on the double decker buses for either 24 or 48 hours - the experience can be tailored to you.

Day Two: Lunch - JINYA Ramen Bar at H&H

For lunch, you can stop off for some customizeable ramen at JINYA Ramen Bar on the deck of Hollywood & Highland. Choose your broth, noodles and toppings. There are delicious vegetarian and vegan options, as well, so you both end up with a satisfying bowl.

Hollywood Museum

Day Two: 2 p.m. - Hollywood Museum

Learn all about Hollywood through over 10,000 props, costumes, scripts, photographs and more at The Hollywood Museum, all collected from over a 100 year span. It’s only fitting that the museum is located inside The Max Factor building, built by the make-up king, and that the rooms in which Marilyn Monroe became blonde and Lucille Ball a redhead are located here.

Musso & Frank Grill

Day Two: 4 p.m. - Musso & Frank Grill

Stop here for a proper Martini with sidecar from the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. The lengths of each bartenders’ tenure here are legendary, and combined with the historic ambiance of the dining room, is a perfect way to wind down while setting up for your night ahead.

Day Two Option: Hollywood Bowl

In the summer, you’re bound to find something you’ll love in the variety of programming at the landmark Hollywood Bowl. Pick from sing-a-longs, symphonic pieces performed by the LA Phil, concerts with fireworks finales, a selection from KCRW’s World Music series and more. The best part is that while there’s a great food and wine menu by one of L.A.’s most celebrated chefs, Suzanne Goin, outside food and drink are also allowed. Style your night however you like it.

Photo courtesy of Lost Property, Facebook

Day Two: Nightlife - Lost Property Bar

Lost Property is a great hideaway to end your night, since it’s right around the corner from The Pantages Theatre and just a little further back to The Roosevelt. Sit at the bar near the front, complete with a mixing glass chandelier overhead, or pick a table set further into the room for a little more privacy. Don’t miss the knick knacks in their little “lost property” corner, where you’re free to take anything you might “need,” but are also reminded to leave a little something for the next one.

Day Three: Hotel Erwin

What could be more romantic or quintessentially L.A. than staying beachside in Venice? Hotel Erwin is exactly the place to do that, thanks to its upbeat vibe, luxurious accommodations and prime location. With its unmatched view from High, its rooftop deck, you’ll always have access to one of the best available views of the beach.

Primary image for Gjusta

Day Three: 9 a.m. - Gjusta

Kick off your morning with a cup of coffee and top-notch pastries at Gjusta just north of Hotel Erwin. There’s no better start available in these parts, with the bakery and kitchen churning out impeccably inspiring breakfast items all day.

Day Three: 10 a.m. - Perry's Beach Cafe & Rentals

Get your blood flowing by heading to Perry’s Beach Cafe & Rentals after breakfast to rent a bike, surfboard, pair of rollerblades, and boogie boards. You’ll love your time coasting along the boardwalk while enjoying the fresh, salt air. If you and your loved one are looking more to relax, they’ve also got beach chairs and umbrellas. You get to create your own beach experience.

Venice Beach

Day Three: 11 a.m. - Venice Boardwalk

Cruise or walk along the world-famous Venice Boardwalk. You can browse a variety of wares, crafts and designs, while encountering a plethora of street performances, skateboarding and even body building. It’s a great way to be fully immersed in the diverse Venice Beach culture.

Day Three: 11:45 a.m. - Venice Canals

For a more romantic side of Venice, visit the Venice Canal Historic District, a 12-acre neighborhood comprised of man-made canals that were built in 1905 by Abbot Kinney to evoke Venice, Italy in Southern California. There are sidewalks available for easy, canal-side strolling.

Blue Plate Oysterette

Day Three: Lunch - Blue Plate Oysterette

Head to Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica for a light but delicious lunch with a view of the Pacific Ocean. The menu highlights some of the freshest seafood in the city. Start with its raw bar or a couple seasonal selections before moving on to one of the small plates, or maybe even a big plate should your appetite call for it. As for dessert, the Key Lime Pie is essential.

Malibu Creek State Park

Day Three: 2 p.m. - Malibu Creek State Park

After lunch, head north up Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Creek State Park for a beautiful walk with nature. There are over 15 miles of trail to explore more than 7,000 acres, but you can make your trip as easy or challenging as you like. The park is home to the set of the legendary M*A*S*H* TV show, so you’ll experience some TV history along your romantic hike.

Day Three: Dinner - The Tasting Kitchen

For the return trip, drive south along PCH back to Venice for dinner at The Tasting Kitchen. Located on bustling Abbot Kinney, TTK (as its known by locals) is one of Venice’s finest culinary gems. A mainstay of fantastic cocktails and thoughtfully executed plates, the restaurant consistently earns its stripes as one of the neighborhood’s favorites.

Day Three: Ferris Wheel at Pacific Park

Your romantic visit to the beach wouldn’t complete without a ride on the Ferris wheel at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. Rising 130 feet above the pier, it’s the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, and you’ll both enjoy unmatched views from Los Angeles to up and down the coast.