Salsa Spots: Learn to Dance, Show Off Your Steps, Get Swept Away
By Lisa Niver
Los Angeles Local Expert
Los Angeles is home to making movies, international cuisine and top salsa spots! Are you ready to dance the night away but not sure you can StepUp to the moves? Cristian Oviedo, who teaches in Los Angeles Monday through Thursday, has twelve international dance championship titles and is a caring and kind teacher who will get moving to the beat from your first time on the dance floor. Miguel Maganda and Nicole Gil teach twice at week at Monsoon and when class ends, a live band begins so you can show off your new styling! Pick any spot on this list and learn the moves to feel comfortable on the salsa scene.
If you already know how to strut your stuff, your styling and moves will be vastly improved with these great teachers and classes. Come meet new friends, enjoy live music and show off your steps. I cannot wait to see you moving to the beat on a dancer floor in Los Angeles.
Thank you to all the members of the Muntuno team, Judy Romanik, Cristian Oviedo, Nicole Gil and Miguel Maganda for sharing their favorite spots to dance the night away! We are all waiting to dance with you!
Looking for a intimate restaurant with family style Mediterranean cuisine and entertainment? This is your place and Thursday night is the time to dance salsa in Burbank with a full bar, lounge and the talents of teachers, Mike and Christina. This location has many perks besides being one of the only locations for salsa on Thursday night. The restaurant is open until 10pm and this site has free parking! If you want to take the 8pm Basic Salsa Class and/or the 9pm Intermediate Salsa class, the charge is $10, if you come at 9:30 for the salsa social with DJ Mic it is only $5. (818-556-5299)
If Marina Del Rey is your favorite part of Los Angeles, get ready to move to the beat on Fridays with the sounds of Salsa and Bachata. This location welcomes dancers from 18 and up. Cover charge is $8 and includes a group lesson at 9pm. There is free parking if you can find it and there is always valet available. Enjoy the music by DJ Charlie and you can always step outside for the view of the Marina. Some people think the theme is Hawaiian tiki but I think it is more 1970s fisherman's wharf. The drinks are not cheap but draft beers like Kona Longboard and Lagunitas IPA are on special during happy hour. (3108235451)
It is not easy to find a place where all levels of dancers can share the multiple dance floors. On Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, enjoy Salsa dancing in El Segundo, CA at the Hacienda Hotel. Salsa and Cha Cha Cha instruction with Yesenia & Raul Santiago starts at 7pm. For new students and first time visitors, class is only $5.00. No partner required. Raul is a teacher who knows that "each student learns in a different way." Just do it! You might like it. A very friendly crowd struts their steps at this lively location which does not have live music but does keep the beat on three separate dance floors! (310-615-0015)
Wondering where to go for a Cuban experience that is worth the wait outside in line? Enjoy the fantastic drinks, great food and a place where people will appreciate your dancing! The music is live on on Monday and Saturday. My teammate Carina loves to dance here and show off her steps! Tempt your tastebuds with Cuban-style mojitos and Brazilian caipirinhas as well as Ropa Vieja and Churrasco! Check the website to see what the live music will be and make sure to make a reservation. Started in 1987, it is renown in Hollywood for the legendary live band line up including Johnny Polanco y su Conjunto Amistad, Orquesta Charangoa. ((323) 871-8612)
Steven's Steak House has entertainment every night with concerts, dance competitions and special events. My teacher, Miguel Maganda, told me that Stevens Steak House is a "very important salsa spot. It has been open for decades. They have classes, competitions for dancers and have been an important part of keeping salsa alive in Los Angeles!" Don't miss out on this spot which opened in October 1952! Whether you want to dance the night away, eat a great steak or both, this is your place. There are seven private dining rooms so Steven's Steak House is ready to host your business dinner, graduation, special event or post salsa swoon. (3237239856)
Wokcano - Santa Monica
Happy Hour on the open air patio is one of my favorite things in Santa Monica. I love the chicken dumplings, vegetable tempura and Chicken Lettuce Cups. I also surprised myself by loving the brussel sprouts! The outdoors is basically a rooftop party in Santa Monica. Street Parking in many areas is free after 6pm so read the signs and search for a great spot. Tuesday nights show up for a great selection of appetizers and salsa dance lessons! The cover charge includes both the beginning (8-9pm) and intermediate (9-10pm) salsa lessons. Like all the clubs on this list, no partner is necessary! (3104583080)
The Granada has something for everyone with a wide range of classes and styles. Be transported back in time with their 1930s style decor and enjoy over twenty five classes a week! Check out Salsa & Latin Nights on Tuesday, Bachata Tropical Nights on Thursday, and Salsa on the main dance floor on Friday and Saturday nights. You can sign up online to have your name on the guest list and they take sign-ups until 5pm the day of the event. Find the full list of classes, events and bands on the Granada website. They teach all types of dance as well as Latin music lessons with classes for violin, flute, piano, congo and bongos. (626-227-2572)
Zanibar is the place for Salsa on Monday nights. The teaching is exceptional and very welcoming. I first took class with Cristian Oviedo at this club. There is a salsa lesson and a Bachata class. I highly recommend his teaching style and welcoming lessons. You do not need to bring a partner and there is plenty of parking. After class, the crowd has dancers of all levels and is very friendly. Remember to check your purse at the door and bring your dancing shoes. This club has a different musical theme every night. While the address is on 5th, you enter through the door on Arizona. (310-451-2221)
Monsoon Pan-Asian Bistro
Walking into Monsoon Cafe on Third Street Promenade, I instantly feel transported to another place, it is almost like taking a trip as the decor is so exotic. Enjoy happy hour on the patio, dinner in the spacious room or walk upstairs for salsa and bachata lessons on the excellent dancer floor. Nicole Gil and Miguel Maganda teach a beginner class at 8pm and intermediate immediately after on both Wednesday and Saturday nights. After class, have a cocktail and enjoy the live band while you dance the night away with your newly learned skills. As it gets later in the evening, more and more talented dancers show up to show off their skills! (3105769996)
The Salsa Salsa
The Salsa Salsa classes are small sized and well worth the reasonable price. Cristian Oviedo teaches Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at Born to Play Studios but Thursday night class is only $5! After an hour and a half of instruction, music continues for practicing and dancing all night long. This is a great place to dance and get more comfortable in front of each other and the mirror. Members of Cristian's beginner, intermediate and professional teams are in attendance sharing the floor and their knowledge. I recently joined one of the teams and I cannot wait for our first performance! (323 217 6360)
About Lisa Niver
Lisa Ellen Niver arrived in Los Angeles at the age of 3 and has never stopped traveling! She is a passionate writer, social media ninja and global citizen who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. She was a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and a 2014 nominee for the Charles Bronfman Prize. Niver writes for Wharton Business Magazine, the Huffington Post, and the Jewish Journal. Find more of her adventures at We Said Go Travel and Science Isn’t Scary.
Read more about Lisa Niver here.