The High Rooftop Lounge at Venice's Hotel Erwin has the best L.A. city views you can find anywhere, hands down. Look one way and you see Catalina Island, the South Bay and LAX; look another and there's Santa Monica Pier, Malibu and the Getty Museum. Keep looking and you see the Hollywood Hills, Century City, downtown Los Angeles and beyond. It's also a warm and cozy bar with craft cocktails and tasty tapas. Lovers can snuggle on the comfy banquettes under the blankets provided to help patrons stay warm after the colorful sunset, but all patrons must be over 21 to be up on the roof. This lounge is so popular with locals and tourists that it is expanding, adding more bars to keep up with the demand, so making a reservation is advised to ensure a romantic seat with a spectacular view.
Stroll the 120 acres of the Huntington's astonishing and varied gardens (Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Desert, Rose, Jungle, Subtropical and more), then explore the library's extraordinary collection of rare books and enjoy the art gallery's impressive collection of artistic masterpieces including Thomas Gainsborough's "The Blue Boy" on a cultural and horticultural date with the one you love. Be sure to check out the Greene and Greene collection that commemorates the work of Pasadena's famed architects, too. Located in San Marino (about ten miles north of downtown L.A.), the Huntington has recently installed two new pavilions to its Chinese garden, added five rooms to its American Art Gallery and opened a new visitor center in 2015. The Huntington is open daily (except Tuesday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Carbon Beach Club Restaurant is one of the most romantic places in Southern California to while away an afternoon. Located on the beach overlooking the Malibu Pier, the restaurant is part of the Malibu Beach Inn, a lovely boutique hotel. At the restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or drinks (if that's all you're in the mood for), you'll be swept up into the wonderfulness of it all, watching the waves crash along the shoreline, seeing the birds swoop and soar overhead and, if you are really having a lucky date, catching a humpback whale breach as it makes it way along the shoreline during migration seasons. Even if all you see are your lover's star-struck eyes, this is a place that has love in the air.
The Getty Center is the legacy of billionaire J. Paul Getty, a gorgeous paean to the arts. Perched high in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Richard Meier-designed complex is stunningly beautiful both outside and in. The museum's vast collection includes works by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne and many other artistic masters, as well as ancient antiquities, modern sculptures, illuminated manuscripts and more. Art lovers ready for a little romantic interlude will find the gardens particularly inviting (stop and smell the roses!) and the Restaurant at the Getty offers up locally sourced fare with an amazing view. The permanent collections are always on view as well as constantly changing special exhibitions. Admission is always free, but note that parking is $15.
From April to October, the Hollywood Bowl is the most romantic place in SoCal to see concerts and performances of every kind. The summer home of the L.A. Philharmonic, it's also the venue that hosts the Playboy Jazz Festival weekend every June. There's sometimes ballet on the beautiful bandshell stage, sometimes a classic movie musical unspools with the whole audience singing along, and other times rock, country, Latin or pop musicians belt out their tunes. Bring your own picnic, wines â" and especially if you are sitting in a box while on an important date â" tablecloths and candles. Or have a first-rate dinner at The Wine Bar at a.o.c. at the bowl before the show; and remember that there's no hurry to leave when the music ends, as the parking lots stack everyone's cars, so it often takes a while to find a way out.
From the high bluffs right down to the ocean, Point Dume feels like your own private beach. Take a picnic and perch your blanket way above the water, all the while keeping your eyes wide open (unless you're having a quick kiss), for Point Dume State Beach has the most dolphin sightings out of any beach in Los Angeles. And from January through March, be on the lookout for whales migrating past as well. Check out the multiple tide pools at low tide and enjoy the four-mile roundtrip hike on the well-maintained sandy trail. Take in the stunning views of the Channel Islands off in the distance when you reach the peak of that easy-moderate hike. Finally, end your romantic idyll at the restaurant at Paradise Cove, located nearby Barbra Streisand's home, for a lovely beachside meal.
Lovers of all things Disney, Marvel and Star Wars know that Disneyland is the place where like minds find bliss. So grab your favorite partner, be she Minnie Mouse or he Han Solo or Captain America (you can even costume up for the adventure) and have a lover's day in the park. Begin with a walk down Main Street and end with the fireworks-filled parade and laser light shows that happen every evening. In between, go on all the big rides â" the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones and especially the Haunted House, where snuggling is practically required â" and make sure to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and all their friends, too. Don't miss Mr. Toad's Wild ride or the Mad Teacups and spend another day next door at Disney's California Adventure Park, too.
The Santa Monica Pier is the most iconic spot in Santa Monica, the place that first comes to most people's minds when they think of that famed SoCal beach city. It's a long, wide pier that is packed with fun things for couples in love to do. There's the pretty Ferris wheel, which we suggest riding after dark and stealing kisses at the apex (when you're not drinking in the views of the water and the L.A. landscape to the east); take a whirl on that, the roller coaster and other fun rides, all colorfully curling against the skyline and providing a lit-up atmosphere at night. Carnival-style games also line the pier, so test your mettle and win a prize for the one you adore. There are plenty of souvenir shops, too, as well as eateries like The Lobster (right at the pier's entrance) with gorgeous views and terrific food.
Head for the hills as the sun begins to set and you'll find one of L.A.'s most breathtaking spots for sparking a bit of love. The Griffith Observatory sits above the city in Griffith Park, the place Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone visited during their cinematic romance in "LA LA Land" and a wonderful spot for real-life lovers to take in the city views and look to the night sky. The observatory was recently renovated completely (it originally opened in 1935), but it still offers free public telescope viewing on every clear night in the city. Look up into the universe with the historic Zeiss telescope, the coelostat (solar telescope) or the portable telescopes on the lawn and a whole new perspective opens up. Visit the Samuel Oschin Planetarium for an in-depth show; there is an admission fee for those. Everything else, including parking, is free at the Griffith Observatory.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the Western United States. With all those nooks and crannies, romantics can get lost inside; or simply canoodle on a warm evening under the museum's iconic Urban Light installation outside the entrance. That's a perfect place to kiss in soft lighting. LACMA's complex houses a permanent collection that spans the globe, covers every historical era and features works ranging from European to Asian and Islamic art. Don't miss the impressive Latin American collection, which showcases pre-Columbian masterpieces, as well as works by modern and contemporary artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Jose Clemente Orozco. Regularly rotating temporary exhibits, constantly changing film programs, lectures, courses and special events mean that there is always something new and fascinating going on at this top-notch museum. Don't miss a kiss beneath the giant boulder, artist Michael Heizer's "Levitated Mass," either.