Of all the things to do in LA, a night at the Hollywood Bowl may be the most versatile. It can be a chance to catch up with friends over a bottle of wine and an orchestral performance, or the chance to show off to out-of-town visitors. But it’s best use may be as the preeminent of all date night ideas: you and your loved one, cuddled together under the stars, watching some of the world’s best musicians play on the same stage that’s hosted The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and even Monty Python. But the Bowl doesn’t have to be both the beginning and the end of your date night out. From historical restaurants to fancy cocktails, there are plenty of options to round out your evening.
Before the Show: Hollywood History
The Hollywood Bowl is a major element of the city’s rich history, but it’s not the only monument to the past in the neighborhood. Musso & Frank Grill has been serving stars (and those with stars in their eyes) since 1919. You and your date settle into one of the oversize red leather booths, order two of the eatery’s famed martinis, and eye a menu filled with Italian classics, steakhouse-worthy cuts of beef, and traditional dishes. (If it’s Thursday, one or both of you has to go for the restaurant’s famed chicken pot pie).
A Digestif: Poolside Libations
From Musso and Frank’s, it’s a quick stroll down Hollywood Boulevard past the tourists and the street preachers to your next destination: the comfortable, cozy Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. On a beautiful evening, you and your companion twist through the massive lobby and find your way to the bar at the Tropicana, next to the hotel’s pool. Pushing up to the bar itself can be a challenge on sunny summer afternoons—the Tropicana is still the place to see and be seen for the city’s dreamers, and one of the highlights of any “Things to do in LA” list for starstruck tourists. But, in the hours just before dusk, the atmosphere calms, and you have a chance to share a champagne cocktail in relative peace.
After the Music: More Music!
It’s after the show, and you and your date are floating down Highland Avenue back toward Hollywood. The best next stop: the gorgeous Sound Nightclub. The space is surprisingly intimate, considering that some of the biggest names in electronic dance music spin here. You and your companion can either wade out onto the wild dance floor or take in the madness with a bird’s-eye view from one of the VIP tables. The combination of wood-finishing details and projection screens with 3-D mapping make the club feel both cozy and alive, making it one of the best date night ideas for a couple who loves to dance.
A Late Snack…
After drinks, the show at the Bowl, and the dancing, you and your date might be both finding yourselves hungry again and running out of things to do in LA on such a late evening. Thankfully, a short skip from Hollywood Boulevard is Stout Burgers & Beers, a gastropub that keeps the kind of late hours that attract the night-owl set. Grab a seat on the patio or, on a cooler night, settle in under a chandelier made of empty beer bottles, for a massive gourmet burger or Stout’s signature sweet potato fries. The restaurant can’t serve the latter half of its name after 2 a.m., but it does stay open until 4, slinging its titular patties of all varieties.
…or an Early Breakfast?
By the wee hours of the morning, though, breakfast food may be more your speed. If so, walk your date to Kitchen24, which is just steps away from Hollywood Boulevard. The bright interior may inspire the two of you to don shades, but the wide range of egg dishes on the menu will have you ready for the morning anyway. Grab seats by the floor-to-ceiling front window, order a couple of coffees, and watch as the foot traffic along Cahuenga Boulevard slows to a sleepy crawl.