L.A.'s Top 10 Cheap Summer Dates


10. Dockweiler Beach. Beaching during the day is fine--yes, you'll get your tan--but it's at night that the warm summer air treats its admirers the kindest. And while L.A. beaches often have tight restrictions after sunset, Dockweiler Beach has stood strong, allowing those willing to make the drive to swim during sunset, then barbeque the night away, the sound of crashing waves a settling backdrop. It can work as a romantic night out or a full-on party. You decide. Free.

9. The Getty. Okay, you've been here. And so has your date. But that shouldn't make the museum on the hill an automatic no-go. The city-wide panorama--on view from the gardens--is one of the best available, and the wondrous architecture within this billion-dollar beauty is still a sight to behold. Yes, the actual 'art' can be less than awe-inspiring, but there's something comforting about coming back to a familiar place, especially with an unfamiliar partner. Just bring a packed lunch and money for the overpriced parking. Free.

8. Hiking in Griffith Park. One park in Los Angeles stands above the rest. And a rather impressive one at that. So it's unfortunate that Griffith Park has developed into little more than a four-thousand acre reminder of our own laziness. No hard feelings though. Just throw on a pair of shorts and transform that beautiful background into a more tangible part of your everyday life. (Don't worry, by the way, the hikes aren't so stressful that you'll embarrass yourself.) Free.

7. Devil's Night Drive-In. The drive-in movie theatre has sadly gone the way of other, more mislead retro-trends, but this modern day recreation admirably constructs a comparable product. Atop a downtown parking structure, Devil's Night Drive-In throws together all the pieces that make for a classic movie experience--yes, that includes Astroturf for the bike riders. Just park your car, grab an FM transmitter, and recline your chair all the back into 1970. The past isn't quite dead. Not yet anyway. $10

6. A Dodger Game. Proclaiming your love for the national pastime isn't a prerequisite to enjoying a night out at this historic ballpark. At only a couple dollars per ticket--use Stubhub.com--the Dodgers still offer a very entertaining night out at an affordable price. So get out and enjoy the sunsets, waves, beach balls, and kiss cams alongside 50,000 of your fellow Angelinos. Oh yeah, there's a game to watch as well. It's hard to believe, but five dollars at Dodger Stadium still gets you an evening under the bright lights. As low as $5 per ticket.

5. Geocaching. If you like to control the pace of a date, then Geocaching is for you. This online phenomenon combines GPS technology and good, old-fashioned creativity to create the world's largest treasure hunt, with over a million secret containers--i.e. Geocaches--located around the globe, thousands of which sit within Los Angeles itself. Be careful though, as it's easy to get hooked on this family-oriented subculture; finding your first Geocache, after all, can feel a little like getting in on the world's best secret. Free.

4. Outdoor Plaza Events. Whenever the summer months roll around, Grand Performances sets itself smack in the middle of the Los Angeles financial district and proceeds to put out fantastic free shows--reminders of the city's "non-Eurocentric" roots. The performances certainly do serve the desired purpose, bringing attention to what might be the city's greatest strength: A collective willingness to embrace diversity. So come, enjoy the music, dance, and theater so perfectly reflective of the city you call home. Free.

3. Upright Citizens Brigade. Setting the price of a show too low can mislead people into assuming it's not worth their time. But that may be the single flaw of Upright Citizens Brigade, as this scene has become the breeding ground for up-and-coming comedians in the Los Angeles area. And for our admittedly less ambitious purposes, it also works as just another fantastic night out on a budget. Yes, their commitment to comedy for comedy's sake seems too good to be true in the era of hidden profit models. Fortunately for us, it's not. $5

2. Downtown Art Walk. At some point in time, Los Angeles tired of being wrongfully dismissed as a second-tier metropolis. And, intent on proving their critics wrong, the city began collectively flexing their cultural muscles. Unsurprisingly, it's the Downtown Art Walk that's become the defining demonstration of this creative revival. But this free-wheeling tour through galleries, venues, and museums is more than just a collection of aspiring professionals. It's the proof that the outside detractors were wrong: Los Angeles is thriving. Free.

1. Cinespia. On any given summer weekend, thousands can be seen flocking upon the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, blankets in hand, for what has become an indispensable piece of Los Angeles nightlife. The allure of plopping yourself in front of the towering mausoleum-turned-movie screen is only amplified by the surprising calm of the surrounding gravestones and fading sunset. Add in an ability bring your own food and drink (yes, alcohol is allowed) and Cinespia reigns supreme as the city's best date night. $10


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