Date Night in LA's Arts District

Finding the right place for a date can be almost as important as finding the right person, especially in LA, where you have so many unique places, activities to try, and spaces to explore. One of our favorite areas to head for a day or night out is DTLA’s Arts District. Located just east of Little Tokyo, west of the LA River, and about a 12 minute drive from Level South Olive, it’s an area bustling with galleries, cool eateries and boutique shopping.

Originally a vineyard to an orchard growing mainly oranges and grapefruit, by the late 1800s it became a rail and manufacturing industrial hub in the city. In the 1970s, the area became a popular area for artists who had been priced out of other areas in the city and galleries and shops began to pop up in what had been run-down and abandoned industrial buildings. By the 90s it was officially known as the Arts District and well on its way to becoming the burgeoning creative hub that it is today.

Here are our top picks in LA’s Arts District to add to your list when planning your next date night out.

Browse, shop and snack your way through ROW DTLA

ROW DTLA is a growing collection of globally recognized shops and restaurants, and innovative offices spread over six buildings to create their own unique space and environment that exude a new and unique L.A vibe. Located just outside the official boundaries of the Arts District, they transformed 32 acres into an all-encompassing iconic destination – retro yet brand new.

Make a day of it with plenty of eateries to choose from – if you are visiting on a Sunday, be sure to check out Smorgasburg, a weekly market featuring dozens of exciting food vendors, pop-up events, and artisan shopping. 

Arts District Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of @Artsdistrictbrewing

Challenge each other to a blind tasting and a round of games at Arts District Brewing Company

Opened in December 2015, Art District Brewing Company features a wide selection of craft brews ranging from wheat ales to stouts to IPAs. Beers on tap are brewed on-site by their award-winning team. Opt for a flight of beer and put your taste buds to the test with a blind tasting. Don’t miss their awesome chicken wings and plan to stay a while for a round of cornhole, ping pong, darts, or Skee-ball, and win a bet against your partner!

Explore your artistic side with a visit to the Hauser & Wirth Art Complex

Located at 901 East 3rd Street, a centerpiece of the Art District, Hauser & Wirth Art Complex is situated in the former Globe Mills complex, a collection of historic buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Hauser & Wirth is a gallery that displays contemporary works, a cultural center with museum-caliber exhibitions, and a vibrant communal space that links art and architecture with a dynamic events program and fosters public dialogue with the arts through a range of activities that engage the city’s diverse population.

When you’re feeling peckish, head to Manuela, the complex’s onsite restaurant offering seasonal, locally sourced produce, a chicken coop and a gorgeous open-air courtyard and garden. Manuela unites chefs, farmers, and artists to create an authentic and original dining experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Feel like kids again at Two Bit Circus

If you and your partner are game lovers, add Two Bit Circus to your Art District’s date night list. Dubbed the ‘World’s first Micro-Amusement Park’, under one roof, you can experience  carnival-themed high-tech attractions like VRcades, free room VR, live interactive game shows, and more. Sorry, no elephants at this circus, but you will find a robot bartender pouring your favorite libations. Two Bit Circus is free to enter, and it will take more than one visit to explore everything, so be sure to plan with your partner prior to your visit.  

Photo courtesy of @Baveldtla DYLAN + JEN

Take a trip with your tastebuds at Bavel

If you don’t live nearby Arts District, Bavel is a good reason for you and your partner to come. A Middle Eastern restaurant by renowned culinary duo, Chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis. Bavel showcases the cuisines of their family lineages, bringing together the flavors and dishes they grew up with. Standout dishes include the Hokkaido Scallop Crudo, Morracan Carrot, Wagyu Oxtail Tagine… though to be honest it doesn’t stop there. Come hungry! A feast for the eyes as much as the stomach, the restaurant’s design embraces the influence of the regions from which the cuisine is derived, interpreting those ideas through the lens of its Arts District Location. From the open, bustling kitchen to the focal piece ofextensive greenery planters which hang just below the massive skylight openings and voluminous ceiling are just a few of our favourite features.

Dine at one of LA’s most notable new restaurants

In summer 2021, owner/chef Stephanie Izard’s most notable Chicago restaurant, Girl & the Goat, landed in LA’s Arts District. Izard’s menu in LA includes long-standing favorites from the original, such as the sauteed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette and, of course, goat-inspired dishes, while letting Los Angeles’ farm-fresh produce guide the way. Taking over a prime spot in the Arts District, visit this triangular red brick space filled with gorgeous greenery and see how Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s goat-inspired plates bring joy to your table. 

Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of these drool-worthy dessert spots

When it’s time to fill your ‘Dessert stomach’ after your date night dinner, head over to Salt and Straw – handmade ice cream that originated from Portland, Oregon and has made a name for themselves nationwide for their inventive – and sometimes out-there - flavors. Inside the Salt & Straw located in Arts District, built-in benches along one wall allow customers to settle in with their cone, while the adjacent retail section selling salts and chocolates used in their recipes. The shop keeps you coming back for more, offering five new flavors every month and seasonal flavors as well.

If you are looking for flour, cake type dessert, head over to Pie Hole which serves up custom sourced coffee and wonderful, sweet or savory pies.Run by mother and son duo, Becky Grasley and Matthew Heffner, the Pie Hole uses recipes passed down in the family for five generations and also adds their newest creations to the menu, with investive flavors like Earl Grey Tea Pie, Mexican Chocolate, Cereal Killer Pie, to name a few. Every pie is baked by hand, using only the highest quality ingredients, and served alongside a specialty coffee program. Looking for something unique and want to try something that you can’t find anywhere else? Pie Hole is a sweet way to end your night.

End your evening back at Level South Olive with an outdoor film under the stars

Enjoy the ultimate open-air cinema experience in the heart of Downtown LA. Nestled between sky-high towers and glittering city lights on the 4th floor terrace at Level Downtown – South Olive, you’ll find Roof Top Cinema Club. With a rotating selection of cult-classics and popular newer releases to select from each week, you’ll receive a pair of wireless headphones, a deckchair to sit in (opt for the loveseat – a double-side deck chair perfect for cozying up to your date), blankets, and the option of drinks and movie theatre snack favorites. Where you take your night from there is up to you 😉