Let’s be honest: Dating is hard. Dating with COVID-19 around the corner is harder. And dating in South Los Angeles just sounds impossible, especially during Valentine’s Day.
But, just like with everything else on this blog, nothing is impossible with some research. So, I decided to challenge myself and create a fun, unique list on the best dates a couple can try in South LA. I tried my best to balance cost-effectiveness, COVID friendliness, food, and experiences. And in the end, I’ve learned a couple of new things about the region.
So here it is: A short and sweet list of the best date ideas you can try this Valentine’s day whether you’re taking out someone special or just enjoying some single time for yourself. You can try these for a date night, or, even better, go on these dates even after Valentine’s Day, and you’ll have a good time if you live in South LA or not.
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
First up on the list is the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area–or Kenneth Hahn Park. If you’re from LA, you’re likely familiar with this expansive park on the far west side of South LA. There are a ton of romantic date ideas that you can try here.
You can have an intimate picnic by the creek or lake toward the entrance of the park. If you’re into hiking, the Kenneth Hahn Park has a series of trails that are perfect for amateur and experienced hikers. Or you can visit the tranquil Japanese Garden, where you can enjoy lush plants, coy fish, Japanese design, and even overlook parts of Los Angeles.
And just a heads up, the park is free to enter during the week. But during weekends and holidays you’ll have to pay $6 per car.
Eating at South LA’s Finest: Harold and Belle’s
Next up on this list is some fine dining….at home. Let’s be honest, COVID has ruined indoor dining, and the second wave of closures reduced available outdoor dining. But, alast, takeout still stands. And quasi-fine dining takeout might just make you or your date happy.
Treat yourself or your partner to Harold and Belle’s in Jefferson Park. Built in 1969, this place has made its name for bringing high-quality New Orleans cuisine to the humble streets of Los Angeles. My personal favorite is their Etouffee with shrimp and crawfish. One serving is enough for two, but I don’t blame you if you want to be greedy.
Eating Out at the Dunbar
Now, if you must eat outside, I might just have an option for you. In the Historic South Central neighborhood, you can visit Delicious at the Dubbar, which is a Southern-Angeleno fusion restaurant that sits on the ground floor of the historic Dunbar Hotel.
We visited this restaurant in a previous food crawl, but you can come here as early as 9 a.m for breakfast and dine until closing at 6 p.m. on a Sunday. This restaurant offers outdoor dining, but don’t forget to reserve a table on its website if you plan on sitting here outside.
The Batting Cages
If you’re trying to make it to second base this Valentine’s Day, why not try Rex’s Baseball Batting Cage in West Athens. This cozy complex has eight cages that offer automatic high-velocity pitching for beginners and pros alike. You can drive right in and test your swing within minutes.
Keep in mind that this place is cash only. And don’t worry about equipment: You can rent a bat and helmet for just 50 cents.
Bonus: Casa Valentine Inn
Now the last place on the list is the Casa Valentine Inn on Avalon Boulevard, which is under new management, by the way. Come here for a night you’ll never remember. And it’s under new management, too. No, I’m kidding. That’s a terrible idea.
But it does have pretty good reviews on Booking.com…lol
The Renovated Magic Johnson Park
The last place to visit on this list is my favorite park in South Los Angeles, which is the Magic Johnson Park. I recently covered the improvements that Los Angeles County has made at this park, and now it’s really worthwhile. There’s new plant life, a brand new walking path, and a renovated lake. You can even set up a picnic at one of the naturally socially distant tables around the lake. If this place won’t be your only date, it would be a beautiful way to end a date.
That’s it for this date list. So if you didn’t know dating in South LA could be done–even with COVID–now you know.
Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions? Leave them down in the comments!