Romantic Los Angeles – Where to Go with Your Special Someone

Romantic Los Angeles - Horseback Ride at Sunset Ranch

La La land is home to the American dream…a place where anything is possible, where fantasies come true and everyone can be a star. This California cultural center is a hub for all things glitz and glam. The sun, the surf, the sand, the celebrity…you can’t beat it. That said, for the first time traveler, Los Angeles can be a tough city to crack.

After living in Los Angeles for close to five years, I discovered that many of the city’s finest finds are spread out across town, hidden to the uninitiated newbie. For first time travelers it’s hard to know where to go without the advice of a tapped-in local. For those travelers who are planning a romantic getaway in Los Angeles, here are some of the best spots to put on your love radar:

Get Intimate at Petit Ermitage

Romantic Los Angeles - The Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood

Steps from the grungy rocker bars of the Sunset Strip, you’ll find a private romantic oasis called Petit Ermitage hidden in the heart of West Hollywood. The secluded 80-suite Petit Ermitage welcomes visiting honeymooners and local lovers alike with a vibe that’s part bohemian artistry, part global design. Original works from Erte, Dali, and de Kooning line the hallways; the lounge is tricked out with blue Bolivian feather masks and psychedelic pianos. Suites are warmed by a working fireplace, cloaked in earthy Turkish tapestries, and decorated with antique curios. Guests staying in the Master’s Quarters have access to the “Liaison to Happiness” butler service. From stocking the bar with chocolates to scoring a justice of the peace for an impromptu wedding—all wishes may be granted. Assuming you leave your room, expect to meet European filmmakers, fashion designers and other artsy types working in ‘the biz,’ drawn here for the privacy and exclusive service the Petit Ermitage has to offer. For one of the city’s most romantic dining experiences, head upstairs to the guests-only rooftop. Surrounded by kumquat trees and a trickling Moroccan fountain, the heated saltwater European (ie, “topless”) pool offers dramatic panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills. The Garden—an actual butterfly and hummingbird wildlife habitat—is a magical leafy oasis of twinkling fairy lights and night blooming jasmine.

An Afternoon for Art Lovers in Downtown LA

Romantic Los Angeles - The Broad, Downtown LA

Looking for an afternoon activity for you and your fellow art lover? Head to downtown LA for a peek at the growing art scene. In the past decade, Downtown LA has experienced a sort of cool cultural renaissance, with an influx of art galleries, restaurants owned by celebrity chefs and hip hotels sporting cutting-edge design. Start your exploration with a visit to The Broad, a free contemporary art museum which opened in September of 2015. The 120,000-square-foot museum (set in a beautiful $140-million building) is home to the 2,000 works of modern art. Admission is free, but in order to avoid long lines, reserve your tickets in advance exclusively via their website.

From there, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art (free on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm) for the likes of Basquiat, de Kooning, Rothko, and Pollock before grabbing a bite to eat at Patina, a fine dining restaurant tucked into a corner of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. This stainless steel architectural wonder is also home to the LA Philharmonic, with daily orchestral performances of classical music.

Ride Your Way to Romance at Sunset Ranch

Romantic Los Angeles - Horseback Ride at Sunset Ranch

If you’re interested in an equine-themed adventure, ride off into the sunset with your boo. There is something eternally romantic about galloping through the wilderness on the back of a trusted steed. Sunset Ranch offers a selection of tours including a two hour horseback riding excursion to the peak of Mount Hollywood, with gorgeous 360º views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign. Embrace your inner cowgirl and cowboy and fall in love Western-style.

Bowling is for Lovers at The Highland Park Bowl

Romantic Los Angeles - Highland Park Bowl

For a playful romantic night out, visit the newly restored Highland Park Bowl, a glamorous, dimly-lit space with chandeliers and eight refurbished lanes (games start at $50 an hour). This former a 1927 bowling alley has an elegant retro vibe and serves up delicious wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizza. http://highlandparkbowl.com

Destination Dining for a Hot Date at The Bazaar SLS

Romantic Los Angeles - The Bazaar at SLS

While the SLS Hotel acronym is open to interpretation, one thing is for certain. Philippe Starck’s opulent Alice-in-Wonderland-esque design is Hollywood glam at its most eclectic, romantic and whimsical. This 279-room boutique hotel in Beverly Hills is renown for its experimental and imaginative interior architecture. Oversized chairs made out of shiny red lips, gold gun bedside lamps, plexiglass deer heads and a giant horse sculpture with a lampshade for a head, are just some of the ultra cool oddities that make you feel as if you’ve stepped through the looking glass. This magical décor draws a contemporary crowd of trendy, in-the-know scenesters looking for a flirtatious dinner date spot.  Here, they’ve found it. In addition to the swanky tapas restaurant The Bazaar, a big draw is the guests-only rooftop pool, where bikini clad models sunbathe in private cabanas and sip cotton candy infused Mojitos.

Flirt in French at Pour Vous

Romantic Los Angeles - Pour Vous

A romantic Parisian-themed cocktail lounge in Hollywood, Pour Vous (or “For You” en Francais) recreates jazz-age salon culture in the heart of the residential neighborhood of Larchmont. The décor is very Moulin Rouge, with plush crimson banquettes, opulent chandeliers, burlesque shows and a white marble bar, but it’s the retro train trolley located in the back smoking patio that really sets this place apart.  Inside, a team of mixologists whip up creative themed cocktails like La Vie en Rose, while patrons dressed in cocktail attire party like it’s 1929. This is a great date spot for intimate drinks before or after dinner.

Romantic Los Angeles - La Descarga

Post dinner, if you’re looking for an evening of rum and rumba, head to La Descarga, a Cuban-themed lounge located in East Hollywood. La Descarga is LA’ s hottest rum bar, offering artisanal cocktails, a lively speakeasy scene (complete with secret entrance through a closet) and an authentic décor that conjures up pre-Fidel old Havana. Patrons can enjoy a Hemingway inspired Mojito, a hand-rolled Dominican leaf stogie in the cigar lounge, or the live band playing a medley of salsa, mambo and Caribbean music. Don’t forget to make a reservation for this romantic night of dancing.

This story was originally published on Travelocity, I’m one of their official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit TravelocityGnomads.com.

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