A sexy warning: These V-Day activities work if you’re with somebody or totally solo.
It’s understandable why people shit on Valentine’s Day. It’s high pressure. It’s full of heart-shaped sugary b.s. Plus, it’s one of those Hallmark holidays where you have to wrap your head around gifts, reservations and the feelings you have for that dude in deep NoHo who you periodically see naked. I get it.
And yet, I also don’t. You see, I’m a woman who wholeheartedly and unabashedly celebrates love. I adore Valentine’s Day because A: How can you neg a holiday borne from Saint Valentine, aka a chill jet-setter who supposedly made collage art and cured blind kids before getting beheaded? And B: I love love any holidays where I call the shots, Jell-O or otherwise. Trust me, V-Day doesn’t have to be a shitshow. Which is why I’m going to share my tried and true, favorite V-Day activities across L.A.
A sexy warning: These Valentine’s Day activities work if you’re with somebody or not at all! Like Tyler Perry always says, you can do bad all by yourself, so grab a carton of Marlboros and have yourself a time.
Atwater is easily one of the best date spots, whether its a solo date or with your main squeeze. Go to Spoke Bicycle Cafe, which is on the L.A. River, for a nice and lowkey dinner, then rent a bike that’ll take you down a very romantic stretch of the river. (I know, L.A. River? Romantic? Don’t you dare question your V-Day Sherpa!) Single? Hit Club Tee Gee for some early gin n’ tonics, then embrace your destiny at the pet adoption center Sante D’Or for a Valentine’s Day that I can only imagine involves lots and lots and lots of your new best friends.
Light shopping and dinner at Ikea and then go have sex. Single? Costco samples and then go home and have sex.
Snug between the White Memorial Medical Center and Hollenbeck Park is Casa Fina, where you’ll go for dinner and then hit Holiday Bar, a very romantic booze hole with the best lighting on the planet — perfect for couple selfies.
Single? Head to the Mariscos Jalisco taco truck. Get everything and pass out in your car from pure happiness. You’re welcome.
Simple. Walk Olvera Street to Chinatown, buy your loved one a bunch of peasant shirts and leather wallets — and maybe even a taquito, which was invented here. Continue your consumption spree with matching Won-Ton noodle soups at the incomparable New Dragon Seafood, then get some banana pudding at the New Orleans-inspired Little Jewel. Single? Treat yourself to something smelly at the Institute of Art and Olefaction’s perfume-making intensive.
Take a 50-cent trip up Angels Flight, my little love angels, then flap those flappy wingz on down past overpriced food at Perch to Redwood Bar & Grill for a haunted, heavy metal experience and tater tots. Single? Have yourself a sloppy vintage makeout at the fantastical Clifton’s Wonderland Ball. I do not care for zoot suit bullshit, but I always get laid at Clifton’s. Always.
Take the damn day off and get day drunk on a million beers at Galco’s Old World Grocery, a grocery store turned soda and booze seller. Then catch the 10:30 a.m. show of “The Circus” at the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre. Single? Troll Occidental College for co-eds.
I suggest you start with a luscious late dinner at Coni’Seafood, then head to 3701 W. 119th Street for a picnic dessert at the site of the Beach Boys’ childhood home (playlist not included). Single? You’re going for a beer flight at Los Angeles Ale Works to make friends at the SpaceX hangout.
Hit Sushi Ike, the low-key best sushi spot in L.A., then drive up to my secret spot to see the Hollywood Sign as the sun sets. Go up Beachwood Drive, then take a left on Ledgewood Drive. Stay to your right and before reaching 6201 Mulholland Highway, you’ll hit Innsdale Trail and be rewarded with an amazing view of living L.A. history). Single? The semi-hidden bar Sunset and Vinyl will heal what ails ya.
Korean spa, you idiot.
Make out in the stacks at The Iliad Bookshop for a while, then head to Escape Chronicles for a very hilarious escape room called “Testing Facility,” which will show you the spatial reasoning and critical thinking skills crucial for a good fuck-buddy. Then jet over to Idle Hour, my favorite keg-shaped bar and grill, featuring some pretty rad Valentine’s Day specials. Single? I suggest a Tiki crawl: Tonga Hut, Kahuna Tiki and Tiki No and then the ICU. Kidding!
Do some drugs and go see a Valentine’s-themed magic show at the Santa Monica Pier. Single? Grab some friends and channel your stodgy inner 21st-century duchess with high tea at one of the oldest skyscrapers in Santa Monica, the Georgian Hotel.
Stroll around Suiho-En, a beautiful Japanese garden located next to a sewage treatment plant (love contains many truths). Single? The Village at Sherman Oaks Senior Living Center is throwing a very cute Valentine’s Day event. The catch? It’s at 12:30 p.m.
Honestly, I hate Silver Lake, so my first recommendation is to leave before a baby stroller hits you. If that’s not an option, pop into Gelson’s for live music and a wine tasting hosted by J Vineyards. After a nice buzz, do a lap around the Snow White Cottages around the corner, which may have served as Disney’s inspiration for — you guessed it, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Single? The Satellite is having a Fleetwood Mac vs. Abba dance party. Yeah.
The Venice Canals are good for murder and romance. After a visit to the canals, check-in for a sexy night at The Venice Beach House, a somewhat reasonably-priced, little-known historic hotel that always smells like cookies. (Warning: you might get proposed to.) Single? Take a Valentine’s Day Hornblower Cruise. Sure, it’s meant for two, but it’s cheap as hell and you’re worth it.
It’s an animal insides-themed Valentine’s Day! Pick out a nice frog coin purse or bone bra at the one-of-a-kind Necromance boutique, and then head to the barbecue joint Bludso’s for more animal insides for your own sweet insides! Single? Pop a statement necklace and hit all of Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants (Sur, Pump, Tom Tom).