If you’re like me, you love exploring cool, offbeat places with somebody special but can’t keep up with the endless array of $14 cocktails and third waves lattes. You’ve figured out that the so-called “hipster spots” in LA are rarely as thrifty as the term suggests and may be worried that you and your significant other are confined to endless date nights of Netflix and Chill. The prices are bleak but don’t despair hipsters of LA.
Below is a list of interesting dates spots that match your unconventional style but are more basic when it comes to your budget.
Haunted Picnic in the Park
Nothing says cheap like free outdoor time but picnics can seem about as cliche as dates can get. Indie-fy your rom-com by setting up shop at the Abandoned Zoo in Griffith Park. With plenty of empty cages and cool graffiti art to explore, your date will be more than ready to bust out his/her polaroid camera.
Plus with free parking, free admittance, and some potential free haunting, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is splitting the cost of good brie.
Bonus: There’s a working zoo at Griffith Park for $20 if you ever have the money to compare and contrast.
Happy (every) Hour
Not only is the Village Tavern located in Atwater Village, Glendale’s hipster hideaway, it has daily specials that can keep up with your ever-changing schedule and tastes. From Mondays’ all night happy hour to $2 PBR and Schlitz every Saturday night, the Village Tavern is perfect for last minute dates that call for dinner and drinks. Food happy hour is a little more fixed from 4 to 7pm Monday through Thursday, but the money saved on booze more than justifies good Mexican (and vegan) BBQ!
Bonus: Crack your date up by writing Portlandia quotes allover their chalkboard wall.
The Dream of the 90’s
Let’s be honest, you haven’t listened to popular music since the 90’s and the new bands you like, your date probably hasn’t heard of. Find the middle ground at Club 90’s! Located in different clubs across Los Angeles, 90’s night is good hokey fun with artist-themed dance nights (think Britney and Gwen Stefani), thrift store flannel, and forgotten music video gems that will have you feeling relevant for the first time in a decade. And with only $5 admission if you buy online, 90’s night is a helluva lot cheaper than a time machine!
Bonus: Enjoy taking free photos with a cutout of the night’s honored artist. We’ll believe you when you say it’s “ironic”.
Burrito and a Movie
For many daters, the standard dinner and a movie combo is expensive and gas guzzling thanks to LA’s general lack of walkability. Cut the time and cost by checking out Figueroa Street in Northeast LA. Located just off of Highland Park’s trendy but increasingly pricey York Blvd, Figueroa features Highland Theatres which screens movies after their release date for a fraction of the price.
With $6 tickets before 6 pm, $5 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and standard pricing no more than $8, you’ll have plenty of funds to split some carnitas fries at La Estrella up the street. More thirsty than hungry? Walk down to La Cuevita for their nightly $5 happy hours that goes on as late as 9 pm (they also have free taco Tuesdays after 10 pm).
Bonus: You’ll never have to pay $12 for mainstream entertainment again (as if you would).
And on that note I’ve exhausted the hipster jokes in my repertoire (luckily) but not the list of affordable/ alternate date spots that exist in LA (also luckily). Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or you’ve just met someone at the third wave coffee shop, finding new places is always fun regardless of the time or money you spend!