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11 things to do in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day

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Need last-minute plans?

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Ahhhhh, Valentine’s Day! Are you laughing? Crying? Is your heat aflutter at the thought of it? Everyone’s idea of Valentine’s Day is different, and if you’re scrambling to come up with ways on how to spend it, we’ve got 11 ideas, ranging from dancing to sad songs to strolling the Venice Canals.

Most of these, in some way, show off the beauty of the city we love, and, many of them are free, because we totally support your efforts not to buy into the commercialization of love.

Barnsdall Art Park

Pack a picnic and enjoy some of the prettiest views in Los Angeles. The Los Feliz park offers parking, but it’s also transit accessible. It’s right off the subway’s Red Line; exit Sunset and Vermont. Afterward, stroll up Vermont for a night cap and macarons at Figaro Bistrot.

The Echo & Rockabilly Riot Present: Legendary Shack Shakers

For rabble-rousers who find romance in rock ‘n’ roll rather than roses, thrash the night away with psycho surf punks in Echo Park. Tickets are $11.50 to $14.50. This is happening at The Echo, and if it sounds too uplifting, head downstairs to the Echo Plex for a night of “Sad Songs and Love Songs.”

The Huntington gardens

The botanical gardens at The Huntington are absolutely beautiful. They spread across an impressive 120 acres, featuring roses, and palms, and native plants, and lily ponds. If you can’t sneak away to Palm Springs for a romantic desert getaway, take a quick trip to the desert garden. It’s nearly 100 years old and holds 60 landscaped beds.

Update: The Huntington gardens are closed on Tuesdays! So table your trip. As an alternative, a helpful commenter recommends the lovely Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, which is open on Tuesdays, but closes at 5 p.m.

Casablanca at the Aero

Catch a screening of the timeless WWII-era romance in Santa Monica. Tickets are $12.

Museum of Broken Relationships

This is one for the cynics: a museum devoted to heartbreak. Located on the Walk of Fame, the Museum of Broken Relationships features emotional exhibits that are dark and funny. Speaking of funny...

Iliza: The Confirmed Kills Tour

The 2008 winner of Last Comic Standing is performing at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Iliza’s style is loud and fast, and while she made a name for herself joking about partying and the dynamics between men and women, the LA Weekly says she’s digging deeper. “The Valentine’s Day thing was just given to me, but I’d do this show any day. I probably only think about Valentine’s Day as much as the average guy does,” she told the paper.

18 First Date Restaurants in LA That Help Seal the Deal

Going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day is bullet proof. Going on a first date in Valentine’s Day is not. Picking the perfect restaurant will help. Eater LA curated a list of more than a dozen dining options with solid drink menus and sexy vibes, from South Bay’s Suburbia, to the new Michael’s in Santa Monica, to Salazar in Atwater Village.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

From Barnsdall Park, you can see the Hollywood sign and the Hollywood Hills. For more expansive vistas, climb the stairs to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and be rewarded with panoramas of glittering Downtown LA, snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains, and Culver City.

The Venice Canals

The Valentine’s Day weather forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and temperate nighttime temperatures, so take full advantage by spending the evening outdoors in one of LA’s loveliest settings. Author Chris Fleming, who wrote Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles, compiled a handy guide to a two-mile canals stroll; read it here.

Sunset Cinemas

Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a Tuesday, when admission to this West Hollywood theater—where you can order a drink at the in-house bar and cry into it at your seat—is discounted to $6. Playing this week are Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Paterson, and The Comedian.

Tango at Union Station

In the gorgeous ticketing hall of Union Station, tango dancers Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes will perform accompanied by a live orchestra, but here’s the best part: they’re also offering a free lesson. More details here.