Work, home, eat, sleep, repeat. Throw in the kids and a dash of after-school activities and you have yourself a loaded schedule. It’s hard enough to make it through a Netflix episode. Date night is the farthest thing from your mind.
But then the stars finally align. You get a babysitter. You see your partner at home the same time as you and realize that somehow, someway, you have free time! Wow, that’s a scary thought.
It’s been so long since you’ve been out that it seems like Long Beach is an unfamiliar, overwhelming new city. When did that bar become a hot yoga studio? When did that restaurant shut down? Staying inside is tempting, I know. Don’t give in!
Instead, relearn the city (and discover some new parts) with these places and activities:
Paint and Sip/Succulent and Sip Classes
We use our hands everyday. Stop throwing them up in frustration and instead sink them into a nice succulent-making workshop. Rooted Harmony has classes lined up for all of February, ranging from Cerritos Center to Liberation Brewery in Long Beach. All supplies are provided with your ticket purchase. The Liberation Brewery classes even throw in a complimentary craft beer! Sip some wine/beer with your sweetheart and get those thumbs green.
Don’t want to be responsible for another living thing? Skip the succulents and take a good old fashioned Paint and Sip class instead. Pinot’s Palette, Brushstrokes and Beverages, and Paint Nite offer affordable, professional painting classes with the option to have some adult beverages while you learn. The best part? Several of these classes take place in popular Long Beach restaurants or wineries. Give the old “dinner and drinks” date a makeover by combining the two!
Downtown Long Beach is a revolving door of restaurants and bars. They spring up and shut down fast. By the time you read this, some coffee shop will have become an art gallery and then turned back into a different coffee shop. So check out these downtown selections before they’re gone:
The 4th Horseman: Do you like scary movies? Mix them in with some beer and pizza and you have yourself a nice night out! This spooky little establishment just had its one-year anniversary and is growing stronger with each new speciality pizza and drink. With a small but mighty rotating tap selection, scary good original cocktails, and random horror movies on rotation, it’s never a dull night. Be sure to visit the bathroom before you go.
Portuguese Bend: From the minds who brought us Lola’s on 4th and The Social List, Long Beach’s emerging restaurant power couple Luis and Brenda Navarro are back at it again with Long Beach’s first distillery. Portuguese Bend distills and sells its own vodka, gin, and rum on-site. Paired with a slightly upscale gastropub menu and weekly live jazz bands, this restaurant is likely to transform your date night and DTLB. Hit it on a Monday in combination with Monday Night Markets for a low-key night on the town.
Ficklewood Cidery: It’s lovely and barely two weeks old! Come raise a glass to Long Beach’s first cidery. This stripped down, rustic looking little cidery will cause you to fondly remember the short-lived but glorious Great Society meadery. Then you’ll quickly be swept up in the atmosphere and cider selections of a promising new chapter in Downtown’s ever-evolving aesthetic. They don’t sell food, so bring your own to ensure a nice cider-to-meal ratio. A perfect place to try something new with your partner.
An extension of Long Beach Transit, this little red roamer has two different sea routes. One cruises around the Shoreline Village area. The other, and my personal favorite, sails back and forth between Shoreline and Ballast Point. Have some beers at Ballast Point (or take one of their own Sip classes), then take the boat back toward downtown just before sunset. You’ll get a view of the city that you’ll never forget.
See a schedule of Aqualink and Aquabus here.
These restaurants have survived the epic highs and lows of Long Beach restaurant purging. Check out what all the well-earned buzz is about!
Restauration: Following a brief hiatus due to a kitchen fire, Chef Phillip Pretty and his crew are back and more delicious than ever. They were good before they disappeared and, if anything, the wait just made us want them more. You can taste the quality of their farm-to-table ingredients. With an awesome wait staff and a long happy hour, it’s the perfect quick date night if you didn’t plan anything.
Ellie’s: Taking the number one coveted spot on Long Beach Post’s Best Restaurants list last year, Ellie’s has more than earned the title. A small, but cozy spot slightly off Broadway, its food is incomparable and its atmosphere incredible. The wine selection is wonderful and the staff is amazing. It’s also one of the few restaurants where dish quality matches price. Whatever the date night occasion, Ellie’s will make it one you’ll remember for a long time. If you haven’t been yet, start driving and finish reading this post on your way there!
Nothing says coastal city like your own cozy gondola ride! $50 per person gets you far with this one: an uninterrupted private hour of sailing through the Naples canals, a complimentary photo, ice buckets and cups, and blankets. You do have to bring your own food and beverages, however. So plan a simple little picnic, get some decently-priced wine, and enjoy a well-deserved peaceful night on the water.
Looking to save some of these ideas for Valentine’s day, but not sure what to do with the kids? We’ve got you covered. We Rock the Spectrum and MyGym will be hosting Parents’ Night Out events this year! Drop your littles off for a fun, safe night with childcare professionals and take this list for a spin. Or bookmark it and save some money for post-Valentine’s day bliss.
What are some of your date night picks? What did we miss or what do you like to do with your partner when you have a free night? Let us know!