Nestled in the heart of Southern California, the OC is a sprawling playground that truly has it all. You’ll not only find a haven for kid-friendly entertainment, but also experiences for couples seeking romance, adventure, and unforgettable memories!
From its world-renowned dining scene to the entertainment meccas of Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, every corner of this SoCal region holds promise for exciting days/nights out. But there’s so much more than that!
As the sun kisses the Pacific shores, Orange County transforms into a haven of coastal charm, where cool mornings and romantic nights are spent on sandy beaches, creating the perfect setting for intimate connections.
If you’re looking for unique date ideas in Orange County, keep reading! We’ve curated 40+ fun and whimsical date night ideas that showcase the magic and allure of Orange County.
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Table of Contents
1. Have a beach picnic
A romantic picnic on the beach? You can’t get any cuter than this for a date idea! You’re in the OC, meaning you’ll have no shortage of amazing beaches to choose from!
Beaches like Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Crystal Cove beckon with their inviting sands and panoramic ocean views. The soft sands and gentle waves provide the perfect setting for hand-in-hand walks, story-sharing, and heartfelt conversations.
Pack a cozy beach blanket, your favorite snacks, and a thermos of hot cocoa, and settle down for a delightful beach picnic as the sun sets.
2. Spend a full day exploring Newport Beach
Nestled along the picturesque Southern California coastline, Newport Beach offers the perfect backdrop for a fun and romantic day out. With its pristine sandy shores, two piers, a lively and charming boardwalk, tons of trendy dining options, and fun attractions, Newport Beach is a haven for couples seeking a memorable date experience.
For some classic date-worthy fun, head over to the Balboa Fun Zone, a classic Newport Beach attraction that exudes a vintage charm. Embark on a playful adventure with your partner by trying your hand at carnival games, taking a whirlwind ride on the Ferris wheel, or exploring the nautical-themed shops.
The panoramic views from the top of the Ferris wheel are especially mesmerizing and romantic!
3. Grab a meal at Malibu Farms
For an extra-trendy date idea, grab a meal at Malibu Farms in Newport Beach and be prepared for a delightful blend of culinary indulgence and coastal charm! We’re talking about farm-to-table cuisine, picturesque boats along the marina waters, and a lively vibe all throughout your meal.
After your satisfying meal, venture into the vibrant Lido Newport area to continue your day of exploration. Take a leisurely stroll through Lido Marina Village, a charming waterfront enclave featuring a mix of boutiques, cafes, and shopping.
You can then rent a couple of bicycles and pedal your way along the scenic Newport Beach boardwalk, enjoying the fresh ocean breeze and sweet coastal views!
As the day draws to a close, head to the Sunset Gourmet Gazebo or Lido House’s rooftop bar, Topside, for a cozy and romantic evening. Unwind on plush seating, enjoy a glass of wine, and watch the sunset over the horizon.
4. Go on a gondola ride through Newport Harbor
If you’re celebrating something special, elevate your romantic escapade with a gondola ride through the picturesque Newport Harbor. Glide along the tranquil waters, marvel at the luxurious waterfront homes, and relish the tranquility of being in a boat with your boo!
Now, when you board the vessel, don’t expect lame wooden canoe vibes. The gondolas themselves are beautifully crafted vessels, adorned with plush cushions, cozy blankets, and soft lighting at night!
Your experience will be guided by a professional gondolier who will navigate the tranquil waters of Newport Harbor. These guys often come dressed in traditional Venetian attire, adding to the authenticity and allure of the ride!
Gondola Adventures, Inc. is a great company to rent with.
5. Go stand-up paddleboarding
Embrace a sense of adventure by renting stand-up paddleboards with your honey! Laugh and splash as you learn to balance together, creating unforgettable memories on the water.
For a serene stand-up paddleboarding session on calm waters, explore the picturesque Huntington Harbour in Huntington Beach, offering a tranquil environment ideal for beginners and relaxation.
For ocean paddleboarding, Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula offers an adventurous experience where you can ride gentle waves while embracing the coastal beauty of Southern California.
Dana Point Harbor is another fun area to paddleboard if you’re looking to explore a new area too!
6. Go hiking at Crystal Cove State Park
If you and your date are avid adventurers seeking an active day out in the sun, Crystal Cove State Park is the perfect date spot. Begin your day by tackling the El Moro Canyon Loop Trail, a moderate hike that leads you through lush landscapes, from lush canyons to panoramic ridges.
After your hike, head to the pristine shores of Crystal Cove Beach to unwind and rejuvenate! Kick off your hiking boots and dip your toes into the sparkling ocean, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to explore the coastal waters together.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch and a picnic blanket!
7. Explore tidepools and beach caves at Laguna Beach
Discover the artistic haven of Laguna Beach, where exploring tidepools and beach caves becomes an adventure in itself! This coastal gem seamlessly blends nature’s wonders with creative spirit, offering Instagram-worthy sights and endless inspiration.
Crystal Cove State Park, Heisler Park, and 1000 Steps Beach stand as must-see spots for breathtaking viewpoints. Traverse the hidden coves, marvel at intricate tidepools teeming with marine life, and enter mystical beach caves sculpted by the ocean’s embrace.
As you ascend the steps of 1000 Steps Beach, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas that capture the rugged beauty of Laguna Beach’s coastline and the eternal dance between land and sea.
After you’re done, head into the downtown area for some art gallery browsing and a meal, followed by some ice cream!
8. Have a coffee and boba date at Vintage 1979
Elevate your date to a new level of cuteness by indulging in a delightful coffee and boba drink adventure at Vintage 1979 in Garden Grove. Before you roll your eyes at me recommending a boba drink establishment, let me be clear — this isn’t your average boba joint!
I’ve got three words to describe the drinks here for you — cute, tasty, and innovative!
Start your experience by choosing from an array of cute and creative drinks that cater to every taste bud and mood.
For a whimsical twist, sip on the Unicorn Latte, a vibrant and colorful concoction that’s as playful as it is delicious. If you’re in the mood for something refreshing, the Peach Hibiscus Tea is a go-to choice, offering a refreshing combination of fruity notes and floral undertones that perfectly complement the cozy ambiance of the café. We like all the fruit teas, and the egg coffee too!
Order yourself a cute cake or a whole set while you’re at it! The menu combinations that you and your date could have are endless. It’s not going to be cheap, but the drinks are good and the ambiance is too cute to not be sucked in for hours!
9. Go on a self-guided food tour at Rodeo 39 Public Market
Rodeo 39 Public Market is a vibrant and modern food hall located in Stanton, California, offering a hefty amount of Asian food options and shopping experiences.
Within its inviting spaces, you can discover a range of eateries and businesses, including Shootz, Banh Xeo Boys (my personal fave), Hironori, Fika Fika Creamery, Phoholic (another one of my faves), Tenori, among many others, each offering unique flavors and delights to satisfy various palates.
10. Spend a day at Disneyland
This is perhaps the most romantic and whimsical date activity of all! Truly. They don’t call it “The Happiest Place On Earth” for no reason.
Fantasy-forward canoe rides, spinning teacups, storybook rides, rollercoasters in the dark — we love ALL of it.
From iconic rides like Space Mountain to interactive shows and character meet-and-greets, the park ensures an action-packed day of fun and bonding with your date. Plus with all those lines you’ll have to wait in, that just means more time to get to know your date more!
When you need a break from the rides, head into one of the many themed restaurants that immerse you in the Disney experience. Don’t forget the casual snack shacks serving classic treats like corn on the cob and turkey legs, along with the irresistible allure of cinnamon sugar-covered churros!
Need to buy your Disneyland tickets? Undercover Tourist is the trusted name for discounted theme park tickets. Depending on how many days you visit the parks, you can save up to $161 per ticket with them!
11. Grab tiki drinks at Trader Sam’s
Experience a whimsical and exotic escape right in the heart of Orange County by heading to Trader Sam’s! For your date night, you can immerse yourselves in the enchanting atmosphere filled with tiki decor, themed cocktails, and lively interactions. Doesn’t that sound like fun???
Located at the iconic Disneyland Hotel (which we’d highly recommend a stay at if you’re looking for an overnight stay), Trader Sam’s is a tiki bar that offers a truly unique and fun date night experience.
As you step into Trader Sam’s, you’ll be transported to a Polynesian paradise with an adventurous twist. The bar is known for its playful interactions, where ordering certain drinks triggers entertaining effects throughout the space. Make sure to keep an eye out for these surprises as you enjoy your evening!
When it comes to drink recommendations, don’t miss out on the classic “Uh Oa!” cocktail. This flavorful concoction is perfect for sharing and comes in a souvenir tiki bowl. For something refreshing and tropical, the “HippopotaMai-Tai” is a delightful choice. And if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try the “Krakatoa Punch” for a fiery touch to your date night.
WHY WE ARE OBSESSED WITH THE DISNEYLAND HOTEL
Let me start off by saying we are light Disney fanatics. Not major ones, just light ones.
Even when we don’t plan on going into the Disney parks, we still love being surrounded by the Disney magic! Here are some reasons why we love the Disneyland Hotel:
- Enchanting Ambiance: The Disneyland Hotel exudes a timeless charm, perfect for setting the mood! From its classic architecture to subtle Disney-themed touches, the atmosphere just brings fun and happiness.
- Proximity to Magic: Staying at the Disneyland Hotel means you’re just steps away from the magic of the Disneyland Resort. This is super useful if you plan on going to Disneyland.
- Luxurious Accommodations: You can’t help but to feel comfortable in there! There are even themed suites for an extra touch of magic.
- Dining Delights: So many good food options! Share a romantic dinner at Steakhouse 55, known for its intimate ambiance and delicious cuisine, or savor a casual meal at Tangaroa Terrace.
- Magical Extras: Take advantage of unique Disney offerings, such as character dining experiences and evening entertainment like the immersive “Fantasmic!” show.
- Romantic and Fun Evenings: Cocktails at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, need I say more?
12. Dinner and a stroll at Downtown Disney
Elevate your date night with a touch of magic at Downtown Disney! Begin your evening with a delectable dinner at one of the charming restaurants that line this vibrant district.
Choose from an array of culinary delights, ranging from the delightful Italian flavors of Naples Ristorante e Bar to the enchanting ambiance and New Orleans-inspired cuisine at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen.
After your meal, take a leisurely stroll hand-in-hand through the lively promenade, surrounded by the sights and sounds that make Disney’s atmosphere truly enchanting.
Fancy a drink or two? Head to Ballast Point Brewing Co.
After dinner, stop at Black Tap for some crazy shakes! These shakes are not your average milkshake — think frosted, decorated rims and all manner of candy, cookies, and accoutrements. You may even get a slice of cake in your shake!
If your date’s a Disney fan, stop by Marceline’s Confectionery so they can ogle at the myriad of handcrafted Disney-themed candies, made daily in-house and beautifully arranged in glass cases up and down the walls!
💡 Fun Fact: Marceline’s is named after Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri.
13. Indulge in Asian cuisine at Garden Grove
If you want a truly delicious Korean or Vietnamese meal, you need to stop what you’re doing and head straight for Garden Grove, CA. This vibrant city boasts a treasure trove of Asian cuisine that promises to transport your taste buds to distant lands!
Tasting your way through Garden Grove is not just a date idea – it’s an immersive experience that celebrates the art of food and the joy of discovering new flavors!
Among the city’s standout restaurants is Mo Ran Gak Restaurant which I love for its delectable cold noodles (perfect for hot summer days) and exceptional Korean BBQ. Meanwhile, Banh Cuon Luu Luyen entices with its delicate banh cuon, while the aromatic pho from Pho 79 and Phoholic does wonders for comfort and warmth.
14. Grab dinner at Anaheim Packing District
Elevate your date night with a journey through flavors at the Anaheim Packing District. This culinary haven offers an array of dining options, from gourmet bites to international cuisines, all housed within this charming historic space.
As you explore the district, you’ll discover a world of flavors that cater to every palate. Whether you’re craving authentic street tacos, artisanal pizzas, or delectable desserts, the Anaheim Packing District has so much to choose from!
For modern Thai, there’s White Elephant. For smoked meats and prime steaks, there’s Craft by Smoke and Fire. For drinks, opt for Pali Wine Co. (great tasting room) or BXCR (the cool train car turned cocktail lounge). For dessert, there’s the ever-popular Popbar or The Pie Hole, and too many others to list here! You can check out all the food offerings at the Packing District here.
Follow up your meal with dessert at one of the many sweet shops in the food hall like Popbar and Crepe Coop!
Don’t forget, there are two floors to this massive food hall!
15. Escape into The Blind Rabbit speakeasy
Embark on a captivating journey into the past at The Blind Rabbit, Anaheim’s first neighborhood speakeasy. This secret haven invites you to step back in time and experience the allure of the Prohibition era.
Nestled beneath the Packing House, this speakeasy exudes an air of mystery, making it an ideal setting for a fun and unique date night! You can expect nothing less than inventive craft cocktails and yummy small plates. Trust the skilled bartenders and chefs to create unique concoctions tailored to your tastes.
Finding the entrance is part of the adventure. Look for the hidden door marked by a rabbit emblem. The element of discovery adds to the excitement.
You and your date should also embrace the speakeasy ambiance by dressing in 1920s-inspired attire. It’s a playful way to fully immerse yourselves in the experience!
If you’re celebrating a milestone or special occasion, let the staff know. They might have something unique planned to enhance your experience!
Lastly, The Blind Rabbit is known for its exclusivity, so it’s best to make reservations in advance. Call ahead or use the secret code to secure your spot in this hidden gem.
16. Do a touristy activity at the Anaheim Gardenwalk
Sure, the Gardenwalk’s in a touristy area, but that just means there’s a lot of fun to be had here!
Puzzle your way through an escape room at Mission Escape Games, or take in soulful tunes at House of Blues Anaheim. Some notable food and drink joints in the area include Vietnamese coffee shop King Coffee, California ice cream institution La Michoacana, and Artist Row — an immersive outdoor arts & events venue!
17. Go to a themed dinner
OK, who said themed dinners were just for tourists and kids? I love me a themed dinner whenever I have the chance to visit Southern California because immersive experiences are my JAM and they’re just lacking in other parts of the state!
You can attend the Medieval Times Dinner And Tournament in Buena Park, where you’ll be able to storm the castle and cheer on a knight in shining armor. Kids and adults alike will love using their hands to dig into a feast for a king while watching an epic battle of jousting and extreme horsemanship in the arena.
There’s also the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park, where you can enjoy an acrobatic show aboard an authentic replica of an 18th-century Spanish galleon. Enjoy your meal while watching Captain Sebastian and his crew track down treasure through a series of death-defying stunts.
18. Go ice skating at Anaheim Ice
For about $12, you can get an affordable afternoon of ice skating that lets you experience the Frank Gehry-designed rink that was built for NHL’s Anaheim Ducks!
Professionally maintained skates are available for rental. Public skating times vary so be sure to check their website for more information.
19. Spend a day on Catalina Island
If you’re up for a day trip, why not spend a few hours enjoying Catalina Island? Take one of the morning rides on Catalina Express and pay a visit to Catalina Island’s pristine city of Avalon.
Enjoy a scenic stroll along the picturesque Avalon Harbor, explore the quaint town’s charming boutiques and cafes, hop into a kayak, or go snorkeling to make the most of your unforgettable island getaway.
Other popular excursions include renting a golfcart for an hour or so to drive around the island via its most scenic routes, booking a two-hour bison-watching expedition or a zip line eco-tour of the interior of the island.
You can also relax in a cabana at the Descanso Beach Club, or wander around the Catalina Island Museum before your return trip home!
20. Go parasailing in Newport Harbor
Despite what you may initially think, parasailing is a very relaxing experience and not scary at all, if you’re not scared of heights, that is.
California Parasail out of Newport Harbor allows you to fly hundreds of feet in the air on a parasailing adventure, riding tandem or even triple. Boats depart daily from Newport Harbor.
21. Take a trapeze class
If you’ve ever wanted to live out your circus dreams, you’ll get to in the OC! Swingit Trapeze allows people without prior experience to learn acrobatic techniques, including trapeze, trampoline, and aerial apparatus from professional circus artists.
They even do birthday parties and corporate events, should you find this experience more fun with a larger group!
22. Go brewery hopping
The OC has no shortage of breweries to enjoy. In fact, Anaheim was founded by brewers and winemakers in the mid-to-late 1800s, so naturally, you’re going to find some GOOD drinkin’ here.
Here are a few options to inspire a brewery-hopping afternoon with your date:
- Radiant Beer Co. – Anaheim (they won Best Small Brewery and Brewer of the Year at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival!)
- Ballast Point – Anaheim (Downtown Disney)
- Golden Road Brewing – Anaheim
- Noble Ale Works – Anaheim
- Bootlegger’s Brewery – Fullerton
- Left Coast Brewing Co. – San Clemente
- Bottle Logic Brewing – Anaheim
- Green Cheek Beer Co. – Orange
- Four Sons Brewing – Huntington Beach
- Unsung Brewing Company – Anaheim
- Artifex Brewing Company – San Clemente
- Barley Forge Brewing Co. – Costa Mesa
- Monkish Beer Co. – Anaheim
23. Try new foods at Little Saigon Night Market
For a really unique date night idea, head to the Little Saigon Night Market in Westminster. As the sun sets, this Vietnamese shopping plaza transforms into a lively and enchanting world of sights, smells, sounds (of karaoke!), and flavors, creating an unforgettable experience for you and your partner.
You’ll want to wander through the massive array of food stalls offering authentic Vietnamese street food and international treats. From savory bánh mì sandwiches to banh beo, aromatic bowls of phở to sea snail dishes, you should most definitely try a bit of everything while you’re there!
For dessert, definitely get the taro wrapped in sticky rice and drowned in tapioca/coconut milk. It’s the most delightful dessert ever — and I’ve only ever had it at this night market!
24. Enjoy a 4-hour dinner at The Hobbit
Indulge in an extraordinary culinary journey at The Hobbit in Orange, where a 4-hour dinner waits for you! Yes you read that right — 4 hours!
This intimate restaurant offers a prix-fixe menu that takes you on a meticulously crafted gastronomic adventure. As you step into this charming house-turned-restaurant, you’ll be transported into a realm where elegance and food are the only two things that matter.
The evening unfolds through multiple courses, each thoughtfully designed to surprise and delight your palate. From amuse-bouches to exquisite main courses and delicate desserts, every dish is a masterpiece that reflects the chef’s creativity and commitment to excellence!
Plan ahead — waaaay ahead, as this restaurant is booked months in advance.
👉 For another cute date-worthy restaurant, check out The Cellar Restaurant in Fullerton. There’s a reason why they’re called ‘OC’s Best Hidden Secret’! The restaurant was designed by the same craftsman from the Pirates of the Caribbean, so if it looks familiar, that’s why!
25. Go to the OCMA for some art
For a memorable and art-filled date night in Orange County, look no further than the OCMA (Orange County Museum of Art) in Costa Mesa — just steps away from South Coast Plaza.
Explore captivating exhibits, immerse yourselves in artistic expression, and ignite meaningful conversations, all while sharing a memorable experience that’s sure to spark joy and connection.
Whether you’re both art aficionados or simply seeking a new and engaging way to spend quality time together, the OCMA offers the perfect backdrop for a fun and inspiring date night!
Admission to the Orange County Museum of Art is always free, no advance reservations or tickets necessary.
26. Catch an event at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Are you a lover of the performing arts? Then you’ll be glad to know that this dynamic performing arts center features an exciting lineup year after year. You can expect jazz, cabaret, chamber music shows, ballet, Broadway shows, and much more.
But this isn’t your average performing arts venue. At Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts, you can expect to find all kinds of fun events (even if you’re not into performing arts), such as silent disco nights, movie Mondays, paint night parties, dance lessons, and much more!
Be sure to check their events calendar to see what’s going on. Maybe you can even plan a date night depending on what types of events are coming up!
27. Chill at Biergarten Old World Village
Old World HB is an authentic German food/drink establishment located in a quaint Bavarian-style village. If you want to feel as if you were transported to a European village, head to OC’s premier Biergarten for your date.
Old World opened its doors back in 1978 and remains family-run and operated! While best known for its epic Oktoberfest Celebrations, Old World is also home to its award-winning German restaurant, German bar, and European market offering freshly-baked bread and cakes and the best sausages in California. (It’s a great place to pick up some German candies and other hard-to-find edible things!)
Old World also hosts special events every week, including its world-famous Dachshund races, holiday brunches, farmers markets and more.
28. Take the dogs to Huntington Dog Beach
Huntington Beach is not only a popular destination among humans (surfers especially), but it’s also home to one of the best dog-friendly beaches in all of Southern California. Enter the famous Huntington Dog Beach–also known as “Doggy Disneyland” because dogs probably see it as the happiest place in the world!
At the 1.5-mile-long Huntington Dog Beach, there is plenty of room for dogs to run leash-free and splash in the waves. This beach not only welcomes dogs with open arms every day of the year, but it also organizes the annual dog surfing competition, Surf City Surf Dog.
Amenities include a grassy park, picnic tables, restrooms & showers. Once you’re ready to leave, you can wash the sand off your dog’s paws in Dirty Dog Wash, located about a 10-minute walk from the beach.
29. Go to the Santa Ana Zoo
For a smaller, local zoo experience outside of the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, visit the Santa Ana Zoo. This 20-acre zoo is a sanctuary for primates. At any given time, there are at least 50 monkeys housed here!
It’s also one of 10 zoos within the United States to provide a home for ocelots, the endangered Brazilian cat that looks like a small cheetah.
30. Window shop at South Coast Plaza
This fashion mecca of a mall in Costa Mesa is the largest shopping center on the West Coast — so you know you’ll be able to get your shopping on here! It’s anchored by upscale department stores alongside top designer boutiques like Chanel, Dior, and Valentino.
Not into luxury? Not a problem! Some of my favorite stores to browse through aimlessly are Pop Mart, Paper Source, Crate & Barrel, and Anthropologie.
31. Immersive yourself in tiki life at Strong Water Anaheim
If you’re up for a fun and slightly quirky date night bar experience, then Strong Water Anaheim might be just the thing for you!
Nestled in the heart of Anaheim, Strong Water is an eclectic restaurant that’s all about a lively atmosphere and a diverse menu inspired by global flavors. To start your culinary adventure, you can’t go wrong with their handcrafted cocktails (like the Dole Whip Colada or the Taro Colada), known for their unique twists and bold combinations.
As for the food, you should indulge in their delectable small plates if you’ve got the appetite! The lomi lomi salmon, lumpia, and mouthwatering grilled pork chops come highly recommended!
For a memorable main course, consider trying their signature dishes like the savory Short Rib Pot Pie or the succulent Pan-Roasted Salmon.
Oh, and did we mention that it’s within walking distance from the Anaheim Packing House? Even more date night fun! Reservations are highly recommended, as this place is quite popular!
32. Attend a sporting event
Looking to infuse some adrenaline-fueled excitement into your date night? Look no further than Orange County’s dynamic sporting scene.
You’ve got your choice between Angels Baseball and the Anaheim Ducks (hockey)!
Angels Baseball: Immerse yourselves in the timeless American tradition of baseball at Angels Stadium. Enjoy the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd – and of course, indulge in ballpark treats!
Anaheim Ducks Hockey: For those who prefer a fast-paced, ice-cold adventure, catching an Anaheim Ducks hockey game is a must. Feel the energy of the arena as the players glide across the ice, chasing the puck with precision. From the electrifying cheers to the dramatic moments on the rink, hockey games offer a unique blend of intensity and fun.
33. Catch a show at House Of Blues Anaheim
If you and your date are both music lovers, consider catching a show at House of Blues Anaheim, a legendary music venue that has hosted an array of iconic artists from various genres over the years!
Nestled in the heart of the Downtown Disney District, this venue offers an unparalleled concert experience where music really takes center stage.
With its state-of-the-art sound system, the VIP Foundation Room, eclectic décor, and the expanded restaurant and bar, House of Blues Anaheim stands as an awesome venue that not only delivers top-notch performances but also embodies a deep appreciation for music!
Be sure to check out upcoming shows on their website!
34. Ride roller coasters at Knott’s Berry Farm
While Disneyland is renowned for its whimsical kid-friendly atmosphere, Knott’s Berry Farm offers a unique twist by featuring roller coasters and attractions tailored to adults.
From the heart-pounding drops of HangTime to the high-speed twists of Silver Bullet, the park boasts an impressive selection of rides that cater to the adventurous spirit in you. Don’t miss out on the gravity-defying Xcelerator or the immersive GhostRider wooden coaster for an extra dose of excitement.
Beyond the rides, Knott’s offers food that’s actually quite food! Be sure to try their famous fried chicken or indulge in the delicious boysenberry treats that pay homage to the park’s heritage.
To make the most of your day, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance, not only for convenience but also for substantial savings!
35. Attend the Orange County Fair
If you happen to be planning your date during the month of July, do not pass up the opportunity to go to the OC Fair! It’s one of the best county fairs in the entire state!
You’ll find all your favorite fair foods there, like turkey legs, loaded nachos, freshly-squeezed lemonade, funnel cakes, and many other fair faves. Plus tons of carnival games and rides blasting EDM music!
Because of how hot it gets here during the summer, we recommend going in the late afternoon and spending most of your time there at night, when it’s less hot!
The Orange County Fair in California takes place at the OC Fair & Event Center, which is located at 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.
36. Discover Balboa Island
Take a ferry ride (or walk over) to Balboa Island, a charming coastal community in Newport Beach.
As you step off the ferry, you’ll be greeted by a picturesque scene of charming cottages, blooming gardens, and inviting storefronts of boutique shops. Meander along the quaint streets, where local art and unique treasures await around every corner.
Don’t forget to treat yourselves to the iconic Balboa Bar or a frozen banana – sweet indulgences that perfectly complement the island’s relaxed and cheerful atmosphere! As you explore, be sure to pause and relish the stunning views of the harbor, where sailboats sway gently in the breeze, creating a serene backdrop for your unforgettable island adventure.
37. Spend a day at San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano — that’s the town with the mission, right? Why yes it is!
San Juan Capistrano is indeed home to the famous mission, but it offers much more than that. Especially for people who aren’t interested in historic missions!
For starters, you can grab some freshly baked pastries and coffee at FNK Breads. From there, explore its charming streets lined with boutiques, cafes, antique stores, brunch spots, and art galleries. Don’t miss Ortega’s Capistrano Trading Post a cute little shop selling souvenirs, religious goods, artwork, crafts from local San Juan Capistrano artists.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit The Tea House in the historic Los Rios district, a delightful little tea room nestled in the town’s oldest residential street, offering a classic afternoon tea experience with a wide selection of teas to enjoy.
Another gem is Hidden House Coffee, where you can savor aromatic brews and soak in the relaxed atmosphere of this inviting café. And of course, there’s Heritage Barbecue, serving up some truly authentic Texas-style BBQ right here in Southern California! The brisket and the potato salad are both a must!
Whether you’re drawn to history, quaint architecture, or just a good meal, San Juan Capistrano is going to be a good time for you and your date!
38. Institute and Museum for California Art
The Langson IMCA (Institute and Museum for California Art) is an art museum located in Irvine, Orange County. The museum is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of California art, and features a collection of over 3,500 works by California artists from the 19th century to the present day.
On any given day, you’ll find a large collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other media, providing a comprehensive overview of California’s rich artistic heritage.
Past exhibits include “The Great Park: A Laboratory for Art and Life,” which explored the intersection of art, nature, and community in Orange County’s Great Park, and “Tony DeLap: A Retrospective,” which celebrated the work of the California artist known for his geometric abstractions.
If any of those exhibits sound like fun to you and your date, then check out what is currently on view.
39. Stroll among gardens at Fullerton Arboretum
The Fullerton Arboretum makes for an incredibly cute date spot with its enchanting botanical gardens, winding pathways, and charming atmosphere, providing couples and first dates with a romantic backdrop to explore, connect, and share memorable moments amidst the beauty of nature!
Visitors to the Fullerton Arboretum can explore the garden’s collection through a range of trails and pathways that wind through the various habitats and gardens. During your visit, you’ll see a range of themed gardens, including a desert garden, a Mediterranean garden, a woodland garden, and a collection of rare and endangered plants.
For even more time out in nature, hit the Fullerton Panorama Trail, a 2.8-mile loop that brings hikers to scenic hilltops overlooking the Coyote Hills Golf Course (expect lots of green!). For a longer trek, cross over Brea Boulevard to connect with another few miles of trails at Brea Dam Park.
40. See art at the Bowers Museum
The Bowers Museum is an art and cultural museum located in Santa Ana. The museum features a collection of over 100,000 objects from around the world, including art, artifacts, and natural history specimens.
While you’re here, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn about local California and other world history. Previous historical exhibits include “California Legacies: Missions and Ranchos (1768-1848)”, “Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Islands”, and “American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times”.
There are usually also some really interesting exhibits showcasing artifacts/relics that are seen as art in our culture, as seen in previous exhibits like “Gemstone Carvings: The Masterworks of Harold Van Pelt”, “Miao: Masters of Silver”, and “Guo Pei: Art of Couture”.
41. Get wild at the American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park
Inspired by the popular NBC TV show, the American Ninja Warrior Adventure Park — found in Santa Ana’s MainPlace Mall, combines fitness and fun, giving visitors an opportunity to master their secret ninja skills.
In a one-of-a-kind experience, guests can try to conquer challenges, such as the monkey swings, spider walls, tilting logs, floating bridges, a 10,000-square-foot inflatable obstacle course, and the famous Warped Wall!
This park is tons of fun for people of all ages, but especially for couples that are more on the competitive side!
42. Attend the Santa Ana Artwalk
If local events are your jam and you’re a huge fan of community art, you’re going to want to attend one of the monthly Santa Ana Artwalks.
On the first Saturday of every month, the streets from Broadway to French are filled of people exploring this community-based art showcase from 6 to 10 PM. There’s something visually creative around every corner, so keep your eyes peeled!
You’ll find over 20 art galleries displaying works from the city’s finest creators throughout downtown Santa Ana, while two outdoor festival areas host live music performances, vendors, pop-up artists, and dancing. Don’t miss the permanent street art at Callejon del Beso, which translates to “The Alley of the Kiss”.
43. Try something new at Santa Ana’s famed food halls
If you’re someone who can’t decide on where to eat out for your date, check out Santa Anna’s famed food halls, where a variety of cuisines abound!
For starters, there is the Fourth Street Market, a gastronomic gift that keeps on giving. One part innovative culinary food lab and one part food hall, the space hosts new restaurant concepts where talented chefs can start their dream business without having to build a restaurant from scratch. Alta, Baja Market, Recess Bar, and Electric City Butcher are staples within the market, but there are always new vendors and eateries popping up from time to time.
Next up there is the McFadden Public Market which derives its name from the old market that used to operate in it. Upstairs, you can shoot some classic pinball at barcade Mission Control. Downstairs is all about the rotating food concepts, as well as the hidden gem Twisted Tiki bar!
👉 Exhausted all the fun things there are to do in the OC? Check out: 58 Fun Date Spots In Los Angeles, California
44. Have a witch-themed night at The Cauldron
Calling all Harry Potter, Haunted Mansion, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and all other fantasy / witch-obsessed individuals! The Cauldron is going to be your new favorite spot in town.
The Cauldron provides a dark, fairy tale witch-themed sanctuary for people who want to dine and enjoy drinks in a themed sensory setting! You won’t be able to ignore all the cool interior decorations that come together to create such fun “spooky” vibes!
For a truly immersive experience, don’t miss out on trying some of their signature drinks, like “The Raven’s Claw”, “Grey Witch”, or “The Black Cauldron” – they’re the perfect way to get your appetite going before chowing down on their French-inspired dishes.
We’re hoping you get the table right next to the boiling cauldron and the blinking dragon’s eye!
While walk-ins are allowed, it’s best to plan ahead by signing up on the Yelp Waitlist before you arrive. They are located conveniently in Buena Park, California, right across from Knott’s Berry Farm.
45. Catch a comedy show at Irvine Improv
Laughter is the best medicine, so if you and your date are looking for a night full of entertaining comedy, go here! The new and expanded Irvine Improv has the best in famous and upcoming comedians.
Previous performers have included Gabriel Iglesias, Tiffany Haddish, Iliza Shlesinger, Tom Segura, and Chris D’Elia. Be sure to check the club’s schedule in advance to see which comedians are set to perform during your visit – you might just catch a rising star or a seasoned pro delivering punchlines that will have you laughing all night long.
Pro Tip: Arrive a little early to enjoy a pre-show dinner at the nearby eateries, and then settle into the cozy ambiance of Irvine Improv for an evening of laughter!
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