July 7th, 2011

Date Night: Marina del Rey

If the mention of “date night,” inspires visions of Tina Fey and Steve Carell awkwardly dancing around a stripper pole, then you might need a quick refresher on the nuances of modern day date planning. Whether it’s a first date, double date or a night without the kids, “date night” in Marina del Rey could involve any number of activities: dinner, movie, dancing, seaside adventures. What’s that saying….“Two if by Sea”?

1. Wine & Dine on the Sea – There’s something romantic about packing a picnic, champagne and chocolates for an excursion on the water. If you happen to live at Esprit, you won’t have to venture far from your front door to catch your boat. Even if you never set sail, you can cuddle with your sweetie as you bask under the stars and listen to the water lapping against the dock. If you don’t own a boat or happen to live at Esprit, there is always Fisherman’s Village, where Marina Boat Rentals offers electric Duffy rentals as low as $85 per hour. The easy-to-drive boats allow you to stay dry and warm, while cuddling with your sweetie and gliding quietly through the Marina.

2. Charter a Yacht – If you really want to impress your date, why not charter a yacht? You can enjoy a bucket of shrimp while sipping champagne and savoring the beautiful coastlines of Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu and beyond. Yacht charters at Paradise Bound Yacht Charter or Blue Pacific Boating begin as low as $55 per person, per hour (usually with a four-hour minimum).

3. Go for a Ride – An old-fashioned moonlit gondola ride along the Marina doesn’t have to be reserved for those cheesy reality dating shows of 10 years ago. Even if you’re old enough to remember the mind-numbing “Blind Date” TV series, isn’t it still romantic to ride on a private gondola steered by an authentically dressed gondolier? It can also include dinner, drinks and reflexology massages for two people. A one-hour ride for two people starts at $140 and can be booked at

4. Dinner & A Movie – There’s a reason why it’s a cliché. You can’t go wrong with a dinner and a movie. Luckily some of L.A.’s best restaurants are within a 5-mile radius of Marina del Rey. If you live and breathe by Yelp reviews, here are a few local dining establishments with four or more stars: Gusto de Lido Grill on Washington Boulevard, Bin 73 on Washington Boulevard, Stones Restaurant on Admiralty Way (in the Marriott) and Mosto Enoteca on Washington Boulevard. (And no one can forget the assortment of fantastic restaurants on nearby Abbot Kinney…too many to name!). Once you’re finished with dinner, you can take your date to one of the local Marina del Rey theaters or venture over to The Promenade at Howard Hughes Parkway or AMC Century City, which are all a short distance from Esprit, Bar Harbor, The Tides and Waters Edge at Marina Harbor, Mariners Village or The Villa at Marina Harbor.

5. Drinks & Dancing – Sometimes it’s romantic to simply sit by an outdoor fire or warm candlelight with your significant other, sipping your favorite martini. Thankfully, the Marina is not short on sexy outdoor bar settings: Glow Bar at the Marriott Hotel and Vu on Palawan Way are two great options. And, we realize dancing isn’t for everyone, but for those couples that like to get their groove on, Marina del Rey has a range of choices. Live music is available at The Warehouse Restaurant on Friday and Saturday evenings; or you can always dance the night away with Hornblower’s dinner cruises on Friday and Saturday nights. The Starlight Dinner Dance Cruise takes place every Saturday night and includes a fantastic evening of sightseeing, dinner, music and dancing.