Whether you’re just getting to know someone or are hiring a babysitter and heading out with your spouse, sitting silently in front of a movie screen for two (very expensive) hours just won’t do. Here are 10 ideas to help you truly connect.

Outdoorsy type?

(photo by Francine Kizner)

1) Take a walk in the beautifully landscaped gardens of Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. There’s a reason people love to get married there! The views are gorgeous and and the terraced gardens provide a feeling of intimacy. You can almost forget you’re in the middle of the city.

http://www.greystonemansion.org/

2) Years ago, someone got the idea to create a beachside neighborhood here in California that emulated Venice, Italy. Gondolas never really caught on as a primary form of transportation in Venice Beach, but the canals are still there. The homes along them are known for their gorgeous gardens. Ducks swim among the charming footbridges and boats. Be prepared with a camera. A perfect place for a romantic stroll.

(photo by Ken K. Liu)

http://www.yelp.com/biz/venice-canals-venice-2

Artsy type?

3) How about visiting LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art)? General admission is usually a pricey $15 a pop. However, there is free admission at selected times:

Second Tuesdays
On the second Tuesday of each month, general admission to the permanent galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions is free to all.

LA County Residents After 5
After 5 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (the museum is closed Wednesdays) general admission to the permanent galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions is free to Los Angeles County residents with proof of residency.

Target Free Holiday Mondays
Target sponsors several free-admission days throughout the year at LACMA. They feature special programming and free general admission to the permanent galleries and non-ticketed exhibitions.

Be prepared to pay for parking either in the lot or–cheaper option–at a meter along the north side of the museum. Better yet, ride the bus! A RAPID bus stops on Wilshire right in front of the museum.

For more info, visit http://www.lacma.org/ .

Music lovers?

4) Rehearsals at the Hollywood Bowl are often free and open to the public. Call 323.850.2000 for the latest information.

5) And Grand Performances organizes free concerts in California Plaza, downtown. Parking can be tricky, so get there early or take public transit. Don’t forget to bring your picnic blanket and dinner! For a list of this year’s events, check out:

http://www.grandperformances.org/en/gp/events/2011-overview.html

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About beccakinla

Freelance writer and unrepentant homemaker. Writer of many genres and author of "A Dozen Daisies for Raizy," "Sliding Doors and Other Stories," and "Mazal's Luck Runs Out."

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