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Make the date magical again

By Michele E. Buttelman

The pandemic has put a damper on many fun activities, including one eagerly awaited by many couples…a date night.

However, date night is back and now is the time to add some magic to the routine.

Falling into the “date night rut” of visiting the same restaurant or bar every week turns date night into just one more routine.

Date night is important for keeping relationships on track and giving couples special time together. Regular dates can improve intimacy and communication.

Keeping date night fresh and exciting is as important as couples finding a way to escape the daily grind.

It’s important to get out of the routine, especially with a date. Make date night magical again.

Photo courtesy of Michele E. Buttelman.

The magic castle

7001 Franklin Avenue,

Hollywood, California 90028

Reservations: (323)-851-3313

A good place to start spicing up the evening is to literally bring some real magic into your weekly outing.

Since 1963, this century-old Victorian mansion in Hollywood has been the home of the Academy of Magical Arts.

Reservations and evening dress are required and no photos are allowed.

Inside you will find a number of bars, fine restaurants, performance halls, secret doors, mysterious illusions and rare magical memories and beautiful posters on the walls.

The Magic Castle is an exclusive private club. Guests must be invited or accompanied by a member.

However, there are several ways to score an invitation to the magic castle if you are not a magician.

Photo courtesy of Michele E. Buttelman.
Photo courtesy of Michele E. Buttelman.

Join the club

You don’t have to be a magician to become an associate member. Click on the “membership” tab on the Magic Castle website to find out how to join.

Know a member

In the Santa Clarita Valley, you might be surprised to learn that there are many members of the Magic Castle. Members can easily distribute guest passes. Ask around in your circle of friends and you’ll likely find a friend of a friend’s first cousin who is a member and will be happy to hand you a guest pass.

Stay at the Magic Castle Hotel

For an unforgettable evening, book a room at the Magic Castle Hotel located next to the club. The Magic Castle Hotel can book a club reservation for you, subject to availability. Best to plan ahead and consider staying mid week.

Email a Magician

Wizards are a friendly bunch. Check the Magic Castle show schedule available on the website and view the weekly list of magicians performing at the club. Try emailing an artist and asking if they have a future date booked at the club and ask to be added to the guest list. You can make dinner reservations up to 12 weeks in advance.

Date Night or Day

Sometimes Date Night can become Date Day. Be flexible, try a date day or a date weekend to add variety to your routine.

Photo courtesy of Michele E. Buttelman.
Photo courtesy of Michele E. Buttelman.

El Matador State Beach, Malibu

32200 Pacific Coast Highway

Malibu, California 90265

El Matador Beach is one of three beaches on Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach. El Matador is the most popular of the three and the closest to Malibu.

El Matador’s parking lot is easy to spot when driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in West Malibu and is on the bluff with picnic tables that overlook the Pacific Ocean.

A path descends through unique erosion formations on the cliff face, then stairs take you down to the beach.

With clifftop views, crashing waves and craggy caves, El Matador Beach is the perfect beach day for an adventurous couple.

The breathtaking beach is ideal for strolling, watching the waves and exploring the towering arches and shallow caves.

Pack a picnic, but leave the wine at home. Like most national and local parks, El Matador does not allow alcohol.

However, there are a number of restaurants nearby that offer stunning ocean views should you wish to forego your own private picnic.

Drive-in West Wind, Santa Barbara

907 S Kellogg Ave,

Goleta, CA 93117

The drive-in theater experiment began on June 6, 1933 in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. A few others soon followed, but the trend didn’t really take off until the advent of in-car speakers in the 1940s.

The Mustang Drive-In Theater in the Santa Clarita Valley is long gone, as are most drive-in theaters in SoCal, but a trip to Windy West in Santa Barbara can be a fun and special night to see a first-run film.

The West Wind is a family-owned business that opened in 1952. The company, which is the largest chain of drive-in theaters in the world, has four drive-ins in California, one in Arizona and two in Nevada. The Santa Barbara Drive-In in Goleta was recently opened and renovated after being closed for years.

West Wind Drive-Ins operates the largest digital projectors available. The sound is streamed directly to your car radio.

Picnic at the rocks of Vasquez

10700 Escondido Canyon Road,

Agua Dulce, CA 91390

We often take for granted the incredible beauty found in our own backyard.

Vasquez Rocks is hard to beat for its spectacular scenery in the SCV. The 932-acre park is known for its rock formations, the result of sedimentary stratification and subsequent seismic uplift.

In 1874, Tiburcio Vasquez, one of California’s most notorious bandits, used these rocks to evade law enforcement. His name has since been associated with this geological feature.

The park is a popular hiking, picnicking and horseback riding area and has been used in many hit movies, TV shows and commercials.

Pack a picnic near the nature center, then head out to explore the park. See if you can find the location where the Gorn fought Captain Kirk in the original “Star Trek” series.