An anniversary is more than just a special date. It is a tradition meant to rekindle the same feelings that brought you together in the first place. Ultimately we are realtors, not relationship psychologists, so you will have to figure out some of the details on your own, but we know Northridge like the back of our hands. It is, after all, the commercial center of the North Valley.
BRING A GIFT
But first, some advice for those how to pull off an anniversary date. There is obviously more prep involved than just planning the places that you will go. You need to show up looking good, and with a gift.
Unlike a birthday or Christmas, the gift on your anniversary needs to be something meaningful that represents the two of you and the love that brought you together. You could order online with an old picture if you want something fast and easy. Instead however, we recommend doing something where you shop local and do the work yourself.
Take some old pictures and make an art project. Anything from a collage, an album, or just some nice framing will make a gift that comes from the heart. Of course, don't use the originals. If you don't have a scanner and printer of your own, Northridge has plenty of options. There are several independent shops, as well as your local Kinko’s.
Once you have your prints in hand, put it together. Regardless of what you do, you will need to stop off at an art supply store. There are a few independent stores that have certain specialties, but for a good variety, we recommend sticking to the chains which are a-plenty in town. There is Aaron Brothers, the best for framing and anything picture related. Michael's is great for do-it-yourself supplies like markers, paint brushes, and crafts. Then, there is Joann’s for anything 3-D or with fabric.
If you do an album or collage, it should represent a period of time. This can be any time from the last year to the time you first met. If you did something similar last year, we recommend the former.
Rather than pictures, maybe it's just a few words that you want. You can get all kinds of things engraved to make the perfect gift. Things Remembered at the Northridge Mall specializes in engraved gifts. They have a selection of items to choose from that has a lovely message or just your partner’s name.
For something more out of the ordinary, go to Spencer's in the Northridge Mall. Many of their “gifts” are gags, like a pen that shocks you or a fake hand, so make sure you know what you are getting. They have knowledgeable staff who will make sure you know what you are getting and how to present it in a playful manner.
The next thing to do is to be attractive from your looks, your clothes, and your smell. Same thing goes for your car if you will be taking it. The Northridge Mall has plenty of options to fix up your wardrobe. They have typical department stores to stay casual and under budget like JC Penney, Macy’s, and Old Navy. For something more showy and fashionable, they have Aeropostale, Forever 21, and Hollister co. If you need to clean up, stop by Bath and Body Works. For more intense skincare and makeup they have a Sephora, Sally’s Beauty, and Ulta Beauty.
We really love starting our dates at the CSUN Orange Grove and Duck pond (18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330) that is open to the public. Start out here with a light walk to set a calm mood in serene natural beauty. Northridge is not generally known for calming nature, so savor this while you can.
After starting out with a stroll go get something to eat. A smooth date means smooth transitions. Go to the restaurant located in the grove, The Orange Grove Bistro. It is not the most exotic food, but it’s a good balance of sit-down charm while maintaining a casual vibe. It has a nice atmosphere and a variety of food that can appeal to anyone. It is only open until 5:00 pm, so for night owls, you can find many other restaurants close by.
At dinner you will really get an idea of how things are going which will lead us to our next spot. We are going to give you three different ideas for what to do next depending on your date’s interests and how things are going.
If they have a sweet tooth, then grab a dessert. This is an option at The Bistro, but it is better to take them someplace special. CREAM Northridge (9000 Reseda Blvd Ste 103 Northridge, CA 91324) is not even a whole city block away. They focus on ice cream of course, but also have baked goods and are famous for their ice cream sandwiches between two of their cookies. It is a one-stop shop for anyone's sugar craving.
We're skipping straight to dinner... because it's an anniversary. The best way to celebrate a marriage is to keep eating. Since we are planning this around Northridge go somewhere that represents the heritage and culture of the area, Antonio's Tacos and Kabob (8450 Reseda Blvd, Northridge, CA 91324). Their kabob plates are fully authentic for locals who want to try something exotic from a faraway land, or an immigrant looking for a taste of home.
Their tacos and Mexican food also are competitive. Everyone knows what an LA street taco is, but not everyone has had Asada Fries. It’s one of their specialties, and it's the perfect combination of American-style loaded fries, but with all the fixings of Mexican-style nachos. This is the perfect selection to share for an appetizer or maybe even a whole meal - it's hearty.
After dinner, it’s time for a nightcap. There’s a variety of places to catch a drink nearby.
If they are into sports and an energetic atmosphere, try the Taps Valley Gastropub (18673 Devonshire St, Northridge, CA 91324). It’s nestled next to several other restaurants, for those looking for a late night-snack. It usually isn’t packed either, with seating generally available.
For a a more active atmosphere, go to the Stove Piper Lounge. It's a drive, but a short one, and it’s worth it for the fun vibe. It is called a lounge for good reason, plenty of table space and plush bench seating going around the outside edge. You can walk right up to the bar or find a corner to yourself for some privacy.
The place is not big so you don’t need to worry about a crowd. The noise does not carry across the room, and there are no sports games playing. They sometimes have bands play, so check this out beforehand. From experience we can say it is usually something soft to fit the mood, not to be the main attraction. They have some typical bar games that are perfect for two. A game of shuffleboard, pool or darts is a great way to bond.
If you are in the mood for something more fun and engaging, we have two ideas. For something on the goofy nerdy side, the Neon Retro Arcade is just a block or so from the southeast corner of the CSUN campus. It has every old school game we remember from the 80’s and 90’s. A little nostalgia is the perfect way to stay in a lively mood.
If they aren’t the video game type, go bowling. Matador Bowl is the natural choice, being close by and a local favorite. You two can have your own lane and play at your own pace. It is active and competitive while still being fun. Unlike the video game arcade, they have a bar that you can enjoy as well. The lighting is dim with neon blue and purple - no incandescent white. It keeps a night-time mood even if it is still light outside.
It has probably been a few hours so it is time for things to conclude. If everything has gone smoothly they won’t want to leave your side. Fun, natural, and flowing experiences are the key to an effective anniversary date. It’s time to call it a night.