Throw in a dash of excitement and spontaneity for your perfect DC date.
The nation’s capital is quite the place to for an adventurous date or fun romantic getaway. From its national parks and outdoor adventures to exciting culinary journeys and more, Washington, DC has everything that a couple could want in an excursion. Read on for date suggestions that go beyond the standard fare and add a unique element to your outing.
Dance to your heart’s content at Echostage
Some of the hippest musical acts around come to Echostage, an immense dancehall that is widely considered one of the best clubs in the country. The venue plays host to rap, hip-hop, dance, electronica and other genres, with nearly every performance featuring an energetic crowd, plenty of grooves and lots of moving and shaking.
Unlock natural beauty at the National Arboretum
Watch your love grow like a tree no matter the season with a trip to the National Arboretum, a 446-acre living museum brimming with gardens and cherry blossom trees. The arboretum is also home to the original columns of the U.S. Capitol building, featured in their own dedicated space and instantly Instagrammable.
Admire the scenery of the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial
One of the most romantic spots in DC, the Tidal Basin offers a serene setting unlike any other in the city. Across the water, you can view the beautiful Jefferson Memorial in all its glory, then take a stroll into the famous domed structure. The entire scene is even more romantic once the sun goes down.
Observe or join the drum circle at Meridian Hill Park
A dramatic tiered fountain, statues of historic figures like Dante and Joan of Arc and aggregate concrete walls make this early 20th-century park feel like a slice of Europe in the middle of DC, meaning its date credentials are through the roof. On weekends, the park grounds hop with yoga-doing millennials, frisbee-throwing families and, every Sunday afternoon, a drum circle that you can watch, dance to, or join.
Turn dinner into an adventure
DC is a hub for international cuisine, meaning your romantic dinner can turn into a globe-trotting excursion. Rose Previte’s Michelin-starred Maydan fires off flavors from the Middle East and North Africa. Newcomer Moon Rabbit, named to Esquire’s list of best new restaurants in America 2021, features Vietnamese dishes inspired by chef Kevin Tien’s childhood. A Georgian feast awaits at Supra in Shaw, where the khachapuri (housemade bread filled with cheese) cannot be missed. Ambar in Capitol Hill brings Balkan cuisine to the heart of DC, offering mezze, spreads, flatbreads, meat pies, stuffed crepes and much more.
Walk among the animals at the Smithsonian National Zoo
Lions, tigers, giraffes and the beloved giant pandas are just some of the 2,000 animals that call the Smithsonian's 163-acre National Zoo home. The zoo’s habitats feature animals from 400 different species, including the newest arrival of golden-headed lion tamarin twins, certainly enough to fill an afternoon with your sweetie. The zoo is currently open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Make some time to throw some axes at Bad Axe Throwing
Talk about a unique date. Bad Axe Throwing allows you to book in advance or simply walk-in to do some good old-fashioned axe throwing. Don’t worry; safety is their number one priority, quickly followed by fun. You will have a coach to guide you through your axe-throwing experience, during which you’ll launch at a target to see who has the finest skills.
Expand your knowledge of the nation’s capital with a walking tour
DC by Foot offers pay-what-you-like walking tours of DC’s most fascinating sites, including the National Mall, Georgetown, the U Street corridor, Capitol Hill and many more. Although the tours are technically free, donations are highly recommended. DC Military Tours explores military sites and other cultural and historic DC landmarks. For more walking tour options in the District, make sure to check out DC Design Tours, Washington Walks and Fiat Luxe Tours.
Get in touch with nature at Rock Creek Park
Even during the winter, Rock Creek Park serves as a scenic recluse from the city. Put on your winter coat and stroll through the 2,100-acre park, which includes historical attractions like Peirce Mill, as well as a nature center (step in for warmth, if you need to), picnic areas and playing fields. Inside the nature center, there’s also a planetarium, so you and your sweetie can stargaze.
Enjoy a concert at The Wharf
The Wharf features three pristine music venues that add to DC’s already robust roster. The Anthem is an acoustically optimized, 6,000-seat concert hall that brings pure bliss to music lovers. Pearl Street Warehouse is more intimate, letting you and your date enjoy the artist up close while savoring all-American dinner fare, craft brews and cocktails. There's also Union Stage, a dynamic spot that offers a packed calendar with a wide range of independent acts paired perfectly with beers and pizza from their Tap Room.
Bundle up for a stroll along the C&O Canal and enjoy sunset from the Graffiti Cliffs
Hold hands (or bike side-by-side) as you trek down the C&O Canal, which runs alongside the Potomac River from gorgeous Georgetown all the way to Cumberland, Md. You’ll be provided with scenic views of one of DC’s most historic neighborhoods. Visit the trail on a sunny afternoon, and we’re sure you’ll come away with some Instagram-worthy shots of you and your date. After your adventure, catch the sunset at the Graffiti Cliffs near the Key Bridge for a breathtaking visual.
Savor the Peruvian-Asian flavors of China Chilcano
Relish in the mash-up skills of renowned chef José Andrés at this Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand honoree, an award given to restaurants serving high quality cuisine at affordable prices. China Chilcano, located in Penn Quarter, dishes out a delightful rendition on Peruvian food, with accompanying flavors from China and Japan – all without completely emptying your wallet. The restaurant’s daily Pisco happy hour (4-6 p.m.) discounts drinks and small bites.
Do your DC exploring on wheels
Walking around the District is a joy, but adding a little speed to your sightseeing means more adventure. Book a bicycle or Segway tour of the city with Unlimited Biking or City Segway Tours, with a professional guide dishing out info on DC landmarks along the way. Other bike tour options include DC Cycling Concierge and Adventure DC Tricycle Tours. You can also rent a couple of bikes from the extremely convenient Capital Bikeshare, which offers 24-hour membership at its litany of DC stations.
Take your date to the sky at the National Air and Space Museum
After being shuttered for decades, the red brick, cross-shaped Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building has reopened on the scenic National Mall. Bring your boo on an immersive journey through the FUTURES exhibition featuring a collection of ideas, technologies and objects, including a massive flying car and Virgin’s Hyperloop train, which one day could travel to New York City from DC in 30 minutes.
Discover DC's street murals
Canvases are everywhere you look in the District, which teems with vibrant street art in all quadrants. Spot everything from renditions of silver screen stars Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor to abstract, museum-commissioned works, restaurant-themed facades and lots more. Don’t miss Lisa Marie Thalhammer's aptly-named LOVE mural in Shaw and the mural at Ben’s Chili Bowl, which features the Obamas, Prince and Harriet Tubman, among others.
Embark on a Mexican adventure with José Andrés at Oyamel
You’ve never had a Mexican food experience like the one at Oyamel, and culinary superstar José Andrés wouldn't have it any other way. Its crispy, crunchy grasshopper tacos (yep, you read that right), renowned guacamole and creative margarita concoctions mean your taste buds are in for some surprises (don’t worry, there are plenty of other taco options). The colorful decor makes for a lively vibe that suits an adventurous date night perfectly.
Navigate the winter wonderland at Washington Harbour
Most of the year, Washington Harbour in Georgetown greets visitors with a dancing fountain surrounded by restaurants. But when the cool temps settle in, the fountain transforms into prime ice skating real estate. After dark is when it’s most magical, with dozens of twinkling white snowflakes lighting up the rink. Reserved ticket admission is only $10 for adults, and you can grab dinner at Farmers Fishers Bakers afterwards.