Unforgettable DC Date Ideas: 20 Fun Things to Do for Couples in Washington DC
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Washington, DC, offers much more than mere political intrigue. It may not be known as a city for couples, but by the time you’re done reading this article, that’s exactly what you’ll think of it. So, without delay, let’s reveal 20 fun things you can do in DC with your significant other!
Romantic Date Night Ideas in DC
What’s your idea of romantic dates in DC? Well, you’re going to discover that it has absolutely nothing to do with politics, so steer clear of the National Mall and the White House. Instead, give the following spots a whirl for an evening filled with romance.
1. 1789 Restaurant & Bar
If your plan is to woo your paramour right off their feet, then booking a reservation at 1789 Restaurant & Bar is an absolute must! This LGBTQIA+-friendly restaurant is located inside a former Federal building. Named for the year that Georgetown University first opened, you and your date will dine in opulence as you enjoy the unique flavors of their seasonal menu. Plus, if the two of you like horror or cinema history, you can walk to the stairs from The Exorcist after you finish your meal.
2. Top of the Gate
After you eat, it’s time to get drinks! Go to Top of the Gate, which sits on top of the Watergate Hotel. Condé Nast Traveler named this spot to its “The 15 Best Rooftop Bar in the U.S.” list, and we’re certain you’ll agree! Open seasonally, this spot offers a 360-degree view of the city, including the Potomac River. Can you imagine having the entire city of DC laid out beneath you at night? It’s truly a must-do when you’re in Washington DC.
3. Check Out the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Okay, so we’re going to pop over to the National Mall for one quick thing—it IS Washington DC, after all. However, this isn’t just any stop. You and your date will get to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which is honestly at its best when it’s lit up by the moon.
As you stand in remembrance, you can read some of MLK, Jr.’s most inspirational quotes such as: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” This is certain to give the two of you lots to talk about.
4. Blues Alley Jazz
If you’re going to listen to jazz, why not go to Blues Alley Jazz and enjoy the nation’s oldest continuous spot for jazz and supper? Dizzy Gillespie once said, “Now THIS is a jazz club,” so you know you’re in for something special. As far as things to do for couples in DC go, it doesn’t get much better than this! Be sure to check out their calendar of events before you make plans, though, as Blues Alley Jazz tends to sell out most performances far in advance.
5. Sea the City’s Hot Tub Boat Tour
Is there anything more relaxing—or more romantic—than going on a hot tub boat? You’ll get to see so many of the city’s best spots as you and your date sit in the splendor of one of Sea the City’s hot tubs!
To save some money, you can join other couples. Alternatively, if you want to really wow your date, you can book an entire hot tub just for the two of you. Either way, it’ll be a wonderful experience you’ll never forget!
6. See a Play by the Shakespeare Theatre Company
William Shakespeare has spoken to romantics for centuries. Therefore, why not embrace his romantic leanings by taking your boo on a date to see the Shakespeare Theatre Company?
The 2023/2024 season is in full swing and features plays such as Evita, Macbeth in Stride, As You Like It, The Lehman Trilogy, and The Matchbox Magic Flute. Alternatively, those who have been together for a long time might enjoy signing up to take acting classes together.
7. Share a Delicious Dessert at Le Diplomate
Le Diplomate offers French café culture in Washington, DC. So, if you really wish to take your date on a whirlwind trip to Paris, at least the two of you can still soak in some of the culture of the City of Lights.
The menu at Le Diplomate is extensive, but let’s focus solely on the desserts. After all, romantic dates in DC must include something sweet! There are eight different desserts to choose from, including:
- Vanilla Bean Crème Brulé
- Passion Fruit Tart
- Baba Armagnac
- Artisanal Sorbet & Ice Cream
- Milk Chocolate Pot De Crème
The only thing sweeter than these desserts will be the love blossoming between you and your date.
Exciting Outdoor Date Ideas
Whether you enjoy the crisp air of fall, the renewal of spring, or the heat of summer, there’s nothing quite like having a date outdoors. In fact, outdoor date ideas in DC are one of the best ways to ensure you get another date!
8. Go to the National Zoo
When most people think of the zoo, they think about going with their family. However, a zoo date can be a fantastic way to get to know your partner. Even better, your admission to the National Zoo is free, although it does require a pass. Of course, it costs $30 to park at the zoo. If you and your date are okay with some extra walking, though, this can be avoided.
The zoo was founded in 1889, and it features close to 400 unique species and more than 2,100 animals! Find out whether your date is more interested in gray seals, Pallas’ cats, or Chinese alligators as you stroll through the zoo.
9. Wander Through The Wharf
The Wharf is a 1-mile stretch with local shopping, outdoor dining, and a nearly constant series of activities and other fun events, and it’s all set right off the water! There is so much to do at The Wharf, and it all depends on your personal preferences. For example, you can roast s’mores at Camp Wharf, go ice skating at The Wharf Ice Rink, or rent bicycles to speed everything up a little bit. There are also plenty of opportunities to get out on the water!
10. Watch Some Planes and Have a Picnic at Gravelly Point Park
Head across the Potomac River to Virginia, and you can take in the splendor of DC from a distance. This is the perfect place to go when you get a bit tired of being in DC. Gravelly Point Park is free, and it’s a fantastic spot to have a picnic.
The big bonus of Gravelly Point Park, however, is that it’s beneath the route that several planes take into DC. Even if you haven’t simply sat and watched planes since you were a kid, you can rediscover the joy of doing so with your date. This is a low-cost date that will earn you some big points!
11. Explore the U.S. Botanic Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the best things for couples to do in DC. Plus, there is no need to pay anything as you roam through this living plant museum. Therefore, if you want to impress your boo, but you’re on a tight budget, take them here, and you’ll definitely impress them.
There are three spots to explore here:
- Conservatory – Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Gated Outdoor Gardens – Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Bartholdi Fountain and Gardens – Open daily from dawn to dusk
You can also show your boo that you care about the environment by taking public transportation together to the U.S. Botanic Garden, which doesn’t have its own parking lot. Be aware that no food is for sale anywhere inside the garden.
12. Enjoy Local Murals
It doesn’t matter what city you’re in; the best way to get to really know someone is to walk through the city together. Washington, DC, makes this even better, though, with 165 murals to look at as you walk. Murals DC has the goal of “beautifying the city one wall at a time,” and the massive collection of street art shows they’re definitely achieving it.
It’ll take you at least 30 minutes to check out each street, so you might only be able to take in one or two of them. For instance, the U-Street Corridor presents 10 fantastic works of art, including what it’s like to be migrant, The Wailin’ Mailman, and The Torch. Visiting The Torch is sure to give you some insight into your date as it features trailblazers Harriet Tubman, Prince, President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, and Muhammad Ali, among others.
13. Go on a Hot Air Ballon Ride with Valley Ballooning
Sometimes, the best date ideas in Washington, DC, will actually take you out of the city. Valley Ballooning is located in Woodstock, Virginia. It will take about 90 minutes to drive to Woodstock, so you’ll have plenty of time to talk on your way. Once you arrive, you can go on a hot air balloon ride above the Shenandoah Valley. Some of the places you may see from the sky include:
- The Appalachian Mountains
- The Blue Ridge Mountains
- The Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River
Along with the locations listed above, you may also see several different vineyards and the area’s eastern white-tailed deer. It will truly be a date you’ll never forget!
Other DC Date Ideas
For those who still haven’t found what they’re looking for, we’re now going to look at seven additional date night ideas in DC. Many of these will be first-date ideas in DC!
14. Get Your Minds Blown at Artechouse
Take your date to the next level by spending 60 minutes viewing the latest Artechouse exhibit. As they advertise, this is truly a place “where creative innovation has no limits.” Walk or sit immersed inside stunning displays of art. Unlike most art, though, what’s on display will be all around you—including beneath your feet!
Beyond the Light is Artechouse’s latest offering. It’s “an artistic exploration of our unseen universe” that was developed with assistance from NASA. Have galaxies all around you, plus get a look at things you couldn’t even dream of!
15. Take in Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Art museums make for a fantastic date idea! Luckily for you, you’re in the city that hosts the largest collection of American art, including works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Winslow Homer, and John Singleton Copley. Even better, admission to the Smithsonian American Art Museum is free!
Some of the art exhibitions that will be on display well into 2024 include:
- Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas
- Carrie Mae Weems: Looking Forward, Looking Back
- Artist to Artist
- Experience America
You can even grab a bite to eat at the museum’s Courtyard Café, which offers specialty sandwiches, pastries, soup, and much more.
16. Explore American History at the National Portrait Gallery
Is your date an art lover and/or a history buff? Then you’ve got to plan a date to the National Portrait Gallery! Enjoy seeing portraits of big names throughout American history such as Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. You can also take in several personalized exhibits, including:
- One Life: Frederick Douglas
- Abraham Lincoln by W.F.K. Travers
- Powerful Partnerships: Civil War-Era Couples
- America’s Presidents
17. Play Crazy Golf at Swingers
Mini golf has long been a staple of dating couples, but Swingers has taken it to the next level! This indoor establishment features a course that’s pretty typical for mini golf, but it’s accompanied by a party atmosphere, cocktails, and gourmet street food. That’s right—this mini golf place is NOT for kids.
One thing that most people really like about Swingers is that they don’t enforce any dress codes, they don’t penalize you for going out of turn, and they don’t try to ban your phone. In other words, you can feel free to just be yourself as you attempt to win the game.
18. Eat Your Way Through Eastern Market
Eastern Market has been making DC residents smile since it opened in 1873. This large spot in the heart of Capitol Hill offers farm-fresh produce, along with handmade arts and crafts. There are indoor and outdoor merchants, which means you can spend a significant amount of time here.
Pick up some art directly from a local artist or find a new favorite vegetable to nosh on. You’ll also have fantastic people-watching opportunities! Head here on the weekends to find the best possible selection of food and art.
19. Get Your Game on at the Retro Styled Players Club
One of the best date night ideas in DC involves returning to the top video games of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Allow yourself and your date to embrace your inner children as you play each other at pool, foosball, pinball, and classic arcade games.
Players Club is a themed paradise with decorations that make it really feel like you’ve gone back in time. The good thing, though, is that you’re still old enough to drink, and Swingers serves alcohol! You can also imbibe outside in the Players Club’s skybox. If your date is into video games, this is the perfect spot and is one of the most fun things to do in DC for couples.
20. Browse Literature Together at Politics & Prose
Finally, for those of you who don’t like to drink, how about having a romantic date inside of a bookstore? Believe it or not, bookstore dates are becoming increasingly popular. They give both of you plenty of time to search for your next good book—or to let your date pick a book for you, and vice versa.
In DC, the best bookstore for a date is the independently owned and operated Politics & Prose. Aside from simply looking at all their various offerings, you can also plan a trip here to see an author event. There is something happening at Politics & Prose almost every single day, so be sure to check their online calendar before you head to the store.
Have a Truly Unforgettable Date Night in Washington, DC
Regardless of what type of date you choose, you’re certain to have an unforgettable night! But why not go for something that will really win over your sweetie?
One of the most unique date nights in DC that you can have is relaxing in a hot tub boat together as it sails down DC’s waters. If you book the hot tub just for the two of you, the romance will crank up even higher! Learn more about this once-in-a-lifetime experience by visiting Sea the City DC.