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20+ Romantic Date Ideas in Washington, DC
Woo your boo with these DC experiences sure to conjure romance
The nation’s capital is quite the place to have a date night or romantic getaway. From its renowned dining scene to its majestic monuments, memorials and museums to its world-class hotels, Washington, DC has everything that a couple could want in an excursion. Read on for 20 of the most romantic experiences that the nation’s capital has to offer.
If you’re looking to truly dazzle your date, reserve a fireside table at 1789 Restaurant, specifically in the John Carroll room. Housed in a Federal-style townhouse, 1789 is a favorite for special occasions and romantic evenings, known for its cozy tables, stunning 16th century antiques and a delectable rack of lamb. The restaurant also sports a delicious tasting menu option.
From the glistening Reflecting Pool to the towering Washington Monument to numerous memorials dedicated to our American forefathers and heroes, the National Mall is the jewel in DC’s crown. Witnessing its power with your love by your side is as romantic as it gets in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You can also observe its majesty from a unique view on a Big Bus Tour, which allows you to hop-on and hop-off across a 24-hour period. Capture your moments on social media using #MyDCcool, and you may be featured on our site!
Enjoy a fireside nightcap at Quadrant Bar & Lounge in the Ritz-Carlton. Relax beside the roaring fireplace and enjoy craft cocktails and delicious apps. The bar/lounge also hosts live jazz music every Saturday night, the ideal music for the setting. Before you head upstairs, keep your eyes peeled. You never know what red-hot celebrities you’ll see checking in at this luxury hotel.
Standing as the only major museum in the world strictly dedicated to showcasing the artistry of women, the National Museum of Women in the Arts makes for an enthralling experience. The museum’s collection features art stretching all the way back to the 16th century. A highlight: Frida Kahlo’s stunning self-portrait that she gifted to Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, with whom she had a brief but passionate affair.
The National Gallery of Art presents some of the world’s finest works of art, while its sculpture garden serves as an ideal romantic rendezvous. Walk by Robert Indiana’s famed AMOR (which translates to “Love”) sculpture, a play on the artist's iconic LOVE works.
Stroll along the banks of the Potomac River near The Watergate Hotel at dusk, watch the sun set beneath the Key Bridge and share a beautiful moment you’ll remember for years. Then, toast to each other at Kingbird – the new French-American restaurant inside the Watergate – with any of the by-the-glass bubbly options.
On Saturdays and Sundays, Richard Sandoval’s Latin-Asian fusion restaurant goes all out with an unlimited prix fixe brunch from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. You can sip on Mimosas and Bloody Marys to your heart’s content while dining on a wide selection of brunch plates. After you and your significant other are done indulging, navigate 14th Street and U Street, one of the most buzzworthy areas of DC.
Retire to the red-hot Rouge Hotel in Dupont Circle, where a romantic rose petal-strewn (upon request) room awaits. Even before you settle in for the night, you can relax at the intimate Bar Rouge, which sports creative cocktails and lipstick red walls, two features sure to set the mood.
Located just steps from the White House, the Renwick Gallery underwent a stunning renovation that was unveiled in November 2015. Step inside the museum’s incredible interior and admire vaulted ceilings and, of course, the kind of fascinating and pristine art that can only be found at a Smithsonian museum.
Spending the night in the center of one of the most powerful neighborhoods on planet earth adds a special flair to date night. The Liaison Capitol Hill is one of the chicest hotels in the District, residing in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol Building with boutique rooms and suites sure to satisfy any city-trotting couple. Downstairs, Art and Soul will have you falling in love with Southern cuisine before you retire to your room.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) is situated in the heart of Penn Quarter and does not charge admission. You and your sweetie will be dazzled by the wealth of world-renowned art within its walls. When you’re done exploring the museum, take a seat inside the Kogod Courtyard, which connects SAAM to the National Portrait Gallery.
Chef Victor Albisu runs the show at Del Campo, a South American grill that is just a short walk away from the Verizon Center. Albisu won the 2015 RAMMY (awards for outstanding restaurants and figures in the DMV area) for Chef of the Year, well-deserved as his 174-seat space shows off the chef’s cooking heritage with slow-roasted meats, freshly prepared salsas and outstanding wine. Before or after, you can explore DC’s downtown and the outstanding shopping options at CityCenterDC.
Seeing a great concert makes for a fantastic date night. DC’s 9:30 Club, which has roots in the city that date back to 1980, resides on V Street and provides one of the best concert-going experiences in the region. The lineup is always diverse and 9:30’s neighborhood is packed with dining options for before and after the show.
Named after DC legend Marvin Gaye, this U Street hot spot features one of the city’s most popular rooftop hangouts. Sip on a cocktail or a mimosa with your boo as you cuddle up on the heated roof deck that draws crowds throughout the year. You can also bookmark Marvin for brunch: every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, you can hear DJs spin while enjoying drink and sandwich specials.
One of the signature landmarks in DC is the Dupont Circle Fountain, dedicated to American naval hero Samuel Francis Du Pont, made of marble and adorned with three sculptures. The gorgeous fountain serves as the epicenter of one of DC’s most stimulating neighborhoods, with a surrounding plaza that frequently features locals playing chess or lounging on benches. Stroll through, take in the atmosphere, then adventure in one of the city’s most prominent areas. After a long day or exploring, rendez-vous at the boutique Embassy Row Hotel.
The National Postal Museum doesn’t just explain the workings of the U.S. mail: The museum shares many personal American stories, some of which involve the penning of love letters. Explore this fascinating building and before you leave, quit texting, set the phone down and pick up pen, paper and stamps in the gift shop. You never know when the opportunity for your own love letter may arise….
Situated near Yards Park in Capitol Riverfront, Osteria Morini is a rustic escape to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, which is sure to amp up the romance on date night. After you take in the ragus, pastas and affordable wines, it’s time to expose your taste buds to the wonderful ice cream creations around the corner at Ice Cream Jubilee.
Shakespeare Theatre Company stages the best of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as contemporary productions inspired by the ultimate wordsmith’s work. Even though the Bard of Avon has been dead for centuries, his influence can still rock a date night today.
The Verizon Center sits in the heart of the Penn Quarter & Chinatown neighborhoods, and always has exciting events on tap. Restaurant options abound, including Jaleo, District ChopHouse and Zaytinya, and you can spend the night in the lap of luxury at the Marriott Marquis, Washington, DC.
Savor the atmosphere of a French country inn in the heart of Georgetown. A central stone fireplace La Chaumière a must-visit for those who enjoy a rustic and romantic setting. The menu is filled with French specialties and a variety of red and white wines. It all adds up to refined coziness in one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.
Located in Lafayette Square just steps from the White House, you and your boo will feel positively presidential when you shack up for the night at this posh hotel. The Hay-Adams manages to be a quiet abode for weekend escapers, even though the hotel sits near the most powerful house in the nation. Make sure to pay a visit to Top of the Hay, the hotel’s on-site rooftop lounge that features panoramic views of the city.
Having trouble finding the right words to tell your crush just how you feel? Download the free Emoji DC app, which now includes six new emoji and animations all meant to help you step your text game up. From an Abe cartoon blowing a kiss to a digital box of DC chocolates, at the end of the day, the Capital Dome is where the heart is.
Looking for romance, but on a budget? Check out our budget friendly date ideas.