Where to Go on a Perfect Date in DC This Summer

From fancy dinner dates to bars where you can let loose, these are the best date spots in Washington, DC.

As DC heats up, so can your dating life. While finding your other half can be a bit of a process, there are plenty of places and activities in our fine city that can make that process—dare we say—enjoyable. From rooftop bars and spots that double as arcades to day trips and opportunities to show off your artistic or athletic skills, there are a myriad of ways to impress your date (and yourself) this summer. Whether it’s date number one or date too-many-to-count, check out our list of the best date ideas in DC this summer that guarantee you both have a good time.

 roosterandowl
roosterandowl

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For a truly spectacular date night, you’ll want to have a multi-course meal. And what better way to indulge than with a tasting menu? Tried and true favorites include minibar by Jose Andres and the lauded Rooster & Owl from husband and wife team, Yuan and Carey Tang. If you’re a fancy date fan and have already hit up the classics, check out relative newcomers like Newland, Xiquet, and Elcielo, which offers a 22-course tasting.

The Ivy Hotel
The Ivy Hotel

Visit our neighboring city to the north

Baltimore
For another great day trip or weekend getaway location, head to Baltimore. No matter what your and your date’s interests, you’ll be able to find something fun. Start at the National Aquarium, then check out Sagamore Spirit’s distillery, make a trip to the Baltimore Museum of Art, catch a horse race at the home of the Preakness, or check out the city’s best bars and restaurants. And if you plan on spending the night, stay at the Sagamore Pendry or The Ivy Hotel, one of the most romantic hotels in the country.

Carriage House Wineworks
Carriage House Wineworks

Explore the wine country in your backyard

Leesburg
There’s no need to take out the passport or jump on a cross country flight to spend the afternoon at a vineyard. In Loudoun County’s historic Leesburg, there’s a whole host of vineyards in the area. Walsh Family Wine and Carriage House Wineworks both offer tastings and tours all summer long. After trying the entire portfolio of pours, explore the beautiful town that is Leesburg with its charming antiques and art galleries.

Sonny’s Pizza
Sonny’s Pizza

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A pizza party beats an all-night rager any day. So grab your date and suggest a mini pizza tour of all of the best spots in the District. From fanciful pies at All Purpose to greasy Jumbo Slice (which is a must-have for the end of the night), there’s something for everyone and this casual date ensures a great, laidback time.

Georgetown
Now that it’s warm enough to see the city on a set of two wheels, getting active together can be a great way to work up some athletic (and romantic) endorphins. Grab your bikes and head over to Georgetown where you can hop on the C&O Canal, which has a path that runs a full 184.5 miles into Cumberland, Maryland.

Muse Paintbar
Muse Paintbar

Muse Paintbar
You don’t need to be an artist or even have a single artistic skill to have a great time at Muse Paintbar. After all, with drinks, snacks, and the opportunity to either appreciate your partner’s talent or giggle at their best attempts, a date spent making art is certainly time well spent. Pick the painting that you’d most like to recreate (the options vary daily), and you’ll leave with a memento that will last much longer than your date.

El Centro, D. F.
El Centro, D. F.

Take on a happy hour tour

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Take advantage of Summer Fridays or escape the 9-5 drudgery a little early on other days of the week, and hop around to a couple different happy hours with your date. Check out our running list of best happy hours by neighborhood so that you can keep your happy tour going by foot.

national gallery of art
National Gallery of Art | Flickr/Phil Roeder

Explore a museum together

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The couple that learns together, stays together. And given the multitude of museums in DC, you and your date have plenty of opportunities to make your relationship go the distance. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or just interested in learning a bit more about how the world works, there’s no shortage of options for you and your date to explore together. So grab your date and check out this handy guide of all the must-see museum exhibits in town.

The Anthem
The Anthem

Go see a show

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With the arts community back on its feet, schedules at venues across the city are packed with great options for the summer. Check out the latest from The Kennedy Center, or head down to The Wharf and see a national act put on a show at The Anthem. And if you’re looking to check out a local performer in a brand-new space, consider Capital Turnaround, a venue that only recently opened its doors.

Pinstripes
Pinstripes

Get your game on

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Some friendly competition can be a great way to break the ice (or re-ignite the spark), and luckily, there are many adult-friendly game spots in DC. The newly opened Puttery joins mini-golf destination Swingers as an option for putting enthusiasts. Boardwalk Bar and Arcade is a new beach-themed bar at The Wharf that has top-notch cocktails, summer food favorites, and plenty of arcade games to try. Plus, Pinstripes in Georgetown offers bocce, ping pong, bowling, and more, so you can challenge your date to a full day of competition.

Root, root, root for the home team

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The summer plays host to sports season for several of DC’s teams, including the Capitals, Wizards, and Nationals. So head over to the ballpark (and stop by one of these great bars and restaurants nearby) or go to Capital One Arena to catch the game du jour.

Riggs Washington DC
Riggs Washington DC

Have yourself a little staycation

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DC is home to many spectacular hotels, which can play host not only to visitors, but to locals as well. Whether you’re testing the waters to move in together or just need to get out of the same space you’ve been sharing for months (or years), a staycation is the perfect thing to spice things up—and there are plenty of options. The Riggs Hotel is swanky and beautiful, and the nearby Hay-Adams has killer views of the White House. Then there’s the LINE Hotel and Eaton Hotel for those who enjoy trendy design or want fun restaurants and bars at their fingertips.

Georgetown Cupcake
Georgetown Cupcake

Take your sweetheart on a dessert tour

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You’ve heard of a bar crawl, but what if you made that idea a little sweeter? DC has no shortage of incredible dessert purveyors around town, so grab your date and take a self-guided sweets tour. A full-blown cupcake crawl is a must because iconic shops like Georgetown Cupcakes and Baked and Wired are located just down the street from one another—perfect for putting the two local favorites head-to-head. Baked goods lovers should head to Pluma for an incredible Basque-style cheesecake (among other delicious pastries) and a new-ish addition to the city, Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, for the shop’s incredible brioche donuts. Speaking of donuts, both Astro Donuts and District Doughnuts have swoon-worthy seasonal flavors all year long. And when you’re ready for a refreshing treat to finish off the day, DC’s best ice cream shops are waiting.

GATSBY
GATSBY

Day drink at a boozy brunch

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DC is a brunch town, and that becomes clear every time Sunday rolls around. Enjoying brunch (especially with some bubbles in hand) is an ideal way to spend an afternoon date. Aside from the city’s overall best brunch spots, DC has a host of options that offer deals on drinks including Salazar, Gatsby, dLeña, and more. So reserve some seats and get ready to cheers to a perfect date.

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Elsie Yang is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Instagram.