Events

10 Great Washington DC Dates To Go On Right Now

It’s tough out there, so let's make things a bit easier.

To state the obvious -- the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the world of dating as we once knew it. Gone (for now) are the days of the classic dimly lit restaurant dinner, the movie theater meet-up, or the live concert date. That being said, as the days grow colder and we begin to enter the notorious cuffing season, Washingtonians can’t stay dateless forever.

The city is still in Phase Two of reopening, and constantly shifting Phase Three criteria means that it’s time to get creative, and stay safe, when it comes to planning your dates this fall. Luckily, autumn in the District is one of the most scenic times of the year -- practically made for the romantic outdoor dates. From spooky movie nights to farmers market strolls, here are the best socially distant activities you can bring a date on this season.

Stroll your local farmers’ market

Multiple locations
Snap up some produce for the week ahead, support your local farmers, and bond with your date over your shared love of honeycrisp apples while visiting one of the almost 30 farmers markets across the DMV. Almost all of them are already open for the season, with COVID-friendly protocols in place that’ll make it safe and easy for you and your date to peruse the produce tents with confidence.

Have a fall picnic in Meridian Hill Park

Columbia Heights
Meridian Hill Park -- “a garden fit for an aristocrat, open to the public” -- is a picturesque place to stroll around at any time of the year. It has the longest cascading fountain in North America and is always chock-full of (very good) dogs to love on. Take your date to pick up some hot coffee or a steaming chai latte from Potter House, just a few blocks from the top of the park and then go for a leisurely stroll, or bring a blanket and some fall goodies from home for a socially distant picnic. Bonus: Come on a Sunday for the opportunity to participate in or watch the weekly drum circle.

Sip boozy apple cider at Anxo Cidery

Truxton Circle, Brightwood Park
Nothing quite screams fall like a nice apple cider enjoyed outdoors once the weather gets crisp, and luckily Anxo is offering patio seating at both of their locations. Bring a date to enjoy some Spanish tapas classics together like jamon serrano and patatas bravas, then wash it down with a refreshing hard cider made locally with apples purchased directly from farmers.

Hang with cute animals at the National Zoo

Woodley Park
Going on a date with an animal lover? Take them for an afternoon stroll through the reopened National Zoo, which is open air and social distancing friendly. While the Asia Trail is currently closed for reconstruction, grab a free timed entrance ticket online and enjoy smaller crowds than usual as you check out cheetahs, elephants, and more.

Take a leisurely hike 

Multiple locations
Toss on a light jacket and head out on a hike with your date for some much-needed fresh air. With plenty of scenic options nearby to choose from, we suggest picking the distance and difficulty of the trail depending on how many dates you’ve been on previously. First dates might want to opt for a walk on the beautiful Theodore Roosevelt Island, a quick stroll across the Key Bridge from Georgetown. There, take in views of the Potomac and picturesque Georgetown across the way. More advanced dates might want to take a quick drive to check out Great Falls Park to view some of its spectacular waterfalls together.

Go pumpkin picking 

Multiple locations
Is it even fall if you haven’t gone pumpkin picking yet? For those blessed with an automobile, there’s no reason not to escape the city with your date for the afternoon to a nearby farm like Butler’s Orchard or Montpelier Farms, known for acres of you-pick seasonal produce. Many local farms also offer tasty fall treats like apple cider donuts that should not be missed.

Do some local leaf peeping

Multiple locations
Take advantage of the beautiful fall colors by bringing your date leaf peeping around the city and beyond. Peak time to catch orange and red hues is mid-to-late October, before the trees really begin to shed their leaves in anticipation of winter. For those who want to stay local, head over to the National Arboretum or the Tidal Basin, or make your date a little spooky by leaf peeping at Georgetown’s Oak Hill Cemetery. Those able to drive outside of the city won’t want to miss the fall foliage displays at Shenandoah National Park’s famed Skyline Drive, complete with more than 70 overlooks.

Catch an outdoor screening of a spooky movie

Union Market
A night at the movies may not be the safest or most romantic date option right now, but luckily it’s still possible to take advantage of the perfect fall weather and see a flick outside. Bring a date to the next Sunset Cinema at The Wharf, which is playing a different movie every Thursday night this October on the Transit Pier big screen. Bonus points if you get there in time to watch the sunset and grab drinks before the movie starts.

Take an online cooking class

Multiple locations
Here’s a chance to impress your date with your kitchen skills. Try a French cooking class by chef Patrice, a former White House chef, or an Asian meal like Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice or Hakka Stir-fry by Kitchen Rodeo. It’ll be a chance for you two to test your teamwork, support struggling chefs, and enjoy a delicious meal at home together.

Learn some history at Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon
Drive a quick 30 minutes into Northern Virginia and you’ll get to George and Martha Washington’s old pad, Mount Vernon. There, you and your date will get a chance to learn about American History while taking in some fresh air. There’s plenty to do, from touring the estate and gardens to visiting the farm animals, but booking a tour ahead of time -- like a Hamilton the Musical Tour or a Distillery and Gristmill Tour -- will make the visit even more memorable.

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Austa Somvichian-Clausen is an LA native turned DC resident by way of American University. She loves hiking, exploring the city, and traveling. Follow her on Instagram.