Washington DC

The Most Fun DC Dates To Go On Right Now

Here’s how to warm up this winter.

To state the obvious—the 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. 

Plus, choosing a fun, original date activity is hard during frigid cold winter. We also know it can be extremely tempting to just opt out entirely and stay in bed all day and stream TV whilst cocooned inside a blanket. Despite chilly conditions, Washington DC is chock full of unique and engaging date ideas that you'll both enjoy. Here are the best ways you and your date can stay warm together in DC.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day dinner in an igloo

Multiple locations
This winter, DC has been looking less like the nation’s capital and more like the North Pole as private dining igloos have continued to pop up at some of our favorite restaurants around town. The Watergate Hotel was perhaps the first to implement the creative idea years ago on their rooftop, but they can now be seen everywhere from Ted’s Bulletin to Del Mar. Already over the igloo craze? Check out the dining yurts at Fiola or the greenhouses at Belga Cafe.

Grab a new book and a brew at Kramer’s

Dupont Circle
Everyone’s favorite independent bookstore is also the best cozy date spot. Impress your date with a late afternoon of literary perusal, pointing out your respective faves and maybe each picking up a new one to read. To the back of Kramerbooks is their Afterwords Cafe if you both get hungry, and on the side of that is their small bar—the perfect little spot for grabbing a warming beverage before heading back out into the cold. Also make sure to check out the calendar, where they post fun events like live jazz in the cafe and book readings by some of your favorite authors.

Learn about “seductive” wines together on V-day

Multiple locations
You and your date don’t even have to leave the warmth of your apartment to become vino experts this Valentine’s Day—just try not to spill on the couch. The virtual tasting course is courtesy of Capital Wine School, which has put together a lineup of 11 wines and champagne deemed specifically to help set the mood.

Take a day trip to the slopes 

Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
Those looking for a good reason to escape the city for the day can grab their skis and their date and drive just over an hour and a half to Whitetail Lodge, where you two can spend the afternoon tearing up the slopes. Feeling extra adventurous? Take advantage of their night skiing and riding from 3pm until close on Thursday through Sunday nights—the slopes are fully lit and almost guaranteed to be less crowded.

Grab a coffee for a wintry walk around 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 steaming cocoa from Potter House, just a few blocks from the top of the park and then go for a leisurely stroll. Bonus: Come on a Sunday for the opportunity to participate in or watch the weekly drum circle.

Watch cute animals from the National Zoo

Currently all Smithsonian museums are closed until further notice, but the National Zoo has us covered with live streams of some of its most adorable animals. Curl up on the couch with your sweetie and watch giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian play in the snow or baby cheetahs Amabala, Jabari, Hasani, and Erindi as they play and purr for the camera. Doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

Go for a winter wonderland hike

Theodore Roosevelt Island
Bundle up and head out on a hike with your date to connect over your shared love of the great outdoors. 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.

Take an online cooking class

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.
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