14 Ideas for a Perfect Date Night in DC This Winter
Snuggle up by the fireplace or grab first-date drinks at a speakeasy.
Of the many ways to keep the winter chill at bay, rekindling a romantic flame is among the best. After all, enjoying a candlelit meal at a top-notch restaurant, snuggling under blankets, and cozying up to a fire are done best with your love.
DC has more than its fair share of romantic settings that are fabulous in any season, but some that are particularly enjoyable on the coldest days of the year. From winter sports like skiing and ice skating to cozy staycations, here are the best date ideas in DC to impress your partner this winter.
You don’t have to be a figure skater or hockey player to enjoy some time on the ice. And luckily, there are plenty of rinks across several neighborhoods in the city where you can show off your skills (or learn a new one with your partner). Some favorites include skating around the sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art or hitting the ice along the waterfront at The Wharf ice rink.
Shake (or stir) up your relationship at a cocktail class
Nothing brings two people together like mastering a new skill, especially when that skill involves some delicious spirits. Pratt Standard Cocktail Company is a cocktail ingredient company that regularly hosts cocktail classes highlighting local distilleries (like District Made Spirits). The Logan Circle neighborhood restaurant Commissary also offers private group classes. Make it a double date, and a senior bartender from the restaurant will lead your group through everything from basic cocktail-making techniques to food pairings and more advanced skills all tailored to your interests.
Evoke your inner child
For a lighthearted date that offers ample opportunities for playful flirting, consider classic games from your childhood. Spin is one the greatest date night concepts of all time, combining ping pong, cocktails, and a swanky setting for some fun competition. For something a little more traditional, head over to Boardwalk for arcade games and drinks that are reminiscent of summer at The Shore. If bowling and bocce are more your speed, Pinstripes in Georgetown is a classic.
Listen to your heart putt-er
Over 18 holes, you really get to know a person. So hitting the greens at a DC venue that combines mini golf, food, and booze under one roof is a date night no brainer. Dupont Circle’s Swingers has become an instant local favorite, and the newly opened Puttery is another great option.
There are few settings more winter-appropriate for a date than a classic speakeasy. Hidden away from the wind and the world, these charming bars tucked away in back alleys, subterranean locales, or other surprising places. Not only will you have some of the best drinks in the city, but your date will benefit from the best ambience, too.
Hop from wine bar to wine bar
While bar hopping may not be the most romantic idea for a date (at least, not in the early stages), checking out several wine bars all in one evening could be an elegant way to get to know someone just a little bit better. Some of our local favorites include Flight, Maxwell Park, and La Jambe, and many of these spots offer flights to make the tasting experience easier.
Have an afternoon of ultimate relaxation
If the onset of colder weather has you seeking out all things cozy, treat yourself (and your date) to a romantic spa day. DC has a number of shiny new spas that promise plenty of relaxation. The Waldorf Astoria’s subterranean spa may just be the best hidden gem in the city, while the Thompson Hotel in Navy Yard also boasts a great menu of services. The swanky new Pendry Hotel is another excellent option, and at the Balian Springs health spa just a short drive away in Alexandria, you can enjoy several pools, saunas, and steam rooms.
Take a little road trip
If staying cooped up in your home with your honey doesn’t sound quite adventurous enough, there are plenty of weekend getaway options near DC. Whether you’re looking to head to Baltimore for a romantic stay at the Sagamore Pendry or The Ivy Hotel, or head out to St. Michaels for some wintertime beach vibes, a change of scenery is just an hour or so away.
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.
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.
Go see a show
With the arts community back on its feet, schedules at venues across the city are packed with great options for the winter. 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.
Have dessert for dinner
When it’s this cold out, all rules go out the window. So if you need to start your date by satisfying your sweet tooth, DC is more than willing to oblige. You could have ice cream for dinner thanks to Jeni’s new maple-soaked pancake flavor, or head to a bakery around town for some whole pie for your meal.
Have yourself a little staycation
DC is home to many spectacular hotels, which can play host not only to visitors but 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. Check out the new Morrow Hotel in fast-developing NoMa, or the newly rebranded Salamander (previously the Mandarin Oriental).
Go to afternoon tea
There are few indulgences quite as classic or as romantic as afternoon tea. This winter, you can find various renditions of this storied tradition all over DC. With light bites, a few glasses of bubbles, and of course, plenty of tea, you can have yourself a leisurely afternoon with your significant other. Some of the best offerings are at Blue Duck Tavern in the Park Hyatt, the St. Regis, and the Waldorf Astoria.