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Washington DC date ideas: 50+ Romantic things to do for Couples

Looking for Washington DC date ideas?

We have you covered with the 50+ most Fun & Romantic things to do for couples in Washington DC. Whether you are looking for an adventure packed date or just somewhere low-key to go on for a rainy date in the Chocolate City this list has it all. 

Don’t spend another weekend stressing about things to do in Washington DC at night (or during the day) when there are SO many date ideas in DC to tick off the old bucket list.

romantic date ideas in DC

Washington DC date ideas: 50+ Romantic things to do for Couples

Eat some yummy ethnic food. People from all over the world live in Washington DC. Some of them work for the various consulates and some have immigrated to the US permanently but regardless this multiculturalism in DC has led to some seriously good ethnic food in the city. Eating and of course eating yummy food is one of the best things to do in DC for couples if you ask me.

Two restaurants we would recommend are Nooshi for Japanese and Asian cuisine and Soi38 DC for amazing Michelin star rated Thai. They are seriously the best date spots in DC.

At Soi38 we would recommend Ped Krob Kra Prow (crispy roasted duck, Thai basil, fresh chili, garlic sauce) and the Panang Curry, which usually comes with shrimp but we changed to chicken.


Soi38 meals

Dapple your feet and pay your respects at the World War II Memorial. This memorial is one of the most beautiful tributes to those who fought and died in WW2. Names are written by State around the memorial.

You are allowed to sit and put your feet in the water but obviously you can’t take a dip further than that! There is a lovely view of the Washington monument from the WW2 memorial. From there you can take a 1 mile easy stroll through the park up to the Lincoln Memorial.

date ideas in washington for couples

District Wharf. For those looking to impress on their first date, look no further than District Wharf. This waterfront location is filled with the hottest restaurants and lounges that offer the date night vibe. Whether it’s dining, shopping, or visiting the Camp Wharf S’mores trailer, you can never go wrong with this DC date idea. You can check out what’s on here. If you love good Italian food, you will want to stop into Lupo Marino for a seriously yummy pizza.

Hyatt House is a nice place to stay on the wharf as the rooms have great views. One of the best date night ideas in Washington DC for sure.

Go on a River cruise. Book a trip for two along the historic Potomac River, seeing famous landmarks and enjoying cocktails all at the same time. The local cruise takes riders past the Kennedy Center, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. This is the perfect date for history buffs! Here is a list with lots of different river cruises on offer in DC. I really think a river cruise is one of the best couple activities in DC.


Example of a fancy river cruise that you can take in DC. You can book this exact cruise here.

Blues Alley. The streets of Georgetown ring with jazz 24/7. Blues Alley has been hosting the best jazz artists around the nation for over 50 years! Practically guaranteed to be a ripper date! Date night in DC never looked better!

CityCenterDC. This open courtyard is packed with famous fashion designers and great fine dining options. Perfect for a couple who wants a relaxing day shopping in DC followed by some good food.

1789 Restaurant. The upscale, colonial styled restaurant is paired with a contemporary American cuisine. 1789, is named after the founding year of Georgetown University, and brings a refreshing blend of regional ingredients to unique dishes like the delicious Berkshire Pork Chop with herb spätzle, savoy cabbage and Gala apple agrodolce. One of the best cozy winter date ideas in DC. Make sure you make a reservation in advance if you want to dine here as it is very popular with couples on first dates, anniversaries etc.

The Phillips Collection. Art connoisseurs will love this date night idea. It is for sure one of the best date night ideas in DC. Founded in 1921, the collection has been taking in art pieces from around the world to create a mix of modern and contemporary art. Note: this is one of the very few museums with a small entrance fee (currently $20).

Have a staycation in Washington DC. Washington is a great place for a romantic getaway or even a staycation if you are a local from the greater DC area as it is a very walkable city with tonnes of great activities, restaurants and cafes within easy walking of downtown DC. We recently stayed in AC by Marriott in downtown Washington DC and thought the hotel was great.

You can also check out some other hotels we recommend for couples in Washington DC here. There are also a lot of really cool Washington DC hotels with jacuzzi in room.

best bars in washington for couples first date ideas dc

AC by Marriott bar. Great place for a # datenightdc on the gram

Fun Outside things for couples to do in DC

Botanic Garden. The Botanic garden is a great outdoor date idea for plant lovers. The beautiful, blossoming Botanic Garden is a local treasure in the heart of DC. The living plant museum serves as a fun attraction, and an important reminder of earth’s terrific ecosystem. During the holidays (from Thanksgiving through to Christmas) they usually have a festive exhibit which is worth checking out.

Like lots of things to do in DC, admission to the Botanic Garden is free of charge so it is for sure one of the best free date ideas in DC!

Potomac Paddle Club. This experience combines beer, paddling, and good times. The eco-friendly cycleboat allows safe sipping and sailing, as you make your way down the Potomac River! You can book a cruise here.

Great Falls National Park. Many locals don’t even know that there is a awesome National Park sitting right on their doorstep just 30 minutes from Downtown DC. Sitting along the famous Potomac River, the park is home to rare plant species, and an array of wildlife such as white-tail deers, foxes, and box turtles. One of the best first date ideas in DC. One of the best trails to tackle in the NP is the Billy Goat Trail. 

Smithsonian National Zoo. Will your mutual love of animals show signs of compatibility? This outdoor date idea will allow you to bond over your favorite animals. From time to time they have some cool foreign animals and at one stage they had some Pandas from China on loan. Admission is free, and the zoo has countless shops for souvenirs which are really fun. Note, while the museum is free, there is a parking fee which is currently $30.


East Potomac Park. The 300 acre lavish scenery sits between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River. The park is home to D.C’s famous cherry trees (March – April), waterfront views, and has an incredible trail for walking. It also includes a mini-golf course, outdoor pool, and picnic facilities for outside dining on a sunny, cloudless day.

Jefferson Memorial. The dome shaped architecture hosts the nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson. The memorial is one of the most beloved attractions in the D.C. area, and is located right on the Tidal Basin surrounded by cherry blossoms seasonally (March – April). You can also see other viewpoints from the memorial such as the White House and National Monument.


Romantic Couple Date Night Ideas in Washington DC

National Harbor. When it comes to romance, this is the perfect place for it. The ocean side views, the fire pit outdoor dining, and home to the iconic Capital Wheel. One of the most romantic things to do in Washington DC if you ask me. The vibrant harbor also features the prominent MGM casino.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. This romantic date idea combines art and skating all in one. After visiting the beautiful art sculptures, make a dash over to the skating rink for a double dose of fun. Hot chocolate and delicious treats await you at the on-site Pavilion cafe.

Yards Park. The illustrious waterfront provides fun water activities, festivals, and recreational events. The award-winning park sits along the green space of the Anacostia River. Grab ice-cream, and take a walk on the iconic bridge that is located in the heart of Yards Park.

Georgetown. Historic Georgetown has been a safe haven for fashion shops, outdoor dining, and candid bar dates. The cobblestone streets of Georgetown serve as the perfect date for a picturesque night. Don’t forget, it is also home to many of the city’s fine art galleries. If you like spooky stuff, there are some great ghost tours in Georgetown which are perfect for a date!


A ghost tours of Georgetown

U.S. National Arboretum. Plan an afternoon date to see the bright, stunning plants at this acclaimed outdoor museum. The garden and exhibits boast the landscape and aesthetic of ornamental plants. Be sure your date sees Gotelli Conifer Collection, which showcases Japanese males, ornamental grasses and daffodils combined with conifers to create an alluring array of colors. 

Rock Creek Park. One of the many D.C. trail parks, this 1,700-acre region is a hot retreat for outdoor date enthusiasts. Lavish greenery mixed with picnic areas, walking trails, and even a planetarium. You can’t miss a chance to impress your date with a trip to one of America’s oldest and largest city parks. 

Dupont Circle. Boutique shops to art stores, Dupont Circle has got it all. Take your date to this dynamic area to discover the famous businesses of 17th Street. When you get hungry, Dupont’s dining options include brunch hot spots and renowned restaurants.


Cherry blooms in Washington DC are absolutely spectacular and provide the perfect backdrop for a date.

Smithsonian Spots in Washington D.C. (Free date ideas DC)

What we really love about Washington DC is that there are so many free and cheap date ideas to enjoy! Why? Well, because admission to all Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. is free!

When we recently visited Washington DC we visited several of the Smithsonian museums and had a really good time. Some of the Smithsonian museums and attractions outside the city do have a parking fee, like the Zoo for example which has a $30 parking fee but otherwise they are 100% free which is amazing!

Note: No food and drink is allowed in the Smithsonian museums but usually there is a cafe where you can buy something inside.

things to do for couples in DC

National Museum of Natural History

National Air and Space Museum. With Over 20 galleries, the National Air and Space Museum stands as the largest within the Smithsonian’s portfolio. Prepare your date for blast off, as this free museum chronicles the history of aviation and space exploration. Look through the lens of a strong-powered telescope, or get a seat in the IMAX theater for a show.

National Museum of the American Indian. Take your date on a trip through American history. Reigning as one of the world’s most expensive collections of Native American artifacts, this museum is filled with “wow” moments that will spark many conversations. Not only does the museum focus on American Indians, but various Indian tribes around the globe. 

National Museum of Natural History. The National Museum of Natural History is the #1 of the things to do in Washington DC for good reason – it is a super interesting museum which presents an authentic depiction of natural history. The museum is home to more than 126 million different species of animals, rocks, and plants. This is the perfect date for any history buffs out there.

We really like seeing the dinosaurs and also the Egyptian collection at the museum. Like all Smithsonian museums it is totally free to enter which is amazing and conveniently located within downtown Washington DC. We last spent about 2 hours in the museum but we honestly could’ve spent all day. If you are spoilt for choice don’t visit on a Saturday as it is very busy.

If you want some information given to you as you walk around, we would recommend taking a guided tour.

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History. One of the best couple things to do in DC.

National Portrait Gallery. The perfect date for art lovers alike, the National Portrait Gallery focuses on important events from segments of U.S. history. The photographs aim to define American culture, and the vast transformation over the years.

National Postal Museum. Have you ever been curious about the history of mail? Well, this is the perfect opportunity to see the robust collection of stamps, postal artifacts, and descriptive exhibits. Guests will learn the fascination contributions Americans have made towards improving global communication.

National Museum of American History. Immerse yourself in the nation’s colors of red, white, and blue, at this exquisite museum dedicated to American history. The exhibit features one of the most important pieces of American history: the Star-Spangled Banner Flag. The 750,000 square foot museum houses many presidential artifacts including a hat worn by the famous Abraham Lincoln.

National Museum of African American History and Culture. One of the newest museums in the Smithsonian fleet, this architectural phenomenon features numerous interactive exhibits for all ages. The state-of-the-art building highlights every aspect of African-Americn from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement. The museum sits along the National Mall, and offers free admission.

african history museum

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Fun things to do in DC for couples at night: Cocktail Bar Dates!

AC by Marriott Washington Downtown. We really loved this bar and the drinks are very reasonably priced here compared to a lot of DC. They often host speed dating events in the hotel which are pretty fun to watch if you enjoy good old people watching.

It’s a really nice hotel if you want to stay and they sometimes have rates as little as $130 a night which is crazy cheap for Washington DC!

Hank’s Cocktail Bar. Parked above a lush oyster restaurant, Hank’s Cocktail Bar is a rooftop bar that will satisfy every taste bud. Be sure to try their best known cocktails made from rich ingredients from all over the world. Seafood-centered snacks are also offered.

Bar Charley. Located in the Adams Morgan district, the bar has an extensive menu of cocktails ranging from Manhattans to Old Fashioneds. From rich and creamy, to fruity and exotic, Bar Charley literally has every cocktail on tap known to man.

Round Robin. Known as one of the most iconic bars in Washington D.C., Round Robin is fitted with dark wood paneling and its leather banquettes. Operating since 1850, the old-school feel bar has been able to keep up with current cocktail trends such as the No Borders, with reposado tequila, mezcal, pineapple, ginger, and habanero tincture.


The really cool Round Robin Bar

The Green Zone. A prime destination for Middle Eastern cocktails, this cocktails bar offers from light and floral, to strong and boozy. The Green Zone uses regional ingredients such as pistachio syrup, apricot, rose, and mint. For a little extra fun, the bar hosts live DJ’s and a small patio for people watching. DC Date night at its finest.

L’Annexe. Based in historic Georgetown, L’Annexe brings European touches to its cocktails. House cocktail infusions that contain turmeric root gin, melon vodka, and hummus, is what make this cocktail location one of the hottest in the city.  They also have a cozy back library for those looking for a quiet date night amongst cocktails and books.


AC by Washington Downtown bar

Romantic Dates in DC that involve Coffee!

Cafe Du Parc. One of the cafes that we like visiting during the day and at night in DC is the really pretty Cafe Du Parc. It is a beautiful French restaurant but you can also just sit outside with a coffee. I really like it after dark as the lights are gorgeous. One of the top things to do for couples in DC.

Baked and Wired. This family owned coffee shop will be sure to give you a kickstart anytime during the day with their potent coffee. Family recipes dominate the menu along with handcrafted coffee from roasters all across America.

Potters House. Supplying the D.C. community with delicious tasting coffee, Potters House has been in business since the 1960’s. The coffee shop also incorporates a library for book worms. If you’re in the Adams Morgan area, be sure to check out this non-profit cafe!

Qualia Coffee. This homely coffee shop will have you feeling as if you’re home. Free tastings and “no WiFi weekends”, make this an ideal coffee date to spark great conversations. Located in downtown D.C., capital residents from all over flock here for the fresh beans that are roasted on-site.

Compass Coffee. The mini-chains of Compass Coffee have struck the D.C area with force. Bigger in size than most coffee shops in the nation’s capital, Compass Coffee uses nine different blends of coffee compiled of domestic and international beans. The coffee shop serves as a diligent working area for close friends and co-workers.

cafe du parc one of the prettiest cafes in DC

Cafe Du Parc

Free Dates in DC

Visit the White House. Take a free tour inside the most prestigious building in our nation’s capital. The home of U.S. presidents is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can be only enjoyed in Washington D.C. Tours of the white house need to be booked a minimum of 21 days in advance and no more than 90 days in advance of the requested tour date so it is only something you can do if you plan in advance! You can plan your visit here.

If you are on an unorganised date, you can peer through the fence at the beautiful house and take a walk around the streets nearby. There is usually a lot going on near the white house including street buskers and protests so it is quite an interesting area if you don’t mind a bit of activity.


A photo taken while peering through the White House fence

Library of Congress. Considered the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress is the poster child for amazement. Guests are given the best visitor experience and accompanied by special exhibits and the Library’s robust collection of books, maps, recordings, and so much more!

U.S. Capitol. For those looking how our nation began, the U.S. capitol tells the story in various exhibitions and rooms. Book a free guided tour inside this building that represents the very foundation of principles and equality the U.S has strived to give all Americans.

National Archives Building. Every single founding document of America can be found right here. From the Declaration of Independence to the U.S. constitution and many more, these important documents all serve a different purpose in highlighting American history. Beyond its documents and exhibits, sits the William G. McGowan theater hosts forum discussions.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Do you want to see how much a million dollars is made, literally? At this prominent location for tourists you’ll be taken on a tour to see how U.S. currency is produced. The famous “money factory” is a 40-minutes guided your explaining the process, production, and sustainability.

Lincoln Memorial. Acclaimed as on the best U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln has an esteemed memorial in the heart of Washington D.C. The 19 foot-tall statue is engraved with many of his famous speeches and quotes. This attraction is open year-round. It can get a bit crowded on a good sunny day in Washington.

Rock Creek Park Planetarium. Stare up at the night sky on this star gazing date. The planetarium located in the Nature Center of Rock Creek Park, offers amateur astrologers the chance to learn constellations.

Lincoln Memorial.

Couple at the Lincoln Memorial

Best Date Spots in DC that are Unique

D.C. Street Murals. Canvases are everywhere you look in the capital, which teems with vibrant street art in all areas. Spot everything from renditions of silver screen stars Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor to abstract, museum-commissioned works, restaurant-themed facades and lots more.Check out where to find the most colorful street murals in the city to start your exploration.

Walk the Spanish Steps. Considered one of the most romantic spots in the District, the Spanish Steps reside on 22nd Street in the vibrant Dupont Circle neighborhood. This little lovers’ nook is a prime picnic spot and an off-the-radar gem that also makes for a great Instagram photo.

Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Memorials. One of the most moving war memorials, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial or “the Wall,” as it’s commonly referred to, is a long black granite wall with the names of more than 58,000 Americans who perished during the Vietnam War emblazoned on its surface.

korean memorial washington dc

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Many travelers highly recommend a visit to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, built and named for America’s beloved Camelot president. The Kennedy Center houses the National Symphony Orchestra, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet and the Washington National Opera, as well as a number of other theater and musical performances throughout the year. Although ticket prices run a bit high, you can take in a performance for free on the Millennium Stage.

National Gallery of Art. The Gallery’s main collection includes major works of art from the Italian Renaissance period to the Middle Ages, a vast selection of European paintings, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the United States, and over 75,000 prints. The National Gallery of Art is one of the best things to do in Washington, D.C. for couples.

Cock Market and Tasting Room. If you are looking for fun date ideas in DC, this is a great place to go. The flavorful wine list boasts both local boutique wines and international vintages from around the world that can be ordered by the glass or bottle, as well as a range of spirits and beers. The Cork Market & Tasting Room is open for dinner and serves weekend brunch.

Carpe DC Food Tours. Walking food tours are a great fun way of exploring any city, whether you are just a visitor or a local on the prowl with a bunch of friends. Carpe DC Food Tours offer an option to discover a unique side to DC, one tourists rarely get to see. Their guides focus on community-driven local restaurants where food is not only delicious, but it also paints the picture of the city’s diverse culture.

Touchstone Gallery. The gallery, which was originally founded in 1976, strives to promote the D.C.’s region’s best and brightest artistic talent and enrich the lives of its surrounding community members through a diverse slate of contemporary art exhibitions. More than 50 artists are members of the artist-owned and managed gallery and help to guide gallery policies and oversee solo exhibitions.  

The Torpedo Factory. The historic building is one of the largest visual arts centers in the United States with 84 working studios, five galleries, two workshops, the Art League School, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. This is an interesting place to explore because you can talk to the artists and watch them at work.

Dumbarton Oaks. This English-style estate has a surprise inside: It’s filled with an incredible collection of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art. The former home was donated to Harvard University and is now free to visit.

Spy Museum. This museum—dedicated to spies both real and fictional—is an interactive museum where you can take on the persona of a spy and proceed to learn the history of espionage, including all the gadgets you thought only existed in the movies.

Lincoln Theater. Originally built to host jazz legends like Duke Ellington, this theater was closed in 1968 due to rioting but was reopened in 1994 as a playhouse, many of which are performed, written and directed by locals in the D.C. community.

National Symphony Orchestra. The National Symphony Orchestra, based in D.C. since 1932, is a full symphony orchestra which performs regularly at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Osteria Morini. Osteria Morini brings a taste of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy to the Yards in Washington, D.C. Known as “the Italian Breadbasket,” Emilia-Romagna is famous for being the birthplace of the flavors and ingredients typically used in Italian cuisine, including parmigiana, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and mortadella.



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  • MC Miller

    MC Miller is a travel blogger and writer who has travelled America extensively and abroad to over 80 countries. He founded Couple Travel The World in 2017. Since then, he has spent over 6 years on the road as a full time travel couple. When he not traveling he likes to spend quality time with his partner Bett, planning our their next date or romantic getaway!

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