Washington, D.C. is a city for lovers—full of romantic things to see and do that go well beyond its historical and cultural attractions. Around every corner is a new and exciting way to spend an intimate getaway with that special someone; whether it’s a visit to a beloved attraction made more romantic with a cozy activity for two or a night out on the town that’s filled with epic eateries and a tour of D.C. after dark, America’s capital is a retreat perfect for parties of two looking to celebrate any special occasion—or simply spend some one-on-one quality time with someone who makes your heartbeat just a little bit faster. From day trips to date nights, D.C.’s an idyllic backdrop filled with both history and romance for anyone looking for a distinctive dalliance that’s both intimate and fun.
Landmarks With A Touch Of Romance
Believe it or not, many of Washington’s most iconic landmarks can become romantic tête-à-têtes with a bit of planning. After all, historic settings can also make for romantic getaways by turning a more traditional visit into something cozy meant for just you and your partner. Take the National Mall, for instance—itself America’s most visited national park, it’s home to some of the city’s most dramatic historical sights, such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol Building. Museums, memorials, and memories, the National mall is a vibrant and eclectic hub of activity known as a place where “the past, present, and future come together,” all in America’s front yard. However, the National Mall is more than just a bustling bastion of history; it’s also an excellent spot for romance. Grab a blanket and indulge in cozy conversation while people watching and admiring the views, or pick up a bike to explore the historic mall on two wheels. Visit in Fall for some stunning foliage, or head out in Spring for some unforgettable cherry blossoms. No matter what the season, couples will find a romantic haven on the Mall—a quiet spot for two among the touristy crowds. Want to make it even more romantic? Then take a nighttime stroll and observe the dreamy ambiance of daytime Mall mainstays that are all lit up at night—such as the Jefferson Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
The National Gallery of Art makes for an epic romantic day trip. Spend the morning perusing the museum’s collection of over 140,000 paintings, including dreamy, Impressionist masterworks from iconic artists Monet, Renoir, Degas, and more. For an even more magical visit, be sure to explore the East Building’s two sky-lit tower galleries, complete with a rooftop terrace—then finish off the tour by strolling through Leo Villareal’s indoor installation that’s lit with over 40,000 LED lights—a super romantic setting. After spending some time inside, head outdoors to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden—a year-round romantic setting for those looking for an intimate spot to take a stroll. With lovely, landscaped grounds, exciting works of modern sculpture, and indoor and outdoor dining opportunities, this lush and beautiful spot is a great way to cap off a romantic afternoon at the museum. And don’t let the cold weather keep you and your sweetheart from getting outside—in winter, the Sculpture Garden’s fountain transforms into a romantic ice rink perfect for skating the day away (and cozying up with a mug of hot chocolate afterward). And don’t forget a photo op with your partner at Robert Indiana’s iconic AMOR sculpture, the perfect way to get close at the end of the day.
The National Arboretum is another D.C. landmark that can easily be transformed into a romantic rendezvous for two. The stunning 446-acre property is an idyllic backdrop for a leisurely stroll and is the perfect place to take someone special all year round. See the Gotelli Conifer Collection, visit the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, or simply meander throughout the gorgeous gardens—there’s plenty to see at the impressive arboretum. There are plenty of events at this lovely spot, too—from daytime forest bathing to sunset photography workshops.
Idyllic Waterfront Wonders
The perfect setting for a romantic getaway is the cities waterfront. D.C.’s riverfront communities are emblematic of the city’s eclectic, historic feel. They offer a number of attractions both on and off the water for couples looking for an unforgettable day trip adventure—or a distinctive date night filled with romance.
One of the best ways to see D.C.’s diverse waterfront is from the river itself—on a romantic cruise or boating adventure. City Cruises provides lovebirds with the opportunity to reserve a table on their famed Odyssey—complete with glass roofs, open-air decks, and intimate dining rooms. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion; spend a romantic evening on Valentine’s Day, or end a special day with an even more special evening. The cruise includes a three-course plated menu, entertainment, and of course, an unforgettable evening on the Potomac. Are you looking for a more intimate experience on the water? Then book a sightseeing tour with Monumental Boat Tours, and enjoy a guided tour of the waterfront from the comfort of your own two-person catamaran—a great reason to get a little closer to that special someone.
Each of D.C.’s waterfronts offers its own unique paths to adventure and romance.
Georgetown is D.C.’s oldest neighborhood and one of its most exciting waterfront communities—full of fun couple’s activities both day and night. Whether it’s strolling along its cobblestone streets hand in hand, ice skating at Washington Harbor among the twinkling, riverside lights, or checking out Georgetown GLOW’s annual exhibition, this historic neighborhood has plenty to offer date night darlings looking for a great time. Want to grab a romantic bite while exploring Georgetown? Then be sure to cozy up at La Chaumiére with its French country inn vibes and intimate fireplace—the perfect date night dining experience.
The Southwest waterfront is another dynamic D.C. community filled with romantic things to see and do all year round. Head out for some epic ice skating at The Wharf Ice Skating Rink (or simply catch the stellar surrounding views); dine at one of The Wharf’s famous restaurants like the romantic La Vie, or see a show at the cozy Pearl Street Warehouse—all are perfect waterfront experiences ideal for a romantic retreat. Don’t forget a trip to Transit Pier via water taxi to catch a fantastic sunset!
Date Night Dining And Experiences
One of the best ways to get romantic in D.C. is by cozying up at one of the city’s famed restaurants. Known for a diverse and eclectic cuisine scene that annually receives the Michelin Guide treatment, D.C.’s delicious local flavor is a great way to experience the heart and soul of the city at one of its famed dining destinations, perfect for the date night of your dreams.
Those looking for an unforgettable night on the town should look no further than CityCenterDC. A bustling hub of activity filled with shopping and fun events, CityCenter DC’s Palmer Alley is also lined with courtyard-facing restaurants that are a great place to take your date. Dine-in an intimate, relaxed setting while eating classic Mediterranean fare at Fig & Olive; wine and dine that special someone in the famed Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse; or experience those bistro vibes in a private dining room at DBGB Kitchen & Bar—all fab finds among the lively, romantic CityCenterDC.
Are classic date night spots more your jam? White tablecloths, intimate, cozy settings, and historic ambiance galore can be found at the traditional D.C. date night fave 1789 Restaurant. Wow, your date with the historic, cozy vibes and upscale cuisine served in an elegant Federal townhouse—the perfect D.C. dining experience. Speaking of classically exclusive settings, there’s none better than the historic hotel at The Jefferson—complete with its own elegant onsite dining options, The Greenhouse and Quill. Even if you aren’t staying there, this swanky boutique hotel is worth a visit if only for an intimate cocktail or pre-dinner appetizer at one of their award-winning restaurants (and don’t forget a look at the historic skylight, too!)
For a truly spectacular dining experience, head up to the VUE Rooftop Lounge and Terrace. Located at the stunning Hotel Washington, VUE offers some of the city’s best panoramic views—a great way to experience the energy and romance of D.C. from 11-stories up. What could be more romantic than a century-old spot perched high above the city?
Romantic Tours For Two
There are plenty of ways to see D.C. with the one you love, as the city has some of the best tours out there that make it easy to get romantic. From guided tours of well-known attractions to nighttime adventures in D.C. by dark, there are plenty of intimate itineraries for couples looking to explore the nation’s capital.
Taking a paddleboat tour of the Tidal Basin is a great way to scope some of the city’s most breathtaking views—and the great news is, you’ll be able to cozy up with that special someone while paddling too. Pack a picnic for the ultimate romantic afternoon, or take a twilight tour for some spectacular sunset views as you gaze at the monuments reflecting on the water.
Rock Creek Park is a great way to experience the natural beauty of D.C. all year round—and the perfect place to take a romantic tour on horseback. Home to one-hour guided trail rides that are oh-so-romantic, the park is an idyllic escape in the heart of the city.
Dupont Circle is a trendy, historic neighborhood full of fun things to see and do—complete with one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the Dupont Circle Fountain; it’s also a great place to scope some of the city’s most iconic non-landmark architecture. Bring your date to the Spanish Steps for an intimate moment; take a self-guided walking tour of Embassy Row; or tour the intimate Phillips Collection. All have perfect date night vibes for the pair looking for some privacy.
Want to tour some of the best places to eat (and drink) in D.C.’s iconic Georgetown? Then have an adventure with the intimate Tastes of Georgetown Food & History Tour. With visits to four distinctive eateries, the tour has a max size of eight—the perfect way to learn more about Georgetown’s eclectic food scene while being part of a smaller group and a great afternoon activity for you and your boo.
Washington D.C. may not be world-famous as a romantic getaway spot—but don’t let that fool you. The city is full of romantic, intimate activities perfect for lovers: from historic landmarks and attractions that have a cozier side; to waterfront neighborhoods bustling with activities (and romance!); Michelin-starred restaurants and historic accommodations perfect for privacy; and nightlife that’s as vibrant and fun as the city itself. With a scenic, historic charm all its own, D.C. will enchant those looking for a romantic retreat—whether it’s to celebrate a special occasion or simply to escape and relax, the city is full of fabulously fun romance perfect for two.
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