Washington, DC is a city like no other–it’s where history and government meet incredible art, culture, and culinary adventures. Whether you live here or are visiting for a weekend away with your love, you might be looking for date ideas in DC that aren’t your run-of-the-mill dinner and a movie (but hey, we love that, too).
Looking for new date ideas can be tricky, especially when it’s a place you’ve called home for a while. But don’t get stuck planning the same dates. We’re here to give you some inspiration for your next date night in DC so that you and your person can experience something new–together. From paddling on the Potomac to midnight bowling and ice skating amid art sculptures, there are almost endless things to do with your date in DC. Read on for 11 new date ideas that will give you and your significant other a night to remember.
- Belt out some tunes at karaoke
For one of the best dates in DC where you can show off your high notes, head to one of DC’s live karaoke spots. Throw Social hosts a DJ karaoke night every Wednesday, where everyone performs live to the tune of conquering your fears. Round out your night at this lively joint with axe throwing and a neon flamingo lemonade at the bar. If you’re less inclined to belt it out in front of strangers, book a private room at SingSing Karaoke Palace or Punch Bowl Social. You can get comfy and cozy with your boo as you sing love songs to each other.
- Stroll the C&O canal
If you’re in the mood for a romantic evening with delicious food, head to historic Georgetown to walk the towpath that runs along the C&O Canal. Stroll along the calm waters and view beautiful old homes situated along the path. Tuck into a cozy restaurant along the way to share a meal together, and finish the evening with some jazz at Blues Alley Club. If you want the full canal experience, you can always come back during the day to book a boat tour, where you can learn about its origins and the history of the neighborhood.
- Experience museums at night
It’s no secret that the nation’s capital is one of the best spots in the country for museum lovers. Want an insider’s tip for date ideas in DC? Skip the daytime tourist crowds and visit the museums at night. The National Gallery of Art hosts monthly themed events, where you can view unique art installations, create your own art, and dance to a local DJ’s tunes. But art and culture isn’t just for museums. You can happen upon several artsy spots throughout DC–you just have to know where to look. Take your date to Dupont Underground, an abandoned streetcar station turned artists’ platform, where you can learn about other people’s experiences through art at each exhibit’s opening night.
- Listen to live music
If you want to impress your better half with one of the best (and free!) dates in DC, keep at least one Friday open during the summer months. Friday evenings are when the National Gallery of Art hosts Jazz in the Garden, a magical night spent amid the sculptures. Bring a picnic blanket, wine, and cheese, and you’ll have yourselves one romantic night to remember.
- Paddle on the Potomac
You may have explored the Potomac River, but have you explored it at night? Key Bridge Boathouse offers one of the best date ideas in DC, with truly unforgettable nighttime experiences on the water. You can book a 90-minute guided kayak tour at sunset that takes you to the Watergate Steps, around Theodore Roosevelt Island, and near the Lincoln Memorial. Or if you’re feeling like a more intimate ambience, try the full-moon paddle happening monthly.
- Go cruising
With a canal and two rivers right out the door, there are seemingly endless cruise options in DC. We know it’s hard to decide, so here are some favorites that would be perfect for your date night in DC:
- CityCruises: This company serves up holiday dinner cruises throughout the year, but you don’t want to miss the Cherry Blossom or Fourth of July cruises complete with fireworks!
- Capitol River Cruise: We recommend the moonlight cruise in late summer, where you can view the national monuments lit up at night.
- Sea Suite Potomac Tiki Club: Get boozey and cruisey on this small private boat that floats along the Potomac.
- Watch live performing arts
Change up your typical dinner-and-a-movie date with dinner and a live performance, a go-to date idea in DC. At The Kennedy Center, you can book tickets to a variety of shows, from famous plays to famous pianists. There is never a shortage of incredible live shows at The National Theatre, which hosts Broadway plays and musicals. End the night with lots of laughs at one of DC’s many comedy venues, like The Comedy Loft or Rails Comedy.
- Capitalize on the outdoor movie scene
Okay, we’ll stop with the puns. But we won’t stop telling you about DC’s plethora of outdoor movie nights that happen all summer long. Bring your blanket for an outdoor movie showing at Farragut Square hosted by GLDN+ Cinema, or view your favorite classic movie with the Capitol Building in the background on the Library of Congress’s lawn. Inclement weather hindering your plans? Take your date to The Drive-In at Union Market, which plays movies year-round.
- Lace up your skates
First-date etiquette doesn’t say you have to sit across from each other at a table the first time you go out. Try an adventurous, fun date idea in DC with your new love interest! Grab a pair of roller skates (and knee and elbow pads if you’re wobbly) and head to Anacostia Park Roller Skating Pavilion. This outdoor skater’s paradise is a nice spot to test out your wheels. When it’s time for a break, you can watch the pros and dream of becoming a famous roller-skating duo. In the winter, you can find ice skating rinks all through town, the most romantic being the rink at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden, where you can glide hand in hand under the stars.
- Sip on cocktails at a speakeasy
Surprise your date with a sneaky reservation at one of DC’s many speakeasies. Literary minds will delight in Allegory, situated at the back of Eaton Workshop’s Progress Library. Head to the Westminster neighborhood to scout out 600t, a nondescript cocktail joint on the exterior, with a cozy neighborhood vibe inside. But don’t let the casual atmosphere fool you: this bar is slinging premium, unique drinks all night.
- Go midnight bowling
Add a little competition to your date night in DC with midnight bowling. Bowlero, just across the Potomac in Arlington, is open until 1 a.m. on weekends. Grab a pint, grab some shoes, and bowl into the wee hours of the morning. We think this is a great idea for a successful first date.
With so much to do in DC, there’s no reason to have a regular ol’ date–make it something to remember with these unique ideas for a date night in DC.