Most Romantic Things to Do in Washington

Romantic rendezvous await couples at these D.C. destinations

When it comes to planning a date, are you tired of the same ol' dinner and a movie idea? We are too! So 10Best has found some great attractions in the Washington, D.C. area to take the one you love. You will score major creativity points and have an unforgettable experience to boot. (You can thank us later!)

For those couples who love the outdoors, grab a bicycle or a pair of good running shoes and head to the C & O Canal National Historic Park. Check out the lock houses and go for a romantic canal boat ride.

If you are looking for incredible views, climb into a gondola and take a spin on the Capital Wheel or set up a picnic on the National Mall with the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument as your backdrop.

Does your significant other like the arts? Get them tickets to a show at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The venue's calendar regularly features internationally-known artists from a wide range of fields including music, ballet and opera.

Another great spot is the National Gallery of Art. Step inside to see world-famous pieces from artists like Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. During winter months, lace up a pair of ice skates and hold your lover's hand to take a spin on the museum's ice rink located in the garden. You'll get a great shot for social media standing in front of Robert Indiana's AMOR sculpture outside in the garden.

In a place like Washington, D.C., there is no way to have a boring time at these top romantic destinations.






Shakespeare Theatre
Photo courtesy of Shakespeare Theatre Co.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: You and yours will be able to take in classical theatre productions looking through the modern 21st century lens.

Gina's expert tip: There is no dress code to attend but many wear business casual attire.

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United States Botanic Garden
Photo courtesy of U.S. Botanic Garden

For those of us lacking a green thumb or the ability to grow anything, the U.S. Botanic Garden is the spot to see an amazing array of plants from many different areas. Dating back to the 19th century, the museum is divided into three separate sections: the Conservatory showcasing displays and exhibits including jungle, Hawaiian and endangered plants, the National Garden highlighting a regional and butterfly garden and the Bartholdi Park housing the historic, cast-iron fountain. Kids can check out the seasonally open Children's Garden to get a better view of plants and play with garden tools. METRO: Federal Center SW

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Flowers are a great way to show someone how much they mean to you so come see blooms from all over the world here.

Gina's expert tip: Head to the Visitor Information Desk upon your arrival to see if any tours will be given of the Conservatory.

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The National Mall
Photo courtesy of iStock / vPaulTech LLC

Care for a picnic where some of America's most iconic buildings are the backdrop? Head to the grass portion of the National Mall. On warm days, you will find several people playing pick up games of soccer and football or flying kites. Be sure to take a silly photo with the Washington Monument where it looks like you are a giant. Some people pretend like they are touching the top of it while others are leaning against it. If you don't feel like packing a lunch, grab some food from one of the area food truck vendors that circle the area. METRO: Metro Center or Federal Triangle

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: A great place to people watch or just look at the one you love with iconic buildings as the backdrop.

Gina's expert tip: Try to see if an event on the mall is taking place before you go.

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MGM National Harbor Resort and Casino
Photo courtesy of MGM National Harbor

Opened in December 2016, this luxury gaming resort has been quite the hot spot for those looking for a short romantic getaway from the nation's capital. The site features 308 rooms and suites with a modern yet elegant d├ęcor varying in size from 400 to 3,120 square feet. Test your luck at the casino showcasing more than 125,000 square feet of poker, table games and over 3,300 slot machines. Upscale and casual dining options await you from renowned chefs Bryan and Mike Voltaggio as well as Osteria Costa, an MGM concept southern Italian restaurant. Be sure to go when there is an amazing show scheduled in their 3,000-seat theater which has hosted Bruno Mars, Tiffany Haddish and Kings of Leon.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Whether you want to gamble, catch a show or just relax in a luxury hotel room, this resort has become a must-see destination.

Gina's expert tip: Take a romantic stroll through the resort's Heritage Collection featuring commissioned and procured art work by local and internationally-known artists.

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C & O Canal National Historic Park
Photo courtesy of iStock / BDphoto

Before the days of planes, trains and automobiles, goods made their way across the region via the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Stretching 185 miles and hugging the boarders to three states, this travel route dates back to the early 1800s. Declared a national monument in 1961 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the canal is now known as a national historical park. Bicyclists are a common sight on the trails so if you are walking be sure to share the path. Another great activity here is taking a canal boat ride which is put on by the National Park Service.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: If you are an outdoorsy couple, this is a great spot to take part in a number of different activities.

Gina's expert tip: Horseback riding, boating and kayaking are allowed on certain parts of the canal. Just double check before you go.

Read more about C & O Canal National Historic Park →

National Cherry Blossom Festival
Photo courtesy of iStock / Melissa Kopka

In 1912, Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki gifted Washington, D.C. with 3,000 cherry trees. To commemorate his generosity, the Cherry Blossom Festival was born. Tourists from all over the world come to the Tidal Basin to see the blooms which come out on average between late March to early April. The peak bloom date is the day that 70 percent of the blossoms are open. While the blooms may be the main attraction, the festival features a variety of creative and diverse activities that promote contemporary arts and culture, the environment and education. While most events are free and open to the public, some require paid admission. Metro: Smithsonian

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Spring brings out the romantic side in everyone so take a walk by the beautiful Tidal Basin to see the district bathed in pink.

Gina's expert tip: Come in the early morning or evening hours to avoid large crowds.

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Photo courtesy of Artechouse

The nation's capital has a number of fabulous museums with priceless works of art. However, if you get too close to said art, a friendly but stern docent will tell you to nicely back off. However, one D.C. gallery actually encourages folks to have an immersive and interactive experience with their large scale exhibits which combine new age arts, science and technology. Located a short walk from the National Mall, this museum has become the go-to spot in D.C. for buzz-worthy social media pictures. They do not allow food or beverages inside so grab a bite to eat before or after you visit. METRO: L'Enfant Plaza.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Blow up your social media feed with couple selfies from this intriguing art exhibit.

Gina's expert tip: Since opening in 2017, this gallery is quite popular. It is best to buy tickets ahead of time as walk-in tickets are not always available.

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We have all seen paper copies of fine works of art hanging in homes and businesses. Once, you step inside the National Gallery of Art, you get to see the real pieces for your own eyes. The west building features early European and American works and boasts the only painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in the Americas. Meander over to the east building to take in contemporary artwork including Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso. For those coming here in the winter months, head over to the museum's garden ice rink where you can rent skates and take lessons. But don't leave without taking a picture by Robert Indiana's AMOR sculpture also in the gardens. METRO: Smithsonian

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Whether you enjoy seeing priceless works of art or holding hands while you skate, this gallery is worth a date night.

Gina's expert tip: Touching the art is a big no-no. Many are fragile and can damage easily.

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Capital Wheel
Photo courtesy of Capital Wheel

Mix a fun ride with a bird's-eye view of the Washington Monument and you will get The Capital Wheel at National Harbor. Offering breathtaking views of the Metro area and Potomac River, the ride lasts around 12 to 15 minute and each gondola has heating or air conditioning so you will be comfortable no matter what time of year you are visiting. Up to eight people may fit in one gondola while only four are allowed in the VIP carriage. Bringing food and drinks on board is a big no-no so eat before or after your ride. Open year-round, the hours of operation change depending on the time of year.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Snuggle with your significant other as you see the district from a bird's eye view.

Gina's expert tip: Bring your credit cards to ride because they do not accept cash.

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Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Photo courtesy of Kennedy Center

Sometimes it's nice to put on a fancy outfit and hit the district with the person you love. The Kennedy Center for the Arts provides a gorgeous venue to see some of the world's most talented performers. No matter what you and your partner's interests are in the performing arts, they are sure to have a show that will make you both happy. Take in an opera. Admire a ballet. Be seduced by a symphony. Laugh out loud at a comedy show or sing along to an internationally known recording artist. Be sure to check out a free guided tour of the facility which ends with a 360-degree view of the district from the center's roof terrace. METRO: Foggy Bottom

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: A great date night venue where you can see internationally-known artists in a variety of genres.

Gina's expert tip: Don't want to worry about parking? Go online before your event and purchase a discounted pre-paid spot.

Read more about Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts →


Meet Gina Gallucci White

Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She...  More About Gina