Let’s be honest — dating in the District can be difficult, especially if you’re new to the city. It’s a high-powered city with competitive people working in a variety of different industries, moving fast and working hard to keep their head above water. Not only do you have to contend with the difficulty of finding a date, but you also have to learn your way around the city and find solid date night locations that suit both yourself and the occasion.
While you’re on your own when it comes to finding a date, we’ll be able to help with the latter issues. Here are some ideas for dates ranging from casual drinks to fancy dinners.
Just Something Casual?
Sometimes, going out with someone can be a figurative and literal walk in the park. If you and your prospective date are the cool and casual types who’d rather ditch your suits for the day and appreciate the slow drift of branches down the Potomac River or people-watching along the National Mall, you can try heading out for a nice picnic or outing in the park.
Finding a local park shouldn’t be hard; D.C. is the top-ranking city nationwide when it comes to parkland percentage, with plenty of local, dog, and national parks for you to amble through. If you decide to head to one of the nearly three dozen national parks, impress your date by equipping yourself with knowledge that’ll rival a tour guide.
Brunch or Lunch
Break out a clean polo shirt and some nice designer jeans and you’re ready for a brunch (or lunch) in the city, a date idea that’s particularly trendy as spring slowly turns into summer. Throughout the District, you’ll find brunches that include menu features like bottomless drinks, twists on traditional cuisines, rustic décor paired with local ingredients, and elegant prix fixe, three-course meals.
When it comes to a good lunch, you’ll have a variety of cuisine styles to sample from, including the simplicity of a grilled cheese from GCDC to the riveting flavors of an Ethiopian doro wat from Dukem.
Don’t just stop at a handsome suit or a flattering dress tailored at one of the area’s well-respected tailors like Harvey’s Custom Cleaners or JC Lofton — make sure you prepare for your fancy dinner in the District with reservations.
Top tier restaurants like 1789, Blue Duck Tavern, and Lafayette all are promising options, offering some of the American cuisine to pair with the nation’s capitol city. They each also offer wonderful dessert, but if you’d prefer to go to a more specialized dessert location, you’ll usually find one just around the corner.
Grab a Drink
Going out for drinks after a long, hard week is a routine in D.C., so be ready for when that weekly routine coincides with a date. Gentlemen might be able to slide by slightly adjusting their office wear to a more casual look, but ladies might want to dress up for the night on the town.
As to locations, you’ll be hard pressed to go a block without finding a good bar in the District; the real issue is finding somewhere uniquely suited for you and your date – or at least somewhere a bit unusual that can serve as icebreaker material. The Sheppard and Gibson are two classy speakeasies that’ll make you seem a bit more mysterious and in-the-know than you actually are. You can also check out one of the city’s themed bars like Church & State or Pop’s SeaBar.
Once you’re done drinking, make sure you get home safely using any of the available public transportation, a taxi, or rideshare. And don’t be afraid to tell them how much fun you had the next day!