Valentine’s Day---it’s a time of hearts and flowers, and anxiety over planning the “perfect” date to express your romantic feelings, or at least intense like.
With all due respect to dinner and a box of chocolates, your Valentine’s Day plans could probably use a little shakeup whether your relationship is old or new.
To that end, we’ve gathered 15 unique things to do with your boo come Feb. 14.
For the Romantic . . .
1. Have a romantic evening inside an igloo. Snuggle up inside one of four private, tricked out “luxurious igloo experiences” on the outdoor terrace of the Watergate’s whisky bar. But if you’re looking for Eskimo kisses, the hotel offers a “romantic night out” package priced at $375 per couple that includes two dozen red roses, edible gold truffles, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a choice of Champagne (true love: $1,000 rosé Dom Pérignon). You can reserve less-amorous igloos for afternoon tea ($55 per person) or a $75 per person pairing of whiskies, burgers, and cigars. You can also snuggle (for warmth of coure) the Apres SkiAprés Ski on the Terrace of the Conrad hotel with fire pits, faux fur throws, toddies for two, a menu of Alpine cuisine.
2. See the monuments and memorials on a moonlight walk. DC is magical at night with the monuments and memorials bathed in the glow of the moon. Bundle up and go for a late night stroll to admire the city without the hustle and bustle. Be sure to visit the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials for a truly dazzling sight that has been one of the most romantic backdrop in the city for countless proposals and weddings. If walking isn’t your thing, book a pedicab in advance for an unique and intimate ride.
3. Say "I love you" with help from a mural. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Take your babe to one of the city’s love murals at Union Market Eastern Market, Blagden Alley or the AMOR sculpture in the National Gallery of Art sculpture garden to declare your feelings and make them feel special. Even if you don’t want to go that far, these Instagram-worthy artworks are great backdrops to mark a special moment in your relationship.
For the Music Lover . . .
4. Feel the groove at a concert. DC is known for Go Go, but its music scene is one of the most diverse in the country. Catch an energetic and eclectic performance that spans genres from soul to Hip Hop by Grammy-winning singer Bilal at The Club at Studio K, the new music venue at the Reach at Kennedy Center. On the other end of the entertainment spectrum, opt for a night with headline jazz and soul/blues acts and cocktails in an intimate setting at Blues Alley or the Bethesda jazz and Blues, two of the area’s oldest and renowned supper clubs. Or take a chance and be surprised with a secret concert hosted by So Far Sounds at an unknown location.
For the Foodie . . .
5. Take a cooking class together. Food and romance are intrinsically linked. Instead of trying to book a reservation at the hottest restaurant, feed your passion at a cooking class at Sur La Table and Hill Center, or have a Michelin-star worthy meal cooked by a top chef in the comfort of your own home.
6. Go back to the past and visit a speakeasy. Nearly 100 years after prohibition, speakeasies are still as popular as ever in DC. Add the thrill of danger -- sort of -- to your relationship by sipping on creative cocktails at one of the city’s hidden bars. You’ll have to figure out the secret to get in yourself though.
7. Sample local breweries and distilleries, right in the city. These days, breweries, brewpubs and wineries (even cideries) have become as common in DC as feds in suits. There’s District Winery, a fully functioning winery where you can enjoy behind-the-scenes tours and an array of share plates and flatbreads, then venture next door to the restaurant for dinner and spectacular views of the Anacostia River. Farmers & Distillers, a micro-batch distillery and restaurant that specializes in the production of small-batch vodka, whiskey and amaro that are incorporated into an extensive cocktail list. Prefer beer? Enjoy a frosty mug at a brewed-inside-the-beltway brew.
8. Make a DIY distillery tour. Head to Ivy City to experience Cotton & Reed, DC’s first rum distillery, One Eight Distilling whether you’re in want of whiskey, long for gin or hanker for vodka, and several other nearby distilleries. Most are within walking distance so create your own, unique tour. Tip: Have dinner at one of the culinary diverse restaurants in the area and make a night of it.
For the Fun Lover . . .
9. Power up for game night. No one likes having games played with their heart, but playing games with your SO on date night is another thing. Turn date night into play time--many DC bars feature arcade games, board games and indoor and outdoor lawn games. Transport yourself to another world at Augment VR Arcade and Bar for an immersive virtual reality experience. Penn Social is an adult playground, offering up indoor cornhole and numerous arcade games. H Street Country Club has mini-golf, shuffleboard and skeeball, while the Board Room offers retro fun with vintage board games galore and classic arcade games, and Players Club channels the vibes of your parents' basement complete with pool tables, pinball and old-school arcade games.
10. Show off your double axel on the ice. Lace up your skates for a fun night of thrills (and hopefully no spills!) on the ice at one of DC’s public ice skating rinks. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden rink offers a romantic vibe as you glide amongst the art under a twiling string of lights. The rink Top of the Gate at the Watergate Hotel has a stunning view of the city skyline over into Arlington, especially at sunset. Plus, there’s a skate-up bar serving seasonal cocktails both warm and cold (think spiced apple cider with bourbon, warmth-inducing Kentucky hug included) and an a la carte snack menu that adds to the cozy winter vibes. And don’t forget the rink at the Wharf in Southeast DC. With 20-plus restaurants and bars, there are plenty of dining options to keep you fueled up. The best thing to pair your ice-skating experience with is a concert at any of the three music venues or a romantic stroll along the boardwalk.
11. Fly through the air with the greatest of ease. Embrace your inner dare devil and try your hand at doing flips or being flug through the air on a flying trapeze at the Trapeze School of New York, which provides classes in “trapeze and aerial arts,” In most introductory classes, a teacher starts with beginning flying technique and instruction. The last 30 minutes are devoted to trying it out, with instructors catching students from trapeze bars.
For the Budget Conscious . . .
12. Catch a free show at Kennedy Center. See captivating live performances in music, dance, comedy and from the best local, national and international performers for free on Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage every day at 6 p.m. Enjoy a cocktail and spectacular views on the Roof Terrace which wraps around the entire building, providing a wonderful view of Washington and Virginia.
13. Spend the night at the theatre at a discount. Instead of taking your date to the movies (with most tickets going for about $15 and snacks a lot more), check out area theatres, like Woolly Mammoth, Mosaic Theater and Arena Stage, for discounts for 35 and under visitors, as well as Last Minute or Pay-What-You-Can performances.
14. Enjoy an afternoon or evening of literary appreciation. Many local bookstores have events like author talks and signings, workshops, live music and trivia nights. Mahogany Books in Anacostia has a particularly robust calendar of author discussions and hosts a monthly book club, which can you also stream live. Solid State Books has comfy seating and a small bar, and Kramerbooks has a cafe and small bar area that are perfect nooks to discuss your favorite books and authors or grab a bite if you get hungry.
15. Paint the town red or whatever color you want. Show a date your creative side at Art Jamz, where you can purchase a canvas and a glass (or bottle) of wine to sip on while you both work on your masterpieces. Bonus points for not having to take a tutorial class where everyone paints the same thing -- you can paint anything you want and at your own pace. Keep in mind that you have to pay for studio time (about $20) and materials ($12).
But wait, there's more! Contact Curious Caravan for your own custom recommendations + itineraries of the coolest places in DC to dine, play and explore with your boo on Valentine's Day or any regular day of the week.
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it