Where to Take a Date in DC

I don’t know any woman who doesn’t like to go on dates, even if not on a regular basis. I think it’s a well known fact that we are emotional creatures, and love to be romanced. No woman who will ever tire of being swept off her feet. Every now and then, its nice to get away from the traditional dinner and a movie, bowling, etc. and do something different and exciting. I appreciate a night in or a visit to the local sports bar just as much as the next gal, but if I can’t ever do anything outside of the norm, chances are I’ll get bored. Its not only important to do something different from time to time, but its just as important that you are able to enjoy doing these things with the person you enjoy spending your time with. Its not enough that you’d go along to make me happy, because I can guarantee that if you’re not having a good time, your attitude will show and spoil the evening. Then we’re both pissed. 

So, I have compiled a list of ideas for somewhat-out-of-the-box dates that I’ve either planned with someone or would like to do myself. The first five are dates that I planned and took my last guy on. I needed reinforcements for this one, so a couple are not my own ideas, but those of my girlfriends. It was so interesting to see how women responded when I asked about the cool dates they’ve been on. Most of the date reflections were almost non-existent, and with a bitter outlook. Evidently, I’m not the only one who would like to have a guy plan something for her based on what he knows about her in order to see her happy. Custom-planned dates go a long way because the thought that has to go into them says a lot about how a guy views his gal, even if there isn’t a whole lot of money going into it. Well, here it is:

1. Picnic on the mall.

I haven’t been on a picnic on the Mall, but I did take my last guy to the Lincoln Monument for a moonlight picnic a few years back. The way the monuments are lit up at night really set the scene for a very romantic evening. We got hot chocolate (hot apple cider for me), stopped at Fuddruckers, and ate our food on a blanket in front of the reflecting pool. This probably would’ve been executed a little better if we weren’t being bitch-slapped with Mother Nature’s icy-cold hand, but it was still a great time, and we probably would’ve stayed longer if it weren’t so cold.

2. Ice skating in the sculpture garden.

I love to ice skate. I’m no Michelle Kwan, but I do pretty well on my blades and try to go at least once every winter. There are a couple of places that you can go to ice skate in the metro area, but I particularly enjoy the scenery of an afternoon at the Sculpture Garden on the Mall. Because its downtown, there are plenty of places to eat afterward, and other after-skating activities to do that are close by. Not only is it fun, but it’s usually pretty cheap, maybe $10 or so.

3. Museum tour.

Not only do I feel it imperative to see all the historical sights that the Nation’s Capital has to offer when you’re a resident of the area, but it’s actually a pretty neat thing to do with great company. Even if you’re not a huge museum buff, there’s usually something to intrigue everyone, regardless of what your interests are. Walking through museums is a great time to talk and get to know someone, because your attention isn’t constantly on something else as it would be during a movie. If nothing else, they’re free!

4. Paddle boating.

Best $8 date I’ve ever been on. There are paddle boats for rent downtown, where you can paddle in the Tidal Basin around the Jefferson memorial. If you don’t mind a light workout, this is another prime opportunity to talk, take some pictures, take in the great weather, and visit a historical site in a different way.

5. Dinner on the Odyssey/Spirit of Washington.

Dinner cruises are a nice way to have a different type of dining experience. if you’re not a fan of the cheesy singers and dancers after the meal, the front of the boat provides a very intimate and romantic setting to talk and take in the view of the DC skyline lit up against the Potomac. Besides, if you’ve ever been to a club in DC, you’d know that ladies like to get dressed up. Very rarely do we get to break out a semi-formal cocktail dress, go all out with hair and make-up, and feel like a princess for the night.

6. National Harbor.

If nothing else, the National Harbor provides a different environment to do the things that you would normally do on a date, and adds a touch of romanticism. Maybe its the water? Either way, dinner, shopping, entertainment, all rolled into one little isle. There’s always something going on at The Gaylord Hotel, from indoor snow at Christmas to Cirque du Soleil, to the many restaurants they have to offer. I wouldn’t mind a traditional dinner and movie date if we were at the Harbor.

7. Aquarium.

Daytime dates are A-ok with me. A nice activity folowed by lunch, or another activity is all good in my book, especially since I’m not one to atay up or out late if it doesn’t involve loud music, over-priced liquor, and grinding on strangers. The aquarium is cool. I haven’t been to the one in DC yet, but the aquarium in Baltimore is awesome. I don’t know why there will always be a part of us that never wants to grow up, but the children in us like to experience the interaction with the marine life, and the aquarium is the perfect place to let your inner Bebe kid run free. Again, there’s plenty to talk about, and nothing that takes your attention for extended periods of time., which opens the door for great conversation.

8. Zoo.

The zoo is like the aquarium on steroids. If you can’t take pictures like a flamingo with the flamingoes, admire the humping lions, and question why there are no animals in most parts of the damn zoo, then maybe you just don’t believe in fun. Or maybe I have a different idea of what fun is because I grew up in the suburbs where we would often go to Wal-Mart after the $1 movie to spend the rest of the evening. Either way, chicks like the zoo. There’s plenty of room to play, be silly, and enjoy the company of your companion.

9. Kennedy Center.

If you can’t afford (or just don’t like) the Opera, The Symphony Orchestra, or Mamma Mia!, there are several other stages and a plethora of displays of artistic expressions that you can enjoy. If you go on the weekend, there are free performances that you can see that are in my opinion, EXCELLENT. And, they’re open 365 days a year. That’s every day. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the arts, its nice to see something different every now and then that doesn’t involve Chris Brown being chased for 32 city blocks, drunk guys stealing mike Tyson’s pet tiger, or Tyler Perry giving family life lessons as a cross-dressing senior citizen.

10. Winery.

This is something that I haven’t experienced, but I can imagine that it would be great fun, and I’d love to do it. I REPEAT: I WOULD LOVE TO DO IT (THIS IS DIRECTED AT NOBODY IN PARTICULAR, BUT IF YOU’VE REAPED THE BENEFITS OF ME SLAVING OVER YOUR STOVE SEVERAL TIMES WITHIN THE LAST FEW MONTHS AND WATCHED THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN ON NBATV WHILE I MISSED NEW EPISODES OF HOUSE, ALL  IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU CAN GO TO BED HAPPY, AND I DO MEAN HAPPY, PLEASE TAKE NOTE. ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE AFRICAN. AND LIKE BASKETBALL). My former roommate took a date to a winery in Virginia where they took a tour, had lunch, and made their own wine. I mean, who doesn’t want to learn about and taste wine on a date?! Especially if you learn which foods to pair the different kinds of wine with. I’d probably give this one a thumbs up. If I ever went. Just sayin.

11. Horseback riding in Rock Creek Park.

When I say horseback riding, I don’t mean Seabiscuit-style equestrian races, I mean a slow trail ride through the park. Again, something totally different that most people wouldn’t think is available to do in the city. Even if you’ve never been on a horse before, a trail ride can be mastered by even the most novice of riders. How about horseback riding, and then a picnic in the park under a tree, by a stream? By the way, Rock Creek Park is HUGE. There are several secluded places to go, and enjoy the company of your date without being disturbed by large crowds. If you’re still there at dusk, you can see the deer come out to eat as you drive by. Very cool.

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