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D.C.'s Romantic Side

Breathtaking Views
D.C.'s Romantic Side
Washington, D.C. greets couples with a swirl of rich historical ambience, fancy-schmancy accommodations, and a staggering number of restaurants that are just perfect for that upcoming anniversary dinner.
By Christian Mirasol, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of W Hotel Washington DC
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    Breathtaking Views
    Breathtaking Views
    The Washington Monument isn't the only breathtaking vantage point in this low-rise city. The W Hotel's P.O.V. Lounge is often touted as the best hotel rooftop in D.C., but you can also canoodle on the Hay-Adams Hotel roof deck across Lafayette Square, with the Washington Monument and White House in view. The Old Post Office's 315-foot clock tower and the Newseum's rooftop terrace offer both history and panoramic views of Pennsylvania Avenue and downtown. Climb the National Cathedral's Gloria in Excelsis Tower to stand on the city’s highest point while enjoying bell-ringing demonstrations.
    Photo courtesy of W Hotel Washington DC
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    Creative Date Night Activities
    Creative Date Night Activities
    D.C. teems with creative date ideas. Enjoy wine, snacks, and live entertainment while celebrating the area's art scene at Dupont Circle galleries. Phillips Collection’s "Phillips After 5" on the first Thursdays of each month and Hillyer Art Space’s “First Fridays” draw locals and visitors. For a more intimate outing, stargaze with your partner on the open grassy fields outside the Rock Creek Park Planetarium, offered once a month from April to November through the National Capital Astronomers’ Association. Get hands on with a BYOB craft class such as learning the art of succulent terrarium creation at the Lemon Collective. Or, sign up for free salsa lessons (beginner or intermediate) at Café Citron on Wednesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays amidst a laid-back, multicultural vibe.
    Photo by Elan Fleisher/age fotostock
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    Romantic Jaunts and Strolls
    Romantic Jaunts and Strolls
    Sunrise and sunset are the perfect times to walk along the tree-lined pathways of the Tidal Basin and Reflecting Pool. Follow in the Kennedys' footsteps with your own stroll through Georgetown’s stone streets and sidewalks amidst the Federal Style rowhouses. Track down the five homes where they resided; the most famous was 3307 N Street NW, where John F. Kennedy lived as a senator. Walk along the C&O Canal and imagine you're in Venice. Between Montrose Park and Dumbarton Oaks Museum and Gardens is Lover's Lane, a wooded trail named for its reputation as a popular trysting spot. It's perfect for stealing a kiss and is a great shortcut for more strolls along Rock Creek Park and Embassy Row. Escape the city to Roosevelt Island for a serene handheld walk set to the soundtrack of singing birds and lapping water.
    Photo courtesy of Destination DC
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    Photogenic Shots for Couples
    Photogenic Shots for Couples
    D.C. is a photogenic city, with plenty of spots to snap a romantic selfie. The Capitol and the White House rank as D.C.'s most iconic sites, and you can take photos from both sides of each building. Stand at the bottom of the Kalorama neighborhood’s Spanish Steps and you can fit in the only park that occupies a city street. In late March and early April, take snapshots underneath the world-famous Japanese cherry trees with the Jefferson Memorial in the background. Stand on the "Watergate Steps" along the Potomac, originally designed as an entryway into D.C., as you capture the Lincoln Memorial. Head to the stairs of Meridian Hill Park and fit in the cascading pools of water at its Italian-inspired fountain.
    Photo by Martin Benik/age fotostock
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    Away for the Day
    Away for the Day
    Escape the museums and monuments by heading towards the mountains or the coast; both are within easy driving distance. Virginia's Loudoun County, the heart of D.C.'s wine country, is about 45 minutes away. Head to any of its 43 wineries and vineyards, especially Bluemont, to enjoy Viognier wine, locally grown food, Shenandoah Valley breezes, and the countryside. The Maryland Eastern Shore town of St. Michael's is 90 minutes away. See the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, go sailing, walk the brick sidewalks to observe the mix of Georgian, Federal, Colonial, Queen Anne, Edwardian, and Victorian homes, feast on blue crabs and Chesapeake oysters, steal a kiss on Honeymoon Bridge, and watch the sun set over the Eastern Bay.
    Photo by Christian Mirasol
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    Food and Love
    Food and Love
    The food and atmosphere of these D.C. restaurants can turn a dining experience into a memorable, romantic one. Little Serow in Dupont Circle is an intimate basement nook serving family-style, spicy northern Thai cuisine. Tabard Inn is ideal for a romantic rendezvous. Go for dinner or brunch, highlighting seasonal American fare in the cozy and quaint main room or secluded gardens. Rasika in Penn Quarter impresses with modern takes on traditional Indian food in a sophisticated atmosphere marked with beautiful paintings. To impress with a Michelin-starred meal, make a reservation at one of D.C.’s accolated restaurants such as The Dabney, Tail Up Goat, Rose’s Luxury or Plume, where you can pay homage to Thomas Jefferson’s love of food and wine amidst sparkling chandeliers, plush chairs, silk wallpaper, and gentle lighting.
    Photo courtesy of The Jefferson, Washington, DC.
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    Hidden Gardens
    Hidden Gardens
    Enter through the 12th-century-style Norman arch into National Cathedral’s Bishop's Garden and enjoy the peaceful tranquility surrounded by herb and rose gardens, perennial borders, and the Prodigal Son sculpture. Whisk your love into the beautiful and serene Tudor Place, once owned by one of Martha Washington’s granddaughters. Walk by roses and English boxwood in the colorful box knot garden and among the 400 trees surrounding the mansion. Curl up with your sweetheart for “Serene Sundays” at Hillwood Estate, the former home of Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. Take in not only the home’s lavish treasures but also its 13-acre gardens, which include a rose and Japanese-style garden, and the intimate French Parterre.
    Photo courtesy of Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
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    Cozy Cocktail Spots
    Cozy Cocktail Spots
    D.C.'s booming nightlife scene allows you to enjoy fine wines and strong cocktails well into the night. Cozy up at one of the alcoves at the subterranean 2 Birds 1 Stone, or a dark candlelit booth at The Gibson, an unmarked speakeasy providing first-rate mixology and an impressive variety of strong concoctions like a Sazerac or the Japanese Cocktail. Imbibe a gin or bourbon rickey, D.C.'s official cocktail, at the 37,000-square-foot Hamilton. Head to either stylish Sonoma or Proof, where you can select from over 40 wines by the glass from France, Italy, and California, or to Boqueria for Spanish wines like the slightly effervescent txakoli or a fino sherry. For an unforgettable evening, book a reservation at barmini where D.C.'s top mixologists create an interactive drinking experience, complete with scented liquid nitrogen and other multi-sensory twists.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Toasting the End of the Day
    Toasting the End of the Day
    D.C. has places where you and your love can witness one of nature's most sublime displays of light. The National Mall allows for stunning views, especially from the Tidal Basin, the Washington Monument, the west front of the Capitol, or the Lincoln Memorial. The Southwest Waterfront and Georgetown's Washington Harbourfront provide another experience, with views along the Potomac River and Washington Channel. Get onto the water with a sunset kayaking tour or rental from Key Bridge Boathouse for a unique vantage point of the city's skyline and surroundings. Go under the trees or tuck into the wharf or the riverside restaurants to enjoy some drinks or dinner with your view. For higher ground, Kennedy Center's rooftop terrace has awesome unobstructed views of the sun setting over Virginia.
    Photo by Brian Jannsen/age fotostock
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    Offbeat Intimate Spots
    Offbeat Intimate Spots
    Find more quiet parks and open spaces for quality time with your sweetheart. In winter, ice-skate in the middle of the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden. Every Friday in the summertime, their Jazz in the Garden series features live jazz and sangria. Give your eyes a break from viewing the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum by slipping under the Kogod Courtyard's elegant glass canopy to enjoy the live music and movie screenings. For a relaxing picnic, grab gourmet sandwiches at SUNdeVICH and relax on the grass at nearby Logan Circle, where gorgeous Victorian-style homes date back to the 1870s.
    Photo by Julee K.
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    Café Conversations
    Café Conversations
    D.C. takes its cafe culture seriously and there’s no better way to start the day, or to break it up, than an intimate conversation over a cup of coffee. The Coffee Bar is a welcoming, cozy neighborhood joint just off the bustling blocks of 14th & U Streets. Similarly, Big Bear Cafe provides a haven for the Bloomingdale area. In Adams Morgan, flip through vinyl while sipping coffee from local roaster Swings at Songbyrd. Keep with the analog nostalgia and peruse books with a cup in hand at Dupont's Kramerbooks or 14th Street's Busboys and Poets, where you can also opt for a glass of wine. For those less interested in caffeine, re-energize with a fresh, cold-pressed juice from Jrink, or relax with herbal tea at Teaism.
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