Explore Washington D.C.

Most Romantic Things to Do in D.C.

They say politics is all about relationship-building, and nowhere is that more true than in Washington, D.C. But the capital is also an ideal destination for forging more amorous connections.

With picturesque backdrops that include famous monuments, picturesque river views and elegant buildings, there are plenty of places to indulge in romance with someone you love, or even spark something new.

Whether you’re booking your first date or your 51st, D.C.’s lauded restaurants offer a variety of romantic options. The city’s world-class art scene also provides plenty of inspiration for public displays of affection. Or, spend some quality time along the river, whether strolling hand-in-hand through cherry tree-lined paths or on a river cruise, perfect for smooching.

In one of the most powerful cities in the world, feel the power of love at stops all around town.

Jefferson Memorial

At the Tidal Basin, John Russell Pope’s neoclassical marble monument for the third U.S. president and main author of the Declaration of Independence. Accessible 24 hours. Rangers on duty to answer questions daily from 9:30 am-10 pm. Bookstore. Parking (south side).

Iron Gate

Legendary (1923-2010) site reopened by prized chef Tony Chittum. Dining in arched entry, former stables with fireplace and trellised courtyard. Mid-Atlantic sourcing with techniques of Greece and Italy for farro salad, caramelized ricotta gnocchi, charred octopus, mixed grill.


Claim: the U.S.’s first LEED Gold-certified day spa. Massages like stone, couples, reflexology. Body scrubs, water therapies, facial treatments, nail care, waxing and bridal packages. M-F 10 am-8 pm, Sa 9 am-8 pm, Su 10 am.-6 pm


Ralf Schlegel’s Michelin-starred restaurant with luxe dishes à la Monticello’s gardens inside elegant Jefferson Hotel. Foie gras terrine, lobster gratin, risotto, Angus prime filet, bison with blueberry barbecue sauce. Prix fixe, chef’s tasting. Cozy nooks, 1,300-label wine cellar, landscape murals on silk and fireplace.

Fig & Olive

California cool meets the South of France at chic CityCenterDC. Two-story space (plus two bars) serving dishes like crostini, housemade pasta, grilled scallop bouillabaisse, whole branzino, beef carpaccio. L (M-F), D (daily), Br (Sa-Su).

Co Co. Sala

A chocolate lounge, restaurant and boutique where the signature ingredient stars in everything from desserts and cocktails to sculptures and savory entrees. Lounge: Mon.-Thurs. 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat. till midnight.


Centered at M Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW, D.C.’s oldest neighborhood (1751) still buzzes with activity. Locals and visitors come for the shopping, dining, historic homes, music clubs and riverside recreation. Famous folks from Francis Scott Key to John F.

Restaurant Eve

Upscale bistro, smart sommelier Todd Thrasher and Cathal Armstrong’s prize-winning fare. Foie gras terrine, pan-fried soft-shell crabs with sunchoke cream and hazelnut pesto, veal sweetbreads, artisanal cheeses. Tasting menu: five courses ($105), seven courses ($140); wine extra. L (M-F), D (M-Sa). Bar and lounge late.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

Site of the United Nations 1944 beginnings, a 19th-century manse plus Philip Johnson-designed pavilion. Library for Byzantine, pre-Columbian and garden studies. Gift shop. Museum: Tu-Su 11:30 am-5:30 pm. Ten-acre formal gardens: Tu-Su 2-6 pm. Museum free. Gardens $10, seniors $8, students/children (12 and under) $5.

Potomac Riverboat Company

Water taxi servicing Alexandria, Virginia (at Cameron and Union sts.); National Harbor, Maryland; Georgetown; and The Wharf, plus Nationals Park, sightseeing (seaport, monuments, Mount Vernon), canine cruises. Private charters. See routes/rates/locations online.

The Phillips Collection

The country’s first museum of modern art (1921) with an intimate setting for a renowned collection: Renoir, Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Daumier, Manet, El Greco, Miró, Monet, O’Keeffe and Picasso. Laib's Wax Room, beeswax-lined niche accommodating two visitors at a time. Gift shop. Open Tu-Su.

Tiny Jewel Box

Vintage and antique jewelry, contemporary designs, precious stones, gifts in sleek spaces within a Victorian corner landmark. Special: watches by Rolex, Cartier and Tag Heuer, plus a bridal boutique. M-Sa 10 am-5:30 pm.

Chez Billy Sud

"Southern" branch of brothers Eric Hilton and Ian Hilton's popular Petworth original, featuring classic bistro fare. Boeuf Bourguignon, steak frites, roasted butternut squash soup served in a cozy residence-like space. L (Tu-F), D (daily), Br (Sa-Su).

National Gallery of Art/West Building

One of the world’s finest collections of American and European paintings and sculpture dating from the 13th century, including “Ginevra de’ Benci,” this hemisphere’s only da Vinci painting. M-Sa 10 am-5 pm, Su 11 am-6 pm. Free. Gift shop, cafés, sculpture garden.

Liljenquist & Beckstead

Since 1979, this shop has offered high end watches by Cartier, Rolex, Chopard and more, plus engagement rings and jewlery of all kinds from brands such as David Yurman. Hours vary by location.

Folger Theatre

At Folger Shakespeare Library (with the largest collection of Shakespeariana in the world), an Elizabethan-style theater presenting classic plays and concerts.

Tudor Place

Neoclassical (1816) Georgetown mansion, home of Martha Washington’s granddaughter, and 5.5-acre gardens. National Historic Landmark with largest collection of George Washington’s personal items outside Mount Vernon. Garden tours ($3), teas, talks, events; see website for calendar.

Meridian Hill Park

A formal 12-acre site designed in the Italianate style, containing one of the largest cascading fountains in North America and the only memorial to former President James Buchanan. Open daily during daylight hours.