Fun date in DC
April 29, 2005 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I've lived in Washington DC for 5 years, so you'd think I know what good stuff there is to do. And I guess I've done a lot of it, but now I want to take my girlfriend out on a fun date that isn't the monuments, the (national) mall, a movie, or 'just dinner.' Any good suggestions for Saturday evening? There has got to be a boatload of fun non-tourist stuff to do here!
posted by clgregor to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (30 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Subscribe to Jim Maas' Washington Weekend Preview--all the cool kids do! Lots of stuff to do this weekend: Taste of College Park, baseball, a Cajun/Zydeco dance at Glen Echo.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:00 AM on April 29, 2005

That depends on what you like to do. Do you like classical music? If so, you can't do much better than the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center tomorrow night, with John Williams conducting a program of his own works.

Not a classical music fan? How about magic? David Copperfield is at the Warner Theatre today and tomorrow.

No? Check out the list of theatre events at, and you'll probably find something. Or the rest of their entertainment guide.

Or take her to the Nationals game, starting at 7:05pm at RFK tomorrow night.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:01 AM on April 29, 2005

I haven't lived in D.C. for about 10 years, but, Blues Alley was always a good date back then. Dinner, Jazz, and Drinks.
posted by trbrts at 8:06 AM on April 29, 2005

As you probably know The Washington City Paper comes out every Thursday. Bound to be copies lying around. While, IMHO, the writing in TWCP is contrarian crap, the ads and events listings are excellent.
posted by terrapin at 8:06 AM on April 29, 2005

Response by poster: These are great ideas, let me add one more challenge: budget!
posted by clgregor at 8:09 AM on April 29, 2005

From Washington Weekend Preview:
National Symphony Orchestra Prelude: Members of the National Symphony Orchestra perform classical works. 6:00 pm. Free. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:15 AM on April 29, 2005

Generally, you can check out DCist, Metroblogging DC, Life in the District,, or Craigslist Activities.

Metaphysically, you can look to Fun things to do in DC.

Specifically, this Saturday, you can learn to waltz.
posted by Falconetti at 8:16 AM on April 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

In terms of baseball, don't forget that there are two minor league teams within an hour or so of DC: the Potomac Nationals (a single A team for the Nationals in Woodbridge, VA) and the Bowie Baysox (a double A team for the Orioles in Bowie, MD). Both have games at 7:05 Saturday. Minor league is fun to watch. Cheaper tickets, you're closer to the game, etc. Of course they're both farther from DC than the Nationals are.

Or you could walk around one of the nice walking/shopping/eating/moving downtowns in the area. Besides Georgetown, there's Bethesda, Old Town Alexandria, which is on the river so it's very pretty at night (if you can make it before 5, you can tour the Torpedo Factory which is now art studios you can go in and look at local art work)...
posted by skynxnex at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2005

Dinner and bellydancing at Marrakesh
posted by batboy at 8:25 AM on April 29, 2005 has 1/2 price theater and concert tickets.

I'm not sure if it's still going on, but The Washington Post used to have a young theatergoers program, where people under 30 could get discounted tickets.
posted by amarynth at 8:29 AM on April 29, 2005

If you're looking for something on Sunday, head to Eastern Market for their annual street festival.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:33 AM on April 29, 2005

I grew up in DC. One of my favorite things to do on a nice Spring evening was to walk along the C&O Canal and the river. You could go out for drinks or dinner in Georgetown, then walk east along the canal towpath (south of M St.), then turn south and meet up with the path along the Potomac River. The first bit by the Whitehurst Freeway isn't so pretty, but then it takes you past the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Memorial and so forth. On a Spring night its a very nice stroll, and gives you a rather different view of DC than doing the museums-on-the-mall thing.

Pro: Free!
Con: Requires nice weather and dodging a bunch of joggers if its before 8pm or so.

Another idea for a daytime date: the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks. I can't remember if you are allowed to bring a picnic (I think not), but there's a public park next to it where you can.
posted by googly at 9:03 AM on April 29, 2005

Possibly less exciting, but I always loved spending time at Bedrock Billiards in Adams-Morgan. There's a bar, and it's fairly upscale/non-scary to those of us who are REALLY bad at pool, but still a really nice, funky vibe. And you pay by the hour for the table, so you're not going to get hustled out by other players like you might at a bar pool table.
posted by occhiblu at 9:04 AM on April 29, 2005

Not sure what you like to do, but, here are my favs:

Go to Baltimore. Little Italy, outsider art museum, baltimore museum of art, inner harbor, good record stores, good tattoo shops.

If in Alexandria, the Masonic temple is cool. It is at the top of King St by the King St. metro (hard to miss.) Mount Vernon is nice, too, just head down the GW parkway.

In DC, the Black Cat has good rock/roll. Also, DC-9, Warehouse Next Door. For getting pig drunk, I recommend Fox and Hounds on 17th st between p and q st (I think.)

Best italian food in DC is at A/V on New York ave by the new convention center.

For off-the-beaten path restaurant gems (if you have a car), try Jerry's Seafood in Seabrook, MD. Home of the crab bomb. It's *very* expensive, but their bomb cannot be beat.

Also, try Henry's Soul Cafe on 214 in Mitchelville, MD for delicious soul food (and, they have a huge fish tank with sharks in it!)

The City Paper isn't contrarian crap! I like the writing, and several of the writers have been recognized nationally for their feature writing.
posted by drobot at 9:18 AM on April 29, 2005

Squished Penny Museum. 'nuff said.
posted by fixedgear at 9:26 AM on April 29, 2005

Re: Baltimore's outsider art. The American Visionary Art Museum's annual Kinetic Sculpture race is Saturday, but during the day, not at night. You'd be oh-so-cool to take a date to this.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:47 AM on April 29, 2005

Are you guys outdoorsy? There are lots of great hiking opportunities not too far from DC, if you've got transportation. I strongly recommend the C&O Canal Park in Maryland. You can stroll along the canal, have a picnic and visit the gift shop for an easy day. For something more rugged, try the Billy Goat Trail. It's awesome.

If you don't mind a longer drive, head to Harper's Ferry. I significant part of this town has been kept the same since the Civil War. There are museums, great places for lunch, and just nice, educational walking opportunities, plus a variety of easy, moderate and difficult hikes.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:54 AM on April 29, 2005

Second MrMoonPie, the Kinetic Sculpture Race is the coolest thing going on in DC or Baltimore this weekend, guaranteed (not a guarantee). The Visionary Art Museum also has a great restaurant where you could repair for dinner, but it's a bit pricey and you said budget. You could go over to Fell's Point and go to the little Taqueria on Eastern Ave just a block or so East of Broadway for dinner after the Race. It's cheap and very good.

Spring is a nice time to walk in the Bishop's Garden attached to the Nat Cathedral, and the view of the city from Cathedral Hill is the best there is since it's the highest point in DC.

You could go to the Nat Arboretum on NY Ave, the Bonsai exhibit there is someplace I try to hit once a year, usually later in the summer, but I'm sure the flowers are really nice right now.

A walk around Haine's Point of an evening is always romantic, and Punk Rock to boot, or at least it was back in the day.

If it's warm enough, take a picnic to RCP, up by Pierce's Mill, or even further north.

A nice walk around Dumbarton Oaks is never a bad idea, but I can't remember if they charge or not.

And, on a Spring evening, once it gets dark, the Lincoln Memorial is the nicest place in DC!
posted by OmieWise at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2005

On the classical music front, the new is really beautiful.
posted by callmejay at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2005

oops, that's the new Strathmore.
posted by callmejay at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2005

DC has a really great theatre community. Pick up a newspaper, and browse through the theatre listings- I'm sure you could find a play that sounds cool. There are lots of amateur groups that do really good quality shows, so you can see a great show and not spend a lot of money. The Little Theatre of Alexandria (in Old Town- I loved Old Town when I lived in VA) is a really great amateur group. You could go see a show there, maybe browsing the little shops and cute restaurants first?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

My best date when I lived in DC was dinner at Teaism in Dupont and then book shopping at Kramer books and Afterwords, then a nice walk west on P(??) street to Georgetown to hit Ollson's on Wisconsin. DC is a walking city in my memory. I had many romantic times walking very, very far there. Of course I was broke.

Is the deck of the Kennedy Center still open 24 hours a day? My guess is 9/11 put a stop to that, but that is a great place to hit after a late date for wonderful views and slow walking -- it must be half a mile to go the whole way around.

Also good things: poetry readings! There are more poetry readings in DC than in New York, I think, and there is nothing like a good reading to put a little wonder in your lives, eh?

A second for walking along the canal in Georgetown and beyond WITH A SUGGESTION: go there before the date and make sure it is a good smelling day down there. A couple times a year the canal gets pretty gamey.
posted by n9 at 11:34 AM on April 29, 2005

Can you still hang just north of National (cough Regan) airport and see planes landing? I hope so. That is also a wonderful date ender.
posted by n9 at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2005

To add on to N9- there are a TON of poetry, fiction, nonfiction readings here. Good suggestion.

The Ollson's on Wisconsin is now closed, unfortunately. Other locations are still open.
posted by drobot at 11:51 AM on April 29, 2005

And yeah, you can watch planes take off from National from Gravelly Point off the GW parkway.
posted by drobot at 11:54 AM on April 29, 2005

With the weather as crap as it's going to be here this weekend this will help not at all but for future reference: I think the most overlooked sight in the District area is Roosevelt Island.

The tourists are never there even though the monument part in the middle is as cool as the FDR memorial and has been for way longer. As it gets greener it gets even prettier and it's a pleasant walk around the whole perimeter. The 'boardwalk' on the NE side has benches and while I am unsure of the official policy on alcohol etc I would be astonished if you couldn't manage to bring a bottle of wine and sit and drink it over there.
posted by phearlez at 2:15 PM on April 29, 2005

The Nationals have tickets in the $7 - $15 range. They're not the best seats, obviously, but that's still not bad at all. Heck, $7 is less than a movie.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:49 PM on April 29, 2005

Not that anyone's mentioned it, but don't go to the vaguely-new Spy Museum. Totally cheesy and unsatisfying.
posted by Aknaton at 8:44 AM on April 30, 2005

Don't forget The Improv, as well, for a night of laughs and a few drinks. Not too expensive of a date...(you didn't mention what your price range is.)
posted by AmericnJewl at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2005

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