The Most Romantic Places in Washington, DC

Stone archway and entrance to Bishop's Garden of the Washington National Cathedral
Dave Fimbres Photography / Getty Images

Washington, DC is an excellent place for history buffs but it also boasts plenty of romantic getaways just waiting to be explored. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway at one of the city’s best hotels or searching for lavish restaurants with the best views of the city, Washington DC has it all! There are plenty of things to do and see for couples so be sure to check out our list of the most romantic places in Washington DC!

Bishop’s Garden, Washington National Cathedral

“A space of peace set apart forever from the rush of the everyday world.” That’s how Florence Bratenahl, wife of the Dean of the Cathedral during the early 1900s, described the Bishop’s Garden at DC’s magnificent National Cathedral. Filled with lush florals, brick-lined paths, and medieval sculptures, the gardens here are the perfect place to stroll the day away hand-in-hand with your date. 

Not only will you have the opportunity to view gorgeous florals but their fragrance fills the air luring you in to take a closer look. Check out the Hortulus, or “little garden,” to take a sniff of fragrant 19th-century herbs and flowers. Saunter into the Olmsted Woods, a five-acre old-growth forest on the Cathedral grounds that offers privacy by towering oak and beech trees. For an unforgettable date, you may even want to consider booking a Tour & Tea. Admission is only $40 USD and provides you with an in-depth tour of the Cathedral followed by a traditional English tea with sandwiches, scones. Not to mention your tea is accompanied by a breathtaking view of Washington from the seventh floor Pilgrim Observation Gallery. 

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is a hidden treasure in the country’s capital and is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city! Founded in 1890, this remarkable city park boasts 1,754 acres of beautiful landscape. Did you know a national park runs through much of the western half of DC? With over 32 miles of hiking trails, the lush and scenic Rock Creek Park is the perfect place for you and your partner to spend quality time together outdoors. 

Put on comfortable shoes, pack a picnic, and explore the picturesque trails that crisscross under old stone bridges, over Rock Creek, and through thick green forests. During the summer months, you can enjoy live entertainment as the park hosts outdoor concerts at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre. The amphitheater is located in the southern half of the park, with parking nearby. The best part is you can enjoy a romantic night in DC on a budget with this place because the entrance to the park and the amphitheater shows are totally free!

Eastern Market

Looking to get lost in a crowd with your loved one? Then head to Eastern Market in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood to stroll among rows of farm-fresh produce and handmade art and crafts. The market is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. That said we highly recommend visiting on the weekend when the market stalls are bustling while the sound of live music plays in the background. Better yet, the weekends often feature even more merchants selling their impressive products outdoors. 

You could even consider picking up fresh food from inside the South Hall Market for a romantic picnic. Purchase some fresh fruit, warm bread, and cheese and head to one of DC’s many green squares or parks for a perfectly romantic afternoon. 

The Jefferson Memorial

From the Neoclassical marble columns to the dreamy waterfront location, the Jefferson Memorial is hands-down the most romantic monument in Washington, D.C. Better yet, if you’re able to visit during springtime you’ll be welcomed by the alluring fragrance from the cherry blossom trees that line the Tidal Basin. This also happens to be a very popular place to propose in DC. 

The memorial isn’t located along the bustling National Mall, so its seclusion makes it a prime spot if you’re seeking a quieter and more romantic getaway in the city. As an added bonus, you’ll also get a beautiful view of the Washington Monument and the White House from the Tidal Basin. 

King Street Stroll in Alexandria

Venture out to Alexandria, a quaint old town located in Virginia just south of Washington, DC. Here you and your date can walk along the cobblestone-lined King Street. This romantic getaway was voted the “Best Place for a First Date” by Washingtonian Magazine. Old Town Alexandria offers a lively atmosphere full of historical sites and romantic views of the Potomac River. 

There is plenty to do from strolling the streets and shopping the charming boutiques to biking on one of the paths by the river. But all of that exploring is going to tire you out. When you’re ready to relax, finish your evening with a romantic candlelight dinner at one of the local restaurants or enjoy an evening at the town’s wine tasting room, Sonoma Cellar

United States Botanic Garden

The United States Botanic Garden boasts a magnificent glass-enclosed structure full of lush florals. The museum’s mission is to educate its visitors about the importance of plants and the role they play in our earth’s fragile ecosystems. This is definitely a must-see when visiting the nation’s capital. 

The conservatory and surrounding exhibits feature over 65, 000 plants. Wind your way through a plethora of plant exhibits in the conservatory, from tropical jungles and orchid gardens to arid deserts that feature spiky cacti and succulents. With so much to explore you and your date can easily spend the day here. Keep in mind there are no dining options available in the museum so you may want to consider packing a picnic to bring with you. This is another great budget-friendly date idea as admission to the garden is free!  You can learn more about this wonderful location on the United States Botanic Garden website

POV Rooftop Bar

End your day on a high note at the POV Rooftop Bar. And we do mean high — the bar sits on the 11th floor of the lavish W Hotel. The restaurant boasts unparalleled views of downtown DC that you don’t want to miss. Impress your date with this romantic location that overlooks the White House, National Mall, and towering monuments. 

Although, you may want to get here early to beat the local crowds. Order the charcuterie and cheese plate along with an expertly crafted cocktail and let the warm DC breeze sweep you up in the romance of the night. If you want to turn you date night into a romantic weekend getaway you can even book a room at the W hotel! The rooms boast panoramic views of the city as well as luxurious amenities. 

Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate in the Georgetown neighborhood. The garden and adjoining manor were first built by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss in 1920. Mildred worked with the top landscape architects of her time to bring her stunning garden vision to life. Today, the garden is the perfect way to spend an afternoon among the fragrant herbs, borders of bright blooms, and scenic terraces.

Between the fountains, finials, and beautifully arranged flower beds, you’ll think you and your date were transported to a lush garden in Italy making Dumbarton Oaks one of the most romantic places in DC. Admission to the museum is free and is open Tuesday through Sunday between the hours of 11:30 am and 5:30 pm. If you’d like to explore the garden, keep in mind admission is $10 USD during the regular season (March through October) and free during winter. That said, we highly recommend visiting during the warmer months to see the best flowers. 

Key Bridge

Named after Star-Spangled Banner lyricist, Francis Scott Key, the Key Bridge connects Georgetown to Arlington, VA. The bridge features magnificent concrete arches over the wide Potomac River. From the bridge, you and your partner will be privy to breathtaking views of the Washington Monument, the city’s skyline, and the numerous rowers gliding through the river below. 

The bridge also features a wide pedestrian path for walkers and bikers and is one of the best places in the city to watch the sunset over the Potomac River. For a heart-pumping date idea, rent bikes to cycle over the bridge and then along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Georgetown.

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