If romantic experiences were merely a matter of candlelit dinners and cuddling, why leave home? No, the besotted are meant to travel, to court and spark in unfamiliar territory, lacing passion with an indelible thrill. Washington DC is especially romantic, its riverside landscape of grand marble memorials and beautiful gardens replete with hidden nooks and unexpected opportunities for private moments. Whether you’re newly acquainted or longtime loves, you’ll find the city an exceptionally inviting place to romance your sweetheart.
Grab Austrian pastries from nearby Kafe Leopold’s, then kayak the morning away on the Potomac, passing memorials one way or paralleling the C&O Canal the other.
Taxi to the Penn Quarter for a Graffiato pick-me-up before hitting nearby favorite “chill” museums:
Explore the National Building Museum’s cool Icebergs exhibit; scavenger hunt in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s uncrowded third floor; cross Pennsylvania Avenue to flirt and flit throughout the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture galleries, as Degas’s dancers look on.
Return to the Penn Quarter to enjoy the city’s best Indian food at sexy Rasika, or dine on fine American/French cuisine at Lafayette in the Hay-Adams Hotel, overlooking Lafayette Park. (request Table 18).
Snuggle together on a private guided, moonlit tour of the illuminated memorials.
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Pack a picnic, rent a bike (complimentary at the Hay-Adams) and cycle through Rock Creek Park, spectacularly colorful in fall.
Continue by bike or other means to the National Mall: Visit Lincoln in his memorial, then head to the Capitol two miles away to tour the Rotunda and other public spaces. Ramble the grounds and hope to stumble upon the Summer House, offering shade and a chance to steal some kisses.
Taxi to 14th St.’s Le Diplomate for an evocatively Parisian experience. Choose a sidewalk table, sip a kir or fine merlot, and relish tastes of foie gras and loupe de mer, as you eye the parade of brightest young things sauntering by.
Wander hand in hand at the Phillips Collection, renowned for its Impressionist works, homey galleries in the original museum and after-hours events. Said to have launched countless romances, it’s no wonder the name for the Phillips café is Tryst. Tryst awhile.
Taxi or Metro to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden for afternoon ice-skating, grounds and sculptures magically illuminated as day turns to dusk.
Savor a post-skate hot chocolate in the Pavilion Cafe before heading to Capitol Hill’s Folger Shakespeare Library for a Bardian production in the intimate Elizabethan theater.
End the day at Quill, DC’s most romantic lounge, where a pianist plays Gershwin while you and your love nestle on cushiony banquettes, imbibe drinks with names like “Swept Away,” and nibble on plates of charcuterie and cheese or more substantial fare.
The capital blossoms in spring with profusions of gorgeous flora ….. and tourists. Wend the quiet back streets of historic Georgetown, ending at Dumbarton Oaks, both a museum of ancient artifacts, and a breathtakingly gorgeous 10-acre garden.
Adjoining Dumbarton Oaks is an honest-to-goodness Lovers Lane. What are you waiting for?
Stroll south to Georgetown’s waterfront to quaff an aperitif on Fiola Mare’s awning-covered outdoor terrace, overlooking the Potomac, the Kennedy Center, and Theodore Roosevelt Island.
Stay on for dinner at Fiola Mare or choose the nearby, less expensive but delightful Chez Billy Sud; then follow the winding path around the picturesque harbor to reach the Kennedy Center in time for a show. Be sure to step out on the terrace for another grand view of the river, and of Georgetown’s pretty harbor, aglow in the night.