50+ Fun Things to Do in DC for Couples at Night (From a Local)

Washington, DC, is full of fun things to do at night for couples! I’ve been living in the city since 2014 and have had my fair share of dates in DC, so I’ve learned a thing or two about the best things to do in DC for couples at night. I’m excited to share them with you!

These Washington, DC, date night ideas will help you plan fun things to do at night whether you’re a DC local or on a couples trip to DC and looking for something to do for a night. There’s always something fun happening in DC!

sunset on national mall

sunset on national mall romantic photo

1. Sunset picnic and walk the monuments at night

Few things are more romantic than a picnic on the National Mall and walking the monuments with your special person! The National Mall lawn is open for picnicking year-round, but this is best left for late spring, summer, or fall.

Start your picnic around sunset at the Washington Monument and watch the sunset, then walk over to the monuments from there! The National Mall is much quieter/less crowded in the evening. This is the perfect way to spend an evening in DC for couples. 

outside library of congress dc

evening at heurich house during happy hour dc

2. Check out a museum after-hours event

You probably know there are seemingly endless museums around DC, but even after these museums close, many have events after hours! These are the perfect night activity for couples in DC. See the museums and history of DC in a new and unique way by visiting one of these after-hour events.

Happy Hour at Heurich House: Happy hour in the garden of the historic Heurich House. It happens in summer; check their event page for more.

Third Thursday at the Philipsfree extended hours from 5–8 pm on the third Thursday of the month at the Philips Collection

Live at the Library: The Library of Congress hosts this event every Thursday from 5–8 pm for various performances, workshops, discussions, and happy hour.

Jazz in the Garden: The free jazz concert series runs from 6–8:30 pm all summer

Tudor Nights: Tudor Palace offers an exclusive look at archived artifacts and art, complete with cocktails and bites.

comedy show at room 808 dc

3. Head to a comedy show

Get in some good laughs with your significant other at one of many different comedy club venues around DC. From small local spots to big performance spaces, there’s a little of everything in DC when it comes to comedy shows.

Room 808At Room 808, catch comedians five nights a week along with DC’s best Jazz musicians. Each night provides a different, unique experience. Shows are often $5 or free! BYOB

DC Improv: Nightly (or almost nightly) improv comedy in the heart of DC. This spot is a decades-old comedy club featuring national acts and local talent. They

The Loft: Comedy Loft of DC hosts many national comedians; tickets often sell out here for the more prominent acts. You can also enjoy the Bier Baron Tavern on the floor below for dinner and drinks starting at 5 pm daily. They have a two-drink minimum during shows.

la vie roof top drinks the wharf dc

Upstairs at the Morrow (NoMA)

4. Check out a rooftop bar

Looking for a great view of DC and love a good cocktail? Consider heading to a rooftop bar and enjoying a few drinks. I’d always recommend coming to a rooftop around sunset as I am always one for a good view of some extra beautiful color in the sky! Nothing pumps up the romance more than that.

  • Jack Rose (Adams Morgan)
  • Whiskey Charlie (Wharf)
  • El Techo (U Street)
  • Vue (Downtown)
  • Smoke and Mirrors (Navy Yard)
  • Hi-Lawn (Union Market)
  • Upstairs at the Morrow (NoMA)

5. See live music

DC is home to a variety of music venues. There’s everything from historic, intimate clubs to large venues for major artists. Spend an evening enjoying your favorite type of music together as a couple at one of the many venues in DC! Below are a few I’ve been to over the years and enjoyed.

  • The Anthem: Large music venue in the Wharf hosting nationally well-known artists. Located in the Wharf.
  • 9:30 Club: 9:30 Club was named one of America’s ten best live music venues. It is a famous venue known for its intimate feel and is a favorite of many well-known artists. Located near U Street.
  • Union Stage: Small, intimate venue for varied live-music performances. Located in the Wharf.
  • Howard Theater: The Howard Theatre is a historic theater that opened in 1910. They host intimate feeling shows while delivering a legendary experience. They also sometimes host comedians and other types of performing artists. Located in Shaw.
  • Black Cat: Features local, national, and international independent and alternative music. Located on 14th Street.
  • U Street Music Hall: Live music venue that often hosts themed sing-along type shows. It is located on U Street.
  • DC 9: Night club with regular live music and DJs. It is located near U Street.
  • Blues Ally Jazz: Jazz club located in an alley in Georgetown.
inside howard theater DC

6. Go to a performance

Just like musical performance spaces, there are many options for live theatrical performances in DC.

  • Kennedy Center: The Kennedy Center is the official home of the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera. It also hosts a range of ticketed events, including Broadway productions, dance performances, comedy shows, and concerts, which come from internationally known groups.
  • Arena Stage: Arena Stage is a flagship American Theater and a center for American theater in DC.
  • Lincoln Theater: Lincoln Theatre is a historic theater in Washington, D.C., located at 1215 U Street, next to Ben’s Chili Bowl. The theater, located on “Washington’s Black Broadway,” served the city’s African American community when segregation kept them out of other venues. You can still see iconic acts there today.
  • Shakespeare Theater Company: This theatre company focuses primarily on plays from the Shakespeare canon, but its seasons include works by other classic playwrights such as Euripides, Ibsen, Wilde, Shaw, Schiller, Coward, and Tennessee Williams.
  • National Theater: Opened in 1835 and is the nation’s oldest venue still presenting touring Broadway. 

left door speakeasy dc

inside left door speakeasy dc

7. Check out a speakeasy on U Street

If you’re looking for a unique cocktail experience, then finding one of the speakeasies on U Street is the perfect way to spend an evening. All three of these speakeasies are hidden without their location marked when you arrive, but Google Maps is a lifesaver here and gives you the exact location you need. Look around and open a few doors; you’ll find these spots!

8. Play games together

If you’re wondering where you and your significant other can hang out and have a fantastic game night in D.C., there are tons of cool arcade bars in some of the hippest neighborhoods across the city. Arcade and game bars are a perfect activity at night in DC! Oh, and these are all spots that serve alcohol and cater to adults. Have fun!

  • THRōW Social DC: Play corn hole, ping pong, rent a cabana, throw axes, and enjoy live music here
  • Pinstripes: Bowling and bocce
  • Board Room: Board games
  • Penn Social: Two floors of arcade games and fun
  • Swingers: Indoor mini-golf
  • Players Club: Pays homage to the golden age of video games and 70s-80s music and culture, classic arcade games, pool, and more
  • The Escape Game: escape room with two different locations and nine different rooms

sunset dinner in the wharf

iceskating in the wharf

boat cruise in the wharf

9. Explore Georgetown (no matter the season)

One of the most romantic neighborhoods in DC is Georgetown. There’s something special about those cobblestone streets and big, historic brownstones! It’s excellent for couples year round, but depending on which season you’re visiting or reading this during, I’ve got some different suggestions. Below are what I’d recommend depending on the time of year.

No matter which option you choose, I recommend dinner on the water before you do an activity. I love Farmers, Fishers, Bakers, or Tony and Joe’s Seafood.

    • Spring/Summer: Boat Tour along the Potomac to take in the views of the monuments, sip a drink, and cuddle up with your significant other.
    • Winter: Ice skating in Washington Harbour on the water in Georgetown. It’s the perfect winter activity!
    • Fall: Leaf Peeping on the Canal with a Canal Boat tour. Boat rides are available Wednesday – Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm, through October, offering guided historical tours along the first mile of the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP). It’s beautiful to take in the views and fall leaves on this one-hour tour!

10. Take a fun class together

Learn something new and enjoy taking something home to remember! Enjoying a DIY class as a couple can help you really get to know each other and create a special memory. Even if it turns out bad, you’ll spend a fun evening together at these spots below.

  • Made in DC EventsWoodworking, bouquet making, special events for couples, candles, painting, you name it, they offer it! They have a few different locations around DC.
  • Sur la Table Cooking Classes: Sur la Table has several locations around DC and offers a variety of cooking classes. Perfect date night in DC!
  • AR Workshop: Woodworking, bouquet making, special events for couples, candles, painting, you name it they offer it! Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, just outside DC.

dinner at little pearl dc

dressed up for dinner at little pearl dc

11. Treat yourselves to a special meal

Yes, we all know having dinner is a good date night idea, but DC has some restaurants that create an extra memorable experience for foodies. There’s a thriving culinary scene here, and it’s one of the most diverse cities in the US.

You can find almost any type of food here, and there are many award-winning restaurants to visit. There are also so many unique and beautiful dining experiences in DC. These are definitely not cheap eats in DC, but they offer a very special experience. Below are a few of my favorites. DC is also home to 25 Michelin-starred restaurants.

  • Lutece: A New York Times 50 Best Restaurant, Georgetown neobistro Lutèce offers Michelin-starred Chef Matt Conroy’s modern French cuisine with joyful natural wines.
  • Sushi Taro: Exceptional experience in fine Japanese dining. High-end sushi spot with chef’s choice dinners, bento-box lunch specials, sake & sho-chu.
  • Minibar: This two Michelin-starred restaurant is a study in avant-garde cooking where each bite is designed to thrill the senses by pushing the limits of what we have come to expect – and what is possible – from food.
  • Little PearlA sophisticated restaurant in an intimate setting offering a fixed price menu & wine pairings. It is a one star Michelin restaurant and has a lovely setting.
  • Maketto: Cambodian and Taiwanese cooking inspired by the people and flavors of those respective cultures. This Bib Gourmand restaurant is absolutely one of my favorite places to eat in DC.
  • The Red Hen: Creative wood-fired Italian eats in an airy, rustic-industrial space with open kitchen & large bar—also, a Bib Gourmand restaurant and a super cozy setting.
National Harbor DC sunny day

12. Head out to National Harbor

Spend an evening at National Harbor, where you can have some fun together! National Harbor is a waterfront getaway where you can enjoy distinctive dining experiences and Instagram worthy views from the Capital Wheel.

There’s always an event happening here, but there’s plenty to do even without an event. This is just one of many great day trips from DC. Below are three things you’ll enjoy during an evening in National Harbor.

  • Gamble at MGM Casino
  • Ride the giant Ferris wheel, the Capital Wheel
  • Take the ferry from National Harbor to Old Town or DC for the views
old town alexandria
Photo by Jack Prommel on Unsplash

13. Dinner, drinks, and stroll Old Town Alexandria

I live in Alexandria currently, so I am a bit biased on this one, but Old Town Alexandria’s historic charm and beauty year-round make it the perfect spot for couples at night. You’ll find various places to eat, shops to browse, and great bars for a drink. Here’s how I recommend spending an evening.

Start off your evening with drinks at the People’s Drug. They have great cocktails in an intimate setting that you’ll love.

From there, if you want a casual and fantastic dinner, head to Any’s Pizza for a slice or two. It’s quick, easy, and cheap! Take your pizza to go and head toward the water, where you’ll eat and enjoy a picnic on the water.

If you want something more upscale, head to dinner at Barca. Located on the pier on the river, you’ll get excellent drinks, tapas, and views of the capitol from here. There’s almost always a wait, so make sure you reserve a table ahead of time.

After dinner, get dessert at one of Alexandria’s many different ice cream places. Our personal favorite is Casa Rosada, where you can get gelato and stroll down King Street enjoying the historic city center! There’s also The Creamery and Pop’s right near the water.

14. Get spooked on a ghost tour

Looking to cozy up with your special someone? Grab their arm and go on a ghost tour! Okay, most are not that scary, but they are still fun! DC is full of history, and there are plenty of different options for ghost tours in DC. Below are a few I’ve taken and recommend.

Union Market at christmas time

15. Movie night at Union Market

Union Market is a food hall located in Washington, D.C. It anchors the Union Market District, a neighborhood encompassing high-rise apartments, office buildings, retail, and entertainment options.

Grab a few different things to eat here (I say a few because there’s always something different, and it’s easy to grab bites from various food stalls) and maybe even some snacks or food to go for later.

Once you’re full, head to the Angelica Pop-Up to see an indie movie. This cozy, independent movie theater offers craft beer, wine, snacks & limited-release film screenings.

The time between your movie start time and finished eating? Check out Cotton and Reed Rum Distillery or Hi-Lawn Rooftop bar for a drink.

Where to Stay in DC for Couples

The Hay-Adams  Few places have a more stunning view of DC than the Hay-Adams. The hotel is at 800 16th Street NW, just across Lafayette Square from the White House. This central location puts guests close to many of Washington, DC’s famous attractions and government buildings. The historic setting gives it a romantic feel.

The Morrow Hotel is just steps from the bustling NoMa district and within walking distance of the metro, Union Market, many museums, monuments, restaurants, and shops. It’s a beautiful hotel and was nominated in the 2024 Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. The design of this hotel is modern comfort, and it shows!

Willard Intercontinental Hotel: This historic luxury hotel is located on Pennsylvania Avenue and 1581 feet from the White House. I’ve been to a wedding here, and it was so beautiful and romantic. Recommend!

The Royal Sonesta: A more budget-friendly option but still sophisticated and beautiful. This Washington, D.C. hotel is less than 5 minutes’ walk from Dupont Circle and features an on-site restaurant and wine bar.

I hope you enjoy these ideas for fun things to do in DC for couples at night! I love living in the DC area and sharing all the best things to do in DC with you.

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