GW Today’s Valentine’s Date Guide

Whether you and your date prefer going toe-to-toe at ping pong or clinking glasses at a swanky restaurant, GW Today has Valentine's Day covered.

February 8, 2024

Foggy Bottom Dates

Valentine’s Day is approaching, but unprepared couples at the George Washington University don’t need to scramble for ideas—Washington, D.C., has a lot of romance to offer. If you’re up for a little more effort than showing each other your favorite TikToks, there are plenty of dreamy spots on and near campus. Single this year? Don't let that stop you. Most of these options are as good (or better) with friends.

Treat them to a real date

“Dinner and a movie” is a classic for a reason. Catch a blockbuster at AMC Georgetown 14 (3111 K St., NW) or an indie darling at Landmark E Street Cinema (555 11th St., NW). If you’d rather skip right to the meal, acclaimed-yet-affordable restaurants crowd Foggy Bottom and its environs, including KAZ Sushi Bistro (1915 I St., NW), Rasika (1190 New Hampshire Ave., NW), Tonic (2036 G St., NW), North Italia (2112 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) and Pisco y Nazca (1823 L St., NW).

Get active

If you like your romance (or friendships) with a competitive edge, plenty of venues in the area offer an excuse to kick each other’s butts. Reserve a ping pong table at Spin (1332 F St., NW), thrash it out on the foosball table at Player’s Club (1400 14th St., NW) or get way too intense about Scrabble at The Board Room (1737 Connecticut Ave., NW).

Alternatively, if you have a romantic misadventure to process, Kraken Axes (840 E St., NW) offers not just targeted axe-throwing but also reservable rage rooms at a surprisingly affordable $30 per person. Bring your own emotionally loaded items to smash for an extra $10.

Take a stroll by the water

A chilly walk is a great excuse to snuggle. Wander under the trees in Rock Creek Park or along the Potomac near the Kennedy Center at the zero-mile marker of the C&O Canal Towpath (2900 Virginia Ave., NW) or the Georgetown Waterfront (3303 Water St., NW). It may be too cold for a picnic, but D.C. weather can be unpredictable in February—if the sun comes out, grab a picnic from your favorite grab-and-go spot and take it along.

Explore Georgetown

With its cozy red-brick sidewalks and classic architecture, this nearby neighborhood is a date night staple for a reason. Once you’ve meandered along the dreamy C&O Canal towpath for a while, warm up with coffee and a pastry at Baked & Wired (1052 Thomas Jefferson St., NW) or, if you’re fancy, a cocktail at L’Annexe (2901 M St., NW).

Break out

Already completed all your 1,000-piece puzzles? Escape the Room (1720 I St., NW) offers an immersive alternative to game night with a variety of themed adventures for couples and groups to solve together. Tickets run about $40 per person.

Wander a gallery

Art lovers who relish quiet and beauty can’t do better than the Phillips Collection (1600 21st St., NW), where you can admire a Georgia O’Keeffe together or take a moment to breathe in the Rothko Room. Catch the James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show, which features the work of artists employed at the museum, before it closes Feb. 16. Admission is $20 with student ID.

Go to the Mall

Less than a 15-minute walk from the University Student Center, the city’s central green space hosts all kinds of intriguing date possibilities, particularly the many (free!) museums belonging to the Smithsonian Institution. Admire the jaw-dropping gems on display at the Natural History Museum (10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW), explore the solar system at the Air and Space Museum (6th St. and Independence Ave., SW) or learn about the original inhabitants of what's now the D.C. area at the National Museum of the American Indian (Fourth St. & Independence Ave., NW).

The National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden (Constitution Ave. & 7th St., NW) is the site of a popular seasonal ice skating rink—a classic date spot open through March 3 this year. There’s plenty more to explore once the skates are off: Pieces by Marc Chagall, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder and other masters line the paths, and the Hirshhorn Museum (Independence Ave. & 7th St., SW) boasts its own sculpture garden just a short walk away.

At the southeast corner of the Mall is the United States Botanic Garden (100 Maryland Ave., SW), which remains a lush hidden pocket of springtime whatever the weather may be outside. The garden’s annual orchid show is held offsite this year, with thousands of live orchids lining Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery (G and 8th Sts., NW).

Treat yourself

Destress together at Eye Street Massage Therapy (1634 I St., NW), beloved by students for the free chair massages they offer annually during finals and midterms. As we said earlier, don’t let relationship status limit you—GW students and educators get a discount with valid ID.

Try a hidden gem

If you and your date are a little old-school (and over 21, obviously), make a rendezvous with old-school elegance at one of D.C.’s hidden bars. The Mirror (1413 K St., NW), Allegory (1201 K St., NW), Silver Lyan (900 F St., NW) and Georgetown’s The Alex (1075 Thomas Jefferson St., NW) are just a few of the many area speakeasies offering style and privacy—but you’ll have to figure out the secret entries on your own. Our lips are sealed.

Closer to home, Off the Record at the Hay Adams Hotel (800 16th St., NW) and the Hotel Lombardy's Venetian Room (2019 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) aren’t technically “hidden” but have a similarly secretive and cozy ambience.

Or just relax

If all this sounds like a lot of effort and you simply love to chill, well, life’s too short not to do what you love. Drop by Western Market (2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) grab something delicious from Roamin’ Rooster or Chipotle and binge an old season of “Love Island” for the rest of the night. Happy Valentine’s Day.