10 Unconventional DC Dates You Should Go On

By Kaitie O’Hare

I don’t tell many people this, but the truth is I come from a magical land. It’s a lot like reality—actually it’s just like reality—except that where I’m from, my people believe in monogamy. And more importantly, my people believe in dates.

I know, your world is rocked. But hang on to your hats, my friends, because it’s about to get even crazier. I’m going to tell you about some really awesome dates you should go on to make your world a little more romantic.

These dates are not your standard dinner and a movie. These dates are catered to your adventurous spirit, away from the suits and shined shoes on Capitol Hill. We’re getting a little unorthodox with the DC dating, so take some notes, grab a partner, and let the sparks fly!

1) BYOB Paint Your Own Pottery

I know we all did this when we were five. You probably still have your dumb little hand print plate. Whatever, you weren’t drinking when you made it, so it obviously wasn’t as much fun! Go to All Fired Up in Bethesda or Cleveland Park (less kids) and bring whatever alcoholic beverages you like. Just make sure you bring your own cups and opener. I recommend this for a second date so you know you’ll be back—hopefully with your dreamboat around your arm—to pick up your pottery after a week in the kiln .

2) Themed dates

The first date I went on with my boyfriend was a Red Neck Date. We dressed up as classic American red necks—lots of flannel, white tank tops, trucker hats—and went to a Monster Truck Rally at the Verizon Center. It was $25 a ticket, so a little more expensive than a movie, but absolutely hilarious. And loud. Afterwards, we went to Hooters for dinner. If you have a sense of humor, planning a fun themed date like this might be perfect for you.

3) Picnic at Meridian Hill Park / Malcolm X Park

Surprisingly, this gorgeous park doesn’t get a lot of attention. Which is a cryin’ shame. There’s a drum circle every Sunday afternoon, a sweeping waterfall, intricate architecture, and not a lot of people. Grab a bottle of wine (get creative, folks, this isn’t Europe), and have a picnic under a tree. This is also a perfect best friend date, which I frequently go on with my Coffee & Stink CoEditor. So come say hi!

4) Tuesday Open Mic Poetry

Busboys & Poets is a safe bet for pretty much any occasion. But on Tuesday nights, the place is buzzing with some of the best contemporary poetry in the city. Make sure to get there early though; it gets packed super quickly. While you’re waiting for the poetry to start, snag some dinner and drinks. Take a look at their calendar for the next Open Mic and other events.

5) Library of Congress Reading Room

How many times have you been inside the Reading Room at the Library of Congress? Chances are, probably not that many. Nothing is more romantic—or at least not to us—than being around millions of old books with our beloved beaus.  You can get your Reader ID Card and access to the library in less than an hour, and still have time for lunch! Not to mention, this makes you the ultimate lit nerd if you have a library card to the world’s largest collection of books.

6) Visit the Old Post Office Tower

Before it gets turned into one of Donald Trump’s newest hotels, make sure you visit the Old Post Office Tower for an awesome view of DC. It’s a great alternative to the currently closed Washington Monument, and there usually aren’t too many people around. There’s a horrendously depressing food court at the bottom of the tower, so maybe seek a meal elsewhere—look for a place to go from the top of Tower!

7) Baltimore—Charm City!

I may be biased, but I don’t care. Baltimore is the greatest city in America, it even says so on our benches. No doubt you’ve been unable to travel anywhere around DC without seeing a Zipcar, so chances are you have an account. If so, great! Rent a Zipcar for half the day and take a trip to Baltimore. There are amazingly quirky restaurants like Paper Moon Diner, and awesome museums like the American Visionary Art Museum (where I plan on getting married one day, so that should tell you a lot). If you don’t have a Zipcar account, just take the Marc Train in and use Baltimore’s new free Circulator. I promise the trip will charm your pants off.

8) H Street Playhouse & Arts/Entertainment District

I know, I know.  H Street is mad cool, but such a pain in the butt to get to. But suck it up and go because it’s mad cool! Check out the H Street Playhouse for some high end, live entertainment, and then hit the bars. We personally recommend Little Miss Whiskeys or The Pug.

9) Gone Fishin’

Ok, here’s another secret about me—I love fishing. If you’re granola and love doing nature activities like me, try renting a boat and going fishing. The Boathouse at Fletcher’s Cove has boat rentals and a tackle shack for you and your date to catch the big one—and I don’t mean fish.

10) Scavenger Hunt!

This is about as unconventional as it gets, my friends. This is a great double date that I don’t know how to explain without using a personal anecdote. One time I was stuck at the airport with my brother and sister, and it was boring. I mean really boring. So we came up with a list of ridiculous things to find—a Dora the Explorer backpack, a person traveling with an animal, a picture of the inside of the opposite sex’s restroom, etc.—and set off with our camera phones. Try doing this as a date by teaming up with your one true love and dueling it out with another couple. Hit a densely populated part of town (Dupont Circle is great for this), give yourself an hour, and the team who comes up short on items buys drinks at the nearest bar.