4 holiday date ideas for the most romantic time of year

Choose your individual journey from 4 festive itineraries

Brian and Tiffanie Webb enjoy a date at Death Punch, where the Miracle holiday pop-up is adding festive flair to the Adams Morgan bar.
Brian and Tiffanie Webb take pleasure in a date at Death Punch, the place the Miracle holiday pop-up is including festive aptitude to the Adams Morgan bar. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)


If you consider the films, the holiday season is the most romantic time of the year. But events, buying and household obligations may also make it the most harried and nerve-racking. To assist make the most of your restricted free time, we’ve been occurring dates round the D.C. space, wanting for enjoyable and romantic actions that embrace the greatest of the holiday season.

We’ve put collectively 4 itineraries with advisable stops, in addition to elective occasions to discover. Feel free to reorder them — possibly you wish to have dinner earlier than listening to stay music, or suppose an elective merchandise sounds extra to your date’s liking than one of the foremost locations. No matter what you do, we hope you take pleasure in it.

Georgetown: Add some swing to your caroling

There’s one thing much more idyllic about Georgetown’s allure throughout the holiday season. With light-wrapped timber illuminating cobblestone streets, Christmas tunes drifting from fashionable storefronts and an ice-skating rink materializing by the waterfront, the Northwest neighborhood ups its romantic attract with a festive really feel. Here’s how one can make the most out of a night in Georgetown.

Stop 1: Check a reputation off your present listing.

Start your night with some (last-minute?) buying at the Four Seasons Hotel Holiday Market. Behind a towering Christmas tree in the courtyard, coated stalls designed to appear like cozy cabins home distributors promoting handmade jewellery, up to date artwork and different artisanal gadgets. Grab a heat drink from the out of doors sizzling chocolate bar or watch a holiday-themed musical efficiency on the courtyard stage. And for those who’re in a charitable temper this season, relaxation assured {that a} share of every buy is donated to Children’s National Hospital. The market is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays by Dec. 18.

Four Seasons Hotel Holiday Market, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. fourseasons.com/washington. Free entry.

Optional: Get your glow on.

As you stroll, you’ll discover mild shows scattered all through the business district. As half of the neighborhood’s seasonal Georgetown Glow occasion, artists from round the world have been commissioned to create 5 mild installations, together with an interactive digital show on which your silhouette seems, a useful swing set underneath a glowing blue “cloud” and a subject of big glowing butterflies. Works can be on show every evening from 5 to 10 p.m. by Jan. 22.

Georgetown Glow, a number of areas. Check the web site’s map for particulars. georgetownglowdc.com. Free.

Stop 2: Catch a Christmas present at Blues Alley.

Wander down Wisconsin Avenue and duck into Blues Alley, the intimate, historic jazz membership internet hosting holiday-themed concert events all through the month. Christmas lights and tinsel adorn the inside, and cinnamon-scented candles line the staircase. Order from a seasonal cocktail menu and absorb the swinging guitar of John Pizzarelli (Dec. Sep 11), the bluesy vocals of Nicole Henry (Dec. 17-18) or the soulful saxophone of Langston Hughes II (Dec. 23).

Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. bluesalley.com. Concert costs fluctuate.

Stop 3: Grab a chunk at D.C.’s most festive Italian restaurant.

It’s a brief stroll to Filomena, however take a second earlier than coming into to admire the golden reindeer perched on its awning beside a glowing wreath and strings of baubles. As spectacular as it’s, the decor is nothing in contrast with what you’ll discover inside. Pass the life-size Santa model in the window and stroll downstairs to be greeted by a large nutcracker. Silver timber with white doves guard sparkly streamers, and red-and-green-striped ornaments dangle from the ceiling. That’s simply the entrance of the home. Awash in romantic pink mild, the eating space exhibits that Filomena’s employees took the phrases “deck the halls” to coronary heart. The Brooklyn-style Italian menu is match for a winter meal with hearty pasta dishes and decadent desserts (the tiramisu is a must-try). There’s an in depth wine listing, however a post-dinner amaretto will add a superbly candy contact to the finish of your night.

Filomena Ristorante, 1063 Wisconsin Ave. NW. filomena.com. Entrees $16.99-$59.99.

National Harbor: Embrace your interior baby

As we become old, we understand that many of the issues we love about the holiday season, from lights to carols to snowball fights, are actually for youngsters. But that does not imply adults cannot take part the enjoyable, or at the very least carve out their very own area.

Stop 1: Take in lights, music and fireworks.

Every half-hour between sundown and 9 p.m., a voice blares from audio system close to the National Harbor waterfront, warning everybody that the mild present is about to start. Now, the 60-foot LED tree overlooking National Harbor’s central plaza is already animated with falling snowflakes and twirling ornaments, so that you may not suppose it is a massive deal. But then jazzy, brass-driven seasonal music recorded by the U.S. Air Force Band reaches your ears; a blizzard of synthetic snow cascades down from the roofs of adjoining buildings; and swirls of mild, marching toy troopers and spinning dreidels take over the facade of the tree for a couple of minutes. Even the youngsters operating round with bubble wands or climbing on “The Awakening” really feel compelled to cease and watch. On Saturdays by Dec. 17, issues get much more spectacular, as a mini-Independence Day fireworks present erupts after the 5:30 p.m. tree lighting and everybody oohs and aahs over a barrage of pink, gold and inexperienced explosions. The two-part extravaganza is over in round 10 minutes.

150 National Plaza, National Harbor. nationalharbor.com. Free.

The Capital Wheel has turn out to be a fixture alongside the Potomac River, and views from the prime of the 180-foot-high Ferris wheel embody Alexandria, the National Mall and much past. The non-public gondolas imply you and your date can get some one-on-one time whereas having fun with the lights, which appear notably merry and vivid at this time of year. Buy a combo ticket for $20, which is $5 greater than the common grownup admission, and get glowing wine or beer at the Flight Deck lounge after your experience.

141 American Way, National Harbor. thecapitalwheel.com. $11.25-$15.

Optional: Watch an ice present at the Gaylord National Resort.

This year’s holiday-themed ice present at the Gaylord National Resort relies on “A Christmas Story,” so guests stroll by outsized scenes from the movie — the “fra-gee-lay” leg lamp, the pink bunny pajamas, the frozen metallic pole — all hand-carved and coloured from 10 million kilos of ice, stored at a cold 9 levels. The purpose it’s elective is that it’s not low cost: Tickets begin at $27.99 for youngsters and $36.99 for adults to stroll by and take selfies. If you do go, make certain to go to the resort’s hovering atrium to see the floating Christmas tree and holiday lights. Competitive {couples} can take a look at the new Harbor Social bar, which opened this summer season and incorporates duckpin bowling lanes, a bocce court docket, shuffleboard tables and darts. Think of it as a bar Olympics.

201 Waterfront St., National Harbor. gaylordhotels.com.

Stop 3: Finish with dinner.

National Harbor’s eating scene is pushed by chains. Among the standouts is Bombay Street Food 5, the newest outpost of chef Arjun Kumar Ranabhat’s assortment of Indian eating places, the place keema pav, saag paneer and lamb biryani are amongst the advisable dishes. (Sadly for followers of different areas, the menu right here lacks the fiery vindaloo and different flame-throwing dishes.) Chef Edward Lee’s Succotash, the chef’s first restaurant in the D.C. space, stays a showcase for Southern flavors: a sharing board with conventional ham, pimento cheese and pickled veggies alongside buttermilk biscuits; shrimp and grits with andouille sausage; smoked wings with white sauce. Wash that down with traditional cocktails and a powerful choice of bourbon and rye whiskeys. If you want a nightcap, think about the Brass Tap, which includes a numerous choice of Maryland breweries amongst the 60 craft beer drafts, or the darkish, cozy Irish Whisper pub.

Bombay Street Food 5, 151 American Way, National Harbor. bombayharbor.us. Entrees $17-$34.

Succotash, 186 Waterfront St., National Harbor. succotashrestaurant.com. Entrees $18-$49.

Westpost: Have an excellent time on and off the ice

Ice skating open air at Arlington’s Westpost is hardly a secret. The rink, which opened twenty years in the past, boasts that it’s the largest in Northern Virginia at 6,840 sq. toes. What has modified at this buying heart, previously referred to as Pentagon Row, is the ice rink’s supporting forged, which now offers extra interesting choices for issues to do when you’ve gotten off the ice.

Stop 1: Meet and greet over espresso.

Exposed brick partitions, industrial-style tables and a neon signal depicting the chemical construction of caffeine are about what you’d anticipate from an achingly hip espresso store. But Origin Coffee Lab, which opened in early 2021, is way more: It imports inexperienced beans from cooperatives in a number of nations, together with Ethiopia and Brazil, and roasts them in the center of its cafe. Settle in at a sales space along with your date and gasoline up with a cup of straight espresso, which might be made through a number of processes, similar to V60 and Chemex, or order a cinnamon-spiced latte or one other seasonal drink. (Housemade chai lattes and loose-leaf teas are additionally out there.)

Origin Coffee Lab and Kitchen, 1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington. origincoffeeco.com. Drinks $2.65-$4.60.

Stop 2: Lace up your skates.

Ice skating is an ideal date in chilly climate: You bundle up, maintain palms and really feel the chill of the wind in your cheeks whereas getting a lightweight exercise. While Westpost’s rink does get its share of youngsters, particularly proper after work, the oval-shaped rink is spacious sufficient that you simply don’t really feel such as you’re going to crash into anybody — except you’re clinging to the partitions, which are likely to turn out to be congested. The rink requires advance reservations (particularly if it is advisable reserve skates, too), which cowl 80 minutes of ice time. Anyone arriving early can perch at the fireplace pit exterior the rink’s entrance.

Pentagon Row Ice Skating Rink, 1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington. pentagonrowskating.com. Skating $10-$11; skate rental $6.

Stop 3: Take time to loosen up.

Celebrate surviving skating and soothe any bumps and bruises at one of the current arrivals to Arlington’s eating scene. Mattie and Eddie’s, which took over the outdated Siné Irish Pub area final year, is a comfy, low-lit area crammed with high-backed “comfortable” cubicles, banquettes and a bar space with snug drink rails. Thursdays by Saturdays, there’s stay music on a small stage — principally Irish troubadours performing raucous singalongs and tender ballads — whereas clients sip Guinness and share snacks like cheese on toast and sausage rolls. (Mattie and Eddie’s, from veteran Irish chef Cathal Armstrong, made Tom Sietsema’s (*4*) for good purpose.) The second choice could be very completely different: Nighthawk Pizza, from the workforce behind Aslin Beer Co. and chef Johnny Spero, is a vivid recreation room that takes its decor inspiration from Nineteen Eighties neon and skateboard designs. The sprawling area is crammed with gleaming picnic tables, online game cupboards, piles of board video games and huge TVs. While garlic tacky bread and poutine function on the menu, give attention to the slices, whether or not thin-crust, New York-style triangles or thick Detroit-style blocks, paired with Aslin’s signature hazy IPAs, fruited sours or extra conventional German lagers. Ask about the limited-release beers, and think about getting a crowler to go.

Mattie and Eddie’s, 1301 S. Joyce St., Arlington. mattieandeddies.com. Appetizers $7-$20; Guinness $8.50.

Nighthawk Pizza, 1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington. nighthawkbrewery.co. Pizzas $16-$28, slices $5-$6; beers $7-$9.

Stop 4: Finish with cocktails and a recreation.

Bun’d Up’s terrific gua bao and rice bowls earned the meals truck a loyal following, and it could actually now be present in three bricks-and-mortar areas, together with at Westpost. But the vacation spot right here isn’t the Bun’d Up counter, as enjoyable as the desk tennis would possibly look: Head to the again, the place the Sparrow Room awaits. The centerpiece is a trio of mah-jongg tables, which might be reserved with tiles and a devoted server. Don’t know how one can play? There are twice-monthly newbie classes. But you don’t need to play to take pleasure in the environment: Sparrow Room has a snug and fashionable vibe, with thick carpet, cupboards crammed with crops and huge followers hanging on the partitions. The cocktail menu contains creative and attractive twists on classics, similar to the Sparrow Sling, a Singapore Sling with litchi and Thai basil syrup, and a daiquiri starring chrysanthemum-infused rum. There’s additionally a short-and-sweet vegetarian-friendly menu with chow mein, cabbage spring rolls and mapo tofu.

1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington. sparrowroom.com. Cocktails $14; meals $8-$25.

Woodley Park/Adams Morgan: Celebrate the season with a lightweight show

The National Zoo’s ZooLights seems on many Washingtonians’ holiday should lists. But in principally residential Woodley Park, a stroll by the shows might be difficult to broaden into a totally fledged date. Here’s an itinerary to heat up a night that facilities on an outside stroll.

Optional: Warm up with a sizzling drink.

Regular guests to the zoo know the way expensive refreshments can get there. If you’re taking the subway to Woodley Park, cease by Petit Monde Café, a renovated rowhouse throughout Connecticut Avenue from the exit. Expect Christmas music jingling in the adorned store, and seize a heat espresso or sizzling chocolate to take with you throughout your zoo stroll.

Petit Monde Café, 2653 Connecticut Ave. NW. petitmondedc.com. Warm drinks $2.69-$5.49.

Stop 1: Take in a lightweight present.

Returning for the first year since 2019, ZooLights is a D.C. holiday staple. This year, 500,000 LED lights dangle from timber and illuminate walkways. Animals received’t be on show, however don’t miss the glowing three-dimensional animatronics in the form of Siberian tigers and rhinoceroses — animals you received’t see stay at the zoo throughout viewing hours. Festive tunes by native musicians drift from a tented efficiency space every evening. The show is common with households, and there’s often stroller site visitors, so plan your go to after bedtime. Note that entry is free however reserved passes are required.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. nationalzoo.si.edu.

Stop 2: Dine at New Heights.

Head down Connecticut Avenue and dangle a left on Calvert Street for some fashionable American delicacies at the easy but elegant New Heights. Stop at the spacious bar, which makes a speciality of gin drinks, earlier than heading upstairs to a eating room that overlooks treetops. Chef Jose Molina, previously of the Graham resort in Georgetown, delivers specialties like a kale and mushroom paella, which meals critic Tom Sietsema referred to as “required consuming.” Take an after-dinner stroll throughout the Duke Ellington Memorial Bridge to your subsequent cease.

New Heights, 2317 Calvert St. NW. newheightsrestaurant.com. Entrees $18-$42.

Stop 3: Finish with a holiday-themed nightcap.

Adams Morgan is understood for its nightlife, however Miracle’s holiday pop-up at Death Punch bar brings a decidedly festive aptitude to the strip of bars and golf equipment on 18th Street. Red, inexperienced and gold balloons dangle from practically each inch of ceiling; an animatronic Santa dances at the far finish in entrance of dangling lights; and a nutcracker counts down the days till Christmas. On a current weekend, two screens performed each “Home Alone” films. Grab a spiked chai served in a “carol barrel” mug or strive a shot, relying in your temper: bourbon and cinnamon for those who’re feeling naughty; rum, peppermint tea and chocolate for those who’re feeling good. Be positive to make a reservation prematurely as lengthy traces of Santa hats stretch down the block.

Miracle at Death Punch, 2321 18th St. NW. deathpunchbar.com. Cocktails $16; photographs $10.


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