We’ve all been there. You ignored your budget this month and spent all your money on cocktails, Chinese takeout, Sephora, Uber rides. Washington DC isn’t cheap!
But now you have a special cutie who is super excited to hang out and it’s YOUR turn to have a special plan ready to go.
What are you going to do? Saving money is important, but having good date ideas is an important part of the late-capitalism-wooing-process™. You don’t want to seem like a noob who just read a DC tourism blog; you want to show how much you understand about the nitty-gritty of the city.
We’ve got you covered.
1. Get Away From the City….Within the City!
The Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens is like a dream within a dream within a savings plan.
This one is great for dreamy, imaginative, history-loving types (or those of you who like taking great Instagram pics surrounded by opulence and natural light). Tickets are $18 but flash your valid college ID and it’s $10.
It’s definitely worth jumping in on a tour – the staff really know the place inside and out and they will be unveiling a new dining room soon that will hopefully make picnicking in the garden a great option!
2. Go Tour to a Totally Not Haunted Brewery…
Try a Heurich House public tour ($10 suggested donation, but technically free).
The best part of planning a date at the Heurich House is that you get to send a text that says “meet me at the gothic mansion on New Hampshire Ave.” We recommend you leave the actual date, an hour-long tour of a badass brewery/museum with lots of cool old-timey things in it, as a surprise.
It’s so affordable that you might as well stay after and grab a pint…or three. Or maybe you could pay off your credit cards!
3. See the Art in a Psychadelic Church
Here at DARO, we love to support and give shout outs to local artists and art collectives that are doing great things. That’s why we want everyone reading this to go check out this hidden gem, managed by the SW Arts Club. They have taken the historic Friendship Baptist Church, which was built back in 1886, and have turned it into an art space unlike any other. Check out one of their awesome exhibits that feature international and local artists!
This one appears to be free as well, so you’ll still have some extra cash that will allow you to impulse buy some sick prints on your way out.
4. Spend a Day on the Waterfront
Come on, you know you want to. Skip the pricey bars and restaurants (bring a paper bag lunch instead) and get on the water! Take a kayak tour around the monuments for $45 each or just kayak around for an hour at only $16/person.
Check out District Wharf Rentals for more info. Heck, if you go for a cheap option, you might as well hit a happy hour after a long day in the sun.
Pro Tip: bring a waterproof container for your phones!!! And sunscreen!
5. Embassy Tour!
Most embassies offer guided tours that are full of information about their country. Where in the world do you want to visit the most? Schedule a tour there! You might get some food out of that.
You can usually sign up via email, but you will need your passport when you go, as you are technically stepping onto foreign soil.
The first weekend of May many embassies actually host more tours and offer events for the internationally curious. If you aren’t having any luck booking tours on your own then be sure to check out the Around the World Embassy Tour. That’s a day in May when tons of embassies open their doors to visitors all at once!
Embassy Tours should always be free! Free as in automatic savings. Free as in now that your day-date is over you can also have a date night! Or maybe just a retirement plan!
6. Catch an Indie Flick
Check out a new film somewhere like Suns Cinema or the awesome non-profit Avalon Theatre! DC has a few cool cinemas that show the films you would see at a more experimental/international film festival (though they’ll play the Oscars shorts sometimes too). Suns Cinema also has a bar, which is always awesome.
7. Book shopping!
This one is great for someone who loves to sit around explore the endless worlds inside of books! Spend the day casually perusing a few DC bookstores and give yourselves a book budget that won’t force you to pull from your emergency fund.
Pro Tip: After finding your new treasures find yourselves a nice park bench for snuggling and reading together!
Hit These Shops:
- Solid State Books
- Second Story Books
- Politics and Prose
- Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe
- Middle East Books and More
8. One Word: Butterflies.
Free on Tuesdays!!!
Open daily, entries are timed. $7.50 for a ticket.
This one is great if your job has you staring at a computer fall day with no time to sit and appreciate the world around you. Life is beautiful! Sometimes we need reminders.
Take some time to wander around the Natural History Museum with no particular agenda or thing to learn, and then end your time with a trip into the land of
fairies butterflies! Viola! Savings account status: safe. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Butterly Pavilion
9. Put Your Minds to the Test
Escape rooms are great if you are in a long term relationship because it forces you to work together and appreciate what your other half brings to the table. They are ALSO great if you are getting to know each other — one date at an escape room can show you how well you and your boo can get along in moments of high stress, which is a VERY important litmus test for any budding relationship.
We recommend Insomniac Escape Room DC; they have some super creative rooms and they are one of the only facilities that allow for just two people to play at a time and the rates are pretty good at $28 per person.
10. Have the Ultimate Good Time
If you are both adventurous and social people this might be a fun way to work up a sweat and still be able to save for retirement. If you have a bunch of friends in town who are down to clown then go ahead and get the group together (a fun way to see if your friend groups can mix). If not, jump in on a game! Check out this meetup group page for regular postings, snap on those sweatbands, and get out there!
Pro Tip: Once you have a solid crew who wants to toss the ‘ol frisbee with you regularly, take a day trip to a cool nearby park, or maybe just the national mall. Your checking account will thank you for not forcing yourself into a gym membership that you never use!