Do you have a couple days to get away with your S.O.? Forget chocolates, roses, and helicopter rides. The best romantic weekends allow you to just, you know, hang out—take a bike ride, visit an art gallery, maybe dance all night to your favorite band.
If history, world-class culture, hip bars and one of the country’s fastest-growing culinary scenes get your heart thumping, then Washington DC is a cliché-free choice for a romantic getaway. We recommend spending your weekend in Logan Circle and Shaw, the Northwest DC neighborhoods adjacent to the Washington Convention Center, where buttoned-up Washingtonians go to unwind and enjoy the city’s hottest restaurants, nightlife and local art.
All-ey You Need Is Love
Start your day by reconnecting with your partner while sightseeing in Shaw. Grab a bicycle and head to Blagden Alley to explore the DC Alley Museum, a collection of Instagram-worthy outdoor murals funded by the city government. Lisa Marie Thalhammer’s rainbow LOVE mural is the perfect photo op. After caffeinating at La Colombe, one of DC’s chicest coffee shops (think exposed brick and draft lattes), visit Long View Gallery to check out works by local emerging artists.
If you want to explore beyond the neighborhood, you’re about a mile from the National Mall, where you can admire passion-inducing European works like Torso of Aphrodite or Jean Honoré Fragonard’s rococo paintings of Cupid at the National Gallery of Art, or, if you’re visiting between mid-March and mid-April, view the luminous pink and white cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin.
Wining & Dining
Logan Circle and Shaw are teeming with top chefs (including a few Michelin Stars) and trendy bars full of people watching.
For low-key foodies, Shaw’s San Lorenzo is the spot. Cozy and unpretentious, yet memorable, Massimo Fabbri’s Tuscan cuisine will transport you to a cobblestoned Italian street. Forget your diet, and definitely go for the pasta. For glitz and glamour, head to Logan Circle’s Le Diplomate, Stephen Starr’s buzzy gourmet bistro popular with politicos and pretty young things. And if you want a uniquely D.C. experience, dine in Little Ethiopia in Shaw. The Washington Metropolitan region has the largest community of Ethiopians outside Africa, with many living in Shaw, where you can share platters of authentic doro wat (chicken stew), tibs (sautéed beef or lamb), and veggies, eaten with injera (flatbread) and your hands at Ethiopian restaurants Dukem or Chercher .
In terms of drinks, a reservation for a four-course cocktail tasting at the award-winning Columbia Room is a must for cocktail aficionados. Wine lover? Try the casually cool Maxwell Park to discover your new favorite varietal from uniquely themed menus of dozens by the glass. If you’re not yet ready to cozy up in your hotel room, take in a show at the iconic 9:30 Club—or in the warmer months, have a poolside nightcap at DNV Rooftop.
Will You Accept This Succulent?
Seriously, skip the roses. If you want to surprise your beloved with a gift to commemorate your weekend, get a pretty succulent and clever letterpress card from Little Leaf.
And if you’re dealing with a bigger budget, add a bauble from Alexis Bittar, Bulgari, or David Yurman, just a few of the luxe shops in nearby CityCenterDC.
Where to Stay
The Kimpton Donovan Hotel puts you in the center of the action of Logan Circle and Shaw. Bonus: In addition to the rooftop pool and lounge, the hotel has complimentary bikes if you want to explore the city—and sleek guest rooms with cocoon spiral showers or soaking tubs if your idea of romance is more like relaxing in your pajamas with an in-room spa service.