Valentine’s Weekend in DC 2015: The Ultimate Guide

Great last-minute dining options, romantic activities, anti-VDay parties, and more.

Keep your smile over Valentine's weekend with a handy guide. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Valentine’s Day weekend is upon us—and it’s a long one, both literally and figuratively. The amorous holiday is on Saturday of Presidents’ Day weekend this year, meaning you technically have from Friday to Monday to celebrate. Need a restaurant recommendation? Want help finding gifts and chocolates? Hoping to avoid the Valentine’s dinner crush altogether? We’re here to help.

Take cues from a food critic.

Washingtonian food and wine editor Ann Limpert shares a few fantastic ideas for Valentine’s dining—many of which are perfect for last-minute plans, like where to find killer takeout or a casual platter of oysters. Perhaps the best piece of advice: Go to Shake Shack for a burger and Sauvignon Blanc.

Make a last-minute reservation—or pick a wait-worthy option.

By now the Marcel’s of Washington are full, but there are many more delicious options on our 100 Very Best Restaurants, including ones that serve their regular menus for V-Day and/or don’t take reservations. Here’s what the Top 25 have planned; the list is narrowed for the sake of brevity, so don’t forget about stellar spots that take walk-in diners, such as Baby Wale, Bangkok Golden, and Etto.

Think beyond dinner in a restaurant.

Don’t feel like eating elbow-to-elbow with all the other couples? Go out for Valentine’s brunch, or head to one of the luxe new cinemas where cocktails and snacks are delivered to the seats. There are plenty of offbeat yet romantic ways to spend the weekend that don’t involve prix-fixe.

Find a present (preferably under $50).

Done and done—great ideas for him and her that won’t cost more than a Grant. You can also learn tips for a creating an impressive (and not clichéd) Valentine’s bouquet. Or, for less delicate flowers, we have details on a 50 Shades-themed workshop and a recommnded list of take-home accessories.

And what about the chocolates?

Skip the box of Russell Stover and go with a local chocolatier, such as Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates in Georgetown and Alexandria; Arlington’s Artisan Confections; or Praline Bakery in Bethesda. Health-minded? Check out these tips for selecting the most nutritious treats.

Thinking outside the chocolate box, District Doughnut delivers six-packs of cocoa-infused doughnuts (free in the District) on Friday and Saturday, while Astro sells mini-doughnut boxes with flavors like Nutella-glazed and chocolate-cherry. If your date loves over-the-top gestures, check out these six insane desserts.

Screw all this—Valentine’s Day is the worst!

These places couldn’t agree more, and are hosting anti-Valentine’s Day parties, dinners, and concerts. Though if you’re looking for love, check out our Singles Soiree at Penn Social, with plenty of booze and fun games.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.