Things to Do

5 Romantic Outdoor Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day This Year

Because you've already done the quarantine-dinner/Netflix combo.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

If there’s any year we could use an annual holiday dedicated to love, it may be this one. But how to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2021? While Washington is well-known for its museums, restaurants, monuments, and other romantic spots, the normal idea of a date night has obviously changed due to the pandemic. Still, there are fun, safe ways to celebrate this year. Just make sure to bundle up.

Take a scenic stroll through Rock Creek Park

With water tumbling over rocks and under graceful, historic walkways and bridges, this urban oasis gives off romantic vibes. Plus, picnic areas are plentiful. It’s even a top place to propose in the DC area. Just make sure to wear a mask and keep with Covid-19 guidelines.

Check out Brookside Gardens at the Wheaton Regional Park

Love nature and flowers? Check out Brookside Gardens, open from sunrise to sunset in Montgomery County. While picnicking isn’t permitted and the popular butterfly and caterpillar exhibit is closed due to Covid, Brookside has some plants that bloom even in winter, such as fragrant chimonanthus praecox, also known as wintersweet.

Picnic at Gravelly Point

Tons of outdoor space? Check. Airplanes flying directly overhead? But of course. Picnicking at Gravelly Point, which is adjacent to Reagan National Airport, means you can watch airplanes take off and land. The park is in Arlington within the National Park Service’s George Washington Memorial Parkway, and also just off the Mount Vernon Trail bike path.

Visit the United States National Arboretum

Couples can explore the 446-acre property, which includes lush gardens and a stunning bonsai exhibit, and also find a lot of areas to set up a picnic for two. And you never know who you may see there: One of our editors recently spotted Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, enjoying a walk there.

Book an Outdoor Wine Tasting at District Winery or Cider Tasting at Capitol Cider House

Not a fan of hiking or picnics? District Winery and Capitol Cider House both offer visitors outdoor seating and no-contact service to ensure a safe experience. Wine-lovers can drink in District Winery’s waterfront views, while Capitol Cider House in Petworth is better for beer and cider fans. Just make sure to reserve a table ahead of time through their websites. District Winery’s reservations can be found here. Capital Cider House here.


Assistant Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Jacqueline comes to Washingtonian with close to five years of digital content experience and SEO best practices. She previously was a senior editorial associate at WeddingWire, specializing in wedding fashion, and before that, an assistant at Vow Bride. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she now lives in Columbia Heights.