Date Night and a Happy Partnership!

Published on November 08, 2019 - Updated on February 19, 2020

Giving your kids the best of you, together

Date night is one of my favorite rituals, and it has become an active commitment my husband and I treasure. Sometimes we get a sitter and sushi, other times we go for a hike or a walk or just head to our favorite dive restaurant. We strive to set time for regular date nights once a week.

It isn’t always possible when work schedules, travel, and other responsibilities prevent it, but we deeply believe in making time alone together a priority. Married couples find date nights refresh connections, elevate mutual patience, and promote happier energy in daily life (and we show up better as parents too!).

I remind myself often that one of the best gifts we can give our kids is a healthy marriage and a stable family life. So, when I’m letting mom guilt take over, I repeat the importance of a happy marriage over in my head, and then I call a sitter, family member, or friend, and go spend some intentional time with my partner in a focused way. Tell yourself that you're doing it for the kids if you need to, because there is a lot of truth in that too.

The DC area offers couples a wide variety of free and low-cost options for quality time together, along with plenty of ways to splurge.

Wander in Nature

We love a hiking date because moving your body in nature is energizing, and provides time and a quiet headspace to talk through things. Check out Rock Creek Park, make a day of it and go out to Shenandoah, or head over to Great Falls. If those require too much planning, walk around the block a few times!

If a longer outing is an option, plan ahead and pack a picnic. For delicious sandwiches that travel well, we recommend Jetties or The Italian Store. Seek out a place of beauty on your hike to relax and enjoy a peaceful lunch together out in the fresh air.

Share a Cultural Experience

The museums are obviously wonderful family outings, but it’s a different experience during grownup time. The National Portrait Gallery or The National Museum of the American Indian, for example, are fascinating, and a serene way to start a date night. Follow your museum tour with a low key dinner at Union Station, or treat yourself to a special evening at Bistro Bis.

Channel Your Inner Foodie

The 14th Street neighborhood offers a variety of dining options, catering to a “tasting” evening. Agree on a starting point, and then just wander, stopping into spots that appeal to you along the way. A short evening together somehow feels so much longer when getting an appetizer at three or four places instead of having one long dinner. Changing scenery creates a more well-rounded experience, and definitely contributes to lively conversation and good people watching too.

Some of our favorites restaurants in the area include Estadio, Doi Moi, Le Diplomat, and Black Jack for some Bocce (above Pearl Dive Oyster Palace) in the lively upstairs bar area.

date night

Kick Up Your Feet and Escape To Movieland

I love a good movie night and while there’s not a lot of talking involved, sometimes it’s nice just to relax together. The movie apps (like fandango) all specify with accuracy whether your movie of choice is showing in a theater with recliners, and we definitely will go the distance for one of these more comfortable seating options.

We love going to Millie’s in Spring Valley for a low key meal in a lively setting, or Blacksalt on MacArthur for a special occasion. Follow dinner with a movie at AMC Georgetown or Courthouse Plaza.

AMC Rivertowne is also equipped with recliners, so plan dinner at one of the many restaurant options at the National Harbor, such as Succotash, and wander the area or try your hand at the casino before or after your movie.

Embark On A Date Morning with No End In Sight

If you’re looking for an alternative to date night, or are struggling to find a free evening, but it's time for a date, I love a tasty breakfast date and a walk. Christophe in Georgetown features the most elegant yet cozy upstairs space. It is truly a hidden gem. Silver New American Brasserie in Cathedral Heights is also lovely, or stop into Little Pearl on Capitol Hill before sightseeing and exploring around the neighborhood.

Couples that Laugh Together...

Without a doubt, if you are both in need of a good laugh, a comedy club is always the way to go. It is a scientific fact that laughter increases endorphins, and heightened oxytocin will bring you and your partner closer together and promote higher levels of intimacy.

DC Improv located Downtown, and Comedy Club DC in Adams Morgan are two popular venues. Jack Rose Dining Saloon delivers a fun date night near Comedy Club DC, and near DC Improv, drop-in for tapas at Boqueria before or after a show.

date night

A Sweet Date on the Ice

Ice skating is an often forgotten activity that brings us back to our teenage date night years. Fortunately, there are rinks (both indoor and out) located all over the DC area, that are easy to work into a date night plan. You can spend a short time or a long time on the ice, but it’s always memorable.

The Watergate Hotel’s rooftop ice skating rink is one of the coolest and there are so many exciting places to eat nearby. The Navy Yard’s Canal Park Ice Skating Rink is near Yards Park, where Due South Restaurant and Ice Cream Jubilee stand side by side. The Wharf Ice Rink, The Washington Harbour Ice Rink and the Ice Skating Rink at the Sculpture Garden are just a few within DC, and there are many more places to skate in and around the city limits.

At the end of the day, being purposeful for date night or couple time is good for parents and kiddos alike. Find happy, together time and your kids will thank you later.

ice skating

What are your favorite things to do on date night? Follow @gethappyly and tag us with your favorite date night ideas. Additionally, check out our blog for more inspiration from a list of topics that include Top Five D.C. Area Playgrounds for Little Ones and Convenient Road Trips from the Washington D.C. Area and so much more.

Download the happyly app for fast access to all of our weekend roundups, frequent blog content, and favorite activities, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country. Allow us to help you spend less time planning and more time playing, and always remember to create a great day!

Tip: Check out Rachel + Dave Hollis’ podcast Rise Together. The early episodes are especially direct, honest and worth a listen, and this particular topic is addressed.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Randi Banks
Randi (Betts) Banks grew up in New York and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She moved to Washington, D.C. more than thirteen years ago with her husband, Eaghmon, and they love to explore the area and seek out adventure, now with their two young children along for the ride. Growing up right near the beach, they are happiest when on or near the water, so exploring the rivers, lakes, and streams in the greater DC area is a favorite pastime for their family. In addition to serving as one of the Washington, DC area ambassadors, Randi is also the Editor in Chief and Co-founder of happyly.
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