Dinner Dates as First Dates are Out! CarpeDM’s Top Five Best Non Dinner Date Ideas in Washington, DC.

Spring has sprung! It’s time to go outside and date. But how do you date meaningfully in a culture of fast and casual dating and during a time of economic crisis? It’s expensive outside! But don’t you worry because we got you with CarpeDM’s best first dates for all personality types and wallet sizes.

happy black couple

Raise your hand if you’ve ever googled “good first date ideas” or “things to do on a first date.” Or how about “non dinner date ideas?” No matter where you live (or date), most search results about places to go on a first date will list out all the swanky restaurants in town as good places for a first date. But are dinner dates really fun first date options? Or the most economical? Why are dating lists listing Michelin star restaurants as good first date ideas?

We don’t know about you but dinner on a first date is a time, money, and emotional investment. You’ve gotta look up a dope spot that’s not too fancy (but also not too cheap), dress up, and commit to at least 1.5 hours sitting across from a stranger. And on top of that we know you’re tired of blowing your hard-earned money on expensive dinners and fancy first dates just to never get a second. We get it, you want to date someone you’re compatible with and who cares more about getting to know you than the menu at Ruth’s Chris.

Jordin Sparks Romance GIF by Hallmark Channel

And what if within the first few minutes you realize it’s not the dream date you hyped it up to be in your head? One study found that online daters say they can tell if they have a spark with someone just 30 seconds into a video call! Good thing CarpeDM builds in a 5 minute video date before committing to a match. This way, you’ve tested your spark well ahead of meeting in real life.

CarpeDM, the most exclusive dating app and matchmaking service for Black singles, delves into these important dating and relationship questions and more. Learn more about our community!

So, if Not a Dinner Date then What?

CarpeDM Members always ask our team of professional matchmakers for first date activities that are not dinner dates to determine the best things to do on a first date. To take the pressure off of a first date, CarpeDM is sharing the best places for a first date in Washington, DC. Why are we dedicating an entire blog post to DC? Well, not only is DC CarpeDM’s home city, it’s also the first city we launched in! But don’t worry, our matchmakers are working hard to help our founding members make meaningful connections so we can soon come to a city near you.

Before we get to our list of best first date ideas, we do have one important note to highlight. When we refer to DC, we are hereafter referring to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia – not the Department of Motor Vehicles). DC proper folks, be nice. We’re all here for the same reasons, which is to have fun and date well… even if it’s dating someone from across the river. #IYKYK

Alright, that’s enough background. Here’s CarpeDM’s Top Five Best Non Dinner Date Ideas in Washington, DC!

1. Sunset Monument Walking Tour

There’s no shortage of amazing views in the city. When you live in DC, you may take them for granted. But trust us; at the right time of day and with the right date, a monument walking tour is pretty damn romantic. Start on Constitution Ave. Walk by the National Museum of African American History and Culture and then continue towards the Washington Monument. Keep walking to the World War II memorial and listen to the calming sounds of the water fountains. Then, stroll across The Mall (*The Mall is not a shopping mall*) and end up at the Lincoln Memorial just in time for sunset. Have a seat at the top of the memorial steps, talk it up, and get a view of the city. Too cheesy? Never. It’s never cheesy to genuinely have a good time on a date.

If the date is going well and you’re not yet ready to say good night, keep it going and walk to The REACH at The Kennedy Center. Get inspired by the views and dark sky, glance at some art, and hang out by the lawn. Other than parking costs, this entire date is free… and educational!

2. Coffee at Gravelly Point Park

Looking for unique views and a casual yet romantic way to get to know your date? Share an afternoon or evening with a date at Gravelly Point Park where you can watch planes fly in and out the city above your heads. You can walk around the park or bring a blanket to share to chill and just talk. Earn bonus bonus points by asking your date ahead of time for their coffee (or tea) of choice and bring the treat to the date. If you’re feeling extra romantic and have already built a connection, bring wine, cheese, and if you’re feeling extra sweet – chocolates.

3. Sweets and Strolls in in Navy Yard

Where to go on your first date that’s not the Wharf? Try Navy Yard. First, a shout out to our partner NvyBlk for committing to make Navy Yard a more diverse place for black professionals. NvyBlk’s mission is to make a positive impact and build an inclusive and supportive community of Black residents who are invested in the future of the Navy Yard neighborhood and each other. Second, why Navy Yard? For starters, it’s less crowded than the Wharf. It’s also more affordable to eat, drink, and park than at the Wharf.

Date Option 1. Start out with delightful ice cream at Ice Cream Jubilee or Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Grab your sweet treats to go and explore the neighborhood! Make your way to Yards Park, a scenic park with a riverfront boardwalk. Feel free to slow it down and enjoy the views by sitting. If you enjoy evening lights and water views, this date is perfect for you.

Ice Cream Love GIF by Sony Music Africa

Looking for more dating advice, check out the CarpeDM blog page for all things dating and relationships.  

Date Option 2. NYC has the Brooklyn Bridge. DC has the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. It’s ambitious but let’s start a new tradition, DC. Lovers, walk across the Bridge or if you’re a riding enthusiast, rent a bike. Explore the city on a scenic bike ride! Bike over the Bridge and enjoy the skyline from across the Anacostia River. (The Potomac is not the only river worth gazing at in the District.) We love this date because it’s thoughtful yet simple, and filled with endless romantic opportunities.

Date Option 3. Navy Yard is home to the Washington Nationals. In the mood for a classic date experience, then a baseball date is for you. It’s an easy going date (except for the Metro crowds) and there’s plenty of things to watch to keep the conversation going. A casual atmosphere and sharing sports in common is a great formula for a fun date. Plus, stadium food! Why do hot dogs taste better at baseball stadiums?

4. Ready, Set, Game Night

This is a two-for-one special. What’s a great way to learn about a person and also have fun? Be competitive. But CarpeDM, it’s DC and we’re all competitive…

Video gif. An annoyed woman rolls her eyes and slowly looks away.

We may all be a bit competitive in the DMV, but how competitive is the question. Game nights are great because they’re not only fun, but people are more likely to be their natural selves.Trust us, it’s a fast proof way to learn about a person without having to ask a ton of questions on a first date. Games are great conversation starters for dating. If you’re shy or a bit nervous on a first date, then game night is what you might do on a first date to break the ice.

Good places for a first date with active games are H Street Country Club or Players Club. Are you a Clue, Scrabble, or Settlers of Catan player? Try your luck (or skills) with board games at Franklin Hall, Board Room in Arlington or The Board Room DC. Enjoy this date night! The only playing you should be doing in dating is at a game night (wink).

So you’ve gone on a first date… When you’re ready head on over to our Black Women Deserve series on Attracting the Perfect Mate where CarpeDM Matchmaker and emotional intelligence coach, Erin F. Darden, helps you create reasonable relationship goals by delving into the important dealbreakers we overlook.

5. A Classic Mini Golf Date

If you’re the active type and looking for a fun first date idea then this one’s for you. Tee up a first date with a class game of mini golf. Try Puttery in Penn Quarter or Swingers in Dupont Circle. Outside the city? Topgolf is a solid choice. If you’re feeling your date then keep the night going and grab a cocktail (or mocktail) at the bar at any of these spots.

We like mini golf for a first date because it’s laid back, safe, and teaches you a lot about your date. It’s also a sure way to stay focused on your date because you can’t really play with both a gold club and a cell phone in your hand.

Mini Golf Toddler GIF

Check out How to Succeed in Your Matchmaking Journey – With Expert Matchmaker Brooke Fitzpatrick to learn how a matchmaker can help make your journey dating more intentional and successful.

Final Thoughts

Some of you may be asking, what about a nature hike? Everybody’s dating profile says they like to hike these days. Yeah, Rock Creek Park almost made our list (The District was ranked the nation’s park capital). But a hike… in the woods… with someone you don’t really know. Have you heard of the ‘shopping cart killer?’ Not for us. Not for a first date at least.

We’re only kidding (kind of). But seriously, what’s a good first date? What makes good first dates are simple first date ideas. Don’t overthink it. No matter where you go for a first date, it’s all about a good conversation with good company.  

sneak attack cute couple GIF by Much

That’s it, these are our list of  perfect first dates and best places for a first date in Washington DC. Save this post for the next time you need to look up what to do on a first date or where to go on the first date.

Did we miss a hot spot? Share your perfect first dates with our team and get featured in our next blog post! Reach out to ask@carpedmdating.com with your perfect first date ideas.                                                                

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At CarpeDM, we are on a mission to transform the online dating experience and help you form meaningful connections, establish healthy relationships, and find a partner that meets your needs. That’s why we encourage our members to work on themselves and keep striving to be the best they can be, regardless of society’s outdated beauty (and height) standards.  

Ready to create your dating profile? Create your CarpeDM profile and once your application is approved, you will meet with a personal matchmaker who will learn about you and your dating needs and curate matches for you. Our community includes the most eligible singles in some of the best dating cities in the US. If you’ve been searching for matchmaking in Washington DC, or Black matchmaking services in the DMV, look no further!

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