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Spring is kicking down our front door and that means some folks will come out of winter hibernation. I happen to believe that when it’s cold, a lot people choose to stay indoors. So warmer weather + more people =  the perfect time to be social. Perhaps you’ll even land a date or three. In fact, it’s my hope that you do. (I’m not going to even going to attempt to provide advice on how to get a date… not my area of expertise.)

Photo Credit: Vinnachoretoula, Posterous

So a new spring suitor calls you and wants to go out. He asks what you want to do or where you would like to go. Most of the time this means he doesn’t have a plan.  No worries! This post is for him. While a suitor not having a plan is a deal breaker for some, I think it’s just a minor infraction. (Girl, don’t miss out on your blessing!!)

I’ve compiled ten unique date ideas for spring. Some are good choices for first dates, while the others are good options for any time but the first date. (click the links for more info.)

1.  Art Jamz Dupont Studio ($45 pp for painting & cash bar; $65 pp for painting & beverages) – Now this may be a bit pricey for some, but it’s different. Creating a masterpiece and sipping a few beverages — this is an environment that should breed conversation.

2.  Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage (FREE) – Did you know that there are free performances at the Kennedy Center everyday at 6pm? And you can catch the complimentary shuttle from Foggy Bottom Metro. I saw Laura Izibor one year (when she was mainstream — although I enjoy up & coming artists as well).

3.  Eastern Market Tango ($15) – If you have two left feet, perhaps this isn’t for you. But learning how to tango, I’m pretty sure it would be an experience you wouldn’t forget. How many people have you heard say, “He took me tango dancing”? If you come up with more than one, let me know.

4.  Concerts at the National Gallery of Art (FREE) – This one is a two-for-one freebie. Going to the museum to view art and then enjoying a concert. Concerts are at various times and days, so check the schedule before you go. In the summers, the concerts head to the garden for the Jazz in the Garden series. It’s very popular and great location for an impromptu picnic.

Photo Credit: Dallas Museum of Art

5. ARTINI 2012 (March 31, $115 pp) – I’m not suggesting this for a first date as the environment may not be conducive for getting to know each other. I also understand this may be a bit pricey, but I’m including it because it’s a fun, always sold-out event. Art, beverages from local restaurants, music and lots of people – I believe it would make for a fun night.

6. Phillips After 5 (April 5 & May 3, 2012 @ 5-8:30pm; $12 pp, reservations strongly suggested) – This is another popular event in the DC area which provides a chance to view art and listen to live music.

7. Monuments at Night (FREE) – Now you may have been to the monuments during the day with tons of other tourists. But trust me, going at night is a completely different experience. Perhaps it’s the way they are lit up or something. I would suggest planning in advance the monuments you want to visit and what route you’ll take, as some are farther distances than you may think.

8. Events at the Zoo – If you or your date have a love for animals, a trip to the National Zoo may be a great option.  What you may not know is that the zoo has many events all year round. My absolute favorite is Zoofari. It’s a night full of food and wine from local restaurants and vineyards. There is a cost to it, but it goes to a good cause, the animals.

9. Scavenger Hunt (varies) – With all that DC offers, this city is perfect for a scavenger hunt. Not only will this date encourage conversation as you both will have to work together to complete the task at hand, but it will most likely reveal some things about your date such as creativiteness or a love of history. For the free hunts, just do a little research. I found many after doing a search for scavenger hunts on the Smithsonian website. Here’s one and here’s another.

There are also organized hunts put on by tour companies and aficionados that cost a nominal fee. If competition is your thing, this one is for you. (I don’t suggest this as a first date as it may turn disastrous if your date is not as competitive as you.) Here are two more — here and here. You can also find some scavenger hunts on meetup.com.

Photo Credit: Hello Beautiful

10. Museum & Picnic – Can I say SWOON!!!! I know this seems cliche, but a picnic date is one that a lady always remembers. And it’s because it’s the one she doesn’t think a guy will do. Seriously. But it’s honestly one of the easiest and most effortless dates there is. Most museums here are free, so all that’s left is grabbing a sheet/blanket, sandwiches and beverages. The sheet/blanket can fit in your backpack. Sandwiches and beverages can be picked up at a sandwich shop like Potbelly’s or Taylor’s Gourmet or even Starbucks. OR (drumroll please) … you can make the sandwiches. (If needed, “Oh, you fancy!” recipes here and here.)

I hope this helped spark some ideas for your upcoming spring date. Here’s a few additional tips:

  • Living Social is your friend. — They have great date options like cooking classes, restaurant preview meals, etc. And you’re usually getting a deal, so it’s affordable.
  • Cherry Blossom season is upon us. Their expected peak dates are March 24-31. Cherry blossoms, a walk along the Tidal Basin, Monuments… I think you get it.

– G