While Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world, you may be surprised by just how much of a celebration it is in the United States. For international students studying at language schools in Washington DC, you should expect to be inundated with all things love during February.
Americans are expected to spend an average of $161.96 this Valentine’s Day, which adds up to American consumers spending $20.7 billion on the holiday. What this means for you is that your sweetheart will likely be expecting you to do something special to celebrate.
Fortunately, those who have chosen to study English in Washington DC have tons of options – some that are pricey and others that are practically free. Below we are listing ways both couples and singles can celebrate this festive occasion.
Take a Ride on the Capital Wheel
A common scene in American romantic movies involves the couple riding a Ferris wheel and kissing at the top. If you want to reenact this type of scene, you have the opportunity in DC. The Capital Wheel is located at the National Harbor. It offers stunning views of DC and the Potomac River all year long. Plus, couples ride in climate-controlled gondolas, so even if it is cold, you can enjoy a romantic ride.
Cruise Down the River
There is something special about going on a dinner cruise along the Potomac River. Not only will you get to enjoy a delicious meal in a swanky setting, but you will also get to see DC in a different way from the water. While there are dinner cruises on the Potomac offered all year long, there are special (and pricier) Valentine’s Day cruises available this time of year.
See the Monuments at Night
As an international student taking English courses in Washington DC, you absolutely must see the National Monuments, both day and night. But, a nighttime visit to see the National Monuments illuminated does feel a bit romantic, which makes it a great budget-friendly Valentine’s Day idea. Or, you can splurge and take your date on a Moonlight After Dark Tour.
Make Reservations for a Fancy DC Restaurant
DC is a foodie town! There are countless restaurants that offer superb dining, but on Valentine’s Day, many of these restaurants offer even more lavish options. For instance, many restaurants offer a special Valentine’s Day pre-fixe menu that includes four or five courses. Typically, these menus are more expensive than their regular menu offerings, but they make date night feel a little more special. Keep in mind – you must make a reservation in advance for popular DC restaurants because they always sell out for Valentine’s Day date nights!
Enjoy a Live Performance
If you and your sweetheart enjoy the arts, then Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy a live performance. Since DC is an arts and culture hotspot, you have multiple options for live theatre, ballet, and concerts.
Laugh Out Loud at a Comedy Show
Sometimes the best way to bond with your significant other is to laugh together. So, with that in mind, consider getting tickets to a DC comedy show. These laidback types of events are great for couples because you get to relax, laugh, and simply enjoy one another’s company. Plus, with several comedy clubs in DC, you have multiple options!
Cook a Meal at Home
If you are on a tight budget or simply don’t want to be part of the Valentine’s Day crowds, stay in and cook a meal for your loved one – or cook the meal together! Just don’t forget the candles to create the right atmosphere.
Sip and Paint
A popular date night idea in the US and DC over the last few years is to visit a venue that specializes in teaching people how to paint canvases while allowing them to drink wine. These sip and paint venues are fun for everyone! If you are stuck in a rut doing the same old dinner and movie date night, this is a nice change for the holiday.
Play Games at an Arcade Bar
Do you and your special someone enjoy getting a little competitive? Then, check out one of the many DC arcade bars! These unique venues offer both adult beverages and retro arcade games, pinball games, video games, or board games.
Go Ice Skating
The ice skating rinks in DC are typically opened through the end of February, and this is a date night favorite for many. It provides the perfect excuse to hold hands and laugh as you help one another stay up straight and not fall. For those students taking an English class in DC in winter, this is a must-do activity!
Sometimes all the lights in the district make it difficult to truly see the stars. However, there are multiple planetariums in the DC area that allow you to view stars indoors. This is also a good idea if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
If You’re Single…
Don’t worry! If you find yourself single this Valentine’s Day while attending a Washington language school, there are still several ways you can enjoy the holiday.
Run in Your Undies
A hilarious way to spend your Valentine’s Day, while doing good at the same time, is to participate in the annual Cupid’s Undie Run. Participants run and dance a mile in their underwear to raise money for Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Host Your Own Singles Mixer
While there will be plenty of singles parties around the DC area held at bars and clubs, many of these will have high cover costs because of the holiday. Instead, consider hosting your own singles mixer with those you have met in your English class in DC. Not only will you have fun, but you will have a chance to practice your conversational English!