Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where to Have a Cozy Date in D.C.: Cleveland Park

Last week, Capital Katie told us where to have an exotic date in H Street, NE, and this week, Appealing Kate listed some of her favorite cozy spots in the District. As I walked home from work the other night, the themes of their posts converged in my brain (along with a generous amount of happy hour vodka) and it struck me that my neighborhood is the ideal spot for cozy dates.

I'll be the first to admit that the stretch of Connecticut Avenue from Cleveland Park to Van Ness is not known for being the hippest part of town. But for me, that's part of its appeal. With its tree-lined sidewalks, old school movie theater, and a selection of restaurants, bars and shops that span one main street, it has a contained, calm feel to it, despite being spitting distance from busier neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. These factors make it a prime location for cozy fall dates.

OPTION ONE: Outdoor fun 

With the beautiful fall weather comes the urge to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Fortunately, Cleveland Park makes it easy to prolong outdoor time with your date. Though the nearby zoo can make for a fun date spot, it’s the polar opposite of cozy, and trying to navigate the zoo on a weekend is guaranteed to increase your risk of being arrested for punching tourists. I’d recommend saving that date for the winter Zoo Lights, and checking out the lovely Melvin C. Hazen trail instead. During the fall, it is downright delightful, with fiery falling leaves and a close-to-non-existent amount of foot traffic. Better yet? It can be accessed right from Connecticut Avenue, and connects to a number of scenic routes through Rock Creek. 

After exploring, revive your tired legs with an iced coffee in the hidden backyard garden of Firehook Bakery. If you want more of a kick, the patio of Alero is a delightfully cozy spot to enjoy some margaritas on a sunny fall afternoon. If you’re looking to replenish your glycogen stores, grab a bench and a slice of pizza from the incomparable Vace before you treat yo self - and your date, don’t be rude- to some delectable goodies from Sugar Magnolia

OPTION TWO: Indoor fun

Let’s be honest with ourselves here - as lovely as fall is, there are some days that will inevitably be cold and overcast (hey, remember last Halloween when it SNOWED?) But don’t fret! There are lots of cozy spots just beckoning you to come inside and warm up.

If you head a little north of Cleveland Park, you can visit Politics & Prose and browse the aisles of  D.C.'s best bookstore. Then, walk next door to Comet Ping Pong and challenge your date to an old fashioned round of table tennis. Once you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite, head back south to one of the area’s supremely cozy restaurants: established neighborhood classics Palena, Sorriso, Dino, and Ardeo+Bardeo are always good bets, as are the newer offerings Ripple, Medium Rare, Pulpo and Acacia Bistro. Round out the night with a drink or two at the brand spanking new Uptown Tap House, or take in a late night flick at the Uptown theater and try not to piss off your viewing companions by lavishing too much PDA on your hot date.

So there you have it - a D.C. neighborhood that's small on the crowds, but big on the coziness!


  1. One of my favorite outdoor places is Bluemont Park!

    1. I've never been! I'll have to come check it out :)

  2. Here is Bluemont Park in Arlington (near Ballston):

  3. Potomac Overlook park is really nice as well.