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