Great Date Ideas on a Budget


Head east toward the waterfront and stop into the Torpedo Factory Art Center to catch artists at work — the WWII-era building used to operate as a munitions building, but today is one of Alexandria’s best places to explore, browse, and purchase work by local artisans.

Rent bicycles by the hour: Pedal south along the Mount Vernon Trail for riverfront views, and pause to take in views of the Washington Monument, National Mall and (if the timing is right) cherry blossoms blooming, then relax on a park bench by the marina to take in the waterfront bustle and watch street performers entertain as boats glide by. 

Explore historic sites of surprising beauty. Tour three museums within one block of Market Square for just $12 admission (or $5 per museum), including the lush backyard garden at Carlyle House, the former home of a city founder, or a $10 tour of the George Washington Masonic Memorial culminates with sweeping panoramic views from the observation deck.


Grab a quick cup or spend a lazy morning at Misha’s, named “Best Coffee Shop in the DC Metro Area” by Washington City Paper. Master roasters handpick and hand-roast small batches of beans each day, and local bakeries stock the shop with pastries and baked goods.

Head to Hard Times Cafe on King Street for a taste of the area’s best-known chili, served in a bowl, over spaghetti or on a hot dog, or head to Lost Dog Cafe in North Old Town for no-fuss sandwiches, pizza, and beer, then snag a donut or other treats from nearby Sugar Shack.

In the Del Ray neighborhood, The Dairy Godmother serves up creamy, Wisconsin-style frozen custard in classic flavors plus a rotating “Flavour of the Day” like Florida key lime or chocolate peanut butter cup.


Take advantage of great rates at Crowne Plaza Old Town or the nearby Holiday Inn & Suites for views of the Potomac River, or stay in a roomy suite at the Sheraton North Old Town.


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