top of page

Bethesda's Hidden Gems: 26 Must-Try Date Night Ideas for an Unforgettable Evening!

25 unofrgettable date night spots near bethesda

The dating world in DC is an absolutely lawless place. And heaven forbid you live more than a metro stop outside of DC - people treat you like a foreign national! I believe in you though. I trudged through the murky waters of online dating in DC and walked out with a whole husband sis, you can do it to. But that first date is a big hump to get over! Even if your suitor is kind of boring, the least you deserve is a fun location to bring the next date to! So check out this list of first date ideas around Bethesda and subliminally nudge your next guy to take you somewhere exciting and fun.

Jump to a Section:

Restaurant & Wine Dates Near Bethesda

chef grating something over food at restaurant during first date in bethesda

Let's be real: this wouldn't be a proper first date ideas list if I didn't give you some restaurants. It's the classic go-to for a first date. Nothing tells you more about a person than sharing a meal with them. These are some restaurants that I recommend for a few reasons: relaxed atmosphere, gorgeous aesthetics, delicious food, and easy access to more activies should your date go particularly well.

A delicious, upscale Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating so you can people watch together with chips, salsa, and an icy margarita in hand.

This food hall is an instagram paradise with food to match. There are only a few restaurants, but each one is absolutely delicious - quality over quantity people. My favorites are Gong Cha for a sparkling bubble tea and Little Miner for tasty Mexican fusion. The bar is also very, very nice.

Want to feel a little bougie, but without the pressure of typical fine dining places? This French bistro is perfect. In the summertime, the outdoor seating gives you a pleasant view of little children playing in the green space (should you wanna broach that kids conversation early), but the indoor dining area is just as beautiful with gorgeous floor to ceiling windows all around.

If you want to manufacture a parisian meet cute, check out Tatte. You can impress your date with fancy viennoiserie and be close to the metro whenever you're ready to duck out.

Besides delicious pastries and breakfast sandwiches, SMB also has this really cute neon sign that screams "let's take our first photo together!" If you're the type to fall in love pretty immediately, go here for a cute moment to tell the kids about one day.

Go here only if you have a really good feeling about the guy. The hot pot menu is bottomless, so you risk getting the meat sweats if you go too crazy. The other thing is if you're date wants to order more, but you don't, you're kind of stuck. Yikes. But if you've been chatting a bit beforehand and know it's going to be a good time, this is the perfect place to try something fun and new, and maybe even feed each other with chopsticks.

Maryland has a ton of really cool wineries, but who's trying to drive all the way out Upper who-knows-where to pretend to know the difference between cabernet and malbec? Exactly. To get the full winery experience without the 495 nightmare, head to Urban Winery of Silver Spring.

I'll be honest, this one is a little far to be considered a first date spot in Bethesda, but it's worth the 30 minute drive. I don't particularly care for beer, but cider is absolutely my jam. The cidery has different activies throughout the week too so you can have a sip and a good time!

Just another 30 minute drive outside of Bethesda is an exciting and classy date night awaiting you at Rocklands Farm Winery! Besides delicious wine, they have regular free events at the winery so you can just show up, sip, and relax.

Adventurous Dates

suggesting flight class as unique first date idea in bethesda

Some people like adrenaline and stress on their first date. Not exactly romantic, but definitely revealing and memorable. Check out these exciting and adventurous date night ideas near Bethesda.

Trapped in a room with a stranger? Sign me up. Escape rooms are the perfect way to see how you work together (and if you're with somebody who would be useful in the robot apocolypse). After the intense pressure of trying to escape, scooch on over the Sports & Social down the street for a beer to relax.

Want to go totally out of the box for your first date? Take a flight class! Send your love soaring on day one!

Some people feeling like fighting in a relationship is a love language. Release that toxic energy very on with a fencing class as a first date.

It's all the adrenaline of sky diving with none of the danger!

Make Something Dates

side view of couple doing a painting workshop as a first date idea in bethesda

Some of the best first dates spots in Bethesda are the ones where you get to take something home! Plus the activity serves as a natural conversation starter so you're not stuck talking about the weather or playing 20 questions. Try out these activities for a unique and lighthearted first date night.

Sip and paint parties have really become a titan in the date night industry, and for good reason. it's fun to let loose and be creative, even if you have no artistic talent! There's plenty of room for laughter and getting to know each other while doing something that naturally encourages conversation.

Of all the romantic activies in Bethesda you could do, my favorite is cooking together. Making a meal is a good way to gauge chemistry and get to know somebody on a deeper level without feeling like you're a social worker trying to dig into their childhood trauma, you know?

A truly unique first date means thinking outside of the box - the chocolate box that is. Spend the night making fancy chocolate treats together and having that cute little boop of chocolate on hte nose moment with a class at J Crafts.

Recreational Dates

sign of bethesda row movie theatres where you can go for a first date

Sometimes you just want to try something fun, relaxed, and goofy. These activies give you the perfect opportunity to show something special about yourself and get to know what kind of person you're dealing with. Can they let loose and have a good time? Can they show up and be authentic? You'll find out quickly with these first date ideas.

Need to make sure your date will be a good dog dad? Head over to Bark Social for a dog friendly restaurant and bar where you can see how he is around pets. A dog isn't required either!

Dance the night away at one of Silvia's Friday date night salsa classes. A glass of beer or wine is included for each person, so you can sip, salsa, and fall in love.

What's a better first date than having a few drinks and singing at the top of your lungs to a bunch of strangers? Exactly. Hit up karaoke night at Caddies on Thursdays for a unique date night in Bethesda.

Bowling used to feel like kind of a grubby activity - smokey halls, greasy food, people who take the sport way too serious - but Pinstripes makes it much classier! No more oily cheese fries and chicken tenders

Nature Dates

sunflare photo of nature trail near bethesda maryland showing romantic hike for first date

I'll be honest, I am not the type of person who goes into the woods for a first date, but if you are, these are some of my favorite locations near Bethesda for a romantic hike. They're easy trails with relaxing views, so pack up a cute charcuterie spread and get into that fresh air!

Locust Grove is a great park if your date loves history! This park has roots as a settlement for slaves after the Civil War so you can spend your date learning and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Want to see a massive waterfall without getting too close? Want to go on some serious (or not so serious) hiking for your date? Check out Great Falls Park in Virginia. On a good day, it's about a 20 minute drive from Bethesda, and I highly recommend going during the sunrise.

If you're more into leisurely strolls, Brookside Gardens is one of the most beautiful places you can visit. It makes the perfect date night idea if you want to catch a sunset romantically with your future (or current) plant stepparent.

Leisurely Dates

woman wearing spa robe and testing water with toe at day spa for a first date

Sometimes you're just not trying to do "all that." We're all working women here, and we don't always have a ton of mental energy to commit to a date. If you want something fun and easy that's still romantic, check out these leisurely first date spots in Bethesda. You and you're date can relax, unwind, and get to know each other without distraction.

Does your boo like to be pampered too? Hit up Blue Water Day Spa for a little couples relaxation!

The farmers market is the perfect place to spend some quality time together. After all, you're walking around, getting fresh air, and trying tasty little artisan treats (and spending a shocking amount of money without a care in the world). Check out Central Farm Markets in Bethesda on Sundays and Pike & Rose on Saturdays.


Hi there, I'm Chloe

Black woman photographer, mom to an applesauce-obsessed toddler, and cheerleader for every woman who's decided to love herself unconditionally.


Affirmation Journal

bottom of page