Metro Weekly

Our 8 Hot Picks for a Perfect Valentine’s Celebration in D.C.

From intimate baths to fine dining, from sharing stories to staycations, here are 8 can't miss ways to enjoy Valentine's Day.

Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City: Valentine's Day Menu Items -- Photo: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City
Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City: Valentine’s Day Menu Items — Photo: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City

However you feel about Valentine’s Day is irrelevant if you’re in a relationship. Particularly so if it’s a new bond, heretofore untested by all the minor dates that force the issue once a year, as redundant as they are pesky. We’re talking the actual date you met. And also, maybe, the date when a certain “L” word was first volleyed back and forth. Above all, we’re talking about February 14th.

If that’s your current situation, consider easing into your first lover’s holiday together by hearing others talk it out, sharing their experiences with the holiday or with love in general in ways that can be amusing, inspiring, shocking, or funny, and often, all of the above.

Story District:  Sucker for Love and Worst Date Ever
Story District: Sucker for Love and Worst Date Ever

For the most variety, it’s hard to beat Story District, especially given that every year D.C.’s leading storytelling organization produces two different Valentine’s Day-themed showcases. The oldest, returning this month for its 15th iteration, is tilted ever-so-slightly on the side of love and lovers and true believers in the holiday — all those who, in one way or another, could be called a “Sucker for Love.” This year’s showcase features seven of them.

“[The show is] the O.G. of Story District shows,” says the organization’s Artistic Executive Director Amy Saidman. “There is no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.”

“Sucker for Love” is Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $45. Visit or call 202-888-0050.

A few days later, on the date of the actual holiday, all the naysayers are invited to commiserate together. The fifth annual anti-Valentine’s Day program features six storytellers competing to win the title of 2023’s “Worst Date Ever,” as voted on by the audience.

“The silver lining to a bad date is entertaining friends afterward,” Saidman says. “We started this show as a source of comedy and catharsis to folks in the dating trenches.”

“Worst Date Ever” is Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $30. Visit

For more laughs about love, with a particular focus on the silly way kids get way too into a holiday that isn’t even truly age appropriate for them, the Black Cat brings back David Nadelberg and his show, the Mortified Live Podcast, for a special “Doomed Valentine’s Day” edition, in which strangers from all walks of life share their childhood and adolescent love-themed diary entries, sappy poetry, and love letters.

Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25. Visit or call 202-667-4490.

A week later, the Black Cat brings back the gang of New York comedians who oversee a night focused on reliving the most awkward sexual misadventures, all for the audience’s edification. Awkward Sex…And The City, to cite the official description, “is about taking taboo subjects and creating a safe space for people to feel seen and heard.”

Friday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Visit or call 202-667-4490.

The Banneker's Valentine's Day Lovers City Escape -- Photo: Lady Bird Photos
The Banneker’s Valentine’s Day Lovers City Escape — Photo: Lady Bird Photos

A more traditional way to celebrate the holiday — and perhaps a way that’ll take your partner by surprise if you’re not typically the type — is to splurge with a short stay at a local hotel.

One such appealing option is offered at The Kimpton Banneker, the thoroughly renovated and renamed venue just off 16th Street NW between Dupont and Logan circles, and once known as the Hotel Rouge. Every weekend in February, guests can sign up for the hotel’s Lovers City Escape, a staycation package offering couples a champagne and chocolate welcome, two complimentary cocktails at the hotel’s rooftop bar Lady Bird, complimentary breakfast for two at the hotel’s modern French bistro Le Sel — also available as complimentary in-room breakfast in bed — 10-percent-off food and beverage when charged to their guest room, and parking.

Off-site attractions that come with the package, priced at $342 to $359 per night excluding taxes and fees and with a two-night minimum, include two roundtrip water taxi tickets for use at the Wharf D.C., and two tickets to the Phillips Collection.

Those seeking a romantic excursion to the Banneker without staying overnight can consider the Four-Course Valentine’s Day special that Le Sel will serve on Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11, as well as Tuesday, Feb. 14. Overseen by Executive Chef Walter Silva, the menu features “Oysters on the Shell (the perfect aphrodisiac!)” and includes a variety of shareable plates for two, ranging from Parisian Gnocchi to Pear Tartin. All that plus the option of wine pairings with a focus on those from Black winemakers from various regions of South Africa, specialty craft cocktails, and live jazz by singing keyboardist Bill Heid. The price is $65 per person.

The Kimpton Banneker is at 1315 16th St. NW. Visit or call 202-234-6399.

Further down 16th Street near the White House is another attractive option for dining in a luxurious and romantic setting, located inside the gorgeous Beaux Arts edifice The Jefferson Hotel. Under the historic skylight in the hotel lobby is where guests of the hotel’s restaurant The Greenhouse are served — although lovers could opt for a special romantic table deeper inside the property called The Nest, “where countless questions have been popped.”

The Jefferson and Greenhouse: Dessert
The Jefferson’s Greenhouse

Designed by Executive Chef Fabio Salvatore, the Greenhouse’s five-course pre-fixe tasting menu, available Saturday, Feb. 11, and Tuesday, Feb. 14, will feature options including Virginia Blackberry Oyster, Apulia Burratina, Canary Island Earth-N-Eats Vegetables, Black Angus Filet, and a Red Velvet Tayberry Cake for dessert. The cost is $173 per person, with wine pairings per course also available.

The Jefferson is at 1200 16th St. NW. Visit or call 202-448-23200.

Across the Potomac, you’ll find some sweetheart offerings at what is touted as “the only luxury hotel in Arlington,” the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. Available any weekend in February, the “All You Need Is Love” package offers guests chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne room amenity (once per stay), rose petal turndown (once per stay), and breakfast credit of $65 for two, enjoyed either through in-room dining or in the hotel’s signature restaurant Santé — all for $449 per night.

In addition to splurging with a two-night stay Sunday, Feb. 11, to Tuesday, Feb. 14, the property is also welcoming guests seeking strictly to enjoy a four-course dinner at Santé.

Styled as transporting “the ease and elegance of the Mediterranean to guests,” the Valentine’s Day special includes local Oysters on the Half Shell with caviar and champagne mignonette, Smoked Scallop Carpaccio with orange vanilla bean granite, Pickled Grapes and Chervil, Roasted Lamb Tenderloin with sunchoke puree, shaved brussels sprouts, walnuts, malibu carrots, snow peas, and rosemary mustard sauce, a Grilled 1855 Porterhouse for Two, and a Toasty Brulee with caramelized amaretto custard, toasted marshmallows, chocolate shavings, and toasted almonds.

The cost is $155 per person excluding tax and gratuity, with the option of a wine pairing experience for an additional $70 and up per person, or a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for $120.

The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City is at 1250 S. Hayes St., Arlington. Visit or call 703-415-5000.

Soulo: Elevated Bath Routine: Brian Lamy
Soulo: Elevated Bath Routine

If none of those options are quite right for you and yours, you could always consider the gift of a good soak with some bubbles by candlelight. Although not just any DIY bubble bath. The Soulo Experience “is an elevated bath routine that pairs candles and bath soaks with the emotional benefits of music and reflection, creating a space for self-exploration in a different way than traditional meditation,” reads a press release.

Soulo: Elevated Bath Routine
Soulo: Elevated Bath Routine

Soulo is a line of products, from healing soaps to soy candles, that come with instructions and “a guided ritual” to follow for maximum sensorial and emotional benefit, including listening to curated selections of music, then following a series of prompts to help direct your attention and elicit specific feelings. A Soulo Starter Kit, with a variety of bath soaks and candles, is $80, while a Bath Soak Variety Kit is $35, and a Soy Candle Variety Kit is $50.

Best yet, this soap for hope, produced by an LGBTQ-founded company, aims not just for a greater you but also for the greater gay good, with five percent of every order donated to fund mental health services and training for LGBTQ people. Visit

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