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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 07/25/2011

10 dates to try before the sun sets on summer


Heat + pool + rooftop equals one hot date: Angela Antoniewicz and Darren Halverson aren’t exactly interested in cooling off in the pool at the Donovan House. (Evy Mages for The Washington Post)
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Washington’s thick with things to do, from lazy nights sipping sangria in a garden to outdoor movies on the Mall to trendy new sports.

It’s prime time for daters, a glorious period of dozens of romantic nights out. The warm weather and long days make it easy to get to know each other over an activity instead of a long, awkward dinner.

But summer’s exactly halfway over, people.

And when it’s gone, so are the twilight kayak tours, the best museum bashes and the wine festivals. So while the options are still rich, add these 10 dates ideas to your calendar.

Asia After Dark

The museum date is you at your culturally attuned best; at a museum party, you can prove that you’re a person of the world and that you can bhangra and sip a cocktail with the best of them.

You don’t have to claim Asia as the motherland to have fun roaming the galleries and outdoor garden during the Freer and Sackler galleries’ summertime soirees. The next Asia After Dark is Thursday, and this one is themed “One Thousand and One Nights,” with a belly-dancing performance, and Arabic-music DJs and themed food and cocktails. Tickets are $22 in advance, and they include one drink and admission to the afterparty. Get them here (they tend to sell out, so get them fast).

Can’t make it Thursday? Consider Handi-Hour at the Renwick craft museum, with craft beers hand-picked by Greg Engert of ChurchKey, a sit-n-knit area and bijou to inspire the two of you to make some art together. Tickets to the next event Aug. 25 are $15 and include two drinks.

A spin on the old movie date

If you’re looking for ideas not for a first date, but date No. 6, consider a road trip. Baltimore boasts one of the area’s few remaining drive-in movie theaters: Bengies Drive-In Theatre has a 120-foot screen, and it peppers current films (this past weekend’s double feature included “Captain America” and “Transformers”) with old black-and-white classics. As long as you’re getting comfortable, share a few deep-fried and caloric concessions: jalepeno poppers, hot dogs ... egg rolls?

Tickets are $9 for adults, and the drive-in takes cash only.

Spend a Sunday at the pool

Pool parties, sadly, are a once-a-year event. Get there while it’s good at the Donovan House — and it is good, what with the amazing views of the city, the chilled out Miami-on-Sunday vibe and open pool at the weekly Happy Sunday party. The free events (you do have to RSVP) will hopefully continue through September, weather willing.

 Hit the water, then a brewery

River Trail Outfitters offers a twist this year on the old kayak summer date: First paddle the lazy Monocacy River in Maryland in a kayak or canoe, then spend the rest of the day with a tour of Frederick’s Barley and Hops microbrewery, with beer tastings and snacks. The next couple of outings are set for July 30, Aug. 20 and Sept. 17; tickets are $86 a person, so consider this one a fun summer getaway with the one you love. (Hint: If you wait till the September event, you should get an early peek at the fall colors.) Make reservations here.

Go wine-tasting

On Aug. 13, Southern Maryland’s budding winery scene is on display at Eat Drink Local North Beach, a festival that brings out the area’s local farmers for a mini farmers market and more than 15 wineries from the region for tastings (it doesn’t hurt that you’ll also be near the shore, however small).

Wine-tasting pass (includes glass), $15; wine tasting with pairings of local food, $25.

Twilight polo

Virginia’s genteel horse-country has a lot going for it. It’s a wonderful, starry-sky respite from the city, and there are few other places where you’re welcome to spread out a picnic — and bring your own wine — watch a sport, then maybe get in a little dancing, all in your best summertime seersucker or sundress. Twilight Polo is surprisingly affordable, too; it’s just $30 per car. It’s held every Saturday through Sept. 17.

 Catch an outdoor concert

Fort Reno’s closing show is one of the highlights of the summer, what with a rare performance by The Evens, a duo whose members consist of Ian MacKaye of Fugazi and Amy Farina. The Aug. 4 closer is free, per usual. And since it’s over by 9:30; plan for a loud, fun dinner of gourmet pizzas and beer afterward at Comet Ping-Pong.

 Skip the fancy dinner and just Truckeroo

Why spend a first or second date in a weird fancy restaurant when you can meet up and graze on everything from banh mi to pie at this popular summer food truck festival. The next Truckeroo is set for Aug. 12, and it runs until 11 p.m. Admission is free, but bring cash.

Roam a neighborhood festival

Spending a day at a festival is a great date. Mark your calendars for Adams Morgan Day on Sept. 11 and the National Book Festival on Sept. 24-25. This year, my money is on the growing and totally offbeat scene at Columbia Heights Day, set for Aug. 27. The fest will host yoga, a dog show, a cupcake-eating contest and food trucks. Plus, you could walk away with the title of king or queen of Columbia Heights. Admission is free.

Take a hike

And one last outdoorsy date to cap off the summer? The popular Full Moon Hikes at the National Arboretum are the best as the weather starts to cool down – registration for the September, October and November hikes open Aug. 1, and they’ll definitely go fast. $22 a person.

By  |  12:40 PM ET, 07/25/2011

Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Misc. | Tags:  dating

 
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