UPDATE: Now that it actually feels like winter, it's time to snuggle up with your sweetie and plan some quality cold-weather dates. This story was originally published on December 13, 2012.
We'll admit it: After 100+ repeat listens of "Winter Wonderland," we've discovered that the lyrics lay out the pretty perfect cold-weather date — frolicking in the snow, building snowmen, conspiring by the fire. Idyllic, right? But this is D.C., and we don't exactly have an abundance of freshly fallen powder and open meadows (or even a working fireplace) at our fingertips.
Still, we do have some inspired ideas for a wintry rendezvous. Exactly how frightful (or delightful) it gets outside may be beyond our control, but whether you're a tried-and-true romantic, an adventurous type, or a low-key lover, your ideal winter date is just a click away. Go on, get cozy!
"Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains" at the International Spy Museum
Unless you've been hanging out under the proverbial rock lately, you know someone who's at least heard of Skyfall and its epicness. The latest Bond film marks the 50th anniversary of slick spies in tailored suits sneaking their way into our hearts, and D.C. just happens to be home to the country's coolest tribute to espionage. The current exhibition at the International Spy Museum commemorates half a century of cinematic Bond magic (focusing on the villains), with movie memorabilia and historical artifacts galore. Who wouldn't find that exhilarating?
Where: 800 F Street NW; 202-393-7798.
Take an interactive, self-guided tour with Stray Boots
If you're looking for a date that's on the adventurous, active side, how 'bout a secret text-message-guided tour through D.C.? Stray Boots interactive cell phone tours are a quirky way to check out parts of the city you may not know very well, while bonding with your partner as a investigative team. The company sends clues via text, which players use to traverse their designated "game zone" — Penn Quarter, Georgetown, or a series of Smithsonian museums — at their own pace. Through the clues, you'll learn fascinating facts about tourist sites and famous Washingtonians, and you'll have to solve riddles, find treasures, and answer trivia questions. Definitely an out-of-the-box date that'll get the endorphins flowing.
Skip the rom-com and see a play
Heading to the movie theater is a sort of de facto rendezvous, especially when it's frigid out. Why not enjoy the same type of experience — cozying up in a theater with refreshments and two hours of dramatic entertainment — but go with the live version? The DMV boasts plenty of amazing venues (Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and Round House Theatre's two locations, for starters), and it always feels good to support local talent. Plus, it's a bit more cultured to see a live performance over a blockbuster flick, if we do say so ourselves. The hilarious and touching My Fair Lady runs through January 6 at Arena Stage, or check out The Aliens, an acclaimed story about two Vermont slackers who own a coffee shop and the teenager that comes into their lives, at Studio Theatre.
Photos: Courtesy of Torpedo Factory Art Center, International Spy Museum, and Arena Stage
Ice skating at the Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Okay, so ice skating itself isn't the most novel winter date — but in Georgetown?! The area has always been home to amazing shops and dining, but now you can cap off a jaunt to G-town's scenic waterfront with a glide at this newly opened rink. It's bigger than Rockefeller Center, has an amazing view of the Potomac River, and shares territory with multiple restaurants perfect for après-skate socializing.
Where: 3000 K Street NW; no phone.
Mull your own drinks at Libations Bar School
You don't have to be pursuing a career in bartending to take an awesome mixology class at this beverage school. Owner Jesse Dean concocts new class concepts based on what he thinks would be cool for others to know. Want to make marshmallow foam for a warm coffee drink? There's a class for that. How about whipping up some winter warmers (read: boozy hot cocoas) from scratch? He'll teach you. This month, guests can learn how to mull ale, wine, and cider using a blend of spices and fruits, or take a crash course in all things bubbly just in time for New Year's Eve toasts. Dean adds new classes to the curriculum every month, so call the school to see what creative lessons are on the table when you're planning your date.
Where: 1734 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-642-1256.
View three floors' worth of art at the Torpedo Factory
Lucky for us, D.C. is home to a lion's share of world-class art museums. But want in on a little-known secret? An incredible destination for artists and art lovers alike lies a stone's throw away in Old Town Alexandria. The Torpedo Factory Art Center (the name comes from its heritage as a World War I-era torpedo factory) houses three stories of open galleries and studios — 82 artist studios and six full-fledged galleries, to be exact. We're talking photography, printmaking, sculpture, fiber art, glass, jewelry, painting, drawing, mixed media, and ceramics, all under one roof, with free admission and amazing programming all year round. Over the next month, stop by for 'Tis the Season, a printmakers' exhibition; Bedecked and Bedazzled, a juried fiber arts gallery show with jewelry, sculpture, clothing, and more; and Joys of The Season, an all-media exhibition that showcases winter-themed works by five of the center's associate artists. Grab a belly-warming drink from the on-site Bread & Chocolate cafe, then stroll through historic downtown Alexandria to take in the Christmas lights and seasonal charm.
Where: 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria; 703-838-4565.
Photos: Courtesy of The Kennedy Center, Washington Harbour, and Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association