By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

Between deployments, PCSes, and just the rigors of life in the military, it can be tough to find time to relax with your significant other. But it is important to take the time to do so to keep the relationship going. Date Night can mean a lot of things depending on timing and mood. A Date Night after a deployment might call for a night of romance while a Date Night after weeks of long hours or a PCS might call for a casual night of relaxation and fun!

Date Night Northern Virginia

Here are our suggestions for a fantastic Date Night NOVA!

The Casual, We’re Just Happy to be out of the House Date Night NOVA

If you are looking for a casual, I-want-to-stay-in-my-jeans date night, you will enjoy visiting the Capital Wheel at National Harbor. The 180-foot tall observation wheel has 42 enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas that offer a comfortable, thrilling, yet safe ride. The Capital Wheel offers a great view of the entire National Harbor and the Potomac River. Tickets are $15 each.

The VIP Gondola features leather bucket seats and a glass floor. As a VIP rider, you get to step to the head of the line, and you will have the VIP Gondola to yourself. There is room for four passengers. Tickets are $50 and include a photo package. After enjoying the sights from the sky, there are quite a few restaurants and cafes to choose from for a bite to eat.

The Historic Night

Head back in time with a visit to Mount Vernon. Home of America’s first president, this colonial mansion’s interiors have been meticulously restored to their appearance in 1799. The standard mansion tour (included with admission) takes guests to the first and second floors. The premium mansion tour (available at an additional cost) includes the third floor. George Washington’s estate also features four separate gardens. You can visit his final resting place, where his wife, Martha, and other family members are also buried. Tributes at the tomb are held daily. After spending a few hours enjoying the charming colonial atmosphere, you might have worked up an appetite. The Mount Vernon Inn features six dining rooms, a beautiful outdoor sunken garden, and fireplaces to add some romance to your date night.

The Adventurous Date Night

Great Falls National Park is the perfect place for an adventurous, outdoorsy Date Night. With 800 acres along the banks of the Potomac River in northern Fairfax County, this park offers whitewater kayaking and canoeing, fifteen miles of scenic hiking trails, (five of which are multi-use for horseback riding, hiking, and biking.) You can also experience rock climbing on the cliffs in Mather Gorge above the Potomac where the falls total 76 feet over a series of major cascades.

The Laughable Date Night

The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse is a historic 1930’s Art Deco Theater that has been converted into a unique restaurant/theater. The restaurant menu features appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts and of course popcorn. A full-service bar includes beer, wine, and mixed drinks. The seating is large comfortable leather chairs. The schedule ranges from name comedy acts, movies and even karaoke nights!

The Art Lover Date Night

Located along the docks of the Potomac River in Alexandria, local artists showcase their work at the Torpedo Factory. This former torpedo plant was originally built during World War I as a munitions factory. Now nearly 100 years old, the site is now home to 160 artisans in more than 80 studios and galleries. You can watch the artists create and add to your art collection by purchasing directly onsite. Nearby restaurants in Olde Town Alexandria can cap off a great “artsy” date night.

The Entertainment Lover’s Date Night

The only national park dedicated to presenting the performing arts is in our backyard in NOVA. No matter what your age or taste in shows, you’ll find something you like onstage at Wolf Trap. From May through September, multiple amphitheaters in the park present performances such as musicals, dance, opera, jazz, and popular and country music. During the colder winter months, performances are scheduled at the Barns of Wolf Trap, two adjacent 18th-century barns refurbished and refined with superb acoustics and amenities.

If you live in the Washington D.C. area or NOVA, please go to to leave a review of your base housing or local neighborhood. is a trusted review website By and For Military & Veteran Families featuring must-have information and professional connections to help with must-solve PCS problems.

PCSgrades Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media/Community Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.