22 Best Places to Propose in Washington, D.C.

February 7, 2024 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

Living in Washington D.C. and looking for the perfect place to propose? D.C. is full of unique sites that will make a gorgeous setting for your special moment.

Here’s our list of 22 amazing locations to propose in Washington, District of Colombia.

1. Tidal Basin

Tidal Basin Washington dc pink cherry blossom trees against water

Ambiance: 9/10
Entry Price: Free
When: Daytime. All year is beautiful, but springtime is the best
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Romantic

First up is the famous Tidal Basin, known for its jaw-dropping views and cherry blossom trees. This spot lies on the National Mall and offers views of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Jefferson Memorial. While Tidal Basin is beautiful all year round, springtime would be an especially special time to propose when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. If you’re hoping to get exquisite photos of proposal, the pink and white backdrop combined with the water create a gorgeous setting that will look absolutely magical.

Get more information and directions by visiting the National Parks website.

2. Georgetown Waterfront Park

old couple holding hands walking boardwalk bridge trees Georgetown waterfront park dc

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Free
When:
All year
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Classic Landscape

Next up on our list of proposal options for Washington, we have Georgetown Waterfront Park. Like Tidal Basin, this location offers waterfront views and costs nothing to enter. This vast park has multiple areas to choose from, all of which would make a great setting for a proposal. You can find a creative scenic spot for a sunset proposal near the water or make it even more memorable by taking a private boat ride. Some of the standout spots include the labyrinth (western end of the park), the Fountain (seasonal, check the website for status), and the pollinator gardens.

Another advantage are the many in the nearby area. You can enjoy cocktails before heading over your designated proposal spot or celebrate your engagement with a special dinner.

Find the perfect spot for your proposal by visiting the National Parks website for more information.

3. The Wharf

The wharf neighborhood Washington DC waterfront city skyline sunset marina buildings

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Free
When:
All year, day and night
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Modern, City life

If your fiancée is more into city life than nature, the Wharf might be a good option for your proposal. Located along the Potomac River waterfront, the Wharf is an upscale and trendy neighborhood in the DC area. With dozens of restaurants, shops, and several hotels, you can plan a full itinerary with drinks, dinner, and shopping before popping the question. The waterfront offers numerous scenic overlooks and is a particularly memorable spot that will also make a spectacular backdrop for your proposal photos.

Bonus Tip: During winter, the ice skating rink can be a magical place to hold the proposal.

Plan your proposal by visiting the Wharf’s official site for events, directories, and more.

4. Theodore Roosevelt Island

theodore roosevelt island with tree and stone step bridge

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Free (aside from transportation)
When:
Day and night, Spring and Summer
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Nature

On the opposite end of the spectrum from our last entry, this location is all about seclusion and raw nature. Theodore Roosevelt Island offers an intimate and serene setting for a proposal. The Island is one of the most tranquil natural areas in Washington. If you both enjoy a light hike, you can stroll some of the walking trails before finding a private spot with views of the river. It’s a great option for creating a special moment that you both won’t forget.

Important Note: Ensure you plan where you want to propose in advance. Trying to improvise may make the proposal a little bumpy. You might even want to pick 2-3 locations that could work just to be safe.

Visit the Theodore Roosevelt Island info page to get more info for planning your proposal.

5. Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center Washington DC waterfront view lit up at night

Ambiance: 7/10
Entry Price:
Paid and Free events, Paid Parking
When:
All Year, Monday–Sunday, 10 a.m.-midnight
Setting: Indoors
Vibe: Artsy

If you’re fans of the performing arts, the Kennedy Center has endless options that will make a great precursor to your marriage proposal. You can visit the exhibits or take in a show (they offer both paid and free events), before heading to the rooftop terrace where you can pop the question against the spectacular views of the city and Pontomac River. There’s also an in-house restaurant on the rooftop terrace so you can complete your celebration with drinks and dinner.

Find more information for planning your proposal at the Kennedy Center here.

6. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

dumbarton oaks gardens red brick path lined with bushes and statues

Ambiance: 9/10
Entry Price:
Winter Season: Free | Regular Season: $7pp
When:
Winter Season: 2-5pm | Regular Season 2-6pm
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Historic, Vintage

We love Dumbarton Oaks Gardens if you’re looking for a location that evokes classic old world beauty. As you walk through the gardens, you can almost imagine that you’re strolling the grounds of a 19th century Victorian Manor. Everything from the spellbinding landscapes and winding paths, to the sculpted stone benches creates a dreamy, romantic setting that’s perfect for an intimate proposal.

Additionally, if you’re choosing this spot because your fiancée is a fan of the vintage style, why not round out the experience by selecting an exquisite vintage engagement ring with which to pop the question.

Note that while personal photographs are permitted in the gardens, professional photography is not. Therefore if you’re planning on hiring a photographer to capture the proposal, this may not be the right site for you. Find more info for planning your proposal at the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens on their official website.

7. National Arboretum

national arboretum pillars in Washington DC waterfront view stone steps and grass

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Free
When:
All Year, 8am-5pm
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Nature

The U.S. National Arboretum botanical garden is another gorgeous outdoor setting for a proposal. The various garden options located here offer the most picturesque and serene environment. For the most romantic experience, try to find a secluded spot among the National Capital Columns or colorful flowers.

Important Note: A photography permit may be required in order to shoot a proposal at this location, so plan well in advance. Find more information on acquiring a photography permit here.

8. The Meridian Hill Park

meridian hill park tree lined cascading waterfall terraced steps and fountain

Ambiance: 6/10
Entry Price:
Free
When:
All Year
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Urban Park

The Meridian Hill Park is located in Columbia Heights and features stunning city views, but is most notable for its terraced steps and cascading fountains. The classic architecture would make for a striking backdrop, and you can plan a unique shot by the reflecting pool or near one of the historical statues. It may however, be a good idea to scope out the location first, as it is a public city park and you want to choose a time when it’s less likely to be crowded.

Find directions and more information here.

9. The National Mall

national mall facing the Washington monument water lined with trees

Ambiance: 7/10
Entry Price:
Free
When:
All Year
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Iconic Tourist Attraction

As home to some of the most famous national monuments, the National Mall is an iconic, albeit more crowded location for a proposal. In addition to the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, you also have the Washington Monument which could serve as an impressive backdrop, especially if you plan your proposal for sunrise or sunset. While it definitely makes for a memorable setting, the area is bound to be full of tourists and visitors so consider other spots if you want more privacy on your big day.

Find more information to plan your visit here.

10. Yours Truly D.C.

yours truly restaurant in Washington D.C chairs and tables set with candles and florals hanging from ceiling

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Varies
When:
All Year
Setting: Indoors
Vibe: Boho-Chic

This Bohemian-inspired hotel is an incredible spot for anyone looking for a personalized touch within a luxury and creative space. The hotel offers several dining options and you choose to dine in one of the restaurants located in the hotel or go for the full experience and plan a night’s stay at the hotel as well. The artistic cozy vibes create an intimate and romantic ambiance that would be perfect for a proposal.

Plan your stay here.

11. National Portrait Gallery

outside view of US National Portrait Gallery Building Washington DC

Ambiance: 7/10
Entry Price:
Free, Advanced Reservation Required
When:
All Year
Setting: Indoors
Vibe: Classic Art Museum

For history enthusiasts the National Portrait Gallery might be an interesting place to plan your proposal. The gallery features exquisite works of art, which include contemporary and neoclassical pieces. You can customize your proposal by selecting a portrait of someone that holds special meaning for both of you in front of which to propose. Alternatively, the plaza in front of the museum, with its classic Greek columns, would also create an impressive backdrop.

Get hours and more information by visiting the National Portrait Gallery official website.

12. Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Outside view of Smithsonian National Museum American History Building Washington DC with fountain

Ambiance: 5/10
Entry Price:
Free
When: All Year, 10am-5:30pm
Setting: Indoors
Vibe: Classic Museum

This is another option for the history enthusiasts. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History features some of the most iconic artifacts in American History. Mind you, most of their collection is not on display to the public at any given time, so check their website before to see which exhibits are open. And as with many other historical DC buildings, the classic architecture is a fantastic view against which to photograph your special moment.

See which exhibits are currently open by visiting their site here.

13. District Winery

Sunset view from inside of District Winery restaurant with tables set for wedding

Ambiance: 9/10
Entry Price:
Varies
When: All Year, Hours vary depending on day of the week
Setting: Indoor/Outdoor
Vibe: Upscale, Romantic

For a more slow-paced, quiet setting, District Winery may be a great choice. Located on Navy Yard, this boutique winery is unique and charming place for a proposal. You can book a tour of the winery and then enjoy an intimate dinner with seasonal cuisines and the best wines at the winery before asking the big question.

Tip: If the weather’s nice, request a table on the waterfront terrace at sunset and take in the picturesque views of the Anacostia River.

Make a reservation and find more information here.

14. Iron Gate Restaurant

tables set under patio with ceiling lights and vines at Iron Gate restaurant

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Varies
When: All Year, Hours vary depending on day of the week
Setting: Indoor/Outdoor
Vibe: Vintage, Romantic

Another great restaurant setting is the Iron Gate Restaurant, located near Dupont Circle. As one of the city’s oldest-running restaurants, it has a unique, whimsical vibe and would make a magical setting for a proposal. During mild weather seasons, opt for a table on the wisteria and grape leave covered patio instead of the dining room and make sure to get a look at the enclosed carriageway that features the bar.

15. The Greenhouse at the Jefferson

Back and white tiled floor, sculped pillars and iron gate under skylight at Greenhouse restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Varies
When: All Year, Hours vary depending on day of the week
Setting: Indoor
Vibe: Classic Luxury

If old world luxury is the vibe you’re going for, have a look at the Greenhouse at the Jefferson Hotel. The black and white tile floor, classic pillars, and wrought iron gate create a striking backdrop under the historic skylight. Enjoy some of their delicious seasonal selections before or after the proposal. And of course, you can complete the evening by indulging in a stay in one of the hotel’s luxury rooms or suites for a truly memorable experience.

Find reservation info here.

16. Rock Creek Park

view of Rock Creek Park bridge in Washington DC with autumn trees

Ambiance: 9/10
Entry Price:
Free
When: All Year
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Nature

For a quieter space away from the bustling city life, consider using Rock Creek Park as your proposal location. This urban oasis is situated at the heart of Washington, D.C. and offers scenic hikes, horseback trails, and tranquil picnic spots. This is an excellent place for those who love outdoor activities. The park covers some 2,100 acres of land, so scope out for your proposal. A nice idea would be to pack a picnic lunch, stroll one of the trails, and find a private spot to set up your picnic proposal. Or for a particular picturesque setting, pop the question on the charming Boulder Bridge.

Get trail maps and more information here.

17. Smithsonian Gardens

pink tulips in the Smithsonian Gardens with historic building in background

Ambiance: 9/10
Entry Price:
Free
When: All Year
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Garden

Here’s another scenic outdoor setting. This public garden, dubbed “the Smithsonian’s museum without walls” has 13 picturesque gardens, each with a unique offering. Exhibits such as the rose garden and the sculpture garden are some of the prettiest places for a marriage proposal. It’s an especially good option if you’re looking for the perfect city escape, and the natural beauty sets a magical stage for a romantic proposal.

Find more information here.

18. The American Pharmacists Association

outside view of American Pharmacists Association building in Washington DC lit up at dusk

Ambiance: 8/10
Entry Price:
Free
When: All Year
Setting: Outdoors
Vibe: Grand Architecture

While this isn’t typically considered a proposal spot in the traditional way, the exquisite architecture offers a gorgeous background that will look especially striking in photos. The unconventional location can also act as an advantage if you’re trying to surprise your fiancée. Plan a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant and suggest a short walk afterward. If you time it to arrive around dusk, you’ll have a magical backdrop with the soft pathway lights illuminating the scene.

Get directions and more information here.

19. Tudor Place

long shot view of Tudor Place historic home with grassy lawn and blue sky

Ambiance: 7/10
Entry Price:
Free, Donations Suggested
When: All Year, Tues-Sat 10am-4pm
Setting: Indoor/Outdoor
Vibe: Historic

The Tudor Place Historic House & Garden is a unique spot and will make a memorable location for your proposal, especially if you’re both fans of history. A national historic landmark, Tudor Place features historic artifacts from centuries past. You can join a guided tour of the museum before popping the question in the scenic estate gardens.

Find more information here.

20. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

pyramid cube sculpture on grassy lawn in national gallery of art sculpture garden

Ambiance: 7/10
Entry Price:
Free
When: All Year, 10am-5pm
Setting: Outdoor
Vibe: Modern Artistic

For modern art fans, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden offers a unique and unusual environment for a proposal. The garden features interesting works of modern sculpture, including pieces from famous 20th century artists. If you’re planning your proposal for the winter season, make your experience more magical by renting skates and enjoying a picturesque skating session on the garden’s ice rink, surrounded by the iconic sculptures.

Get info and visitor information here.

21. Library of Congress

top view on Library of congress main reading room arched pillars and windows

Ambiance: 9/10
Entry Price:
Free, Timed-Entry Ticket Reservation Required
When: All Year, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm
Setting: Indoor
Vibe: Old World Luxury

If you’re fiancée has a Hermione Granger level obsession with books, the Library of Congress would be a unique place to hold your proposal. Just the incredible architecture alone would make a really dramatic setting for the event. It’s got an old world, luxurious vibe and gorgeous natural light that streams in through the arched windows.

Tip: If you intend to propose here go early to avoid the crowds and people coming in and out. This is a good winter option, or an alternative if rain interferers with your outdoor plans.

Reserve tickets for the Library of Congress here.

22. Constitution Gardens

manmade lake in with view of Washington Monument in Constitution Gardens

Ambiance: 9/10
Entry Price:
Free
When: All Year
Setting: Outdoor
Vibe: Scenic Landscape

Our last entry is another public park, Constitution Gardens which is located on the National Mall between the Vietnam and WWII memorials. On sunny days the tranquil water and lush greenery against the blue sky create a screen-saver-worthy backdrop. Across the small boardwalk in the center of the gardens sits a small island in the middle of an artificial pond. There you’ll find a memorial for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, so you may want to skip this spot if you’re marrying a Brit. This might be a less crowded option if you want to get your proposal shot with the Washington Memorial in the background.

Get directions and maps here.

Do you have another location to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!

Talk to a Jewelry Expert

Estate Diamond Jewelry Engagement Ring Expert showing customer a ring

We hope you’ve found this list helpful in choosing the most memorable location for your proposal, no matter the vibe, budget, or season you’re aiming for. If you haven’t yet thought about the most important part, the ring, our jewelry experts are here to help. Let us know the budget, style, size, and stone you’re looking for and we’ll help you find the perfect ring to seal the deal.

Browse our collection below or fill out the contact form to get in touch with one of our expert engagement ring consultants.