13 Amazing Philly Date Ideas That Don’t Involve Drinking

The best local venues for a sober get-together.

sober date ideas

Ice skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is one of our favorite sober date ideas in Philly. / Photograph by Matt Stanley

Recently, we got a frantic text from a friend who’d landed a date with someone she’d had her eyes on for months. “Where are we supposed to go?” she wrote, panicked. “We’re both doing Dry January and get this — he doesn’t even drink coffee!”

Now, we’ll admit we weren’t experts on sober date ideas. Meeting for happy hour can be an easy way to break the ice, especially on a nerve-racking first date. But that text got us thinking: Why is alcohol such an integral part of our dating routines? Surely, there are plenty of healthier — and frankly, more fun — alternatives to just sitting at a bar. And besides, why wouldn’t we want our potential SOs to get to know the real us, sans liquid confidence?

That’s why we’ve got you covered with these alcohol-free date ideas, whether you’re already linked up for good or you’re looking for somewhere to take your latest Tinder fling.

Active Dates

Enjoy the last days of Winterfest. Nothing will get your heart pumping and your date belly-laughing like falling over each other on the ice at the Blue Cross RiverRink. Admission costs $4, and skate rentals are an additional $10. Or, if skating isn’t your thing, relax in one of the cozy Winterfest cabins and make fun of the other clumsy couples over decadent hot chocolate from the Franklin Fountain.

Get your flow on at the art museum. Take your date to browse the collections and do some yoga, taught by Dhyana Yoga instructors, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art every Wednesday night. Free tickets are available on Wednesdays at 5 p.m at any of the museum’s information desks. (Admission that night is “pay what you wish” — score!) Spots for the class are first come, first serve, so get there right at 5 to snag a spot.

Work out as a couple. Grab your partner and join any of the group runs in the city, like Philadelphia Runner, which meets on Thursdays, or Chasing Trail, which meets every Sunday. If you’re more into flowing than jogging, try a romantic partner yoga class for $60 per couple at Synergy by Jasmine in Manayunk. Or spring for a ballroom or salsa dance class at Society Hill Dance Academy.

Explore the Square. Franklin Square reopens for the year on March 1, and there are few better date nights than riding the Parx Liberty Carousel and then sipping a shake at SquareBurger.

Dates for Foodies

Warm up with some ramen. We’re a bit skeptical of the groundhog’s early spring prediction, so hunkering down inside seems like a good idea, at least for now. What better way to stay warm than with a big bowl of noodles? Try an old favorite like Terakawa in Chinatown, or a newcomer like Instagram pop-up turned brick-and-mortar store Neighborhood Ramen in Queen Village.

Try a (healthy) cooking class. Here’s your chance to see how you work as a team. Sign up for a cooking class at COOK and learn how to make sushi, vegan cuisine, or Southern favorites from a rotating roster of the city’s finest chefs. Classes fill up quickly, so plan ahead for this one.

Eat your way down the Avenue. East Passyunk Avenue Restaurant Week returns on February 25th and lasts through March 8th. Take a stroll down the famous stretch and check out participating restaurants, like Izumi Philly, Townsend, or Noord at a discounted price. Three-course meals cost $15, $25, or $35 per person, depending on the eatery.

Indulge in the other kind of brew. Skip the brewery and head to the coffee shop instead. (Unless you’re our frantic friend; she’s out of luck.) Bring your date to one of Philly’s newest cafes, like the lovely Shakespeare & Co. on Walnut Street for La Colombe brews and pastries or Caffè Vienna’s on South 20th Street for Italian espresso and sandwiches.

Dates to See the Arts

Have a laugh. Good Good Comedy Theatre hosts a variety of comedy shows, ranging from $5 to $15, nearly every night. Plus, once the show lets out, you’ll have your choice of late-night eats in Chinatown. Keep up with the theater’s extensive calendar of events here.

Dance to live music. Chatting over your mutual love of indie rock or classical tunes is one of the best ways to bond with your new love. So why not see your favorite artist live? May we suggest Meek Mill at the Met Philadelphia on March 15th or 16th?

Go to a film festival. Skip the blockbusters and check out the Women’s Film Festival from March 14th through 23rd or qFLIX, the city’s only LGBTQ film festival, from March 25th through 31st.

Take in Tony Award–winning theater. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time comes to the Walnut Street Theatre for select dates between March 12th and April 28th. Grab dinner before the show at Barra Rossa for an Italian meal (with plenty of gluten-free options), and show your ticket for a 15 percent discount.

Perhaps Our Favorite Date 

Snuggle with adoptable cats. Looking to take your relationship to the next level by adopting your first fur baby? Head to Kawaii Kitty Cafe to cuddle to your heart’s content. All of the cats at the cafe are adoptable through PAWS — just ask for an application. Make reservations for an hour in the cat lounge here.

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