Great Cheap Dates in Philadelphia

When you need to impress for less.

The Chocolate Cafe in Shane Confectionery. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

The Chocolate Cafe in Shane Confectionery. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

1. The Franklin Special

How apt that this Founding Father-themed date would go easy on the budget. (A penny saved … ) Stroll across the Ben Franklin Bridge’s southside walkway, enjoy the (toll-free) view of the city, and then warm up with hot chocolate at the Franklin Fountain spin-off Shane Confectionery. Shane Confectionery, Old City, 215-922-1048.

2. Beer, Beer, Beer

Yards Brewing Company, that venerable NoLibs beer mecca, offers free 30-minute tours on Saturdays and Sundays that include a couple samples of the signature ales, like Love Stout, which was just released in bottles. (Get there by 2:30 p.m. to guarantee a spot.) Afterward, retreat to the Yards Tasting Room for $5 pints and noshes from a rotating lineup of food trucks. Northern Liberties, 215-634-2600.

3. Highbrow, No Cost

Since the Curtis Institute of Music opened its doors in 1924, every student — from Leonard Bernstein to Lang Lang — has performed in the school’s free recitals, held mostly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 to 10 p.m. Show up 15 minutes early for prime mid-center seats; piano aficionados, sit to the left for the best view. Rittenhouse, 215-893-7902.

4. BYO Twizzlers

Every Monday night, the Trocadero transforms from mosh-pit mecca to a movie house where you can catch hits like Gone Girl and throwback crowd-pleasers like Die Hard. Three bucks gets you in and is credited toward a drink or snack — cheaper than an on-demand rental, and a lot more fun. Chinatown, 215-922-6888.

5. Ring the Rocks

If you have a penchant for the slightly geeky, head north on 611 to Ringing Rocks County Park, where you’ll find an expanse of rocks that ring like bells when you whack ’em. Bring a hammer, bang out a tune, and speculate about the phenomenon’s origin. (Ice Age anomaly? Supernatural playground?) On the way home, stop at the Sand Castle Winery for a $15 cellar tour and tasting. Ringing Rocks County Park, Upper Black Eddy, 215-757-0571; Sand Castle Winery, Erwinna, 800-722-9463.

6. Bluegrass and Booze

Want Kanye-level exclusivity on a Kenzo budget? Above an Ethiopian restaurant in West Philly is Fiume, a damn-near-authentic speakeasy with no phone number, website or signage. Settle in on Thursdays for live bluegrass by the Citywide Specials ($5 cover charge) and the drink deal for which they’re christened — $5 for a Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of whiskey. University City.

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