Great Cheap Dates in Philadelphia
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.