The 28 Most Romantic Date Ideas Around Philadelphia
Get our weekly picks of what to do this weekend and the latest on Philly's arts and entertainment scene.
You’ve been stuck in the house for months on end, thanks to the pandemic, which we’re guessing hasn’t been … great for your love life. If you’re sick of endlessly watching TikTok videos and doomscrolling Twitter, you and your significant other have plenty to choose from when it comes to planning a fun (and safe) get together. Here’s a list of 28 ideas to help keep date night extra special for you and your quarantine sweetheart.
At-Home Date Ideas
Ready-Made Game Night
Looking to switch up your traditional game night? Thirsty Dice Board Game Café is now offering to deliver your favorite games, paired with wings, sandwiches or one of their 11 specialty milkshakes. For an even more hands-on experience, purchase a Thirsty Dice at-home meal kit to prepare from the comfort of your own kitchen.
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Virtual Distillery Tour & Classes
Sit back, relax and enjoy a cocktail-filled Valentine’s Day from your home with a virtual tour of the Philadelphia Distilling Company. Want to learn to be an at-home master mixologist? Purchase a bartending kit and register for one of their upcoming cocktail mixing classes starting at $55.
Make Your Own Candle
If you’ve become slightly obsessed with making your home feel all cozy with candles during the pandemic, then this is your utopia. Paddywax Candle Bar in Center City West combines a coffee bar, gift shop, and of course candles into a cute oasis. Pop in for a quick pour or to purchase a customizable candle making kit to take a virtual DIY workshop from home.
Painting with a Pottery Twist
This Main Line BYOB promises to provide guests with an enjoyable environment to bring their creative pieces to life. The Mudroom Studio is a paint-your-own art space where you can design your own plates, ornaments, figurines and more, and they’re currently offering pottery kits to-go. Alternatively, visit Germantown’s ARTrageous Brush & Flow for an at-home paint kit or to schedule a virtual Paint & Passion date night.
DIY Meal Kits
Sure, you’ve probably done more cooking at home in the last year than ever before, and you may be sick of the sight of your own kitchen. But thankfully, some Philly restaurants are helping us spice things up with at-home meal kits. From Wood Street’s make-it-yourself pizza to Baology’s DIY potstickers, you can browse some cheffy options here.
Outdoor Adventure Date Ideas
With more than 270 sculptures spaced out across 42-acres, Grounds for Sculpture is the joy of an art gallery date taken to the outdoors. For nearly 20 years, this New Jersey hidden gem has served as a place where gorgeous art and picturesque nature complement one another. After you work up an appetite hiking the grounds, head to Rat’s Restaurant to dine outdoors (make sure to make a reservation). It’s one of the region’s most romantic places to dine, and the setting is inspired by Claude Monet’s impressionistic paintings.
If you are already a member of Philadelphia’s robust biking community, this is no news to you. For anyone new here, bikes still exist, they’re a great socially distant activity, and Philly is home to a number of cycling-friendly amenities. The Schuylkill River Trail offers miles of road for you and your favorite person to explore, and there’s plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat along the way.
You might be looking for an outdoor activity that involves minimal sweating. If that’s the case, this next date idea is perfect for you. Forbidden Drive is hiking trail that provides littles resistance but a large reward. If you walk the extent of the Wissahickon Valley Park trail, you’ll end up at the Valley Green Inn, which has heated outdoor dining, a water-front view, brunch and, most importantly, mimosas.
The pandemic has been financially draining to many. If you’re searching for a budget-friendly activity, look no further than the Ben Franklin Bridge. The bridge’s south side walkway allows for a toll-free view of the city. (Before you head out, grab a cup of hot chocolate from the Franklin Fountain in Old City to keep you warm.)
If unexplainable natural occurrences are your thing, then grab a hammer and head to Ringing Rock Park in Upper Black Eddy. There, a seven-acre rock field in an otherwise wooded area, is home to rocks that when struck, ring like bells. Feel free to attempt to recreate the tune of your favorite song, but whatever you do, don’t remove the rocks. (It’s prohibited, and pointless as the stones lose their ringing ability once taken away from the other rocks.)
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Explore the beauty of the season at Longwood Gardens in Chester County. The 1,000-plus-acre botanical garden consists of 10 indoor and outdoor stops, including a new exhibit, Voices in the Landscape, which spotlights the “strength, resilience, and contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture and the power of story.” Before you go, stop by the Café for sandwiches, soups, desserts and the like.
Go wander with a purpose during a self-guided scavenger hunt in Fairmont Park. Participants will download the GooseChase App and compete in a park-wide game that includes 80 missions and challenges and photo opportunities. Play for a chance to win weekly prizes and the grand prize, a $35-level membership to Fairmont Park Conservancy.
Get out of the city for a bit by heading to this destination brewery. What first started as a pop-up summer beer garden by Levante Brewing Company is now a permanent fixture in Chester Springs serving beer, local wines, and hard ciders. Head to the outdoor beer garden at Levante Stables to drink near some fire pits and a restored barn that dates back to the 1800’s.
Artsy and Educational Date Ideas
The Curtis Institute of Music’s alumni include Eric Owens, Lang Lang, and Leonard Bernstein, to name a few. And this Rittenhouse Square conservatory, which has hosted free student recitals for years, is returning with virtual performances starting February 12th. Recitals are free for the public; just register and you will receive a link to stream online.
Now that museums have reopened, it’s possible to once again book a ticket to Wonderspaces’ 24,000-square-foot gallery inside the Fashion District (limited capacity, social distancing, and face masks are enforced). The space features interactive art from creators around the world. New this season is “Akousmaflore,” a hanging plant installation that creates sound when touched and “Thank You Bags,” a set of over-scaled art pieces that force visitors to consider the environmental impacts of plastic bag use.
If there’s one thing we learned during the lockdown of 2020, it’s that activities like coloring are not just for kids. And the Franklin Institute’s Crayola IDEAworks exhibit, open February 13th, is perfect place to unleash your inner Picasso. (Advance ticket purchases are required for all guests; lower capacity and mask wearing is enforced.) If the past year of pandemic has sparked a new interest in the human body and how it works, check out The Mütter Museum’s and its array of medical artifacts, plus an exhibit dedicated to infections called, of course, “Going Viral.” Advance tickets, face masks, social distancing, and limited capacities are all required.
A Walk to Remember
Philadelphia is the birthplace of our nation and The Constitutional Walking Tour provides participants with a chance to experience some of the city’s historic landmarks. On the tour, you’ll hear dramatic retellings of stories featuring the individuals responsible for creating America. There’s also a three-mile self-guided option that starts and ends at the National Constitution Center on Arch Street. It includes stops at the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Betsy Ross’ house.
Cemeteries may be a bit creepy, but they’re also beautiful and full of history. Download the Laurel Hill Cemetery mobile app and take a self-guided tour following one of three themes: Art & Architecture, Pop Culture & Contemporary Stories, or Lore & Legends. After, head up the road to La Roca in Manayunk (outdoor dining is available) for tacos and margaritas — your nerves will need it!
Romantic Date Ideas
Maybe you’ve gone in on a couples massage before, but have you ever booked out a pool near the top of a skyscraper for a night of massages, a bottle of Dom, a three-course meal, and soaking in the views until 1 a.m.? Well, now you can at Four Seasons Philadelphia.
Dinner and Chill
a.kitchen + bar is taking dinner dates to the next level by turning their studio, one- or two-bedroom suites into full-service private dining spaces for a three-course meal. And if you’re looking to take the typical movie night up a notch, you can also reserve and watch a film in the building’s seven-seat private theater.
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Book Your Own Bookstore
Dine among some of your favorite novels at a Kensington bookstore with a private dinner and browsing experience designed for two. The Head and The Hand bookstore offers couples a safe and fun outing with an opportunity to buy out the store for the night, BYOF (bring your own food), browse privately, and take 15 percent off any purchase at the end of your date. There’s also complimentary beer or wine, plus one free book that’s yours to keep.
Looking to spice things up after months inside during lockdown? Book a private one-hour shopping session at the Velvet Lily in Midtown Village. A $300 deposit is required, and the fee goes towards a $500 spending minimum. With the shop’s lavish collection of X-rated gifts, you are sure to find something to bring you out of those quarantine blues.
Drive-in and Enjoy
Escape the city to enjoy a classic American pastime. Parking Lot Theaters, located outside the Exton Mall, reopens February 12th and allows guests to bring their own movie snacks or to purchase food from their cash-free concession stand. Just tune your car’s radio to the FM station broadcasting the film’s audio and enjoy a socially distant movie night from the car. Tickets start at $32 and you can reserve a parking spot at the time of purchase.
Turn your date night into an Instagrammable escape. The Inn at Bowman’s Hill is a quiet, romantic B&B located in the heart of Bucks County. Alternatively, book a driveable weekend getaway to a tiny house or farm or rent a cozy cabin near some great hikes for a weekend spent in the great outdoors.
Sporty Date Ideas
Hit the Driving Range
You may think golf is boring, but Topgolf in Mount Laurel incorporates smart technology (and a food and drink menu, delivered to your private driving range pod) to make the whole thing a lot more fun with interactive games even golf newbies can enjoy.
Apparently, one of the earliest disc golf courses is located right here in Fairmount Park: Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course. Grab your partner, a stack of golf discs, and have fun trying to make your way through the picturesque wooded course.
Let’s Get Physical
Go show your body some love at this female-only workout studio. Designed as a “space where women can confidently reach their fitness goals,” Women’s World Gym offers individual and group workout classes. Don’t worry fellas, owner Whitney Blaylock allows men in once a week for an hour. Masks required!
Though the batting cages at the Yard at South Bowl are currently closed, we’ve got our fingers crossed they’ll reopen come spring, so we can spend the evenings sipping brews, taking a whack at the fast pitch, and maybe even playing a round of horseshoes.
Originally published as “Philadelphia in Love” in the February 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine. Updated with additional reporting by Madison Cassel and Grace Maiorano.