Forget Dinner: Try These Unique Valentine’s Day Dates

Ditch the prix-fixe circuit for active dates, crafty dates, Swiftie dates, and straight-up unhinged evenings as unconventional as your love.

Pink Elephant Valentine’s Day pop-up bar / Photograph by Laura Swartz

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and while there are countless restaurants with romantic meals sure to bring you and your beloved closer together (and you and your money further apart), that may not be what you’re all about this year. And, quite frankly, we love that for you. Celebrating your love means celebrating you, not some couple you’re supposed to be that gets dressed up and makes googly eyes at each other across a candlelit table while inches away from other couples who paid to do the same thing. If you’re looking for something outside-the-box for this year, we’ve got ideas.

And if your Valentine’s Day is more about celebrating love for your friends, your family or even your four-legged companions, we’ve got you covered there too.

Pink Elephant Pop-Up
The artist formerly known as Blume, formerly known as holiday pop-up White Elephant is now the Pink Elephant for Valentine’s Day. It’s not that deep — just a whole lot of pink, hearts, and cute photo ops. (Plus, specialty cocktails, obvs.) But the visuals are very well done for a pop-up like this. (They’re also keeping it going next month with the St. Paddy’s-themed “Green Elephant.” Really.)
Pay-as-you-go, through February 18th, 1500 Locust Street.

Taqueria Amor’s Taylor Swift Makeover
Coming off their Barbie and holiday pop-ups, Manayunk’s Taqueria Amor is going full Swiftie for February. They’ve got themed decor, cocktails, and plenty of love for BOTH Kelce brothers. You can even fill out a little heart to tape to the wall, and if you ask nicely there are even coloring sheets!
Pay-as-you-go, February 1st-25th, Taqueria Amor, 4410 Main Street.

An Improvised Rom-Com
Not Yet Rated holds their annual rom-com shows at Plays & Players this week. Using audience suggestion and improv, they’ll craft an original, hilarious love story on stage. “No script. No props. No idea what’s gonna happen.”
$18, February 8th-10th & 14th, Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place.

Tipsy History: A Love Story
Apparently, our very own Betsy Ross had quite a dramatic (for her day) romance: She eloped with her husband, John, and was condemned for marrying outside of her Quaker community. Hear about her love story, sip a cocktail, and go on a love-themed tour of the Betsy Ross House. Tours are 75 minutes, and advanced tickets are required.
$25, February 9th and 10th, 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street.

Tour Laurel Hill Cemetery
Laurel Hill Cemetery’s love-story tour (February 10th) was inspired by one of its … residents: Mary Peterson’s heart — just her heart — is buried with her first husband there. Till death do us part, indeed. $10-$20, Laurel Hill East, 3822 Ridge Avenue.

The following week, Laurel Hill’s “All Thorns, No Roses” tour at Bala Cynwyd’s Laurel Hill West is less rosy: It focuses on “stories about love lost, betrayed, or gotten with guise.” $9-$17, Laurel Hill West, 225 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd.

Valentine’s Hike + Meditation in Fairmount Park
Hike on the historic Trolley Trail (roughly two miles) along the Chamounix Creek, where you will meditate at the water’s edge, take in the sounds of nature, and make spontaneous music. Finally, gather at a picnic pavilion for a fireside celebration and snacks. Tickets available online.
$15, February 11th, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., meet at the Chamounix tennis courts at 50 Chamounix Drive.

Shine a Little Love at the Trestle Inn
On February 9th, the Trestle Inn will be celebrating Valentine’s weekend in style with a happy-hour dance party, “Shine a Little Love.” DJ Hardbargain and The Slinky Vagabond will spin “’70s smoochers and dance floor classics” on vinyl. There’s no cover, and there are $9 Valentine-themed drink specials.
No cover, pay-as-you-go; February 9th, 6-9 p.m. the Trestle Inn, 339 North 11th Street.

BYOB Happy Hour With Philly Goat Project
for something completely different (and cute), Philly Goat Project is hosting a BYOB happy hour at Awbury Arboretum where you can cuddle with goats, make s’mores around the fire, and even win hoof-made art in a raffle that supports PGP.
$35, February 10th, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Awbury Arboretum, 6336 Ardleigh Street.

Viktor’s Valentine at Lincoln Mill Haunted House
If the very prospect of Valentine’s Day just sounds terrifying to you, this is your event. Lean into the horror with a one-night-only pop-up event at Manayunk’s Lincoln Mill Haunted House. “Viktor’s Valentine: A Dark Love Story” is a (battery-powered) candlelight hunt that leads guests into a “blackout experience deep within the hidden chamber and rooms of the mill” featuring over 30 scare actors that will jump out at you and generally be creepy. All tickets include access before and after to the deck overlooking the Schuylkill River. Reserve your timeslot online.
$35 (or $65 per couple), February 10th, 6-10 p.m., Lincoln Mill Haunted House, 4100 Main Street.

Valentine’s Day Bash at Bok
KG Strong, the Craftship, Studio South Philly, Beehive, and Bok Bar are teaming up for a day of fun. Kick off the festivities with a partner strength class at KG Strong. Then, head over to the Craftship for adult crafts, along with drinks and snacks from Bok Bar. And if you’re looking for parents’ day out, Beehive will be offering on-site babysitting for $10 an hour.
$49, February 10th, noon-3 p.m., Bok Bar, 1901 South 9th Street.

Drag King Brunch
Celebrate love, diversity, and self-expression with a performance by Philly drag kings, hosted by Mister Right. Triple Bottom Brewing will serve a special menu featuring Jezabel’s.
$15-$25 (brunch is pay-as-you-go), February 11th, noon, Triple Bottom Brewing, 915 Spring Garden Street.

Heart Breakers Club from The International x Slow Drinks x Revivalist Spirits
Danny Childs will be teaching a couple’s cocktail class all about how to make seasonally inspired drinks using botanical ingredients and techniques featured in his recently released book, Slow Drinks. Your ticket includes cocktails, small bites, and a cocktail mixing kit from Revivalist Spirits.
$150 per couple, February 13th, 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., The International Bar, 1624 North Front Street.

Now + Then Marketplace’s Make Love Market Extravaganza
It’s a day of love at — where else? — LOVE Park! At 11 a.m., Mayor Cherelle Parker will be marrying couples at the statue. Then from noon to 5 p.m., over a dozen local vendors will be selling gifts (last-minute shoppers rejoice!). After that, enjoy a free performance. Finally, singles can sign up for a speed-dating event at 6 p.m.
Pay-as-you-go, February 14th, noon-8 p.m., LOVE Park, 15th and JFK.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day surrounded by art. / Photograph courtesy of the Barnes Foundation

Love, The Barnes: A Valentine’s Dinner Party
The Barnes Foundation is throwing a Valentine’s Day party including a cocktail bar and a seated Mediterranean-inspired dinner among the galleries. Guests will have a chance to wander the museum with a drink before dinner, too. Plus, take home some champagne truffles for a sweet nightcap.
$145, February 14th, 6-9 p.m., The Barnes Foundation ,2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Cider & Wine Tasting at Nosey Palate
Claire Trindle of Blind Bear Beverages and sommelier Kashief Butler of Nosey Palate will guide you through three ciders and three wines. Learn about the origin of the two fruits that make cider and wine, and the similarities and differences in tasting notes.
$65, February 18th, 2-3 p.m., Nosey Palate 1516 North 5th Street, number 213.

Fun and Games

valentine's day philly

Mini Golf with Love at Franklin Square for Valentine’s Day / Photograph by Cari Feiler Bender

Mini Golf With Love at Franklin Square
All February long, Franklin Square’s mini golf switches over to a Valentine’s Day theme called “Mini Golf With Love,” adding special decorations and music to the course’s Philly landmarks. Of course, you can still catch the Electrical Spectacle light show every 30 minutes beginning at 5 p.m. daily and running through 9 p.m. Then grab warm drinks and cocktails and cuddle around the fire pits.
$12-$15, Thursdays through Sundays through February 26th, Franklin Square, 6th and Race streets. 

Cupid’s Arrow Archery
If golf isn’t challenging enough, John Heinz Wildlife Refuge has free Cupid’s Arrow Archery the afternoon of Valentine’s Day. USA Archery-certified instructors will help you with the basics of archery. No registration or equipment is required, and families are welcome with kids ages eight and up. (For something more grown-up and private, plan ahead for a “Love & War” date night at Callowhill Archery.)
Free, February 14th, 4-6 p.m., John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, 8601 Lindbergh Boulevard.

Clay Dates
Both the Clay Studio ($150 per couple; 1425 North American Street) and YayClay ($250 per couple; 3237 Amber Street) have Valentine date nights with champagne, chocolate, and couple’s wheel-throwing throughout the week, even after Valentine’s Day itself, if that specific day doesn’t work for you. Check their calendars for availability.

Sweetheart Skate
Spend Valentine’s Day on the ice. Enjoy slow jams on the rink, sip a hot cocktail by the fire, and stroll along the thousands of sparkling lights with river views. Tickets include skating at Blue Cross RiverRink, a rose, a make-and-take craft and a keepsake photo. Your first hot chocolate is free; food, beer, and specialty cocktails can be purchased on site.
$27, February 14th, 7-11 p.m., Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 South Columbus Boulevard.

Photograph courtesy of Delaware River Waterfront Corporation / Blue Cross RiverRink.

Cookie Decorating Workshops
Enjoy some sweet treats with Bloomsday Cafe ($45) or Madison K Cookies ($75). Both have Valentine’s cookie-decorating workshops on February 10th, and both are appropriate for all ages, including kids!

Pillow Talk: Pillowcase Printing Workshop
Head to Fabric Workshop and Museum to screenprint your own pair of pillowcase covers. Each $70 ticket includes a set of pillowcases and a demonstration on how to screenprint using expressive monoprinting techniques with imagery inspired by Betye Saar’s “Takin’ a Chance on Luv.” BYOB; light refreshments will also be served.
$70 per couple, February 10th, 2:30- 4:30 p.m., The Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch Street.

Love Pong
Celebrate V-day one-on-one with a ping-pong show, tarot card readings, heart-shaped pizzas, specialty cocktails and more fun.
$65, February 10th, 8 p.m., SPIN Philadelphia, 211 South 15th Street.

Get Crafty With Fleisher Art Memorial
On February 10th, South Philly Time Capsule’s Sue Liedke hosts a special Valentine’s edition of MomMom Craft Night. Take a pic in their photo booth, then make it a frame with an assortment of vintage materials including ruffles, lace, and bits and pieces. Tickets are offered on a sliding scale from $15 to $35. The next day, Fleisher holds its annual Print Love-In event where people of all ages can make Valentines while exploring printmaking techniques, from block print to screenprint. The first two sessions of the day are open to families with kids ages five and up. The final two are adults-only (and BYOB). No experience necessary; artists will be there to help. Register online. $15-$30 (plus a $10 corkage fee per bottle), February 11th, sessions from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Fleisher Art Memorial, 705 Christian Street.

Valentine’s Day Wine Tasting and Mini Golf
Mural City Cellars is teaming up with Libertee Grounds for a four-course prix-fixe menu with wine pairings, followed by mini golf on their newly expanded indoor course. Reserve your timeslot online.
$85, February 14th, 5-10 p.m., Libertee Grounds, 1600 West Girard Avenue.

Special Galentine’s (and Palentine’s) Events

valentine's day cocktails

“Love Story Bomb” is one of many Taylor Swift-themed Valentine’s Day cocktails at The Cauldron. / Photograph courtesy of The Cauldron

Love Potions: Taylor’s Version
The Cauldron is so excited about Taylor’s new album announcement, new Kelce beau, and overall dominance that they’re showcasing an entire “Taylor’s Version” of their February Love Potions menu on Feburary 11th — that’s right, for the Super Bowl. Highlight drinks include The Tortured Poets (black and white dual shot “served in a heart-like vessel”), Wildest Dreams in the Dark, Tay-Trav shots, a color-changing cocktail (aptly named “Everything Has Changed”), and the bubbling Love Story Bomb, pictured above. From February 9th through February 18th, lovebirds and friends can also book love-potion-brewing experiences.
February 11th, The Cauldron, 1305 Locust Street.

Galentine’s Sip & Bloom
Caitlyn Augustyn of Fistful of Flowers will guide you in creating a beautiful ‘Little Jawn’ bouquet. Your $60 ticket includes flowers, supplies, and a complimentary cocktail. You can also BYOB. Snacks and desserts will be available for purchase as well.
$60, February 9th, 7 p.m., I Knead Coffee, 4600 Richmond Street.

Swiftie Galentine’s Tea-Blending Event
Using ingredients inspired by Taylor Swift’s albums, “from the vibrant hues of the Red album to the rustic, earthy notes of Evermore, to the romantic essence of Lover,” you’ll blend teas to sip and take home. The event also includes a friendship-bracelet station, as well as raffles to raise money for Women’s Way. Pre-registration is required online.
$125, February 10th and 11th, Mary Cassatt Tea Room at the Rittenhouse, 210 West Rittenhouse Square.

Galentine’s Day at Blue Cross RiverRink
Skate with your Galentine and enjoy themed cocktails, shopping at the Zen of Philly Market, and even add on candle-making workshop (tickets coming soon).
Pay-as-you-go, February 10th, 2-10 p.m., Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 South Columbus Boulevard.

Spirited Friendship: Pal-entine’s Day Cocktail Tasting
Dining and beverage manager, Joshua Scheid, will feature three spirits — crafted by duos and friends to celebrate the importance of friendship — and guide you through making three cocktails featuring them. Tickets also include snacks, and an engraved cocktail glass and “just-add-booze” kit to make one of the event’s cocktails at home.
$100, February 11th, 3 p.m. & 5 p.m., Rex at the Royal, 1524 South Street.

Galentine’s Day at Stratus Lounge
A live “Pink Lady” cocktail demo will show how to put a modern twist on this classic drink. You’ll also decorate your wine glass, and enjoy snacks and a complimentary cocktail.
$35, February 13th, 5-8 p.m., Stratus Lounge, 433 Chestnut Street.

Ex Files StorySlam
First Person Arts hosts their annual slam to take away the Valentine’s Day blues. Take the stage to share your true, personal story about love lost and found — and everything in between — in five minutes or less. Comic Lamarr Todd, a “mystery guest judge,” and an audience judge will score the stories — the winner takes home $100.
$15, February 14th, 8 p.m., Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street.

Pawlentine’s … or, For the Pups

Valentine’s Day is for doggies, too. / Photograph by Nataliya Vaitkevich

If we can have something called Palentine’s Day, I’m taking it a step further and declaring Pawlentine’s Day. Because love is fur-ever and life without your canine companion would be ruff. Here’s how to celebrate your furry friends.

Valentine’s Party at Pet Friendly Dog Bakery
Get your pup’s pic taken and make your own frame for it, enjoy complimentary “puptinis” and treats, and let your dog explore indoor and outdoor play areas.
Free, February 10th, 2-3 p.m., Pet Friendly, 4324 Main Street.

Pup-entine Treat Decorating
Pet Friendly Dog Bakery is setting up shop at The Boozy Mutt to help you decorate the perfect Valentine’s Day treat for your pup. No reservations necessary, just show up and have fun.
$6 for one treat or $10 for two treats, February 12th, 4 p.m., The Boozy Mutt, 2639 Poplar Street.

Puppy Love Photo Sessions at The Boozy Mutt
Get portraits of your pup at Fairmount’s newest dog-friendly bar. B Philly Photography is setting up mini-sessions with Valentine’s props. Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is strongly suggested.
$99-$225, February 18th, 1-5 p.m., The Boozy Mutt, 2639 Poplar Street.