Make Your Love Flourish with the Best Date Ideas in Philly

Love is always in the air in the City of Brotherly Love.

Best Date Ideas in Philly
Photo credit: Matt Stanley, photo courtesy of Delaware River Waterfront
Photo credit: Matt Stanley, photo courtesy of Delaware River Waterfront

Love is technically always in the air in the City of Brotherly Love, but certain times of year definitely feel more romantic. The depths of winter beg for cozy cocktails (preferably around a fireplace romantic restaurants) while summertime is for stripping down to your skivvies and taking a dip in a pool. We’d be remiss if we forgot some of the dreamiest transitional season dates: Admiring fall foliage in autumn and the blooming cherry blossoms come spring.

Whether you’re newly paired or longtime loves, Philly has plenty of options for exciting date nights beyond dinner and drinks. Grab your plus one and get ready for some adventurous loving, here are the best date ideas in Philadelphia.

Best Date Ideas in Philly
Photo courtesy of My Local Brew Works

Drinking Date Ideas in Philly

February 9–10
Old City, $25
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your sweetie at the Betsy Ross House. Learn about a young Betsy Ross who eloped with a dude who didn’t adhere to her Quaker religion. A scandal! Your ticket comes with a cocktail, too so you’ll be learning and tippling.

February 18, 3 pm
Wilmington, $75
The ritzy Hotel Du Pont hosts an afternoon tea for adults the weekend after Valentine’s Day. Not only can couples sip on warm tea, but cocktails will be flowing, too. As per tea time tradition, expect those cute little sandwiches (Smoked Salmon, Duck Roulade, Lobster & Avocado, and Venison Roulade), Pina Colada and Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Scones, and wee macarons, cupcakes, and tarts.

Frankford, $120
Nothing says love like a custom beer. My Local Brew Works offers couples the opportunity to make a one-of-a-kind beer with founders Tim Montague and Wayne Humphrey as well as George Hummel, brewing mentor and grain master. First you’ll talk through the beer’s theme, style, recipe, quantity, labeling, pricing, and scheduling ahead of time. On the day-of, you’ll get a tour of the brewery and learn about hops, grain bill, yeast selection, aroma sampling and the mashing process. Watch as the pros brew your beer from start to finish, plus sample other custom brews the team has on hand. The cost of the session includes the brewing, beer tastings, food, and My Local Brew Works swag.

Callowhill, Free entry
It’s all love at Poison Heart, the moody watering hole on Spring Garden. Perfect for hiding out with a new boo you’re not ready to hard launch yet, the bar has a number of romance-boosters on the menu, like oysters (chilled and crispy), cheese board, and appropriately-named cocktails like Flowers & Fire (fennel, cocchi, salers, sparkling wine) and No More Pain (overproof rum, Thai tea, coconut cream, nutmeg).

Rittenhouse, Free entry
With jewel toned interiors, dim mood lighting, and an almost speakeasy vibe, Andra Hem is the perfect spot for a romantic evening. Try the Scandinavian spirit aquavit in their Red Hatorade (aquavit, aperitivo, gin) or a fancier Manhattan in the Lambhattan (lamb washed bourbon, vermouth, bitters). If you’re feeling especially frisky, don’t miss the Bee-DSM Coretto (reposado tequila, espresso cordial, espresso, amaro whipped cream).

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

Outdoor Date Ideas in Philly

February 10, 1 pm
East Fairmount Park, $20
Nothing says love like a cemetery. Tour Laurel Hill Cemetery and learn about the eternal love stories of those buried on the grounds, including Mary Peterson, who’s heart (yup, just her heart) is buried at Laurel Hill.

February 14, 7 pm
Delaware River Waterfront, $27
Try not to get cold feet at Independence Blue Cross RiverRink’s annual Valentine’s Day skate. Slow jams will be blaring through the speakers while you and your honey glide around the NHL-sized rink. Off the ice, you can get competitive with boardwalk games, cozy up around a firepit, and sip on complementary hot chocolate.

Bella Vista, $15
This bi-level outdoor garden was meticulously adorned with handmade tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, mirrors, and international folk objects by artist Isaiah Zagar, dating back to 1991. This year, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens celebrates 20 years as a dedicated non-profit art space—and the location for many first dates. Take a self-guided tour and wander at your leisure, making sure to soak up the romance as you go.

Chestnut Hill, $12
What was once the private estate of a prominent local Quaker family (the Morrises, naturally) is now the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a part of the University of Pennsylvania. On the grounds is a Victorian-era rose garden, towering trees, natural meadows, and secluded areas perfect for romantic smooches.

Port Richmond, Free entry
An abandoned coal loading dock was transformed over decades into an unsanctioned public art project. Columns of concrete covered in colorful street art are the centerpiece here, standing in stark contrast to the natural elements of the Delaware River on which the pier sits. While technically private property slated to be transformed into a public park, the public can access the open air art show via a well-tread path behind a chain link gate off of Richmond Street.

Best Date Ideas in Philly
Photo courtesy of Libertee Grounds

Sports Date Ideas in Philly

February 10, 8 am
West Fairmount Park, $45
Try to outrun Cupid’s arrow at this 5 kilometer race through the Philadelphia Zoo. The course loops around the perimeter and past zoo exhibits like Bird Lake and Primate Reserve, so keep your eyes peeled for cute creatures. Just a heads up: The race is on rain or shine.

Francisville, Free entry
Show off your putt putt skills at this indoor mini golf course, which recently expanded to include another nine-holes (in addition to the nine holes they already had) and a golf simulator. The space boasts three bars—with dozens of craft beers on tap—an Asian-inspired food menu, and tons of Philly-focused art.

Various locations, Free
With over 50 miles of trails to choose from in East Falls, Germantown, Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, Roxborough, you and your love can really get lost in the woods—and each other’s eyes—while hiking in the Wissahickon. Clocking in at just under five and a half miles, Forbidden Drive is a popular, wide, and flat trail that spans the entire length of the park. You can access it via Northwestern Avenue Parking Area, the Forbidden Drive Upper Parking Lot on West Bells Mill Road, Valley Green Upper Lot, Valley Green Lower Lot North and South, Mt. Airy Avenue, Kitchen’s Lane Lot, and Blue Bell Field Trailhead. There are more difficult trails, like the Orange Trail and White Trail for more experienced pairs.

Various locations, $23
With five locations in the Philly area, Philadelphia Rock Gyms are the perfect spots for couples who want to take their relationship to new heights. Newbies can get in on a first-time climber package (including gear rentals and safety instructions) or take an Intro to Top Rope Class. Each location holds classes ranging from beginner techniques to advanced skills and equipment. If classes aren’t really your thing, experienced climbers can showcase their skills to the powers that be and bypass the intro stuff and get climbing.

Old City, Free
Take a scenic run (or stroll) with bae across the Ben Franklin Bridge and enjoy views of the Delaware River and the Camden and Philadelphia waterfronts. The bridge is a mile and a half one way and on lovely days you’ll definitely encounter fellow fitness enthusiasts taking in the sun and the scenery. You can access the walkway at 5th and Race streets in Philly or at 4th and Pearl streets in Camden.

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Allie Volpe is a contributor for Thrillist.