19 Great Philly Dates To Go On Right Now
It’s tough out there, so let's make things a bit easier.
Sure, the pandemic has dramatically altered the way we date (so long, bars; hello picnics!), but as we well know, love prevails. As with most aspects of life, we’ve adapted and made safety precautions -- and the local dating scene is far from dead. Whether you’ve been swiping up a storm during quarantine or are looking to spend some quality time with bae outside of your respective apartments, look no further than this pandemic-approved list of Philly date ideas.
While indoor performances are still on pause, Punch Line Philly, the comedy venue across from The Fillmore, has resumed shows on its outdoor patio. Renowned standups like Marlon Wayans will perform multiple socially distanced sets to ensure everybody gets a chance to get in on the laughs. Be prepared to wear your mask at all times except when eating and drinking -- and if you’re bringing a bag, it’s got to be clear or the size of your hand.
With picnic tables, a food truck, and jolly bartenders, the beer garden at Philadelphia Brewing Company has all the makings for a perfect date. Wear your mask when you go to order your Kenzinger or Working Cat (either inside or outside) and enjoy the relative ambiance of Frankford Ave away from the bustling Fishtown corridor. Then, take some six packs to go for a nightcap.
Kick it old school with a picnic in the parkVarious locations
Think about it: There’s nothing more romantic than spreading out a blanket in a field of grass and eating sandwiches with someone you find attractive. Luckily, Philly is home to many walkable, picnicable parks -- Rittenhouse Square Park, Washington Square Park, Penn Treaty Park, Fairmount Park, Clark Park, Schuylkill Banks, to name a few. Build your picnic, either with homemade items, or pick up some hoagies and charcuterie from Liberty Kitchen, cheese and meats from Di Bruno Bros, or just grab an entire pizza and go to town.
Pick your own apples (and look cute doing it)Various locations
It’s prime apple picking season and there are a handful of local orchards within an hour’s drive of the city. Linvilla Orchards is great for apple picking, harvest hayrides, and a drink in their on-site beer garden while Brecknock Orchard, although a little bit further of a drive, has apples, pumpkins, and sunflowers available for harvest. The selfies practically take themselves.
Catch a flick without leaving your carVarious locations
Our favorite throwback activity of the pandemic is drive-in movie theaters -- and they happen to be stellar for dates, no matter what stage of your relationship. In the city, you’ve got the Philadelphia Film Society’s pop-up theater in the Navy Yard showing contemporary indie and big budget flicks for up to 200 cars, and only a short drive away is the Delsea Drive-In in Vineland, New Jersey, a local staple since 1949.
Take a guided tour at the Magic GardensWashington Square West
It’s hard to miss the gorgeous mosaic instillation when you’re walking down South Street (it spans half the block), but you’ll learn the full story behind Philly’s Magic Garden on a self-guided tour. (Just make sure you reserve your tickets ahead of time, wear your mask, and keep distance between other parties.) Immerse yourself and your date into the labyrinth of mirrors, found objects, and glass bottle installations for just $15 each.
Take in the great outdoors on a scenic hikeVarious locations
Perfect for nearly any time of year, and a super safe socializing option, is the tried and true hike. The Philly area is home to plenty of nearby trails, like the Lehigh Gorge Trail in Jim Thorpe, Pinnacle Trail in Hamburg, and the always solid Wissahickon Valley Park just minutes away. There are plenty of opportunities to show your beau you’re down to get dirty.
Bundle up for winter garden strolls at Longwood GardensKennett Square
Longwood Gardens is a solid date idea even when you have to wear jackets. In the fall, you’ve got chrysanthemums and their storied holiday display opens up in the wintertime. Beyond the seasonal joys, Longwood is charming well into the winter with blooming orchids and lovely pines. It’s a refined kind of date experience. Just remember to book your ticket ahead of time (no walk-up ticketing) and wear a mask if you’re indoors or can’t keep physical distance.
Orchestrate your own DIY beer tastingAnywhere!
Gone are the days of actually needing to visit a brewery to get a beer tasting. Set up your kitchen for the ultimate at-home beer tasting experience with mixed to-go six packs from some of the city’s top breweries like Evil Genius (it’s got a seasonal four-pack available for pickup for $20) and Love City Brewing (its mixed six pack runs $15). Pour a little of each beer into a glass, set a spread of snacks, and sip away.
Hang with the fishies at the Adventure AquariumCamden, New Jersey
Sure, it seems a little kiddish to hang at the aquarium, but Camden’s Adventure Aquarium features a huge tunnel where sharks swim around you (trippy), friendly hippos (cute), and stingray petting (wild). So, yeah, you might be some of the oldest child-less people there, but it’ll be worth it. Required advanced ticket purchasing and mask wearing only adds to the sexiness.
Fill up on ramenMultiple locations
Warm up your cold soul with a steaming hot bowl of ramen. Take your pick from a number of stellar noodle spots, available for carryout and outdoor dining, like Tomo Sushi and Ramen, Cheu Noodle Bar, Terakawa Ramen, and Nom Nom Ramen
for a meal that’s sure to put you in enough of a food coma that you’ll want to head home for some cuddles ASAP. Pro tip: Get your meals to-go and skip right to the cuddling.
Treasure hunt at the Phila Flea MarketsBristol Park Shopping Center
Hosted in Bucks County on weekends, this outdoor flea market is awesome for scoring eclectic trinkets and Philly-specific finds. Grab a morning coffee and head there early when the pickings are best. Bring cash, weave your way through tons of vendors, and impress your date with your haggling skills. Masks and social distancing are required.
Do a tour and tasting in wine countryMultiple locations
Whisk your date away to Pennsylvania wine country for a day trip -- you’ll need a car, but beautiful rolling hills and delicious grape juice (the fun kind) are just a short ride from Philly. Head to the acclaimed Chaddsford Winery (a 45-minute drive) and enjoy a traditional wine tasting. Wineries along the Bucks County Wine Trail (about an hour drive) are also open for tastings -- just make a reservation ahead of time and wear your mask prior to being seated.
Take a few laps around Philly’s ice skating rinksVarious locations
There’s only one thing to do when it gets too cold to drink outside: Do an outside activity to forget it’s so cold. Philly’s all about seasonal hangs with the Rothman Orthopedics Rink at Dilworth Park -- complete with a cabin serving wintry cocktails, beer, and snacks. Be sure to also check out the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest for fire pits, games, and bites from Chickie’s and Pete’s and Franklin Fountain. Strap on a pair of ice skates (don’t worry, you can rent them there) and get romantic. (And, of course, wear your masks.)
Spend an afternoon at Yards BreweryNorthern Liberties
With its Spring Garden location that boasts a warehouse-meets-biergarten vibe and new, expanded outdoor seating area, Yards Brewing Company is now equipped with nearly 20 beers on tap, a full kitchen, game day tables, and plenty of room for social distancing.
Eat your way around the city by footVarious locations
For a date you’ll both savor, get a real taste of Philadelphia on a City Foods Tour. From Flavors of Philly (oh, there will be cheesesteaks) to tours highlighting the stellar eateries on East Passyunk, you’ll walk the city and indulge your taste buds at some of Philly’s best family-owned hidden gems. Each delectable outing runs two to three hours. Come hungry for knowledge as well -- you’ll get a rich history lesson, and some architectural sightseeing along the way. Masks are required for all guests, except when you’re eating or drinking. Want to make the experience even more romantic? Try a self-guided tour, just the two of you.
Bike along the Schuylkill River (and beyond)Various locations
Feeling active and exploratory? Rent bikes together and pedal along the city’s waterfront in a self-guided tour. Start your journey on the road less traveled at the Schuylkill Banks; pass the scenic Boathouse Row, ride along the river, under historic bridges, and take in some public art along the way. Keep going towards the Manayunk Canal Towpath lined with old rail lines and wildlife, then ride straight through Valley Forge National Historical Park. The open air is perfect for pandemic safety and the exercise isn’t bad, either.
Central Jersey’s sculpture park, Grounds for Sculpture, has re-opened with timed ticketing, masking when entering and when social distancing is not feasible, and outdoor dining. The main attraction, though, is more than 400 works of contemporary sculpture, like Seward Johnson’s incredibly realistic human statues and Elizabeth Strong-Cuevas’ large aluminum arch.
Probably not great for a first date, but if you and your longtime sweetie are looking to get out of town for a night, Lokal Hotel’s secluded A-Frame is ideal for cozy cabin vibes and enviable Instagrams. With a fully stocked kitchen, hot tub, and comfy couches, make staying in feel stylish.
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