Philadelphia

The Most Fun Philly Dates To Go On Right Now

Here’s how to warm up this winter.

As we all know—and have probably experienced firsthand—a special kind of love is always in the air in Philly. It may not look like your standard definition of love, but it’s love all the same, we assure you. While the pandemic still rages around us and considerably impacts the way we date, you can still get romantic with the one(s) you love and lust this Valentine’s Day and beyond. From dreamy getaways to indulgent takeout, here’s how to warm up this winter with bae.

Book a room for in-suite dining

Various locations
For indoor dining with a tinge of exclusivity and a heaping dose of romance, a handful of hotels in the region are opening up their suites for private dinners this winter. At AKA Rittenhouse Square, enjoy a three-course meal from a.kitchen’s chef Eli Collins in the privacy of one of the suites, delivered right to your door room service-style (plus a movie screening). In University City, AKA teams up with Walnut Street Cafe for an in-room dining experience also featuring a three-course meal in the comfort of the high-end suite. Wilmington’s Hotel Du Pont’s new restaurant Le Cavalier is offering multi-course French-inspired dinners for either a three-hour dinner block or dinner and an overnight stay. Booking a private room for dinner at the Hotel Monaco gets you three courses from Red Owl Tavern, a bottle of wine, and a movie.  Designed with minimal interaction with staff and lots of privacy, you can still enjoy a night out for V-day while maintaining social distance.

Bundle up and grab a bite at the city’s cutest streeteries

Various locations
There’s nothing more charming than all of the streeteries that have popped up to accommodate outdoor dining. Even though indoor dining is permitted and, well, it’s winter, an outdoor date is not only safer but a great way to break the ice—pun intended. Some of the city’s cutest outdoor enclosures include Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, with their wood-fired pizzas and pastas under a sturdy roof; high-end French at Parc in chalet-style environs; and the can’t-miss Yurt village at Philly’s top-rated Israeli restaurant Zahav.
 

Make heart eyes at bae in a candlelit bookstore

The Head and The Hand
Kensington bookstore The Head and The Hand is giving couples the opportunity to book the entire store for 90 minutes for a BYOFood and book browsing date night. Shop owners will curate a special playlist, decorate the shop in mood lighting, and treat you with wine or beer to get the mood flowing. Plus, get a discount on any books you decide to purchase at the end of the evening.

Keep it intimate with takeout dinner for just the two of you

Home
Nothing says “I love you” like a fancy meal for two in your own apartment. Skip all the hubbub and recreate a restaurant experience at home, courtesy of spectacular V-day deals from your fave restaurants. Garces Trading Company is offering three Valentine’s packages including breakfast (Quiche! Breakfast burritos! French toast!), a three-course tasting menu (lavish your love with duck lyonnaise and grilled beef tenderloin), and dinner from Amada (lots of Spanish tapas). Over at Abe Fisher, order chicken or smoked short ribs for two, plus challah and spreads, salad, matzo ball soup, and macaroons. Perla’s dinner for two options include a whole fish meal, half chicken, and fried pork shank (plus rice and veggies). Don’t miss Suraya’s tasting menu for two, featuring their incredible baba ganoush, barbecued meats, and pastries. Fill up on Laser Wolf’s dinner for two, choosing from options of kebabs, whole branzino, braised short ribs, whole chicken or dry aged ribeye, complete with all the fixings of hummus, pita, and salatim. Be a heart-eyes emoji over five courses to-go from Talula’s Daily, featuring lobster risotto, short rib, and more. The Wayward’s popular seafood tower is available to-go for those who enjoy lobster, mussels, nicoise tartare, and more.
 

Bond over love and art

Online 
While you won’t be able to take the Mural Arts’ Love Letters tour in person this year, artist Steve ESPO Powers—the creative mind behind all 50 lovey rooftop murals—hosts a virtual Valentine’s Day event. Powers will discuss the stories behind the murals and how they were created, plus attendees will get a special limited edition Steve Powers’ designed gift and be entered to win a framed limited run print of his new Love Letter in West Philly. (Or, tune into a non-Powers led virtual tour on February 12.)
 

Learn about Betsy Ross the romantic

Betsy Ross House
Not historically known for her romantic gestures, learn about Betsy Ross’ elopement at a love-themed tour and history lesson at the Betsy Ross House in Old City. The limited capacity, masked 90-minute tours will culminate in a walk to Art In The Age for a chocolate cocktail. You must book your ticket ahead of time for one of the three start times on both Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13.

Kick it old school with a picnic in the park

Various 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.

Take in the great outdoors on a scenic hike

Various 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 Gardens

Kennett 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 tasting

Anywhere!
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 Aquarium 

Camden, 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 ramen

Multiple 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 Markets 

Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Hosted in Chester County on weekends through April, this indoor-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 country

Various 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 wine and chocolate pairing. 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 rinks

Various 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 Brewery

Northern 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 foot

Various 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.

Wander through Grounds For Sculpture

Hamilton, New Jersey
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.

Decamp to the woods and stay in an A-frame

Dorchester, New Jersey
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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Allie Volpe is a contributor for Thrillist.
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