It might seem like every other boozer in Philadelphia is the kind of place where you’ll end up making bad decisions, but there are actually places where you can fall in love (and no, we don’t mean with your brother) everywhere you look. So where do you go when you’ve found Mr./Mrs. Right, or at least someone who also swiped right? We picked the best date spot in 15 Philly neighborhoods to help you decide just that...
Water Works Restaurant & Lounge (address and info)
Located in close proximity to another romantic place -- the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- Water Works offers killer views of the Schuylkill River and Boathouse Row paired with high-end Mediterranean cuisine.
Avenue of the Arts
XIX (NINETEEN) (address and info)
It’s all in the view. XIX features one of the best views of the city from its location at the top of the Bellevue, and it doesn’t hurt that the seafood-heavy menu is just as stunning as the cityscape.
Townsend (address and info)
The upscale French cuisine featured on Townsend’s three-course menu has romance packed in every bite, from bacon-sherry escargot to perfectly seasoned scallops.
Eastern State Penitentiary (address and info)
Only in Philly would we consider a former prison to be romantic... but, nonetheless, it is. The imposing structure sits like an eerie castle in the middle of Fairmount, and what better excuse does your date need for clinging to you than hearing Steve Buscemi’s audio tour?
Kensington Quarters (address and info)
This Frankford Ave restaurant offers a rotating menu of the freshest meats and locally sourced eats. Opt for a candlelit table by the back windows on the first floor and enjoy.
Charlie Was a Sinner. (address and info)
Vegan food and killer cocktails come together for romance perfection in this dimly lit Midtown spot. The interior is decked out with luxurious tufted sofas where you can sip the special Charlie’s Punch with your arm around your date.
Jake’s & Cooper’s Wine Bar (address and info)
Jake’s is a nice change from the usual beer-centric haunts you’ll find on Main St, instead offering wines from around the world that pair perfectly with whatever you opt for on the menu, whether it’s Neapolitan pizza or tuna tartare.
Amada (address and info)
It’s impossible not to have a great meal at this Jose Garces tapas joint, which lends itself to romance with dim lighting and small plates that will make your date think you like sharing, even though it means you won’t get as many crab-stuffed peppers or lamb meatballs as you want. AKA, all of them.
The waterfront (address and info)
When you’re at a loss for what to do after your romantic Old City meal, simply take your date’s hand and walk down to the water, where, depending on the time of year, there are dozens of activities thanks to the Spruce Street Harbor Park and Winterfest pop-ups.
The Twisted Tail (address and info)
Try top-notch cocktails paired with all the Southern comfort foods you need in your life. Pro tip: cozy up to the dimly lit bar and enjoy live music during blues shows throughout the week.
Washington Avenue Pier (address and info)
There are plenty of ways to catch a good view of the Delaware River, but Pier 53 off Washington Ave is one of the best. Walk on the elevated boardwalk, and then climb up the 55ft-tall “Land Buoy,” an art installation that doubles as a winding stairway overlooking the water.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (address and info)
Get lost in Isaiah Zagar’s walkable bric-a-brac masterpiece. You can walk through any time of day or opt for the romantic Twilight in the Gardens series, where the glittering labyrinth of a mosaic is illuminated under soft lights and the space becomes a makeshift performance venue.
White Dog Cafe (address and info)
Every room at White Dog features a shift in decor and provides a different experience, but whether you’re nestled at a small table by the window, or sprawled in a generous booth, you’re really there for the locally sourced menu that also provides a different experience depending on the season.
Washington Square West
Talula’s Garden (address and info)
Just across from Washington Square Park, Talula’s offers an idyllic outdoor seating area canopied by gold lights, and surrounded with lush greens. Indoors the spot is still pretty romantic, with homey decor echoing the farm-to-table menu.
1. Water Works Restaurant & Lounge640 Water Works Dr, Philadelphia
2. XIX200 S Broad St, Philadelphia
3. Townsend1623 East Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
4. Eastern State Penitentiary2207 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia
5. Kensington Quarters1310 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia
6. Charlie was a sinner.131 S 13th St, Philadelphia
7. Jake's and Cooper's Wine Bar4365 Main St, Philadelphia
8. Amada217 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
9. Spruce Street Harbor121 N. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia
10. The Twisted Tail509 S 2nd St, Philadelphia
11. Washington Avenue Pier1301 S. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia
12. Philadelphia's Magic Gardens1020 South St, Philadelphia
13. Rouge205 S 18th St, Philadelphia
14. White Dog Cafe3420 Sansom St, Philadelphia
15. Talula's Garden210 W Washington Sq, Philadelphia
With stunning views of the Schuylkill River, Water Works serves up fresh seafood and more out of Philadelphia’s first municipal water delivery system.
XIX Nineteen looms over the city from 19 stories up, high in the upper quarters of the regal Hyatt at the Bellevue. The American restaurant/bar/lounge is known for elegance, with a 19-foot-long chandelier and stained glass dome in the main dining room almost rivaling the main feature -- spectacular views. Did we mention the floor-to-ceiling windows? A modern menu gets international touches in dishes like Jerusalem artichoke puree, but you can keep it red-white-and-blue with Maine lobster or anything from the extensive raw bar. Raw oysters and city lights await.
Townsend has some lovely French food and wine pairings like the blue foot mushroom escargots or the succulent sea scallops. Upstairs is for lovers, while downstairs is more relaxed with a bar/indie rock vibe.
If you're looking for a great horror show in Philly, but you're nowhere near a North Philly SEPTA stop, hit up Eastern State Penitentiary (a real-life horror house) for paranormal tour of cells and cellars filled with enough actual ghosts to fill every show on the Travel Channel.
Meat is taken seriously at this industrial chic butcher/restaurant in Fishtown, where every animal is used head-to-tail, and every diner leaves not only full, but with a primer in butchery and meat-curing. Right when you enter Kensington Quarters, you'll see the on-site butcher counter and retail section. Once seated, order the mixed house-made charcuterie followed by braised pork shoulder, a hulking pork chop, or a ribeye with smoked cheddar. Don’t be a meathead and remember to grab a salami for home on your way out.
Charlie certainly was a sinner, and a glutenous one at that. Despite a mostly vegan menu, Charlie's knocks it out of the park with decadent small plates and seemingly whimsical cocktails that hit you fast. Dark wood-paneled walls and plush velvet booths create a warm, intimate interior that's perfect for a date night. Take a seat at one of the candlelit tables and indulge in the always mysterious Charlie's Punch.
Jake's and Cooper's offers New American fare, and the chance to couple your entree with wines from around the world.
Garces' granddaddy of restaurants, Amada has a huge cocktail list with favorites like the custom Matador (ginger, bourbon, elderflower), plus some tasty, thrifty tapas, including Serrano ham croquettes and spicy potatoes.
Depending on the time of year, the Waterfront boasts dozens of activities thanks to the Spruce Street Harbor Park. Beer gardens pop up in the summer, and the views of nature impress regardless of the season. The waterfront park has everything from hammocks to an outpost of Federal Donuts (Port FedNuts).
The Twisted Tail's a hulking two-story joint from a classically trained actor who, while touring Tennessee with his theater company, fell in love with the Deep South's food, drink, and music, and has now launched his tribute to bourbon and blues, the most notable Southern combination since Brooks & Dunn.
There’re plenty of ways to get a cool view of the Delaware River, but Pier 53 off Washington Ave is one of the best. Walk on the elevated boardwalk, then climb up the 55-foot-tall “Land Buoy,” an art installation that doubles as a winding stairway overlooking the water.
Philadelphia's Magic Gardens is a gallery and community arts center where you can walk through anytime of day. The space hosts low cost public programs and provides access to mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar’s mosaic art environment and his public murals.
The burgers at Rouge are a display of over indulgence. If you try one of 'em it's probably a good idea to have an empty stomach so you can actually finish the thing.
The first thing you’ll notice upon entering White Dog Café is its pleasant warmth and undeniable homey-ness. The University City restaurant spans a trio of Victorian brownstones, and in a show of true Philadelphia utilitarianism, White Dog maximizes its space by providing a variety of eclectic dining rooms cheek by jowl like rooms in a dollhouse. The den is ostensibly a gallery of canine portraits (the pups all look down with big, sad eyes at the food you're eating), while the porch boasts reclaimed wood and delicate birdhouses. Most importantly, though, White Dog sources its ingredients from nearby farms, and though the food program changes monthly, you can trust that certain staples will endure: artisan cheese boards, a seasonal hummus trio with soft pita, Kennett Square mushroom soup, and, of course, heated French rolls served with honey butter.
Tucked between two commercial buildings, Talula's Garden is an oasis of greenery with a latticework of potted plants climbing the patio walls. The greenhouse-inspired interior is brimming with flowers, nature-themed cylindrical lamps, and pressed leaf artwork in light wooden frames. Decor aside, Talula’s main event is weekend brunch. The right way to brunch here is to order the Little Ricotta Doughnuts when you're seated and snack on them as you await more substantial dishes like an omelet with whipped goat cheese and roasted broccoli, and French toast stuffed with maple cream cheese and pears. Your meal will leave you irrevocably full, but we guarantee you won't regret a single bite.