Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but you can still check out these 10 fun, quirky, and romantic date options
I’ve thought a lot about this article: best date spots in Philly. First of all, what makes a good date spot? What spurs true romance? Is it ambiance (read: dim lighting)? Is it strong drinks (read: liquid courage)? Or is it intangible (read: something “new and adventurous”)?
In Boston, my go to first date spot was a sushi joint about a block away from my apartment that was delicious, affordable, and played great hip hop music. Sushi in my mind was a great first date because it gave me data on whether my date was adventurous with food, and it showed that I didn’t need it to break the bank either. The hip-hop playlist made it very clear what genre of music was my favorite and yes, I probably gave him extra points if he could guess the artist.
I haven’t found that same combination of great features in a restaurant in Philly…yet. If anyone knows of the above criteria please contact me ASAP. What I do have is a pretty decent list of places that are good for first dates, group dates, and date nights.
How did I put together this list (yes, it involved some research…this is Wharton, after all)? First, I found all the places that Philly blogs were recommending for Valentine’s Day and went from there. Personally, the Eastern State Penitentiary + Dilworth Park Zombie Skate sounded like the best idea with the Ex-Files Anti-Valentine’s Day Storyslam as a close second. It’s pretty much what it sounds like – a bunch of people telling horrible stories about exes. My point here is I’m not what you’d call “hopelessly romantic,” and as this is going to print am still figuring out what to do for Valentine’s Day. Second, I thought back to fun, interesting dates I’ve had in Philly and what made them so much fun. Usually there was an element of a new venue, new activity, or new type of food/restaurant. So here’s to hoping you learn something new and can share it with someone special.
For the Music Lover
Date night at Johnny Brenda’s. This intimate venue is great for the music lover as it’s a tiny stage and space with a balcony that lets you get close to the main act. I recently went here for a concert, and as a person under 5’2”, I enjoyed how close I could get without getting on my tiptoes or fighting my way to the front. A great spot close by for dinner is Ekta, a North Indian restaurant in NoLibs. And if you have time to kill, Emmanuelle is supposed to be the best speakeasy in Philly.
JMSN performing at Johnny Brenda’s.
For the Food Lover
My go to will always be Market East and its plethora of amazing restaurants: Barbuzzo was my first date spot and I have wonderful memories of being blown away by their truffled farm egg pizza and salted caramel budino for dessert.
For the Art Lover
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is Philly’s worst kept secret over on South Street, and at $5 for students is a great escape. A folk artist bought up this block of South Philly in the 60s and turned it into his very own masterpiece. This is great for the art lover who appreciates art more in “everyday life.” The founding artist and his wife were holding tours during Valentine’s Day weekend with wine and candlelight, which is all the more reason to check this place out for a future date.
For the Science Nerd
Franklin Institute’s planetarium offers $5 tours every month with the Chief Astronomer. What’s more romantic than stargazing? Head here from 6-9pm (next one is March 12 — schedule here) and grab a bite at Aya’s. Be sure to order the Moussaka. Seriously, don’t order anything else.
For the Sports Lover
Wells Fargo Center for a 76ers game, courtside – honestly where else can you see your favorite player courtside for $100? This column is making the assumption you’re rooting for the other team because if you’re rooting for the 76ers I’m really, really sorry. Spoiler alert: Sixers draft Jahlil Okafor out of Duke. Go Hawks!!
For the Desserts Lover
I love this time of year because it always gives me an excuse to have hot chocolate. It’s cold and what better way to warm up with your sweetie? The iconic Franklin Fountain has a winter menu and word on the street says it’s worth checking out.
For the Bourgeois
A lover of opera? Orchestra music? The ballet? Why not put on something fancy and convince your sweetie for a date night in your best dress? Kimmel Center loveliness is best matched with a dinner at Talula’s Garden if it’s warm. Sit on the patio. Soak up the ambiance, as the lighting at this place is perfect. It will flatter anyone – even the girl or guy you found on Tinder and are now not so sure she or he matches up to her or his picture.
For the People Watcher
Is the person you’re digging an introvert? Go to conversation like observing the people around you can go really far and so use this list wisely. There are lots of great spots in this city to watch people but my favorite daytime spot is Joe’s Coffee right in Rittenhouse – face the window. It’s a great people watching spot but remember, the people watching can see you too. Use cautiously. For late night people watching use can use this list: A. Kitchen & Bar, Franklin Mortgage, and Tria café.
For the Book Lover
Books and cafes are a great combination for a date especially if you’re digging someone studious. Used book stores like The Book Corner has a great collection and if you’re with someone who takes her coffee as seriously as she takes her books definitely go to La Colombe afterward. This isn’t a Philly secret but deserves the mention only because they don’t even have a menu!
For the Comedy Lover
Worried your jokes won’t stick? If you want a night full of laughs and aren’t sure if yours will deliver, why not suggest a comedy club? Since the Wharton Comedy Club only rolls through twice a year, Helium has other acts that come through on a regular basis! I’ve seen Joel McHale there of Community and The Soup fame but other up-and-coming comedians, like Margaret Cho, are always passing through.
See more from the Wharton Journal Valentine’s Day Issue:
- Spicy Romance: A Love Story by Jake Gorelov WG ’15
- The 16 Most Desirable of 2016
- Love Life Tips for the Wharton Maximizer by Geoff C. WG ’16
- The 2015 Wharton Journal Love (#sex) Survey
And then check out The Wharton Journal on Facebook!