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Even the old married hags that we are, we value date night. In fact, we prioritize having one at least once a week. However, we don’t always want to do the whole sit in a romantic restaurant thing—although we love that on occasion as well. Often times, we’re looking for different date ideas in Philly. Ones that won’t eat up our precious travel fund and that we can access any time.
Dating in Philly is fun and, compared to other major cities, actually pretty easy. There is always something going on and the atmosphere at almost every event is HYPED. This list has the most fun date ideas in Philadelphia that we’ve found so far for active and foodie couples.
For the Foodie Couple: Fun Food & Drink Dates in Philadelphia
1. Dinner in Chinatown
Chinatown is a much-beloved date night in our household, one that moved with us from NYC to Philly. Here, we’ve fallen in love with Dim Sum Garden, the fast-paced BYO on Race Street that runs a decent line out the door on weekends. However much it wraps around, though, you can pretty much assume you’ll be seated within 30 minutes. Give credit for the quick seating to the rapid-fire kitchen that can whip out soup dumplings in under 60 seconds – stove to table.
2. Picnic in Fairmount Park
Or whichever Philadelphia park you fancy. Sure, you can class it up and spend $75 on a charcuterie board from Di Bruno’s, but you don’t need to. These days a quick Trader Joe’s trip can leave you with a feast fit for a large family on a casual $15 tab. Bonus, the TJ’s in Center City is conveniently located on the way to the Fairmount Park entrance off of Market St. There’s also a wine store across the street if you want an accompanying beverage. See the park map to plan your picnic.
3. Spend A Morning in Rittenhouse
Start the morning off with a stop at La Colombe, a famous Philly coffee house just off the square, and grab a caffeinated beverage. If it’s the Summer, try their Black & Tan: half cold brew and half draft latte served over ice. Then head a block South to Metropolitan bakery and grab a couple of tasty treats. After, settle yourself in at Rittenhouse Square one of the many benches for a nice, leisurely chat. There’s plenty of people–and puppy!–watching to occupy the gaps in conversation.
4. Hit a Summer Drinking popup
There are plenty of opportunities to drink outside in the Summer in Philly which can easily be looped into a date night. This is probably age and/or mood dependent. If you’re trying to get a little bit rowdier and are in your twenties, Center City SIPS is the move. A collection of over 80 restaurants and bars in Center City throw a party every Wednesday in the Summer. Some have DJ’s, others have patios, all have drink specials. The outdoor places tend to be the youngest and craziest, with the restaurants being a bit more mellow.
For the older folk or those who are just looking for a more chill scene, Parks on Tap is better. The rotating event pops up in at parks all over Philadelphia. There are food and drink trucks serving local fare at decent prices. Bring chairs or a picnic blanket for Parks on Tap, though, the ones they provide can be hard to come by.
5. Visit breweries or the Philadelphia distillery
The beer game in Philly is one of the best in the country. Breweries are a really fun date, although we recommend you incorporate food into your day at some point or run the risk of it turning into a sloppy date. These are strong beers people. If you’re staying in the city, head to Yards for a large brewery tour or Love City Brewing for a hip one.
6. Have drinks at Parc
This is for our martini drinkers out there. Grab a Manhattan or Gin martini, park yourself at one of the chic outdoor tables, and watch the world go by. Set across the street from Rittenhouse Square, this is a great place to people watch and bond over the dogs you’re ogling. An added bonus: sometimes they’ll hit you with a basket of their delightful homemade bread even if you’re not ordering food.
7. Eat on S. 9th St.
There is so much good food in Philly. We’re not going to take the time out in this post to discuss all of the areas for great eats, but this has become a favorite. S. 9th St. is home to the Italian Market, great Mexican food–like the now very famous South Philly Barbacoa–and, as you head further South, brings you into authentic Vietnamese spots. Eventually, it connects to Passyunk Ave, another Philly food hot spot. You can find good food on this stroll every 4-5 steps so eat with caution. This is a marathon food day, not a sprint.
For the Active Couple: Outdoor Dates, Philly
1. Kayak on the Schuylkill River
The sunset paddles are probably the way to go for a date night, though a moonlight one would probably spark all kinds of romantic feels. Plus, if this is a date earlier on in the relationship, this trip will be an easy way to see how your partner handles potential hardship. A kayak trip on the River here is not easy. Schuylkill Banks runs kayak tours all Summer.
2. Hike and lunch at Wissahickon
One of our favorites, a hike followed by a casual meal is such a great date. The hike offers plenty of quality time just the two of us, the quiet allows us to chill and feel more connected, and the physical challenge releases lots of love-inducing endorphins. Setting up a spot to eat together after simply seals the deal, and we head home with full bellies and weary limbs. Inside the city, Wissahickon Valley Park is the best spot for this. Choose a trail, spend part of the day in the urban woods, and then head to one of the spots on our Wissahickon food guide after.
3. Head out for a Bike Ride
Philadelphia is a super bike-friendly city. The street biking should probably be left to the more experienced riders, but there are easily accessed paved trails all over the place. The trail that starts on the Schuylkill can take you all the way up to Valley Forge Park if you’re in it for the long haul. For the more casual bike date, try out the Manayunk towpath.
4. Free Yoga on the Delaware River
Summer in the city is the best time for free fun. There is free outdoor fitness all over the city but this yoga sequence is a favorite of ours. Set at 7 am at the tip of the Race Street Pier on the Delaware River, you can practice your down dog while watching the sun climb over Jersey and past the Ben Franklin bridge. It’s a lovely way to start the day with your date. See the entire Summer schedule here.
5. Watch the Sunset
There are quite a few places to watch the sunset in Philly. If you want the best views, check out Cira Green, a park on top of a parking garage in University City. There is a beer and food stand, but this can easily be a free or cheap activity if you BYO.
During warmer months, the banks of Schuylkill River Park flood with people near sunset. You can’t see the sun actually set in the horizon here, but you can catch it dip behind the buildings across the river. We like the grassy area by Walnut St.
Alternatively, you can head out of Center City a bit and into a different part of Fairmount Park. The Belmont Plateau is a lovely place to watch the sky change. You can’t see the sun here, but there’s a fabulous view of the city skyline where you can catch the golden light reflecting off the sides of buildings.
6. Take a good old fashioned walk
The best of the best. Taking a walk, hand in hand—preferably at twilight—is so romantic. Especially through the charming streets of Philadelphia.
Here are a few of our favorite romantic walks in Philly:
- The blocks of Addison between 19th and 17th where the trees are lined with string lights.
- The Schuylkill River Path, although this can be a bit crowded at times.
- The steps behind the Art museum that lead to views of the row houses and dam. There are lights casting a soft glow on the pathway if you go at night.
Combine any of these Philadelphia dates into one. Ideas for active dates followed by great food:
Combine the above choices into one long date, something outdoors followed by something tasty.
- Free Yoga + Morning in Rittenhouse: Yoga at 7 AM, La Colombe coffee in hand by 8:15.
- Hike Wissahickon + Lunch Nearby: See our full guide on how to do this.
- Kayak on the Schuylkill + Parks on Tap: A paddle and a local beer always sets us right.