When you're looking for the best date night ideas in a city of hidden gems, there's no excuse to let your couples time get routine. Whether it's your third date or thirtieth anniversary, Philly's rich cultural history, fascinating architecture, quirky finds, and beautiful surrounding landscapes set the stage for adventure and romance. Choose any of these fun date ideas and impress your significant other with the unexpected.
Arts and Culture
Magic Garden’s Twilight Tours
Monthly happenings every fourth Friday in the spring, summer, and fall bring Isaiah Zagar's bejeweled mosaics to life. Pack your own picnic, wine, and blanket and enjoy live music, performance art, creative workshops, and/or mini tours of the inimitable landmark just off South Street. A night out at Magic Gardens can be truly magical.
Free at Noon Concert
For music lovers with flexible hours—or at least very long lunch breaks—WXPN's Free at Noon series can be a fun escape from the workaday shuffle. Headlining acts take World Café Live's stage on select Fridays and the lineup is varied and interesting. Better still, with no cover charge, the only planning needed is to arrive early to snag a good view.
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Fairmount Park's Japanese house, operated by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, remains one of the better-kept secrets of the city. Surprise your beloved with an escape into what feels like another world and era for a tea ceremony, garden lesson, or art workshop. One of the best date night restaurants in the area, you'll be glad you made the trip.
Lightbox Film Center
Philly's oldest repertory cinema program, situated inside of International House Philadelphia, is the place to see films you can't see anywhere else. From cult classics to politically charged documentaries to restorations of international art-house masterpieces to experimental works, all of which guarantee good conversation afterward. A perfect option when you're looking for a dinner and a movie.
Skyspace Chestnut Hill
Contemporary light artist James Turrell constructed a dreamy masterpiece of modern art in Chestnut Hill's Friends Meetinghouse. Inside the green building, a retractable roof opens to the sky in seasonable weather, while a light display enhances the natural beauty of sunset and sunrise. Check their website for exact time and schedule.
Grounds for Sculpture
Worth a short trek out of the city, Seward Johnson's sculpture garden in Hamilton, NJ is so romantic that many couples get married here each year. They also offer workshops and special events from music concerts to dance performances. Bamboo gardens, reflecting pools, and a vast collection of contemporary works, plus the scenic Rat's Restaurant invite visitors to linger.
Classes and Workshops
Jim Loewer Glass Studio Classes
Philly glass artist Jim Loewer makes the art of glassblowing accessible to the public with demonstrations and classes in South Philly. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, this class is perfect for creating a unique gift for the both of you. Book a two-hour lesson for two and come away with serious torch skills.
Clay Studio Date Night
Nothing says ‘date night' better than getting dirty with some clay. Make it a tactile experience with The Clay Studio's Friday date nights. Wear smearable clothes and show up ready to drink wine and nibble on light snacks while learning how to throw, glaze, and fire pottery creations.
Savona Wine Tasting
Savona is known for its world-class cooking and having the largest and best wine cellar in the state. Reserve seats for two at Savona's weekly wine tasting sessions, held on Fridays at 5:30 pm. For an entry fee of $40, you can meet with the restaurant's sommelier, sample special vintages, and perfect your wine snobbery.
Are either of you looking to improve your cooking skills? With some advance notice (think one month ahead), food-obsessed pairs can indulge in Cook's stellar cooking classes with celebrity chefs and food and drink experts. Whether it's vegan appetizers, Japanese home cooking, or a cheese tasting, the offerings are fun and informative.
Out and About
Palace Roller Skating Center
Get out and get moving while having fun doing it. Kick it old school at this roller rink in the Great Northeast. Wednesday and Saturday nights are open to adults, perfect for slow jams and couples skates.
Malvern's kitschy arcade specializes in pinball machines through the decades. With hundreds of games to choose from, you won't have any trouble finding your ideal game. Pay by the hour or by the day and play all the retro games you can shake a flipper at.
When the world gets to be too much, take your sweetheart to a sensory deprivation tank. A visit to this Fishtown getaway will allow you both to unplug and relax. Floats can last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. No matter how long your stay, one thing's for certain and that's how relaxed you'll feel.
Hidden City Tours
A city like Philly is rich in history. Learn more about Philadelphia and the surrounding areas—architecture, culture, landscapes, and lore—with these special-topic walking tours. Think "Exploring David Lynch's Eraserhood" and "The Philly Jazz Legacy." Tours happen frequently, with many happening a few times a month.
Night Skies at the Observatory
The Franklin Institute chief astronomer Derrick Pitts hosts a monthly evening event at Bloom Observatory. Leave with your free star map as a memento from the night. If stargazing through a telescope with expert narration sounds too staid, you can partake in the cash bar.
Ringing Rocks Park
When you're looking for local things to do, consider this. Bucks County's 123-acre naturally formed field of boulders provides an Instagram-worthy backdrop for an afternoon of hiking (check out the waterfall!) and picnicking. BYO hammer to strike the rocks and hear their bell-like tones. Wear flat, comfortable shoes to make it easier to navigate around.
Fruit Picking at Solebury Orchards
Leave the city behind for a bucolic outing at one of the region's most beautiful fruit farms. Solebury manages to keep a low-key charm while maintaining a well-run operation and the bounty is always top-notch. Stop by the Market on site to take home some goodies to enjoy later.
Elmwood Park Zoo
If you've never been to this sleeper-hit zoo in Norristown, you might be surprised to find giraffes, buffalo, bald eagles, and prairie dogs onsite. Now that they've added a beer garden and zip lines it's a sweet way to spend the day. If you're a Norristown native, admission to the zoo is free on the first Sunday of every month.