With the days of video chat dates thankfully behind us (for the most part, anyway), it’s time to get back out there.
If you’re feeling a little rusty on the first-date-ideas front, you’re not alone. How exactly were we wining and dining before 2020?
No shame if, all of a sudden, despite being a Philly native you’re asking yourself, where should I go on a first date in Philadelphia?
Well, there’s plenty of choice! Philly is a thriving city with everything from laid-back breweries to fine dining eateries, and a whole host of cultural events to wow your date with. Pick a place you think your date will like where you also feel comfortable and sparks will fly.
Heck, you could even go out for a cheesesteak like… ironically, of course.
But if you’re looking for something a little more creative, we’ve got you covered. From the high life to the dive bars, here are your first-date ideas for Philadelphia.
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Eating and Drinking Dates in Philadelphia
Grabbing a drink is the classic first date as the alcohol lubricates easy conversation. A quick drink can turn into an early night if the only chemistry is in the mixology, but it can also spiral into a wild one when sparks fly.
Eating on a first date, however, is a little controversial. Sure, you can wow your date with your cultural and culinary prowess – but chopsticks and a fresh white shirt are a dangerous combination.
But whatever your pleasure, there are loads of great places to grab a bite or hit the sauce with a first date.
- Get Crafty At Earth – Bread + Brewery
Earth – Bread + Brewery on Germantown Ave is a great laid-back first-date hit. The small-batch house-brewed beer changes regularly, the flatbreads are heaven on (flat) earth, and the relaxed space is packed with local art to keep the conversation flowing.
- Try The Thai At Kalaya Thai Kitchen
Fine dining on a first date is a risk, but Kalaya’s a casual haunt with a great atmosphere. The brick interior and background noise create a low-key but intimate dining experience where you can get to know someone for the first time.
The homemade pad see ew will see you right.
- Find The Buzz At Barbuzzo
Find your very own “Club Med” at Mediterranean eatery Barbuzzo, a chic little spot in Midtown Village. It’s the perfect first date spot if you think your first date might appreciate something a little fancy – the grilled seafood is sure to make a splash.
As an upmarket joint, you’ll have to dress to impress.
- Whet Your Whistle At 1 Tippling Place
If you’re pining for a more sophisticated era of courtship, then the vintage parlor setting of 1 Tippling Place is the place to take your first date.
An extensive cocktail menu, not to mention one of the biggest selections of whiskeys in Philly, will demonstrate you know how to have a classy time.
- Get In The Mix At Hop Sing Laundromat
While you might not be planning to become exclusive on a first date, choosing a venue with a degree of exclusivity certainly leaves an impression.
Hop Sing Laundromat, with its strict door policy and camera ban, possesses an air of mystery that’s rare in the Instagram age.
- Speak In Tongues At Bar Bombón
Discover a new love language on a first date at Bar Bombón, where Latin flavor combinations will make you forget you’re eating all plant-based dishes.
This is vegan food for everyone and the finger food combines with a casual attitude to provide a great atmosphere for a friendly first date.
- Share A Slice At Pizza Brain
Don’t be afraid to get cheesy on a first date. Pizza Brain, in Fishtown, offers award-winning pizza with an easy-going atmosphere and the creatively-named pies are sure to be a talking point.
Just don’t go falling out over the great pineapple debate!
- Get Heavy At Grindcore House
Heavy metal and vegan food might not be a combination for everyone, but Grindcore House’s unique vibe makes it a great place to gauge compatibility.
This is a spot where your coffee-based first date will be anything but vanilla.
- Find The Bean At Elixr Coffee Roasters
With six locations dotted around Philly, Elixr Coffee provides a convenient spot for a low-commitment first date.
The house-roasted, decadent espresso will provide a welcome pick-me-up and might have you and your date conversing at 1000mph.
- Drop The Anchor At Dock Street Brewery
For a first date that covers all bases, try dropping your anchor at one of Dock Street Brewery’s two Philly locations.
You can take it easy with the award-winning craft beers or turn your date up a notch with hand-crafted cocktails featuring house-made syrups. Unless you’re sweet enough already!
Outdoor First Dates In Philly
Getting caught in the rain is one of life’s great romantic moments, but unless you’re ready to set off the sprinklers it isn’t going to happen while out for dinner.
And in the static space of a restaurant or bar, you’d better have some conversation topics at the ready.
But an outdoor first date gives you the chance to move through an ever-changing environment – this gives conversation its own special flow.
Outdoor first dates can be a great adventure that breeds connection. Get your coat, love.
- Walk The Schuylkill River Trail
You don’t have to leave the city to find a taste of nature, and I am always approving of hiking as a first date.
The Schuylkill River Trail, beginning in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, stretches for 70 miles (although turn around before your date’s dead on their feet).
The combination of urban skyline and breath-taking forest makes for a diverse first date.
- Discover The Nature At John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
Located just past the airport is America’s first urban refuge area and it’s a great place to stroll with a first date. The marshland trails are all flat so you can leave it up to your date to take your breath away.
The space abounds with colorful birds and petit White-tailed Deer that’ll melt your date’s heart.
- Go Chasing Waterfalls At Glen Onoko Falls
Located 90 minutes outside of Philly, the drive to Glen Onoko Falls will give you and your date plenty of time to get to know each other.
It might seem adventurous but I love hiking dates and any first date awkwardness will be a thing of the distant past by the time you’re done with this epic three-mile hike.
- Uncover History Or Your Doorstep With An Old City Walking Tour
From the Liberty Bell to Independence Hall, there’s so much history right under your nose in Philadelphia. Stretch your legs and take a stroll through time by creating your own self-guided walking tour through old Philadelphia.
As a local, it’s easy to ignore what’s on your doorstep and if your date’s a history buff this will be a first date to remember.
- Say Cheers To One Of Philadelphia’s Vineyards And WIneries
Break the ice with a warm glass of red at Crossing Vineyards. Traveling just 30 miles up the Delaware River will have your date feeling like they’ve crossed the Atlantic to Paris and the vineyard tours and tasting menu reveals an unexpected side of Pennsylvania culture.
Cultural First Dates In Philadelphia
You want to make sure a first date shows your best side. I know you do a lot more with your evenings than watch reruns of The Office on Netflix, but does your date?
Philadelphia’s modern history stretches back to the United States’ very origins and the city is a hub for galleries and museums.
A cultural first date offers the opportunity to discuss the relationship between American post-impressionism and the industrial revolution… or just the chance to giggle at some wacky modern art together.
- Make An Impression At The Barnes Foundation
Housing one of the biggest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern art, your date doesn’t have to be an art buff to enjoy the Barnes.
The Barnes is no stuffy art gallery – the eclectic curation sees European art hung beside Navajo textiles beside random household objects. This will be a first date leaving you plenty to unpack!
- Create Chemistry At The Franklin Institute
The Frankin Institute celebrates science and technology with the same passion that saw its namesake flying kites in a thunderstorm.
Why not zap some excitement into a first date with a trip around this fascinating museum? And with exhibitions on everything from Harry Potter to jellyfish it certainly won’t feel like stepping back into the classroom.
- Get Wild At The Philadelphia Zoo
“You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals,” isn’t my first choice of chat-up lines but if it’s ever going to work on a first date, it’s at the Philadelphia Zoo. Top tip: visit the sloth bears to get in the mood for Netflix and chill.
- The Neon Museum of Philadelphia
Philly’s cultural and historical significance is well-documented, so you might be looking for a first date that doesn’t go over old ground.
Show your date you’re a bright spark by taking them to the Neon Museum of Philadelphia. The collection of neon signage creates an impressive social history of the USA – Benjamin Franklin it ain’t.
- Get Interactive At Wonderspaces
For an immersive first-date art experience check out the 24,000 square feet of Wonderspaces in Philadelphia’s Fashion District.
With a focus on interactive modern art, you’ll find yourself surrounded by sculptures and light installations, and getting lost in these surprising spaces can be surprisingly intimate.
Cheap First Dates In Philly
From cocktails to gig tickets, the dating game can get pretty expensive. And while the days of the guy getting the bill are past us, it’s still a nice gesture and that can leave you pretty out of pocket.
But they say the best things in life are free. A cheap first date offers the chance to de-commodify dating, and the opportunity to see if you and your date really get on without the lubrication of expensive liquors.
Dating on a budget doesn’t have to feel like a poverty experience. So throw out the credit card and find out if you’re a cheap date.
- Enjoy A Picnic In The Park
Grab a basket and a blanket and treat your date to a picnic in the park. For bonus romance points, time it to the sunset and head up to Cira Green, an urban green space with incredible views of the city.
This unique space stands out as a first date location and it doesn’t cost a cent.
- Go Window Shopping At The Marketplace
You don’t have to be looking to buy to enjoy a stroll around one of America’s oldest indoor farmer’s markets, the Reading Terminal Marketplace.
Enjoy the mouth-watering smells from fresh seafood stalls or the fragrant bouquet of the flower vendors – and look out for free samples to sate your appetite as you go.
- Take Advantage Of First Friday
Friday is prime real estate for a first date and on the first Friday of every month, galleries across the city open their doors for free.
It’s a great opportunity to check out a space you wouldn’t normally pay to visit, and the lively, community atmosphere is sure to create a
- Skate For Free At Rizzo Rink
While ice skating at Winterfest is kind of a Philly tradition, Rizzo Rink is Philly’s best kept skating secret.
This free skating rink – or $5 with your skate rental – is tucked away under the I-95 and the urban vibe creates a memorable space for a cheap first date. This isn’t dancing on ice.
Sporty First Dates in Philly
If you’re an active person, chances are you’ll want an active partner. While I don’t recommend putting anyone through a rigorous fitness test on a first date there’s no harm in getting a lil sweat on! Try not to be too competitive though. At least at first.
- Get A Grip At Tufas Boulder Lounge
Bouldering – a form of rock climbing above soft matting – is an accessible activity that combines strength and problem-solving. At Tufas Boulder Lounge you can collaborate with your date to find the solution to colorful “problems”.
As an interactive sport, it’s great for a first date and it’ll get you connecting with your date on a physical level.
- Take A Swing At The Driving Range
Golf’s reputation as a boring sport is getting discredited with modern driving ranges such as TopGolf, located in Mount Laurel.
For a fun and surprising first date, book a private pod that comes complete with interactive golfing games as well as food and drink. And even if you don’t hit a hole in one, you might pick up a new hobby.
- Take A Ride At Fairmount Park
First dates always cover a lot of ground – from your family to your hobbies, you’re getting to know the fundamentals of a person.
So why not rent a bike and cover more ground in record time – the paths and trails of Fairmount Park are perfect for riding. And if the date goes badly, you’ve already got your getaway vehicle.
- Make A Splash With A Swim
I don’t want to throw cold water on your first date ideas, but how about a swim? Bellmawr Lake, just fifteen minutes outside central Philly, is a great man-made swimming hole that opens up for the summer season.
Getting your kit off in front of a first date is a surefire way to break the ice.
- Catch A Game At The Wells Fargo Center
Okay sports fans, sometimes you just want to sit back, relax and watch the show. If you want to make sure your first date is as passionate about the 76ers as you are, take a trip to the Wells Fargo Center to catch a game.
And if the 76ers win, your first date is sure to be a slam dunk.
Seasonal First Dates
Following the seasons for inspiration is a great way to find a first date that fits – sure, it may be easiest on holidays like Halloween but you can do it any time.
These seasonal first dates will stand out as something special and if love blossoms you’ll have a handy reminder of when your anniversary is (ish)!
- Spring: Experience Morris Arboretum In Bloom
Wandering through the leaf-lined lanes within Morris Arboretum, located on Chestnut Hill, gives you an opportunity to get to know your date with conversations that meander every which way.
Nothing says romance like a bunch of flowers and you’ll find a whole bunch of flowers in the rose garden, which begins to bloom mid-Spring.
- Summer: Get High On The Ferris Wheel
When the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest hits, Philadelphians flock to the Delaware riverfront for the roller rink, boardwalk games, and food and drink stalls.
But above all this, you can find an intimate oasis for your first date with a ride on the Ferris wheel. From up high you get a whole new perspective on the Philly landscape, something your date won’t easily forget.
- Fall: Find The Foliage
After a summer of love, it’s time to embrace the change of fall and nothing says “a whole new me” like a first date! Fairmount Park, spanning 2,000 acres and straddling the Schuylkill River is one of the best places to check out the fall colors so take a stroll.
- Winter: Get Your Skates On
It’s no secret that I think ice skating makes a great first date. After all, you’re surrounded by ice breakers, right? Err, actually, that would probably be bad on the public rink.
Anyway, the Olympic-sized rink is open at the Blue Cross Winterfest from mid-November right the way through to March. After a few laps, you can warm yourselves back up by renting a private firepit. Hot stuff!
Is Philadelphia A Good City For Dating?
From tranquil Japanese gardens to uber-exclusive cocktail bars, there’s no shortage of first date spots in Philadelphia. But where are all the singles at?
Now you’ve got some first date ideas you’re just missing that special someone, and you’re asking: is Philadelphia a good city for dating? Yes – Philadelphia is home to thousands of singles, and census data shows that women outnumber men in the city by some 90,000.
In fact, the majority of Philly adults aren’t coupled up: 58% of men and 65% of women are on the dating scene.
Apps like Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder are popular in urban areas and Philadelphia is no exception. For a deep dive on how to make Tinder work for you, check out my free Tinder Hacked ebook.
And as the home of the iconic LOVE sculpture in John F. Kennedy Plaza, you can bet Philadelphians are looking for love.
From LOVE Park to the Liberty Bell, Philadelphians have perfect dating spots on their doorsteps.
And for first dates, Philadelphia has got it all. History and culture, fine food or relaxed bars, and nature on the doorstep.
But are you putting the cart before the horse, or the steak before the cheese, as they say in Philadelphia? Hit our Dating App Quiz to find the perfect platform to meet the first date of your dreams.