Saint Valentine’s Day can be wonderful affair for couples, especially if you take the time to plan the big day in advance. But planning doesn’t have to be limited to just booking reservations at a nice restaurant and going to a movie, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to go the extra mile and create a memorable experience for that special person in your life. This year, the usual dinner and a movie is out, and cooking classes, ice skating, and video games are in.
Your date is guaranteed to be impressed with some of these five romantic and original date ideas in mind:
Trust is an important component of any relationship, and you can put yours to the test with an evening lesson at Go Vertical, central Philadelphia’s only climbing gym. Sign up for a Getting Started class if you’re newbies, where you’ll learn the basics of climbing, belaying your partner, and how to use a carabiner as something other than a key chain. There’s an intro class at 7pm on the 14th, which leaves plenty of time for a post-class mac and cheese or turkey BLT at the delicious Silk City diner, where you can discuss how thrilling (or terrifying) you found the experience. Once you get good at climbing, you can make it a weekly date.
Get cozy with an intimate dinner that requires virtually no work on your part with COOK, a series of gourmet cooking classes that double as dinner parties. Each class has a theme, whether it’s learning how to make bread or pairing little-known Australian wines with a meal of tuna crudo, lamb loin and hand-cut ricotta gnocchi. There are only 16 seats in the demonstration kitchen, where guests get a close-up peek at the tricks and tips used by some of the area’s best chefs and producers—and then get to eat the results. Wine and other drinks are included in the price.
Rothman Ice Rink
Turn Philly’s freezing February temperatures into your advantage by taking your sweetie for a hand-in-hand spin around the city’s newest ice rink. The Rothman Ice Rink, which sits in the recently opened Dilworth Park in front of City Hall, rents skates and it’s open until 9pm on the 14th, so you can glide around under the stars. Afterwards, take a selfie together under Philadelphia’s iconic pop art LOVE sculpture, which is located in Dilworth Park until the spring, when it will move back to LOVE Park across the street.
One of the best date ideas is something that combines food, drinks, and an activity in a single convenient package. If you’re still getting to know each other and worried you’ll run out of things to talk about, head to Barcade, a Fishtown bar that’s packed full of old-school video games you’ll remember from your childhood, from Donkey Kong to Frogger to Mortal Kombat 3. Besides competing for places on the high scores list, you can sample the stellar and ever-changing collection of American craft beers, and share a couple of carnitas tacos.
One Liberty Observation Deck
One Liberty Observation Deck opened in November 2015, and a surprising number of locals still haven’t taken the trip to the 57th floor. The glass-enclosed viewing platform offers jaw-dropping, 360-degrees city views in all directions. Book tickets in advance for Valentine’s Day so you can score a peak sunset view and still have time for dinner afterwards. Then take your love to the top and gaze out in awe. This is also a highly romantic place to pop the question—but no pressure, of course!