by Tara Nurin - 221 Reviews - 105 List
If you really want to impress your woman or your man, we mean really want to make an impression by convincing him/her that you truly are capable of putting thought and effort into your relationship, we recommend going out on a spectacularly romantic date. You know, the, all-day or all-evening date that has a flow--a range of activities and no care as to cost. So follow one of these romance-inspiring itineraries and you'll find that while it's true money can't buy you love, a perfect date might just do the trick. All prices listed below are per person and do not include tax or gratuity. (Photo courtesy of Longwood Gardens)
Updated: January 14, 2010
If the idea of being verbally suggestive makes you cringe, let famous French artist Auguste Rodin be your Cyrano de Bergerac. His sensual sculptures The Kiss, The Poet and Love, and Possession say ?I love you? without you having to. $5.
Stroll hand-in-hand along the grand Ben Franklin Parkway toward the Schuylkill River (stopping to admire the opulent fountain at Logan Circle) and meander through the Azalea Garden, behind the Museum of Art. The garden is a lush cluster of thousands of manicured azaleas, hydrangeas, groundcover and blooming bulbs--all crossed with lazy paths and shaded by magnificent oak, magnolia and sycamore trees. We don't mean to be nosy but we?d like to mention that the BFF of your trusty Citysearch editor got engaged here a few springs ago, so it might be nice place to bring that sparkly ring you've been hiding. Free.
Celebrate your fifteen-minute-old engagement or just your love at one of the city's most classically beautiful restaurants. Washed white and perched atop a bend in the river, the exterior of this 200-year-old restored fine dining landmark resembles an ancient Grecian streetscape and reflects the architecture of the art museum above. Be sure to bring a glass of Champagne out onto the scenic veranda. Plan to spend at least $200 for a full dinner with drinks.
If your date occurs on a Friday, begin your night with a themed wine tasting at the Old City restaurant that boasts the most extensive wine preservation system in the world. From 6pm-8pm, the sommelier offers a group tasting and discussion--complete with hors d?oeuvres--for $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Don't worry if you and your sweetie are hitting the town any other night of the week: a normal dinner at this cozy, candlelit Italian enclave that's flecked with deeply hued murals is special just by itself. Plan to spend at least $120 for a full dinner with wine.
If you're bundled up warmly, a nighttime skate at this outdoor rink at Penn's Landing is a sweet wholesome activity for couples. The Ben Franklin Bridge shines colorfully in complement to the stars twinkling above, while you and your sweetie twirl around on the ice with bright eyes, ruby cheeks and the post-skate warmth of a steaming cup of cocoa. $8 admission, $3 skate rental.
If that cup of hot chocolate didn't warm you and your boo up enough, walk or cab over to Society Hill, where the brilliant sun of summertime in Italy awaits. Even during the coldest Philadelphia months, this Mediterranean epicurean palace transports even the most hardened realists to the Amalfi Coast with its shimmering white walls, azure curtains, life-sized scenery photographs and terrace layout. Smooch with your significant other while you sink into the sofa, sip an organic cocktail and plan your next vacation together. Plan to spend $25 for two drinks.
One of the most intimate and original dining experiences can be found on this grounded 1904 four-masted sailing ship, the largest one still afloat in the world. Every Sunday morning and afternoon until 2:30pm, ?passengers? can feast on a breakfast/lunch buffet that comes with unlimited sparkling wine and dessert. As if taking a meal in such splendor weren't enough, the dessert bar includes multiple chocolate fountains, European tortes, pastries, and as many sweets as you can eat without getting sea sick. $35.
Walk off brunch and breathe in some fresh air as your wander around the charming Society Hill neighborhood. Federally designated as a historic area, the blocks between Chestnut, Lombard, Front and 8th streets consist of the nation's largest concentration of 18th and 19th century buildings. Cobblestones line the roads, genteel brick home facades are preserved and maintained to keep their original appearance, and several parks provide a place to sit down and recite poetry. Free.
Go from past to present by admiring the contemporary skyscape of the city from sea. Dinner cruises aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia run all year long and combine a three-hour ride, buffet dinner, cash bar, a dj and dancing. Plus, they throw in the nighttime view from the deck for free. $80.
Nature beckons from the Brandywine Museum, where the price of a ticket gets you admission to the rustic yet modern building and self-guided tours of the galleries that contain paintings of the pristine and hilly landscape outside. Wildflower gardens and riverside trails for hiking enhance the natural experience, as do guided tours of Andrew Wyeth's nearby studio, house, property and the 19th century farmhouse that inspired him to create art for more than 70 years. Afterwards, lunch on homemade soups and salads in the cafe that overlooks the wooded river. Museum admission $10. Wyeth House and Kuerner Farm tickets $5 extra, each. Plan to spend $20 on lunch.
You can purchase wine at the museum's cafe or you can instead wait until you get to Chaddsford Winery, the largest and almost oldest winery in Pennsylvania. Self-guided tours and tastings run every day from 12pm to 6pm and on nice afternoons, you can wander around the grounds, then picnic and drink wine in the yard. $8 includes a souvenir wine glass.
Excuse the pun but a garden that boasts more than 11,000 different types of perfectly maintained plants is an enrapturing place to tend to your romantic instincts. There are various elaborate areas to explore and always some kind of entertainment taking place, ensuring that even floraphobes will find something to amaze them. In the summertime and during the holidays, the gardens stay open late for fireworks displays and lighted fountain shows. A Christmastime tour through the spectacularly lit grounds is probably one of the top five most popular romantic experiences in the entire region.